Print is dead: long live print

What do you think?

By James Matthews-Paul
19 November 2010

It's not always obvious to those outside the industry what's been printed and what hasn't

While sifting through Twitter today I came across a new hashtag: #printisnotdead. Those who have picked up on it so far vary from those with book proposals to paper product merchants, but its existence poses an interesting question: does this hashtag give breath to a public assumption that print is well on its way out, if it isn't dead already?

To respond to this we need to define what print is. These Tweeters are probably referring to the print markets in the popular conscious: books, magazines, newspapers and other struggling media formats whose production prices are rising year-on-year with no way out. There's another debate in here as to whether these markets will ever actually die, as such, but will their existence become increasingly more difficult until stagnation or revolution? Probably, I would venture.

What I don't think they're talking about is sign and display production. In the same way that ad agencies, brand managers and print specifiers don't always realise what can be done with wide-format print, it isn't always obvious to the general public what in their midst is printed and what isn't. Has it occurred to them that the natty window graphics on their high street are printed? Possibly not.

Output's HQ is in Brixton, south London, and a few months ago an unlikely space next to the Underground station unveiled a Starbucks. The rapidity with which this railway carriage-sized room was filled with homogenised, printed interior décor, menu boards and point-of-sale items was astounding; the entire place had been gutted and repurposed and, within a week, was commanding a roaring trade.

Starbucks can order its displays en masse and organise the appropriate logistics for this kind of transformation. But every new shop, workplace, leisure centre and transport hub is a new potential opportunity for printed material. With new and old business alike continuing to design, brand and command attention with digitally produced graphics, I think that the graphic arts industry should jump on the bandwagon and proclaim, quite quantifiably, that this is one sector of print that is most certainly nowhere near dead.


Comments in chronological order (Total 0 comments)

There are no comments yet for this article.

What do you think about this article?
Sign in or register to comment it takes less than 30 seconds.

Sign in


Your email and password were not correct, please try again. 

Forgotten your password?



Your registration was not successful, please try again. 



Topshop, Twitter and Women's Aid top bill at Art of Outdoor awards


'Welcome to Vanchester' poster at BlowUp media site trends on Twitter


#talkprint is going on holiday


Like a virgin: ISE for the very first time


Three is the magic number: a year working at Output


Printing on Fleet Street: it wasn't like this in the old days

10 Jan 2014

Ten Twitter accounts you should be following

28 Nov 2013

Does my Twitter account look big in this?

16 May 2012

How not to tweet

20 Oct 2010

Twisplays bring Twitter 'out of the box'

16 Sep 2010

Open letter: Hashtags for the sign, display and graphic arts industry on Twitter

23 Jul 2010

The rise and multiplication of social networks



Sign and Digital UK 2014: the Output accolades


Five free modeling software packages for 3D printing


The value of exhibitions for exhibitors and visitors


Could PowaTag revolutionise out-of-home?


Five signs that 3D printing is growing


Would you wear a book?