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Print Is Dead! (Or…is it?)

All of us in the design profession have heard about the eventual, slow death of print. It began in earnest in the 1990s, and, according to some folks, it already has a tombstone. This is what keeps printers up at night.

So I was pleasantly surprised as my oldest daughter—a senior in high school—began searching for a university to attend a little over a year ago. Upon visiting several colleges, our mailbox has been inundated with print promotions, one after the other, not only from the schools we visited but also from unknown colleges around the country.

Having worked with college admissions departments, I can attest to the fact that these groups are typically very sophisticated in their approach to recruiting high school students (and their parents). So it must work very well to mail nicely designed brochures, post cards, and letters. Given that print still has far fewer restrictions than online design, higher-ed print pieces are often more visually pleasing that their websites. And in the case of my daughter, even after she committed to a university, they’ve kept sending her beautiful print pieces.

Print may be slower that it use to be, but it’s far from being on life support. In fact, I’d suggest that, given society’s appetite for all things online, print has become even more relevant: as a tangible, tactile, near-novelty that communicates emotions distinct from any click of the mouse.



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