Print's Not Dead

Read: Print, not Prince. Prince is still dead. Sorry.

I have something to confess: I’m pretty sure I have a paper fetish.

Seriously. I love paper. It’s concerning how much I love paper. I love to write on it, draw on it, touch it, make books out of it, smell it, print on it. I’ve been to conventions all about printing and paper and have come home with bags full of booklets and brochures and business cards.

Point is… there are many other reasons to love paper, and it comes down to how it can impact your business.



There’s an episode of the Office in which Michael Scott, a paper company manager, is set to appear in front of one of his employee’s business college classes. Michael is faced with a rigorous Q&A which entails one question of how the paper company will evolve to adapt to a digitally based future.

Michael responds, “Real business is done on paper. Write that down.” And everyone takes the note, sure - on their laptops.

There’s truth in that digital sources are overtaking a lot of print media - e.g. paper newspapers and news websites, or books and the Kindle. However, to say that print will become antiquated is something people in love with the tactile (me!) won’t believe. Here’s why.



The benefits of tactile products are extensive. One can’t deny that there’s a certain human affinity for the physical, given our propensity to collect objects or admire hand-crafted gifts and products (Etsy, anyone?). Just about everyone I know has an extensive book collection, and refuses to get rid of any of their novels for the sake of minimalism or digital convenience. There’s a reason people are found sitting on the floor between aisles reading at Barnes & Nobles - they’ve been sucked into the tactile experience. As referenced above, I love paper for its physical qualities as well as its capabilities: the feel of 80# vs 100#, textured or smooth, the visual difference between matte and glossy stocks. Those physical properties, obviously, are not found in digital media.

Aside from its physical qualities, paper is still great for uses that can be replicated digitally. According to research, millennials, who hold an incredible amount of buying power for their younger age (apparently they spend $600 billion a year), prefer learning with print materials. There was a study in Norway that presented evidence that children learn better with paper materials than digital, and that information displayed on paper is easier to annotate, flip through, and reference, and apparently remember.

I’m sure some of this applies to brochures and stationery as well… at least it will for your clients.



All this being said, print materials may be necessary for your branding and business success. There are standards in paper and print that most every company will utilize, including but not limited to business cards, letterhead, brochures, stationery, and portfolios.

And for a lot of people, that’s all they really need. But if you’re in a more face-to-face industry (retail, restaurants, etc) than one that can rely on mostly digital avenues (web design), it may be useful to consider:

  • Invoices
  • Menus
  • Postcards & Mailers
  • Catalogs
  • Notepads
  • Brochures
  • Forms
  • Thank You Cards
  • Invitations
  • Sell Sheets
  • Rack Cards
  • Bookmarks
  • Magnets
  • Door hangers
  • Educational guides
  • And whatever else tickles your fancy.

Of course, make sure that your print content, along with any other promotional content, is relevant. I wouldn’t be sure you need a bookmark as a construction company - but perhaps if you were a publisher, editor, author, or library, it’d make more sense.

Need help designing your own print materials? Let me know! I’ve created business cards, letterhead, stationery, catalogs, mailers, resumes and more.

Graphic DesignJo Bayne