Nothing compares to the excitement of getting that new issue of the magazine you’ve been waiting for. You may have already read the title article online, but staring at a screen just can’t compete with real pages with real, innovative design, rather than a stock template to which all articles adhere. The New York Times is a great example of the disconnect between the tangibility of newspaper and online article. The day-to-day design of a paper publication is never exactly the same; all the articles on the NYT‘s website are published in the same format, day after day.
Digital interfaces have become increasingly popular recently, however, as real-time news has come into demand more and more. Apps for various smartphones and tablets have filled the need for fast-paced, on-the-go news acquisition, and many newspapers are focusing more and more on their websites as people turn away from paper and towards the screen. The desire to reduce paper waste has been a prominent push for online measures as more people turn towards more eco-friendly lifestyles.
Print has become a commodity. People still cling to the notion of tangible artifacts: books, magazines, newspapers, you name it, people will keep them. How many parents still keep newspaper clippings of the time their child had their name in the paper for something? Mine do. They have stacks of old newspapers that have photos of my brother or myself from high school, when varsity players were featured or academic achievements made the news in our small town. Magazine articles float all around my childhood home on this topic or another, recipes and fashion advice, health and fitness…
And then there is letterpress. What once was the sole avenue for publication has now become something “antique” and “vintage.” Letterpress printing is now a facet of typography and design in and of itself, with the number of people in this area of expertise dwindling. Letterpress has become something reserved for wedding invitations, or business cards, stylized calendars and tags for especially unique products.
The more that digital territory is explored and utilized, the more that print becomes precious. Print will have its die-hard loyalists, myself included, but it’s impossible to deny that the Internet is quickly dominating the information scene, especially with younger people who have grown up with the Internet and now cannot see themselves without it. Still, nostalgia will hold print in a place of revere, as well as the need for tangibility. Emotional and personal connections between print and digital media are vastly different, and I think will remain so. Hand-writing a letter is considered much more personal than an e-card or an e-mail, regardless of the fact that will take longer for the former to reach its final destination. I’d rather have a letter from a loved one any day, wouldn’t you?