While naysayers have been predicting the death of print for about as long as anyone can remember, many brands saw the potential it had to offer their high-quality goods — and embraced it.

“Print is changing, print is different — print is becoming premium!” says Bernd Zipper in an article for Beyond Print. He continues, saying that this shift in print will, undoubtedly, have consequences.

“Digital isn’t going anywhere, we all know that. From a branding point of view, it provides a necessary consumer touchpoint. But when it comes to conveying the subtle qualities of taste and authority, print is simply miles ahead.”

London-based creative agency SO Creative states that for luxury and aspirational brands, print will always be one of the best mediums to deliver brand cues.

Why is this, you ask?

Well, the agency believes that online’s accessibility is what takes away from the luxury aspect. Luxury, by its very nature, is for the elite — so online simply cannot be luxurious. No matter how upmarket your website, anyone with an Internet connection can see it.

“Real luxury brands have to carefully select a few privileged people and provide them with a view from Mount Everest [where] the view is a little more exclusive … The Internet’s ubiquity harms luxury brands’ exclusivity.”

Print certainly isn’t dead, but it has become a luxury good.

How is print going premium?

“The future of printing lies in the intelligence of the printed product and in the excellence of its execution — in high quality and in the extraordinary.” Zipper says.

Basically, in order to see print ‘rise to the luxurious occasion’, there needs to be an element of consideration before brands choose the print medium.

Scott Manson says in an article for the Publishing Research Council that print offers a more personal feel, which is one of the main qualities that high-end clients look for.

“When you print something, it looks like you have gone to a lot of trouble to make it. There’s a feeling when you pick up a really well-produced print product that love and craftsmanship have gone into, and you can see and feel the production values.”

The rich, lush feel of high-quality paper and crisp images makes for a good, tactile and visual experience. This is just one of the reasons why luxury brands are drawn to print.

“When you look at a title like Vogue, it’s primarily a print brand, so there’s clearly an audience out there for that content and brands want to buy into it,” says Manson.

While there is no need to print brochures and flyers that are destined for the dustbin, high-quality products that are meant to last for a long time, are valuable and look out of the ordinary should be printed.

“Carelessly produced printed matter also has no future and should be disposed of before it is delivered,” says Zipper.

It’s time for more carefully considered content in print, which can serve as a “powerful ambassador for ideas, attitudes and a company’s overall philosophy,” according to Dave Pilcher in a Freeport Press blog.

We need less print, but it has to be more valuable

There is a difference between broadcasting a message out to the masses and really communicating a message. Print, when used correctly, can be the vehicle that allows brands to reach out to — and personally communicate with — audiences.

Zipper says that ‘premium’ is also referred to in marketing strategies when companies make the conscious decision to focus on higher-priced products. “Premium stands for excellent products of high quality and above-average prices.”

This means, for print to excel, there needs to be less rushed ‘filler’ content and more high-quality, premium offerings. And, of course, producing high-quality content requires a lot of time, effort and money.

With this in mind, we may be approaching what Zipper calls a ‘leaner print age’, where there are only a handful of print companies producing premium, top-notch products.

“There are only a few companies that would be able to meet this requirement at all. There are many wineries that produce mass wines in comparatively large quantities at low prices, but only a few that produce absolute top wines in small quantities and then earn a lot of money from them.”

So the future of print is secured, but only if the focus remains on creating content that is worth the paper it’s printed on — literally!

Do you think that print should be seen as a premium product? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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While often pitted against one another, print and digital might actually be stronger together. Find out more in our article, Print versus digital: Are they even at war?
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy