Unpopular Opinion in the Field: Print Design Isn’t Dead

Chandler Campbell
May 16, 2022

Many live by the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But if your business was a book, wouldn’t you want the cover to convince your audience to read the first page? First impressions are essential, and your brand is no exception.  

Having an online presence is important for growth. With Google ads and email marketing having more reach than billboards and mailbox flyers, a question is constantly being argued in the marketing field: is print dying? We are here to tell you. Print design is not dead— it just has a powerful digital partner.

However, do not underestimate the value of having a solid traditional representation for your business. As long as services and products exist, so will mementos that add to the brand’s relevancy.  

Reach and Representation

Does this mean you should stop paying for social ads to print more brochures? Absolutely not. Instead, consider the power behind digital marketing and how print design can be used to enhance the experience of your target audience.

For example, let's say you encounter an ad on YouTube for a new flavor of a familiar brand of chips you frequently enjoy. The combination of your first impression of the ad about the new flavor and your experience with the brand convinces you to try it out. It’s on the grocery list, and you are walking down the aisle. Because of the digital ad, the packaging will already stand out among the other products— especially if the design is unique. What would be one product among hundreds of other products suddenly stands out.  

This approach can be applied when marketing all types of fields. From having a clean name tag at a reception desk to having an eye-catching tractor trailer wrap traveling city to city. With time and strategy, the correlation between digital and print advertising will catch attention.  

Think of the digital medium as your brand’s reach and print as representation. A strategy that considers both may enhance your brand’s first and lasting impressions.

Branding and Execution

It’s essential to define branding to understand how marketing strategies can benefit your business.  

Branding is much more abstract than a logo, colors, or imagery. Branding can be described as your organization’s promise to its audience, customers, and even itself. This includes any sort of gut reaction to the characteristics of your business.  

Some examples are how team members are treated, the mood of the graphic style, and even the inflection of an employee's voice when they answer the phone. However, be aware that reaching beyond your brand suddenly becomes a broken promise.

Building brand awareness through print design

Now that you understand branding, we can strategize how using print can build brand awareness. Remember, in most cases, print design serves as an inanimate representation of your business.  

- Keep it clean, consistent with the rest of your brand, and most importantly, with a goal in mind.  

- Make sure you are working with a professional printer and design team so that the product meets your business’s standards.  

- Consider the target audience and where the print is going to live.  

Is it going to be a special handout that is placed on the tables of an event? That would be a great opportunity to elaborate on event details, adding a thank you note for attendance, a description of services, and contact information.  

Moving to a new market? Maybe you need a billboard with a catchy phrase that someone can read and remember in a moment's pass.  

Possibly you created a new product and need packaging. It needs to have a layout that is easy to read and information/imagery that is eye-catching and relevant.  

- Lastly, be intentional. When it comes to print design, there are a lot of options and not all will be relevant to your needs.

Ready to discover how print design can fit into your strategy and brand? Contact us!


Chandler Campbell is an art director at Lean Marketing. With vast knowledge of visual arts, he is dedicated to providing unique solutions in brand building and instilling personality within marketing campaigns. Chandler has practiced in illustration most of his life and earned a fine art degree with an emphasis in graphic design. He personally enjoys partaking in drawing, hand drawn typography, and storytelling. He is inspired by those who work to make others happy and encourages creativity. His main goal is to be able to achieve the same thing.

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