Can You Judge a Book by Its Cover? (and why the answer doesn’t really matter)

Chances are, even if you don’t know a megabyte from a mosquito bite, you use a computer to access information on a daily basis.

This landscape of digital information has affected almost every aspect of modern life, especially the way we seek information about potential purchases or business relationships.  News of publishers closing their doors as the internet replaces traditional forms of print has become a sign of the times.

These events have lead many prognosticators to declare print a ‘dead’ medium, but recent trends suggest that print is not dead. It’s not even dying. It is, however, evolving.

While we may be turning to the web for instant gratification on world news and events, businesses are finding that the tangible qualities of a printed piece lend a sense of legitimacy and permanence in a world of intangibles.

The demand for traditional commercial printed pieces, brochures, sell sheets, catalogs and corporate identity materials, has remained steady through the digital revolution, though current trends point to smaller quantities facilitated by digital presses that specialize in customizable short runs.

Savvy businesses are taking advantage of the combined power of print and technology to create marketing messages personalized to individual recipients. This form of 1-to-1 marketing has reduced the cost per piece while increasing the effectiveness of direct marketing efforts and allowing for levels of creativity never dreamed of by yesterday’s business professionals.

Digital printing is filling the niche for customization, quick turnarounds, low quantities and small budgets, but nothing will totally replace traditional offset printing for high-quality printed products. Brand conscious companies realize their corporate identity is reflected in their printed materials and a professional appearance is more important than saving pennies per piece.

Offset printing is still the medium of choice for high-quality color reproduction, paper selection options and special effects like embossing, foiling or die-cutting.

How important is first impression to a company?

Retailers have long known that attractive packaging can help sell products. In today’s marketplace, creative packaging can actually lead the purchase decision. Why else would anyone pay $3.00 for $0.10 worth of peppermints? Because great looking, creative printed pieces increase perceived value.

So, can you judge a book by its cover?

The truth is that it doesn’t matter because people do, everyday. More than ever, the physical attributes of printed pieces affect the way consumers feel about the products and services they are considering. With more options than ever, printing and packaging can help businesses connect with their customers in new and creative ways.

So, what of the news of the ‘death’ of print?

It seems that those reports, as Mark Twain observed upon hearing news of his own demise, “have been greatly exaggerated.”

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