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Is print marketing still relevant?

The ability to print something has been around for well over 500 years and it's not going anywhere just yet. In fact, with new technologies, finishes, and paper types it is more exciting, versatile and affordable than ever.

Well-designed and professionally printed marketing collateral such as a company brochure is an eye-catching, cost-effective way to establish your brand, network your business, and show off some creativity that is often missing in digital marketing.

Printed marketing collateral helps you to reach new audiences in a crowded, noisy digital world. People love to touch things and have a rest from screens and devices. The quality, feel and freshly printed ink smell of a printed item convey messages to your reader that pixels on a screen just can't.

There are less distractions when reading a printed brochure / catalogue / workbook so the information is absorbed so much better. Printed marketing is solely about your business and what you do or sell. There are no distracting adverts popping up or links to follow to get side tracked. Printed material can be picked up and put down and picked up again and stuck on a noticeboard or fridge or filed away rather than be lost and forgotten in an ever-growing sea of social media posts or emails.

I have been fascinated during lockdown and home-schooling with how my teenage children wanted me to print off any of their schoolwork that required lots of reading. They much prefer to read off paper than a screen – they find it easier to follow, easier to understand and can make written notes on the paper. They also preferred to work on printed worksheets rather than online, then send their teachers photos or the completed worksheet.

Looking into this further I found several studies where it has been proven that the retention rate from printed material far outweighs digital information. And it appears that we are getting worse not better at comprehending digital information. www.brainfacts.org

If you are going to invest in printing brochures or other marketing material, then I urge you not to skimp on the design. Like all graphic design it is not just about making something look pretty it needs to be functional and effective too. You need to consider who is going to be reading your printed brochure/booklet/flyer/poster etc and ensure that it makes sense to them and encourages them to take action. A graphic designer will help you decide what information needs to go in your printed marketing and what you can leave out. It’s great to leave people wanting to know more and having them then visit your website where they can directly purchase your product or book your services.

Setting a job up to print, so you have crisp fonts, sharp images, folds and staples in the right places is what graphic designers have been trained to do, along with having the best tools and software to do so. It's vital that design jobs are set up correctly for printing - bleed, crop marks, resolution, CMYK vs PMS colours, finished size, overprints, digital or offset and other print jargon. Errors in setup can cost you time and money when the printer needs to fix your file or produces unexpected and disappointing results.

If you are worried about sustainability be assured that reputable printers in New Zealand use paper and card from renewable sources. Most of the timber used in paper production is grown specifically for producing paper and card. The forests are sustainably managed, and the trees legally harvested to be turned into wood pulp. When a tree is harvested, it is replaced, often with more than one tree. In Europe where a lot of paper is manufactured, the last fifteen years has seen forestry areas increase by more than 13 million hectares.

Paper is a natural resource, so once your printed item is finished with it can be recycled or composted, unless it has been laminated, foiled or overglossed. Paper can usually be recycled up to six times before it becomes unsuitable for reuse as paper.

Thinking about getting a brochure or other printed marketing created? I’ve been designing printed marketing material for well over 20 years and know how to get the best out of a piece of paper to showcase your business. I’d love to help your business take advantage of the power of print.