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  • Writer's pictureLinda Pizzitola, Kauai, Hawaii

In Print We Trust

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

in print we trust

Last year when I helped my Cousin Cindy create her new logo, we started with my logo questionnaire. (Happy to share!)

Now we’re collaborating on a brochure to showcase and promote her consulting services. She expected to start with a questionnaire for that too. I don’t have one.

But I did unearth this piece from a 2006 post that 1) summarizes some benefits of having a print promotion to share with prospects, and 2) suggests some possible content.

benefit of a brochure

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 goes on: “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 a few 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

Thanks Cuz,  for planting the seed for this post topic. On to that brochure!

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