In the most recent issue of Applied Arts (March/April, 2013, Volume 28/number1) there is an article titled “What’s Happening to the Craft of Design”. Penned by Rita Sasges (principal at Sasges Inc., a Calgary-based visual strategy and communications firm [www.sasgenic.com/blog]) she talks about how designers are so focused on digital tools, that they are forgetting the tactile beauty of print.
Ms Sasges bemoans the fact that digital print does not provide the feel of traditional printed pieces – the embossing, the typeset or bound of days gone by. Her point then is that designers have become so wrapped up in the technology of the craft that they’ve forgotten how to use the craft of printing. Her most memorable quote is “Why as designers, are we craft junkies but yet we see so little craft in our industry”.
I’m not sure if designers are wholly to blame (marketers? agencies?) but I would add to Rita’s point that the quality of print creative overall has been on the decline for some time. The days where a printed piece – be it direct mail or other print – has strong, unique, memorable physical creative seems to be a distant memory. The stock, folds, stickers, die-cuts … don’t seem to make it into the final product the way they used to. Whether it’s declining creative or production budgets or that creative funds have simply moved from physical to digital, means much of what we see in print today looks the same. Very little seems to stand out anymore. And isn’t that one of our main objectives as marketers – make something stand out?
So a call out to the designers (and marketers and agencies) out there old and young: Find a way to introduce some old school design and creative into our print. Your audience will appreciate remember you for it.