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How  has  the  Print  Industry  been  affected  by  the  need  for  digital  media  and   the  growth  of  new  technologies?     It  would  be  naive  to  assume  that  ‘Print  is  Dead’,  but  considering  the  shift  from   traditional  print  to  digital  media  it  is  safe  to  say  that  print  is  having  to  battle   against  the  growth  of  new  technologies.  It  was  inevitable  that  one  day  there   would  be  such  a  demand  for  digital  media  but  where  exactly  does  this  leave   print?  A  vast  increase  in  the  number  of  smaller  printing  businesses  having  to   close  over  the  past  few  years  highlights  the  vulnerable  position  of  print,  but  does   this  mean  to  say  that  one  day  print  will  no  longer  be  valued?     The  printing  revolution  started  in  the  1450’s  when  Gutenberg  created  the  notion   of  moveable  type,  which  lead  to  the  printing  of  the  first  bible  in  1454.  A   significant  development  within  print,  which  meant  that  for  the  first  time  print,   could  be  used  as  a  form  of  mass  communication  to  thousands  of  people  at  what   was  considered  to  be  reasonably  inexpensive.  By  ‘1470’s  every  city  in  Europe   had  established  printing  companies’,  and  by  the  ‘1500’s  around  four  million   books  had  been  printed’.       ‘The  history  of  printing  is  an  integral  part  of  the  general  history  of   civilization.  The  principal  vehicle  for  the  conveyance  of  ideas  during  the   past  five  hundred  years,  printing  touches  upon,  and  often  penetrated,   almost  every  sphere  of  human  activity..’      (Steinberg,  SH,  1975,  p.  11).     It  is  print  that  revolutionised  the  form  of  mass  communication  and  continues  to   do  so  with  print  technology  continuing  to  develop  further.  Print  played  a   fundamental  part  in  how  society  revolutionised  communication;  print  was  at  the   forefront  of  communication  and  it  was  only  towards  the  end  of  the  twentieth  and   early  twenty-­‐first  centuries  when  the  digital  age  began  to  impact  on  value  of   print;    

‘…As  the  digital  revolution  took  hold,  newspapers  lost  half  of  their   advertising  income,  one  quarter  of  their  subscribers  and  30  percent  of   their  editorial  capacity…  triggering  hundreds  of  newspaper  bankruptcies   and  tens  of  thousands  of  layoffs.’    

1  Baljeet  Kaur  Samra  –  Contextual  and  Theoretical  Studies  OUCS205  


(Kovarik,  B,  2011,  p.  101).     No  one  could  have  predicted  just  how  much  the  digital  revolution  would  have   impacted  on  the  print  industry  –  but  this  did  not  mean  that  print  was  going  to   stop  it  came  to  the  point  where  printed  mediums  and  digital  technologies  would   have  to  merge  and  work  along  side  each  other  and  not  against  each  other,  but   this  was  easier  said  than  done.     The  beginning  of  1995  saw  the  publication    ‘The  End  of  Print’  showcasing  the   iconic  works  by  Graphic  Designer  David  Carson,  who’s  work  was  valued  for  the   sole  purpose  of  having  broken  the  traditional  rules  and  aesthetic  of  graphic   design.  Carson’s  work  didn’t  follow  the  rules  of  ‘form  follows  function’  –  he  opted   for  a  completely  different  style,  which  continued  to  impact  on  and  influence   many  other  designers.  Carson  had  designed  the  book  himself  with  the  text   written  by  Lewis  Blackwell.    The  revised  edition  of  the  book  from  2000   highlights  the  shift  between  print  and  digital  media  and  the  reasoning  behind  the   title  of  the  book;    

 

