When the internet exploded into our lives at the end of the 21st century, we were inundated with media stories announcing the end of the printed word, extolling the paperless environment and pushing us all towards screens in every single area of our lives.
The general feeling was that print was dead. Magazines and newspapers were relying more and more on their online versions. The rise of Kindle and eBooks was sounding the death knell of the book industry. Email marketing had taken over the concept of junk mail. Google had replaced our cumbersome reliance on Yellow Pages.
But as the 21st century matures, the general feeling is that print is far from dead. Indeed, it is evolving into a more meaningful and tangible form of communication – one that has deeper roots and a louder voice in a world in which we are inundated with a million messages from a million sources.
When you think about our senses, it seems that we are predominantly being asked to look at something – to read about it online, the check it out online, to watch the video, to look at the posts – all our information is coming through vision.
A piece of print is a tangible thing – it has substance and texture, and temperature, and weight. To hold a magazine or book in your hand gives a much more emotional connection to the work and meaning that has gone into it.
As the world has gone digital, and our desks are less and less cluttered, a physical printed brochure can sit on your desk and give you a welcome break from staring constantly at a screen.
Don’t forget that the primary material used in printing is paper. The raw material comes from trees. Tress are a sustainable product, and the forestry sector has gone to great lengths to ensure that its industry does everything in its power to be as environmentally progressive as possible. Most virgin fibre paper products are made from certified sustainably managed forests, such as FSC and PEFC.
Once in the cycle, paper can be recycled up to eight times without it losing any of its quality and integrity.
Between 2005 and 2020, European forests grew by 58,390 square kilometres. That’s an area bigger than Switzerland. Sustainable forestry management requires thinning trees and creating open areas while maintaining older, denser canopies in other areas. The timber industry will always be reviving itself and ensuring that its products are used in a myriad of ways that enrich modern life while still protecting the environment.
And don’t forget, just because the majority of our communications are now done electronically. E-waste is also making its presence felt. In 2016 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste were generated globally – to which everything we do contributes in some way – email, texting, social media and all other PC, smart phone and other forms of electronic communications.
How many ads to you really click on when it pops up on your screen. Do you trust them. Do you worry about letting in some virus or bug. Doing everything online makes you vulnerable to external threats that don’t exist on the printed page. Sometimes the sheer overwhelming abundance of advertising can keep you hooked into ‘doom scrolling’ as you attempt to navigate to what you are really searching for or interested in.
It’s not always evident either what is a genuine piece of information, and what is there purely as ‘click bait’. The level of manipulation can leave a bitter taste in the mouth, and will often alienate your potential customer, rather than treating that prospect as an intelligent individual.