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50th Anniversary Print Survey

what is the future of print?

On this question, our generally confident audience was less surefooted. As you will see, there are at least four schools of thought reflected in the survey comments. First, print design will continue to prosper because designers are increasingly adept at utilizing print in ways that complement and enhance integrated marketing programs. Second, print’s role will diminish because the technological, cultural and generational digital wave will relegate it to a backwater option. Yet a third school contends that the future of print will be cyclical: print and paper will, periodically, rise and fall, be ignored and rediscovered, be disdained as old-fashion and be revealed anew as fresh and powerful. And a fourth strain of thought: I can’t even decide what to have for lunch, so I’m not going to speculate about 50 years from now! One point clearly has achieved a consensus across the board: in the future, printed pieces will stand out ‒ they’ll be appreciated and valued ‒ because they will be more rare. This will imbue in them heightened potential and power for sophisticated and important messaging that requires emotional connection, authenticity and permanence.

Young designers and marketers brought up in the primarily digital world always will be looking for an edge, for something different. The value of print promotion will be (re)discovered continually by the brightest, and re-imagined to fit current strategies and thinking. All the weapons in one’s arsenal today make for really exciting potential now, and in the near future.

David Hlebcar Owner/Creative Director, FBN Strategic Creative Services

Social media marketing is the new kid in town. Everyone wants to be a part of it. This excitement over the new medium has led to a drop in demand for printing services. Once the excitement dies down, and marketers realize they can use print in conjunction with their online campaigns, the demand for print should begin to rebound.

Paul E. Trivilino Owner, Paul Trivilino Design

Print will always play a role in a number of marketing and personal design arenas. Printed pieces lend to legacy more than its electronic counterparts. The pieces you wish to cherish and review may include electronic elements but will be encapsulated in print, too.

Amy Jackson Creative Services Manager, RamQuest, Inc.

Print will have the same role or a greater one. Online is not always available or something that you treasure through the years. People don’t have a collection of websites hanging on their wall or in their library for reference or enjoyment. When I am looking for a visual idea for a design I have a picture or art technique in my mind that I saw years ago and know it was in a specific book that I pull out to look at again.

Sher Sester Professional Licensing Artist, Artistic Designs Group & Sher's Studio

I would love to say that the role of print and paper will increase in the next 5, 10, 50 years. I suppose if we're heading toward a more digital world, then well designed pieces that take into account quality printing and appropriate paper stock will really stand out in a crowd. These signature pieces will make a bold impact to the intended audience. Just like print, digital can be well designed or poorly designed. But when a printed piece is well designed, it exudes the quality of the brand. The look, feel, smell, weight, and size of a printed piece all add to the overall brand impression and value — this is the true cherry on top.

ELIZABETH GRISWOLD Graphic Design Director, MSA Architects

Print and paper may have a reduced role, but I believe it will still have an important — and very personal — role in the years ahead. I can open up and read a book that belonged to my great grandfather, but the same can't be said about various electronically and digitally formatted information that has become — or will become — obsolete. Paradoxically, what was once considered ephemeral may become valued for its longevity.

DANIEL GREEN Lead Graphic Designer, Foth

If print media is going to be around in 50 years, it's going to be because it works as a complement to digital media. It picks up some of the areas digital media lacks and vice versa.

J.R. CAINES Freelance Graphic Designer, Caines Design

I don’t think anyone can look ahead 50 years with any accuracy, but 5 or 10 years from now print will still have a place. Designers need to be familiar with print’s benefits — those who think it is arcane and old fashioned and leave it out of the mix are missing the boat for their clients.

JEFF SMITH Co-Creative Director, Smith/Walker Design

Print and paper will still be with us in 50 years, but used in different, more personalized ways. Mass media will be almost exclusively electronic. Print will likely be used for minimalist packaging and to convey high-end and artistic marketing approaches.

LAURA MONTGOMERY WAAG Creative Director, Sidedoor Studio

I believe no matter 5, 10 or even 50 years from now there will always be a need for printing on paper. As technology moves faster than the speed of light so will ideas about how to impress using just a single sheet of paper. I hope to be around to see the progression and the uniqueness of it all. Print may become the hottest commodity around.

LOLITA WESTBROOK Senior Graphic Designer

How I have observed trends changing, I feel the process will go full circle. I don't think print will ever go away, simply because the web and multimedia can’t recreate certain emotions print can. Print may slow down, but I think there will always be the purist, just like the whole vinyl trend in records coming back.

ERIC WOOD Designer, Team Simson Racing Products

5 years: advancement in new techniques for inks and how they are applied. 10 years: luminescent papers and inks for an industry at night. Modern version of Glow in the dark without battery source. 50 years: Paper will be digitalized so that one can merely touch the page and increase font and graphics as fiber optics becomes interwoven in paper fiber.

DAN MCELHATTAN III Executive Creative Director/Owner Brandltd.com and M3 Advertising Design

With the younger generation growing up with smart technology and schools replacing books with iPads, I don't think print and paper will be as mainstream as they have been. Paper and print will become more a statement of luxury and uniqueness.

SUSAN KELLEY Creative Director, kelley|fortuno marketing design

When I started as a young graphic designer in 1974, I had no idea that computers would revolutionize the graphic design and typesetting industries. Who knows where we will be in 50 years! But in 5 or 10 years, I think print will remain a tangible part of graphic design. But as generations get further away from paper and rely more on electronic forms of media, communications on paper may become obsolete.

ROBYN BROOKS Owner, Brooks Design

I’m unsure about the exact role of print, but I can guarantee it will still be around. Especially all the custom texture printing and custom die cut pieces that are more than promotional pieces for there businesses but mini works of art. MARY SCHILL Art Director/Owner, Forte Design The successful integration of 3D printing with traditional print will be key.

JUSTIN LAWLER Owner/Creative Director, The Creative Bar

Look at how our printing has evolved to more color, target specific runs, and a wider choice of printing. Regretfully, there are those who lack wisdom to understand the value of print communication and see it as a place to cut in a budget.

GLENN HAUGH Graphic Designer, Haugh of Haw Design & Prepress

Probably less but more special. Printed pieces will be keepsakes, something to be treasured and used regularly. In the near future, packaging and POP are the future of print. Until we get to the point where we bring our own bottles, cans, and bags to the store, packaging will need to be printed.

WENDY RUYLE Co-Owner, 5 by 5 Design

Print will continue to evolve and integrate with other communications as technology advances, but I don't see it in terms of more or less usage. In one word: different.

FRANCIS SHIMANDLE Owner, Creative Director, Shimandle Marketing and Design

Print may be used very sparingly on paper for special upscale projects, as more info goes online or perhaps is downloaded straight to chips in our head…

MALLE WHITAKER The Design Workshop

Print in hard copy will be in the past. People like faster better and more convenience. By this time everyone will be online communicating and getting their info. By this time we won't be holding any hard copy or tablets. We will be wearing devices that communicate … you know like something on your wrist and of course the glasses that do everything!

PEGGY DENTON Freelance Graphic Designer, Design 9 Creative

Print and paper will continue to be one of the valuable tools in a designer's tool box. We must use it in conjunction with online options to complement each other and build a stronger brand.

HOLLY HAGEN Marketing Director, Dever Designs

Personally, I think print is on the way out. Not in 5 yrs, or 10, but in 50 … and this is a little weird, but … I think paper will be used largely by the rich and the poor. The wealthy people and companies will use luxurious heavy papers to impress each other, while thin pulp paper will be used by people who can't afford the e-paper products and video kiosks and video displays for their advertising. I think it's entirely possible that in 50 years, the average person will have virtually no contact with paper … except as toilet tissue.

MICHELLE R. GAWE Graphic Designer, Black Cat Art & Graphix

It's highly likely that print will diminish over the years. It could become the next wave of fine art rather than ROI-based marketing. And that's the million-dollar question. Will print be able to have a viable ROI vs digital mediums? The outcome isn’t looking good, even with the advancement of digital printers. THOMAS BERGERON Owner/Designer, Thomas Bergeron Design I have no idea. Technology is changing so fast that I can barely keep up. 5 to 10 years from now, who knows? Who foresaw 3D printing 10 years ago?

EDWARD KNIGHT President, Communications Art & Design

Fewer magazines and newspapers in print with the rest of print projects about the same. We'll always need to brochures and business cards to hand out at events.

KATHY PORTER Owner, Rose Creative Studio

There’ll be less print as we discover more creative avenues for our clients to advertise their brand. And it will be different in terms of print and paper becoming just one of the many components for advertising, and large campaigns.

JASON SWISHER Commercial Artist, SwiSh Design

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