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What can print do that digital cannot?

By System Magazine

The state of magazines by the industry’s editorsRead full story

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  • Print certainly addresses the senses better than digital can ever do: beyond the eye, the touch and the smell. Print is not a deferred take on physicality, but rather an immediate one. I guess it validates and improves my humanity as a reader.

  • I print a magazine for Dyson. It is a lasting memory of the stories we are interested in. It is an opportunity to physically share a story with someone. I see people reading the magazine and talking to each other about the stories. Print is about putting a value on that experience. We should cherish it.

  • The more time passes, the clearer it seems that printed books are here to stay. Ebooks and digital magazines and the like appear to be settling into a valuable role as supplementary or parallel products to paper books, not in place of but alongside the traditional form. Contrary to what some people predicted

    The more time passes, the clearer it seems that printed books are here to stay. Ebooks and digital magazines and the like appear to be settling into a valuable role as supplementary or parallel products to paper books, not in place of but alongside the traditional form. Contrary to what some people predicted just a few years ago, the two forms of written media appear to be settling into a healthy and stable coexistence.

    Print and digital texts provide ephemerally but fundamentally different experiences. Digital offers portability and interactivity. Print offers comfortable readability, reliability, and an ambiguous but undeniably real tactile physicality that just can’t be replicated any other way.

    A digital magazine, for example, can offer unique interactive features, embedded audiovisual content, and external links— but a print magazine can offer a level of precise design and curation that digital can’t. Digital media can change depending on the device used to read it, but the same edition of a book is the same no matter where it is. A functionally infinite number of books can fit on a hard drive, but a paperback will never run out of battery.

    A lot of people became convinced that those traits (or others) are inherently good or bad. As it turns out, they simply mean more variety. Different authors, different publishers, and different readers will all have unique preferences, sometimes based on use-case and sometimes just based on quirks of personality. Ultimately this all just means more choices for consumers and producers alike, and that’s purely a good thing.

  • Print builds loyalty. A magazine is tangible, you can see it, touch it, smell it. It creates a connection between a person and a brand. Digital is ephemeral, it's pixels on a screen.

  • Print is for a sense of permanence. You have it for as long as you can keep it. Even old issues endure and be re read. They can be lent or given they work well in sunlight they don't need to be recharged they are easy to recycle. They are a treasure to be discovered during a spring clean. Most of all

    Print is for a sense of permanence. You have it for as long as you can keep it. Even old issues endure and be re read. They can be lent or given they work well in sunlight they don't need to be recharged they are easy to recycle. They are a treasure to be discovered during a spring clean. Most of all the pleasure of reading to sleep. Hard on books and almost impossible on a screen. In short to me comfortable.

  • Each has their purpose. Print vs digital is no longer something to be compared. It is the tangible versus the intangible.

    The choice to invest in not only a story or beautiful picture but a printed object, or an article online is made based on time. I enjoy both for different reasons. Print is relaxing

    Each has their purpose. Print vs digital is no longer something to be compared. It is the tangible versus the intangible.

    The choice to invest in not only a story or beautiful picture but a printed object, or an article online is made based on time. I enjoy both for different reasons. Print is relaxing and tactile while I appreciate digital because it gives me access to information during the in-between times.

  • As a designer, I have been told for the last 15 years that print is a dying art. I fully disagree with that statement, and continue to grow more relationships with print vendors as I am ordering more printed materials than ever.

    There has been a push for digital for environmental reasons, however some

    As a designer, I have been told for the last 15 years that print is a dying art. I fully disagree with that statement, and continue to grow more relationships with print vendors as I am ordering more printed materials than ever.

    There has been a push for digital for environmental reasons, however some things will never lose the value of being in print format.

    Print is here to stay (for now) and gives a sense of permanence to the material. Having a physical book in your hand is more rewarding then having a file on your desktop or a bookmarked link that can easily get lost or trashed.

  • Ode to my dog eared book: In a world where there is so much information and search has become so cheap, I have you in my hands. A physical object filled with content. With you I can hold still for moment, to reflect and marvel at the beauty of the written word. You give me a sense of independence and

    Ode to my dog eared book: In a world where there is so much information and search has become so cheap, I have you in my hands. A physical object filled with content. With you I can hold still for moment, to reflect and marvel at the beauty of the written word. You give me a sense of independence and freedom, a quiet place to reflect and enjoy holding such a treasure in my hands. Smelling you, tracing key passages with my fingers. And caressing your well-used corners. Returning to that special phrase, day after day. You are like my treasured stuffed animal from childhood. Only one that speaks to me over and over again. Where at each reading I find something new. But wait, just a moment. I have an alert! News breaking out across the world. Later my trusted friend. To this world of breaking news, I cannot take you.

  • As mentioned, digital is ready-to-wear and print is couture..

  • The same question can also be asked of books. But at the same time the newest and biggest thing for Amazon is to sell books, printed and hardcover. No matter what there is still a different feeling to a hardcover book that is not going to be quite the same as reading on an iPad or Kindle, much less on

    The same question can also be asked of books. But at the same time the newest and biggest thing for Amazon is to sell books, printed and hardcover. No matter what there is still a different feeling to a hardcover book that is not going to be quite the same as reading on an iPad or Kindle, much less on a phone. As cool as swiping might be, turning a page is a different experience.

  • Print will always exist. Period.

    The digital form still has yet to find a delivery system, or device that can compare to the inherent interaction that the printed word can deliver.

    There is a texture, feeling, and emotion to how a magazine, paper or book is read. The touch of the paper, the complete

    Print will always exist. Period.

    The digital form still has yet to find a delivery system, or device that can compare to the inherent interaction that the printed word can deliver.

    There is a texture, feeling, and emotion to how a magazine, paper or book is read. The touch of the paper, the complete engrossing nature of the experience. Curl up on your favorite chair, or lay the magazine across your lap, the emotional response feels natural.

    Reading on a digital device feels rushed, the quick flick of the screen, the terrible usability of holding the device. The bright screen. The hardness of the devices form in your hand, that over time just get in the way of reading. It gets the job done, but not satisfactory.

    Digital will always be more consumed, but the device upon which it’s delivered needs a lot of evolution. Reading on any digital device is simply poor usability.

  • Love the dialogue on print! (I am biased)

  • I really don't want this to be an either or game. I love the feel of thr print in my hand and to my eyes and I also love the convenience of digital. The go to for indepth reading is still print however, some lovely digital formats like Quartz are equally engaging. I would trade one for the other. �

    I really don't want this to be an either or game. I love the feel of thr print in my hand and to my eyes and I also love the convenience of digital. The go to for indepth reading is still print however, some lovely digital formats like Quartz are equally engaging. I would trade one for the other. 😐

    I really like the wine and beer analogy 😊👍.

  • Great collection of quotes + ideas on digital and print, Nina Garcia summed it up nicely with her ‘print is couture’ line.

    I love digital for the convenience, the speed, and the masses but I truly treasure a few paper magazines, books, portraits because they mean something to me personally.

    I recently

    Great collection of quotes + ideas on digital and print, Nina Garcia summed it up nicely with her ‘print is couture’ line.

    I love digital for the convenience, the speed, and the masses but I truly treasure a few paper magazines, books, portraits because they mean something to me personally.

    I recently went to an event at the Playhouse in LA and they had a few older issues out to view, something about the history of the brand just makes you want to have a physical copy (No, just me?) or at least get the feel of the magazine.

    I still have a few physical subscriptions that don’t always get read in their issue month (I do quarterly magazine reads) but I love the full experience of reading them - scribbling notes, clipping a recipe, going back to articles I’ve bookmarked.

    In marketing + advertising, print had a few slow years. It it’s back - people want to escape the targeted and retargeted ads from spending too much time on Instagram, naturally print is coming back to delight (and entice).

  • Print is a whole body reading experience, deeply engaging, long lasting. That’s its strength. I’ve long said print needs to printier. I wish more within the (ad) industry would acknowledge its power.

  • Print can add a classic atmosphere to the room that the printed belongs to.

  • Print is tactile—a vessel for craft that can surprise in many ways, coaxing movement from much more than the tip of one's index finger. Print can occupy dimension and form? that isn't necessarily relegated to standards. Digital is typically a fleeting commodity, print is often produced using materials

    Print is tactile—a vessel for craft that can surprise in many ways, coaxing movement from much more than the tip of one's index finger. Print can occupy dimension and form? that isn't necessarily relegated to standards. Digital is typically a fleeting commodity, print is often produced using materials that are a commodity. Print offers extra-sensory benefits, even in its most pedestrian execution. Or, it can offer spellbinding extra-sensory experience. Print can introduce unique media based experiential attributes, while regardless of media and for the sake of device ubiquity, digital must remain media agnostic.

    Print has an inherent recyclable value, digital doesn't. Print is impacted by gravity, digital isn't.

    Print misses me, and I miss print—like me, it can be destroyed.

    Digital misses nobody & and is eternal.

    Print involves ancient technology, digital involves infantile technology.

    Print has five letters, digital seven.

    Print certainly contains much less grammatical errors than digital, categorically speaking. After all, ink on paper is permanent so mistakes can be quite costly.

    Now print always begins its life as digital, but digital never begins as print technically, unless OCR scanning is involved.

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