Being the new recruit for Internet marketing agency ‘Elevate Local‘ is not just another job for me. Broadly speaking, it is the acceptance that in order to remain profitable in the design field, digital platforms are the only way forward.
In my relatively short but intense career in Graphic Design, I have had many (usually slightly inebriated) conversations about the struggle of power between design and print. Usually, the consenus by myself and my innevitabely ‘tired and emotional’ colleague is that “digital is the future, but print will never die.” As I look back at this all to familiar conclusion years down the line, I can only now really seem to relate to the first half of that statement. However much I love and respect the medium of print, I struggle to gauge any substantial reasons why it won’t eventually fade into insignificance.
During my time as a young buck (euphemism for ever-so-slightly left wing and pretentious) university student, I had work experience in two contrasting companies. One was a large expanding Chelsea based design agency, the other a quaint 6 person boutique agency in Lambeth. Each were aggresively idolised by myself for reasons relevant to their contemporary success. The Chelsea design agency oozed creativity and dealt with all the major clients everyone wanted in their portfolio. The boutique agency had a love, passion and finesse that I have not seen anyone do better since. Looking back now, only one of these equally talented companies now survive. The Chelsea agency had the power and the knowledge to grow their digital department by two-thirds (effectively swallowing its alleged print foe). The boutique agency was sadly swallowed in the cracks, caused by this continuing seismic shift within the design industry.
I have since worked for a small publishing company and worked in space rented by a small printing company. Both print dependant companies have crumbled, fallen and built themselves back-up again within my two years associated with them. Observationally speaking, these examples are first-hand evidence that the print medium is definitley feeling the strain.
To society’s understanding, the advantages of digital over print has become fairly rudimentry. It is instant, it is cheap, it is constantly updatable, it is more interactive, it is (probably) more evironmentally friendly. Human nature in general is very good at constantly discovering what is the most efficient way of achieving a task. These 30+ years of this technological revolution is without doubt now giving us a new platform to do this.
Don’t get me wrong. If I see a magazine I like the look of, I will buy it. As I’m sure millions of people still do and probably will do for a long time yet. But I predict in the grand scheme of things, the new generation of the technological age will discover even more possibilities to harbour digital design. Thus print (along with cassettes and video tapes to name a few!) will eventually become just another media casualty towards the everlasting human need for perfection.