The Evolution Of Print

By Peter Cronin | Thursday, May 12, 2016 | 2 Comments

We love print. The tactile feel of the paper in our hands, the way it sticks around and piles up and actually gets read, we love all those things. And despite repeated reports of the medium’s imminent demise, print-based projects still make up a sizeable portion of our business. What’s not to love?

Having spent our formative years in the magazine business, we have a special space in our designers’ hearts for beautifully printed things. At the same time, we’re constantly amazed and inspired by the creative digital tools we’re able to utilize every day.

So we were delighted to pick up this week’s copy of The New Yorker (cover date, May 16) and get a first hand, just-for-the-fun-of-it demonstration of the digital evolution of this very traditional medium.

The issue features what appears to be a fairly typical cover illustration, an image of a woman holding her Starbucks cup aloft as she flies through closing subway doors. Download the magazine’s “uncovr” app onto your smart phone, however, and things get atypical right away. Viewed through your phone’s camera, that static photo comes vividly to life, morphing snake-like into an over-the-top, 3-D animated cityscape accompanied by a pulsing jazz soundtrack. For an extra 15 bucks, pick up a “Google Cardboard,” insert your smart phone, and look through the viewfinder for a further-enhanced 3D experience.

The New Yorker isn’t the first print publication to offer this kind of hybrid print/digital experience. In fact, the The New York Times has made a significant investment, describing themselves as “the leaders in virtual reality journalism,” offering its own viewer app, and featuring digitally enhanced stories on everything from the upcoming Olympics to travel features to a story on how hit records are created.

The Times is betting heavily on virtual reality, already distributing more than one million Google Cardboards to subscribers. The implications for everything from newspapers to instruction manuals are mind-boggling, but The New Yorker may have captured the everyman essence of the experience. Virtual reality is just a whole lot of fun. Most importantly, they’ve demonstrated beyond a doubt that print is not dead. On the contrary, it’s just now coming to life.

2 thoughts on “The Evolution Of Print

  1. John Taylor says:

    Nice article Peter. We are excited about VR and AR!

  2. I still have several clients still doing print and have been considering adding some printed guides to my content strategy. Great post.

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