Is print dead? Will it ever die? I’m not a fortune teller and therefore I cannot foresee the future of print, but I can definitely say that I personally treasure the feeling of reading a physical book. I enjoy the event of purchasing a used book at the local book store. I love the smell, the feel and the intrinsic qualities of paper.
Printed typography is easy to read and rich in history, but the iPad is new and full of possibilities. Who knows where it will take us in the realm of interactive design. Will it replace print completely? I don’t think so.
I think instead of print shriveling up and dying, it will adjust and become refined. Print will remain, but the industry will shift and weed out the junk (tabloids and quick print materials). Printed collateral that is disposable—magazines, daily newspapers and some novels—will become digital.
Going digital will force designers to design books that will stand the test of time. These books will consist of interesting bindery, elaborate texture, amazing typography and dynamic printing techniques. I think instead of print dying, it will become comparable to art—collectible and appreciated. Ultimately, people will become intrigued with the detail and personality of actual books.
You can’t really read an iPad when you’re taking a sudsy bath. It’s uncomfortable knowing that you have nearly a grand hovering a couple inches above its watery grave. With print, you can take it anywhere without the fear of it drowning. I don’t know about you, but whenever I read material I don’t agree with, or I’m angered by a character in a novel, I tend to be somewhat physically abusive to the source I’m reading. I assume it’s not a good idea to slam an iPad against the headboard of a bed or across a tiled floor. I want something durable to read, not something I have to treat like a delicate laptop.
The iPad gives designers other mediums to work with…sound and video! As long as authors and designers can work together, big things can happen. Think of interactive novels with strategically placed movies, created by bits of sound and video. The iPad literally becomes a digital storyteller. It will be interesting to see how the iPad plays out and how designers will begin to design for “print” on screen. Novels containing mini-movies seem exciting and futuristic, but I don’t think consumers are ready to give up their own imaginations just yet.
Are you ready to let go of creating imagery for characters and settings?