‘The  Internet  was  firmly  established,  but  few  believed  it  would  move  so   rapidly  to  become  the  overheated  commercial  reality  and  hype  that  it  is   today…  The  front-­‐page  news  story  told  of  an  Internet  business  that  had   swallowed  up  many  of  the  most  venerable  brands  and  content  in  the   print,  film  and  TV  media…  If  such  a  business  activity  seems  to  involve  a   certain  amount  of  hype,  it  also  involves  a  certain  amount  of  hard   evidence:  the  U.S  magazine  industry  has  seen  a  50  percent  decline  in   overall  ad  pages  in  the  1990’s  compared  with  the  1980’s  while  American   newspaper  have  continued  their  thirty-­‐year  losing  streak  on  circulation.   We  were  not  that  provocative  with  out  title…  there  are  still  those  who   cannot  accept  that  the  costs  and  limitations  of  print  will  condemn  it  to   exist  as  a  specialist  medium  rather  than  as  a  means  of  true  mass   communication…  Websites  and  emails  are  rapidly  eroding  the  need  for   printed-­‐paper.    Now  we  are  a  little  clearer  on  how  ‘The  end  of  Print’  links   to  general  culture.  There  is  noting  challenging  in  the  idea  that  print  is   most  definitely  a  ‘Sunset  Industry’…  ‘The  End  of  Print’  was  a  title  that   simply  captured  the  notion  that  we  were  seeing  the  end  of  our  certainty   in  print  as  The  Communicator  –  an  illusion  that  was  long  overdue  for   destruction.’  

(Blackwell,  L,  2000,  p.  7).  

2  Baljeet  Kaur  Samra  –  Contextual  and  Theoretical  Studies  OUCS205  


The  text  is  in  reply  to  a  letter  that  was  written  by  a  young  design  student  who   was  focusing  on  developing  a  better  understanding  on  contemporary  graphic   design  legibility.  Blackwell  makes  an  interesting  statement  about  the  limitations   and  cost  of  print  implying  that  it  is  a  specialist  medium  that  cannot  cater  for  the   mass  audience,  but  it  could  be  said  the  internet  and  other  digital  mediums  too   have  specific  limitations.  What  cannot  be  achieved  by  print  may  be  better  suited   by  a  digital  medium  but  this  still  comes  at  an  expense.  Digital  technologies  are   continuing  to  develop  at  a  rapid  rate  but  this  comes  at  a  cost.  Before  digital   mediums  print  was  considered  as  a  means  of  mass  communication  and  as  times   goes  on  will  continue  to  serve  it’s  purpose  as  a  sufficient  means  of   communication.  The  decline  in  advertising  in  newspapers  and  other  print  forms   wasn’t  an  indication  that  print  was  on  the  decline  –  it  simply  meant  that  there   were  other  means  of  advertising  through  digital  mediums  which  could  be  seen  as   more  effective.  Advertising  within  printed  mediums  still  stands  strong  to  this   day;  new  and  innovative  forms  of  print  have  ensured  it  is  kept  alive.  An  article  in   Ray  Gun  magazine,  which  has  been  featured  in  ‘The  End  of  Print’  (Blackwell,  L,   2000,  p.  14),  discusses  the  change  from  print  based  to  digital  design  and  how  this   affected  Carson  as  well  as  other  designers.  At  the  time  which  ‘The  End  of  Print’   was  published,  it  was  considered  a  ‘defining  period  for  the  profession  as  it   moved  abruptly  and  rather  bewilderingly  into  the  digital  world’  Like  most  other   designers  Carson  understood  that  ‘his  work  needs  to  embrace  motion  and  the   web.’  Whereas  many  designers  were  keen  to  leave  the  world  of  print  behind   Carson  was  aware  that  there  needed  to  be  a  balance  between  both.  By  no  means   did  Carson  stop  working  with  print  as  soon  as  the  digital  age  emerged,  he   continued  to  use  print  as  a  medium  for  communication  but  at  the  same   understood  how  digital  mediums  and  the  web  were  the  way  forward.     It  was  argued  that  print  would  be  on  the  decline  because  the  web  seemed  more   exciting;  it  was  an  innovation  that  changed  people’s  lives  on  a  daily  basis.  During   the  time  of  the  digital  revolution  many  designers  recognised  the  need  for  print   based  design  that  was  creative  and  which  explored  new  possibilities  and  

