In Print We Trust: A Valued Branding and Marketing Tool

In Print We TrustThanks to guest blogger, Linda Pizzitola

When a relative of mine asked me to create her new logo, we started with my usual logo questionnaire. Once her logo was complete, we then collaborated on a brochure to showcase and promote her consulting services. She expected to start with a questionnaire for that too, but I didn’t have one at the time.

However, I did unearth this buried old post from a 2006 Graphics Grapevine that 1) summarizes some benefits of having a printed promotional piece to share with a potential client, and 2) suggests possible content to include.
Can a brochure benefit you?

The first bullet got me wondering anew about the trust factor (or credibility) of information shared in print vs. online communications.

Gordon Kaye, publisher of Graphic Design USA writes (emphasis mine):

“Print uniquely engages the emotions and stimulates the senses with its classic strengths of permanence, tangibility, sensuality and physicality. Print is hot and touchable, rich and textured, held and felt, in contrast to the cool and ephemeral nature of the Internet … Print feels more trustworthy and credible than other media, and the very tangibility and permanence suffuses the content–and the content creator–with a sense of authenticity.”

What’s credible or trustworthy or authentic about the printed page?

Kaye continues:

“The message feels real, it looks real, it springs from an identifiable source, a real person, a real location, an act of craftsmanship, an intelligence to which one can relate, a human connectedness. And the result is something visible, permanent, touchable, an archive, a reference, a resource that does not arrive via thin air and will not disappear into thin air.”

A March 7, 2014 Wall Street Journal article theorized that Americans are “renewing their relationship with paper,” particularly for special, important or personalized communications. The relative rarity of print is beginning to imbue it with heightened potential and power when the message demands an emotional connection, authenticity and permanence.

Graphic Design USA periodically surveys its subscribers about the place of print media in the communications mix. Here are nine observations made by graphic designers working in the trenches:

  • “People still want to touch and hold paper products as it is more immediate. It is more personal, like a meeting or a conversation.” -Tim Spruill, Tim Spruill Creative
  • “Inherent in paper is a certain credibility and accountability.” -Craig P. Brenard, Craig Communications
  • “People still like print. I want to walk away from my computer at the end of the day and relax with a real printed magazine, newspaper or book. The medium is still part of the message.” -Judith Dollar, Jude Studios
  • “Paper appeals to the new ‘maker’ generations we see growing in numbers, though in admittedly online commoditized spaces like Etsy…Paper is present with us, in our space, in the real world.” -Adrian Constantyn, MeMyself&Co. Design
  • “Printed materials don’t require ‘special devices’ to access them.” -Greg Gilpin, Graphic Art Center, Oklahoma City
  • “Reading print is easier than reading on a screen.” -Barbara Moser, Tampa General Hospital, Tampa FL
  • “Unlike mobile or computers, I cannot find the ‘off button’ on the brochure that has been sitting on my kitchen table for weeks. Its work ethic is outstanding. 24/7 and without even asking for a coffee break.” -James Bland
  • “Clients are beginning to associate the tactile experience of print with luxury. Digital is cheap, fast and easy. Who wants to be identified with any of those things?” -Mary-Frances Burt, Burt & Burt
  • “Print is a strategic choice and plays an important role in our branding and marketing. All digital becomes too much mental clutter and the ‘good stuff’ gets caught up in a sea of digital noise … I would never reach out to a donor without a quality printed piece. I would follow up digitally, but the initial ask has to have class and style.” -Sarah Brancato, Art Director, Cincinnati Museum Center

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think print continues to play a vital role in the marketing mix? Please share your comments below because I’d love to hear from you. Thanks and here’s to your sweet success.

About guest blogger Linda Pizzitola: Linda is owner and art director of Kaua`i Design Graphics, specializing in print media for 19 years. Her love of print and her love of Hawaii have recently come together in a line of bold, colorful ‘island contemporary’ note cards. You’ll find them on Etsy at: Kauai Design Graphics’ Cards. Visit her blog, see sample projects, a client list, reviews, and more at Kauai Design Graphics.