• Insight

Why print design wont die

There is value to printed material that will alway be useful when reaching an audience from a brand marketing perspective. So don't kill off print just yet.

Print is both visual and tangible, which allows the audience to be interactive with this form of communication material, whilst adding to the authenticity of a brand story. Digital can reach a wide audience instantly and is easier to link and track to sales. Both have a place within marketing and advertising and provide different platforms to communicate with their audience.

Print vs digital

Visually print and digital offer different positives as different mediums for creative work. There are advocates for both formats, traditional practitioners arguing the legitimacy of digital, and digital champions writing-off print as redundant medium in our current climate. Whilst the landscape that used to hero print has vastly evolved, print and digital both have a place and function for brand campaigns and communication pieces in current environment.


Digital offers instant uploaded creative, brightly backlit aesthetic which can be animated, include sound, active CTA links and can be interactive, with the desire for us to click and engage with online content. Which is perfect for the current online content hungry audience. With more digital advertising boards being erected in our city and town centres, digital campaign space is becoming more desirable and easier to book and upload.

  • Digital created material its easier to reach you audience with multiple avenues, email, social media, pop up ads, newsletters. You can use targeted marketing and advertising to reach our audience.

  • Digital content requires multiple constant stream of assets, constant content, and it needs to be relevant and have a marketing strategy.

  • Due to the volume of digital ads available there is a trust issue from viewers.

  • The rise in moving digital ads calls for more focus on video content.


With the variety of paper stocks and printing finishes; foil, spot uv, embossed, debossed, florescence (to name a few), as well as different sizes, formats, folds and bindings that are available. Print is a traditional format that can reach all ages and audiences without needing a device, and can feel like a luxurious piece of material to a customer. A printed piece of material is interactive and tangible, forcing its audience to be instantly engaging, you can talk to your audience through tone, texture and creating a piece of your brand story, and as emotive creatures we are all hungry for something tactile.

  • Print can reach a chosen audience through direct target marketing.

  • You can reach all ages and audiences with printed material.

  • The added element of it being tangible opens a whole door to print finishes which isn't something that can be translated that effectively within digital.

  • Print has an authenticity and feels more trustworthy.

The misconception of print being redundant is due to the editorial market

Whilst editorial magazines and newspapers are struggling, (and a dying art), with similar content available online, and with more of it at your finger tips, there is less of a desire to buy editorials in print when you can get the content for free. The sad truth of the editorial industry falling from grace over the last few decades is due to how brands can get better eyes on adverts online, and with measured stats and tracked clicks recording data more effectively.

Editorial adverts were keeping magazine floating due to the expensive ad spaces offered, due to the large distribution numbers, as a result this enabled magazines luxurious printing finishes and paper stocks, which cheapened as big brands pull out of regular ad spots in favour of campaigning online, and sales decreased on news stands. However whilst most editorial magazines have moved away from print to have an online presence, the format of print is still highly relevant within brand marketing, understanding the content that appeals to your audience in a way they cannot engage with online.

The value of printed material

Being able to interact with a piece of content changes the way a person interacts with your brand. When creating a brand story you can promote authenticity when using printed materials.


Creating a catalogue for a brand, or booklet to go inside the packaging of a product and part of the purchase process helps sell your brand narrative. You can build your brand within simple well designed printed materials. When creating a printed piece of material to support your brand identity it works well when targeting current customers to initiate repeat purchases.

Brand story and identity

The digital platform enables a brand to form a brand identity and tone of voice in a digestible, with up-to-date and in a content rich way, through social media, each offering a different avenue of communication to a desired audience type. From a graphic design point of view you can encompass and reinforce your brand story in the medium of print by taking advantage of the different types of formats, folds, bindings and finishes and create a narrative with catalogues, lookbooks, leaflets and magazines.

Print marketing examples

For example; online retailer Patch Plants reinforce their online brand identity and brand marketing style by creating a door drop booklet of plant care with useful tips for customers that purchase, whilst show casing products they encapsulate their brand identity.

Patch Plants Magazine/Booklet; design by Celia Valette via Dribble

For example; Swoon targeted customers with a direct mail letter using gold foil voucher, and incentive to repeat purchase. Reinforcing brand quality using print finishes and the authenticity of print and customer relationships to communicate with their customer.

For example; David M Robison jewellers created a luxury newspaper on uncoated offset paper with a silver foil masthead, using creative still life combined with product cut outs and event lifestyle photography for news and new product launches to have in store for customers.

For example; Canary Wharf Group create a seasonal catalogue covering their mall retailers to generate footfall, in a way that links all their resident brands under their brand in a magazine editorial format. Using embossed gold foil cover on a soft touch heavy white paper-stock, and silk coated internal pages, for an aded feel of luxury to entice a reader to be tactile and engage with the editorial layout design. This was a catalogue that felt like an engaging editorial magazine being beautiful and content rich.

Swoon marketing direct mail, D'amour newspaper, and Canary Wharf catalogue, designed by Chantal Lascelles

The key is in a marketing strategy

While digital is the go-to avenue to provide instant content, and hero your brand's core identity, whilst being the best place to measure and track engagement. Print still has a place to support your brand story and authenticity, and while it is more difficult to measure engagement, the narrative of printed collateral needs to be supported by a marketing strategy and direct targeting to enable the printed material to stand out and speak directly to your audience.

Insights by © Metamorphosis Creative's founder, Chantal Lascelles.