3  Baljeet  Kaur  Samra  –  Contextual  and  Theoretical  Studies  OUCS205  


changed  the  way  print  was  seen,  it  needed  to  be  refreshed  and  create  the  same   sense  of  excitement  that  digital  media  was  creating.     Marshall  McLuhan  argues  the  point  that  regardless  of  the  medium  used  it  is  an   extension  of  man.  When  discussing  print  and  typography  McLuhan  writes;     ‘An  extension  appears  to  be  an  amplification  of  an  organ,  sense  or  a   function,  that  inspires  the  central  nervous  system  to  a  self  protective   gesture  of  numbing  of  the  extended  area,  at  least  so  far  as  direct   inspection  and  awareness  are  concerned.’     (McLuhan,  M,  1964,  p.  187).     McLuhan  raises  the  idea  the  medium  used  is  what  controls  and  affects  society   not  the  content  of  the  medium  but  the  characteristics  of  the  medium.  The  point   being  that  different  mediums  will  always  engage  the  user  is  different  ways.  This   clarifies  the  idea  that  regardless  of  whether  the  same  message  was  shown  across   two  different  mediums,  because  of  the  medium  it  would  show  two  entirely   different  messages,  where  essentially  would  be  a  better  suited  medium.  There   has  to  be  a  defining  point  when  one  understands  that  either  print  or  digital   mediums  are  better  suited.         Jessica  Helfand  writer  on  essays  about  Graphic  Design,  New  Media,  and  Visual   Culture,  states  how  the  need  for  digital  media  and  new  technologies  has  been   driven  by  the  change  in  how  society  has  developed  and  changed,  to  the  point   were  print  was  no  longer  able  to  communicate  to  the  masses  as  effectively  as  the   internet  could.  However  it  didn’t  imply  that  print  would  no  longer  be  a  viable   means  of  communication,  it  just  meant  that  the  internet  would  be  better  suited   for  certain  means  of  communicating.    An  essay  titled  ‘Sticks  and  Stones  Can   Break  My  Bones  but  Print  Can  Never  Hurt  Me:  A  Letter  to  Fiona  on  First  Reading   The  End  of  Print’  (Helfand,  J,  2001.  P.  165  –  167),  discusses  the  importance  of   typography  and  ones  ability  to  read  words  and  form  sentences,  the  point  being   that  whether  something  is  printed  or  seen  on  screen  it  will  still  say  the  same   thing,  ‘A  lot  of  people  say  print  is  dead…  Print  isn’t  dead,  sweetheart.  It’s  just   sleeping.’  As  digital  technologies  are  developed,  new  ideas  are  transforming  the  

4  Baljeet  Kaur  Samra  –  Contextual  and  Theoretical  Studies  OUCS205  


way  in  which  we  communicate,  but  as  the  digital  world  develops  so  does  the   print  industry.  There  has  never  been  a  time  were  print  as  been  so  innovative  and   exciting.  The  development  of  digital  technologies  only  furthers  the  demand  for   print  that  pushes  the  boundaries.       ‘Publishing  is  Dead,  Long  Live  Publishing’  Quite  a  powerful  statement  from  a  well   established  graphic  design  magazine  titled  ‘Grafik’  that  has  been  around  since   the  1980’s  but  also  rather  ironic  considering  it  has  had  to  stop  being  published,   for  what  is  the  second  time.  The  underlying  reason  as  to  why  the  magazine   stopped  publishing  was  due  to  the  fact  that  the  publisher  no  longer  wished  to   support  the  magazine  financially.  Grafik  had  originally  been  struggling  through   the  recession  hence  why  they  sold  their  title  to  publishers  in  the  first  place.   During  their  initial  launch  after  having  seized  publishing  the  team  had  decided  to   redirect  much  of  their  content  online  ‘We  will  always  be  in  love  with  print  but   we’re  also  excited  by  how  we  can  interact  with  people  online.  It’s  a  brilliant   medium  for  creating  a  sense  of  community’  So  much  content  and  information  is   now  available  online  allowing  users  to  interact  with  the  magazine.  It  seems  like  a   reasonable  point,  why  not  generate  interest  through  other  means  of   communication,  but  is  this  impacting  on  the  need  for  printed  magazines?    An   article  by  Angharad  Lewis  states  that  there  is  no  reason  for  printed  magazines  to   suffer  as  long  as  they;       ‘…think  in  a  completely  different  way  about  content,  design  and   readership  when  considering  the  new  digital  platforms  and  find  a   strategy  to  diversify’  also  raising  a  point  that  ‘Some  others  are  refusing   too  enter  the  digital  world  while  others  are  leaving  print  behind   altogether’.         (Lewis,  A,  2011,  p.  57-­‐65).     It  could  be  said  that  many  magazines  today  have  decided  to  stop  working  with   printed  publications  and  redirected  all  their  content  online  with  some  even   creating  ‘ezines’.    The  online  magazine  requires  less  start  up  cost  but  can  still   offer  the  same  amount  of  advertising  space  as  a  printed  magazine.  An  online   magazine  requires  less  financial  input  as  it  doesn’t  need  to  be  printed  and  

