The Future of Print: Park Speaks to 5Eleven Mag
Much of the dialogue around print and digital publishing pitches the two as alternatives. But is this really the case?
The hand-wringing has largely stemmed from declining sales of mass media titles such as newspapers, as brand budgets have flowed towards digital media, and as publications have shifted their focus online.
The magazine publishing scene is a different story.
As many magazines have shown, a symbiotic relationship between digital and print is actually now a critical health benchmark for a successful publication.
Park account director Anna Powell contributed to a feature on this issue in 5’Eleven magazine. Click here to read the article in full.
Digital as a proving ground
Rather than a technology that has killed off its ancestors, online platforms have been proving grounds for writers and editors.
As Anna puts it…
“Being able to produce and publish online has given many people the creative freedom to put their ideas out there and importantly, given them an audience.
These digital publishers, who in the past might not have been able to get capital to print their content, have been able to prove their value.”
The internet has proven a valuable space for creatives to take risks, and let their voices get heard by steadily increasing audiences.
Aspirations in print
While digital magazines offer an easier route to market, the desire to print a physical magazine remains the goal for the majority of indie publishers.
“Speaking with these online publishers at the many events Park attends, so many of them express a desire to see that online production turns into a physical product,” Anna comments.
“They want it to exist outside of the digital world. They want people to be able to hold it in their hands, feel the texture of the paper and smell the ink. I strongly believe in print and people’s interest in it and digital media has played a part in expanding the print market.”
Premium products create connections
This expansion of the market has led to an increase in standards.
Our digital addictions have left us needing sustained interactions in the physical realm.
Printed magazines generally feature more in-depth content and are moving to less frequent production cycles. When combined with high quality paper stock, and more creative design, it creates a place where readers can get lost for hours on end.
Camilla Fitz-Patrick, a brands partnership manager at Vogue Arabia, told 5’Eleven: “content that forges an emotional connection with its readers cuts through the masses. Print still has the power to create this connection.”
“The attention to small details, may not necessarily be something the reader is absolutely aware of but it appeals to them subconsciously, perhaps. In my experience, people love holding magazines in their hands and getting absorbed into the magazine’s world even if only for a short time.”
Sustainable print for a sustainable future
Of course, the future of a viable print industry hinges upon a move towards sustainability.
While it may seem that digital offers an environmentally friendly-alternative, it also leaves its mark on the planet: be that in the sourcing of materials for hardware, or in energy costs.
Print can also be a force for environmental good.
As Anna outlines:
“In Europe, managed forests, planted specifically for the paper industry, have increased the forest area by 20%, adding to oxygen production, combatting CO2, and of course encouraging wildlife diversity.
Responsible printers like Park try to champion sustainable print using vegetable-based ink; run their factories with power from wind farms; and offer sustainable, recycled or controlled (FSC/PEFC) materials.”
Ultimately, it falls to the title and the printer to commit to high quality sustainable products, that assuages their readers concerns over environmental impact.
For those who do, they may find themselves investing in altogether more sustainable brand proposition.
Increasing numbers of indie titles have now adopted sustainability as part and parcel for their identity: a creative pivot, with exciting new materials and creative options, and a new way to engage an eco-conscious generation of readers and fans.
Read Park’s blog on the magazines tackling sustainability here.
…is one of Park’s Account Directors, specialising in galleries, museums and independent magazines.
With a background in books and fine art, Anna has a penchant for fine printing as an artform, with its unique ability to capture the beauty of its subjects, both in images and the written word.
You can get in touch with Anna here.