Don’t stop the presses: print still matters

It is now considered 'nontraditional' marketing
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"The Printing Press," painting by John White Alexander (public domain photo, Wikimedia Commons)

“The Printing Press,” painting by John White Alexander (public domain photo, Wikimedia Commons)

We’ve all experienced the frustration of waiting in a doctor’s office. The waiting part goes without saying. I’m talking about having to occupy one’s time with outdated magazines.

But think about that for a minute. For the publisher of those magazines and the writers and photographers and advertisers who contributed those pages, there’s something to be said for the staying power of print.

Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the moveable metal type printing press in the 1400s ushered in the era of the printed book and – ultimately – that months-old issue of People magazine you flipped through while biding your time at the medical center.

So it’s incredible to think that printing is now considered “nontraditional.” That’s the word that Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, uses in his new book, “Epic Content Marketing.”

What’s old is new again

Among his “Seven Reasons to Rethink Print,” is:

4. What’s old is new again. Social media, online content, and iPad applications are all part of the marketing mix today. Still, what excites marketers and media buyers is what is not being done (think: nontraditional). They want to do something different and something new. It’s hard to believe, but the print channel is new again and is seeing a rebirth. Could we possibly be seeing a golden age in print, as we are seeing in television?

Reading this made me think of Craig Welsh, who owns Lancaster design firm Go Welsh. Craig is a cutting-edge designer and creative mind (he developed the Goulet Communications logo), but he is rooted in tradition.

Craig told me that he had just attended an advertising industry event in New York City “and a couple conversations took shape around the idea of handwriting being the new form of disruptive communication.

“With all the screen-based media and technology in the culture, handwriting and handcrafted pieces are things that now receive a good amount of attention from viewers. A letter in the mail is unheard of yet so special if/when one does arrive.”

Honoring the Gettysburg Address

Four years ago, Craig acquired a letterpress, which he is putting to use in the form of a crowd-funded project that honors the print tradition and this year’s 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. (The campaign had raised more than $21,100 as of Nov. 18, shattering its goal of $1,863.)

Contributors to the Kickstarter campaign will receive a gift courtesy of Craig and his letterpress: Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech reproduced in black ink on 12-inch-by-18-inch paper or notebooks bearing the words “Of the people,” “By the people,” or “For the people” in silver ink.

What’s old is new again, indeed.

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