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Print Is Beautiful

The case for print in the 21st century

By Clinton Richmond

"Print is dead" is all I hear when I speak to people about my line of work. In this new digital age, everyone is so quick to dismiss the persistent value of print. The constant argument that print is obsolete because it lacks the ability to refresh its content in real time, just doesn't seem persuasive enough to shelve it as no longer effective or viable.

Granted, this may be true for some venues of static media, and I can appreciate the allure of 'the next big thing', but to me, that doesn't diminish Print's relevance, it's indelible strength nor it's enormous impact. We often forget how matured technologies have served us well, and Print is no exception. Despite its age, it's still evolving in new and exciting ways. (You really should checkout some of the trade shows!)

Don't get me wrong, I truly embrace and celebrate the advantages that digital technology offers us. When you stop to consider what it took to produce other forms of communication in order to reach consumers, seeing what digital media is currently capable of is mind-blowing! Believe me, as a printer there are days I wish my world could be easily managed so quickly. I'd be on a pleasure cruise to St. Croix every other week!

But I can tell you, without fail, there is something that happens when that final press sheet is cut and folded, and you're holding it in your hands. It's like a miracle. Can you imagine formulating an idea, then turning it into something physically tangible — something you can touch, feel and share? It's a sacred process that transcends digital, in my opinion. Digital is always on the other side of the screen. There is no physical relationship with the content (and no true ownership.)

Print is personal, and you can literally carry it with you anywhere, even the most remote locations. No wi-fi or internet connection needed, nothing to download or install, no special plug-in or platform required. The experience offered through Print is all self-contained. In spite of all its advancement, the digital experience feels artificial; we consume it so quickly, nothing is savored.

I'm not advocating a divorce from digital in any way. I'm just saying in this world where integrity in content has vanished, where getting it first has usurped getting it right, where the tenets 'to educate and inform' are replaced by a mandate to shock and sensationalize, print challenges us to do just the opposite. By its very nature, it compels us towards authenticity.

Thank goodness there is more than one way to enjoy literature without needing to be connected to some global network.

I'm just sayin'..

Clinton Richmond works as a Desktop Tech/IT Assistant at Printing Images, Inc., and he never sleeps.

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