Publication Design Workbook: A Real-World Guide
As recently as 1995, a notable graphic designer declared that print was dead: the digital age! The Internet! The PDF! It seemed that the paperless vision of the future was upon us. A decade later now, in the early years of the twentyfirst century, this daring forecast appears to have been a bit premature. Walk down a city street-large or small. Run through an airport or cruise down the aisle at the supermarket. At any given moment, you will encounter a rackor ten-filled with magazines on everyconceivable subject.
And not just one title in each subject, but twenty. Never mind the countless editions of daily newspapers in English, Spanish, Slovak, or Tagalog. Nor the myriad documents published by businesses and organizations- families of brochures and reports and newsletters and calendars and mailers …Millions of impressions of ink on paper are made every week, and public appetite for them seems insatiable. As consumers in an increasingly global community, we not only rely on a constant stream of information to tell us about the world we live in, we relish it. Subscribing to a particular cooking magazine, picking up the paper with coffee on the weekend, poring through an annual report to track our investments, looking at housewares in a slick catalog- publications draw us together as part of a larger community, even as they cater to our individual lifestyles. When we read a newspaper, we’re connecting with people on the other side of town … or the other side of the world. When we flip through a trendy fashion or music magazine, we’re part of the in-crowd, elevated to the status of elite cultural insiders. And we understand that other people like us are reading and looking at the same things.
Though we enjoy life as individuals, we are, after all, social animals- and we like to know that there are other individuals like ourselves.Print offers other, more physical benefits. As dynamic and immediate as the Internet is, it lacks the tactile fun of flipping through pages. Images online are never as sharp as those printed on paper. The screen hurts your eyes after a while, and too much clicking leads to carpal tunnel syndrome. The technology is new and undeveloped (as ubiquitous as it is, it’s been around for only twenty years) and has a ways to go. These limitations in the digital experience might change after another fifty or a hundred years, in much the same way that printed communications did in the century after they exploded in popularity upon first being produced in the mid-I400S. But for now, the 600-year evolution of the printed page still trumps the blinking pixel any day of the week.
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