It is a popular myth that printing is on its way out and digital communication is going to replace it. Will printing disappear forever? I am not sure if anyone really believes that! Will printing become significantly less visible in our daily lives than it is today? It is unlikely. I would bet against digital communications replacing printing, the same as TV never replaced radio! Let’s glance at the future of digital communication and then see how printing would play a role in that environment.
Digital communications are increasingly becoming part of our daily activities. We communicate via email and text messages, and get our news and information online. What is also becoming more evident is the fact that we are receiving an enormous amount of unsolicited advertising mixed in with such communications. Spam emails are prevalent. We notice Facebook posts advertisements based on our recent Internet searches, or we’re forced to watch ads before we can read the news. Some of us set our preferences and filters in order to receive less unsolicited information and more of what we actually want. There are not many programs in today’s market to help us sort through the information, take out the advertisements, and keep only the wanted information. I expect to see more of such programs in the near future. When such software becomes available, we will be able to choose the type and source of information we want to receive. This would lead to more and more organizations placing their messages where one can visit only if interested. Organizations will invite us to go to their website to receive information.
In an environment where we will only see what we select, and nothing more, unsolicited digital information would not cross our daily path easily. Digital advertising will be perceived as interruptive and time consuming, and the majority of online users will race to eliminate it from popping up randomly on their desktop. In that world, smart businesses will choose creative printed marketing materials to introduce their products and services to us. Spending “digital time” with friends and family without interruption will become the norm. Presentations of new products and services would only be welcomed through invitations to a website or a creative printed marketing campaign. The latter would be much more noticeable and effective. Well designed, printed products will be distributed by serious and confident organizations who are willing to invest in marketing materials that highlight their business and get their information displayed in a professional manner.