Why Print Will Never Die

By Katie Olson

“Print is dead.”

I’ve heard it my entire life, and I’ll probably hear it throughout the years to come.

As a qualified millennial, I’ve been subject to innovative technology for as long as I can remember. Cell phones began to appear in the shoulder pockets of my friends’ backpacks in elementary school. iPods quickly overthrew Walkmans, and board games came in second place behind internet interaction.

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and spent countless hours wandering through bookcases in the public library after school. So when I began to hear that print wouldn’t last through my lifetime, I imagined my precious libraries being crushed to the ground and bookstores no longer existing. A little dramatic, right?

But it’s been 12 years since I first heard that print would become obsolete, and it’s still here. Not only has it survived, but it’s more innovative than ever.

Instead of opting for the traditional magazine formats and layouts, publications are opting for a more unoriginal, free-form design to catch the reader’s eye. For example, Apartamento, a self-proclaimed “everyday life interiors magazine,” utilizes 14×21 centimeters, a small dimension, and bright colors that are executed well and aesthetically pleasing. On the other hand, The Gentlewoman, a publication from the U.K., is a large publication that uses Futura type in print as well as on their website.

the gentlewoman

The ways and media through which magazines are choosing to print are also changing. Acne Paper prints on newsprint paper instead of the standard glossy stock other magazines traditionally use.

Kinfolk Magazine, popular in cottage kitchens across the pacific northwest and in other regions, uses heavy card stock for printing. Using different weights and textures in magazine production is just one of many aspects publications look to for enhanced appeal and appearance.

Futhermore, magazines that sell electronic versions of issues are beginning to include a physical copy along with the monthly e-book format. This idea is similar to the tactic used for vinyl revolution in the music industry where the customer receives a download code for an album along with the physical vinyl record. This concept allows readers the convenience of reading an issue anywhere at any time on his or her e-reader as well as being able to flip through physical pages of the magazine, and perhaps tear out pages for inspiration or art projects.

This being said, certain magazines publish monthly track lists for playlists available for download on their websites. Music magazines such as Q and SPIN have been known to do this, which bridges the gap between print and technology in an entertaining and graceful way.

These publications as well as countless others that went unmentioned continue to prove that print isn’t dead. The fact that magazines are continuing to think intuitively about what their readers are looking for shows their dedication to the craft of the written word. Perhaps the human eye will always find refreshment in good design and physical presentation rather than reading from a screen. For decades, publications have been produced to grant readers the freedom to choose which content they do and don’t want to read and to promote the introduction of new societal ideas. Most importantly, the continuation of print publications will prevent readers’ daily lives from turning into one stream of electronic screens.

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