5  Baljeet  Kaur  Samra  –  Contextual  and  Theoretical  Studies  OUCS205  


distributed  –  which  are  the  main  expenses  of  a  printed  magazine  and  yet  it  can   continue  to  bring  stable  revenue.  This  could  be  considered  a  more  viable  option,   which  has  less  financial  risk.  At  the  same  time  e-­‐book  readers,  iPads  and  tablets   have  proven  to  be  quite  successful,  with  the  intention  that  you  no  longer  need  to   buy  a  physical  copy  of  a  book,  as  certain  devices  enable  you  to  download  and   enjoy  thousands  of  books  in  one  place.  Many  have  already  taken  to  the  idea  of   not  having  to  buy  books  but  this  isn’t  the  case  for  everyone,  there  are  still  those   who  haven’t  lost  sight  of  the  value  of  a  printed  book.     Issue  189  of  Grafik  magazine  featured  an  article  focusing  on  the  introduction  of   the  iPad  and  how  it  was  changing  the  face  of  publishing.  American  magazine   Wired  US  set  of  their  first  iPad  issue  of  the  magazine,  which  lead  to  over  100,000   purchasers,  quite  a  significant  amount  but  within  five  months  this  had  dropped   to  23,000.  With  sales  of  iPad’s  on  the  increase  it  would  seem  that  the  only   problem  is  that;       ‘…consumers  are  using  the  iPad  to  read  digital  versions  of  print   publications;  they  jump  from  title  to  title  rather  than  loyally  following  a   single  one.  This  seems  natural  for  such  a  new  medium  –  readers  want  to   see  what  can  be  done  with  the  format.’     (Lewis,  A,  2011,  p.  57-­‐65).     Even  with  the  introduction  of  the  iPad  it  can’t  be  confirmed  there  will  be  a   decline  in  the  number  of  people  purchasing  printed  magazines,  designers  and   publishers  are  having  to  work  together  to  create  a  balance  between  print  and   digital  mediums  and  considering  how  they  work  together.  By  assuming  that  they   can  work  without  print  by  redirecting  their  content  online  would  simply  alienate   what  is  a  well-­‐established  vast  audience.     It  was  1980  when  Terry  Jones  first  established  i-­‐D  magazine,  and  since  then  it   had  has  gone  on  to  be  one  of  the  leading  magazines  in  the  graphic  design   community.  Jones  points  out  that  the  survival  of  their  printed  magazine  relies  on   their  online  presence,  as  society  and  culture  changes  a  long  with  the  digital   revolution  –  so  does  the  format  of  the  magazine.    

6  Baljeet  Kaur  Samra  –  Contextual  and  Theoretical  Studies  OUCS205  


‘…    The  question  now  is  whether  these  magazines  can  move  forward.  This   whole  print  and  non  –  print  argument  is  an  on  going  one.  What  we   produce  has  to  become  more  valuable.  And  the  Value  of  the  physical   object  has  to  go  hand  –  in  –  hand  with  what  we  do  online,  which  is  why   online  is  growing.  I  see  the  importance  of  long  –  term  value,  versus  the   ephemeral,  increasing…  The  survival  of  print  is  more  a  question  of  the   survival  of  the  methods  by  which  it’s  being  distributed’  

(Moshakis,  A,  2011,  p.  67-­‐71).     Terry  Jones  confirms  the  value  of  print  but  also  recognises  the  changes  and   development  of  digital  mediums;  a  stark  contrast  against  the  ideas  of  Lewis   Blackwell  in  ‘The  End  of  Print’  who  states  that  print  cannot  survive  against   digital  media.  Having  directed  a  lot  of  content  online  i-­‐D  magazine  is  able  to  cater   to  a  wider  audience  but  at  the  same  time  are  able  to  direct  their  web  audience   back  to  the  magazine.  Jones  discusses  the  point  that  the  survival  of  print  is   reliant  on  the  way  in  which  it  is  being  distributed;  it  can  be  assumed  that  not   only  does  print  need  to  be  distributed  to  a  wider  audience  but  it  also  needs  to   allow  people  to  be  able  to  interact  with  it  –  something  which  has  pushed  digital   communication  much  further.       The  debate  regarding  print  v  digital  has  been  going  on  for  a  while  now,  and  will   continue  to  go  on.  There  are  those  who  have  taken  to  the  digital  revolution,   found  it’s  potential  and  exploited  it,  and  are  still  finding  new  ways  to  develop  the   technology  further.  On  the  other  hand  there  are  those  who  have  stayed  loyal  to   print,  found  ways  of  pushing  the  boundaries  and  continued  to  source  innovative   ways  of  printing  without  feeling  threatened  by  the  rapid  expansion  of  the  digital   revolution.  Finally  there  are  those  like  Terry  Jones  who  have  developed  a   balance,  a  considered  understanding  that  print  and  digital  mediums  must   interact  and  work  together  to  strive;  in  essence  it  would  be  naive  to  assume  that   one  could  possibly  work  without  the  other.  Both  provide  a  sufficient  means  of   communication  and  will  continue  to  do  so  for  some  time.  It  cannot  be  denied  that   digital  media  and  new  technologies  have  affected  the  print  industry  but  it  can  

7  Baljeet  Kaur  Samra  –  Contextual  and  Theoretical  Studies  OUCS205  


only  be  considered  a  positive  effect.  It  is  digital  revolution  that  has  allowed  print   to  develop,  a  catalyst  that  has  driven  print  to  become  stronger.       Word  count  -­‐  2072                                                                                    

8  Baljeet  Kaur  Samra  –  Contextual  and  Theoretical  Studies  OUCS205  


Bibliography         1/  Blackwell,  L.  (1995),  The  End  of  Print  :  The  Graphic  Design  of  David  Carson,   London,  Laurence  King  Publishing     2/  Blackwell,  L.  (2000),  The  End  of  Print  :  The  Graphic  Design  of  David  Carson,  2nd   Edition,  London,  Laurence  King  Publishing     3/  Breede,  M.  (2009),  The  Brave  New  World  of  Publishing:  the  Symbiotic   Relationship  Between  printing  and  Book  Publishing,  Oxford,  Chandos  Printing     4/  Bolter,  J.  (2001),  Writing  Space:  Computers,  Hypertext  and  the  Remediation  of   Print,  London,  Routledge       5/  Gere,  C.  (2002),  Digital  Culture,  London,  Reaktion  Books  Ltd     6/  Gomez,  J.  (2008),  Print  is  Dead  :  Books  in  our  Digital  Age,  New  York,   Macmillian       7/  Helfand,  J.  (2001),  Screen,  Essays  on  Graphic  Design,  New  Media,  and  Visual   Culture,  New  York,  Princeton  Architectural  Press     8/  Jedlicka,  W.  (2009),  Sustainable  Graphic  Design:  Tools,  Systems  and  Strategies   for  Innovative  Print  Design,  Oxford,  John  Wiley  &  Sons       9/  Kovarik,  B.  (2011),  Revolutions  in  Communication,  New  York,  The  Continuum   International  Publishing  Group     10/  Lewis,  A.  (2011),  Publishing  is  Dead,  Long  Live  Publishing,  Grafik  Magazine,   Vol  1,  (No.  189),  pp.  57-­‐65     11/  McLhuan,  M.  (1962),  The  Gutenberg  Galaxy,  London,  Routledge  and  Kegan   Paul  Ltd     12/  McLuhan,  M.  (1964),  Understanding  Media  :  The  Extension  of  Man,  London,   Routledge  and  Kegan  Paul  Ltd     13/  Moshakis,  A.  (2011)  The  Non  -­‐  Formulas  Behind  a  Magazine,  It's  Nice   That,  Vol  1,  (No.  7),  pp.  59-­‐66     14/  Moshakis,  A.  (2011)  The  Bright  Future  of  Independent  Publishing,  It's  Nice   That,  Vol  1,  (No.  7),  pp.  67-­‐71     15/  Steinberg,  SH.  (1974),  Five  Hundred  Years  of  Printing,  Suffolk,  The  Chaucer   Press        

9  Baljeet  Kaur  Samra  –  Contextual  and  Theoretical  Studies  OUCS205  


CTS Essay.