The Personal Disquiet of

Mark Boulton

The Death of Print. Again?

– September 4th, 2007 –

Yesterday saw the launch of Khoi’s and Liz’s fantastic joint venture in providing a platform for short, concise design writing: A Brief Message.

The opening piece is by none other than Stevan Heller. It’s a thought-provoking piece, concisely written in under 200 words, and asks the question ‘Is print dying’? Again. It’s a question that has been asked many, many more times than ‘Which is best—fixed or fluid?’

As Greg points out on his blog, this statement of impending doom has been around for ages now. Whilst we are seeing a shifting in consumption of certain media, such as news, away from the printed version and onto our screens, I think it’s a stretch to proclaim that print is breathing a dying breath. Take magazines in the UK for example. In some sectors of the industry, there has been a massive increase in production to fuel things like the blossoming celebrity culture.

Fit For Purpose

Okay, so maybe you prefer to read your news online. That’s fine and Steven’s point is a valid one. The consumption of news is changing and this presents a challenge to the industry as there is a shift from the delivery of that news from one medium to another. However, not all print is news. Personally, I love to sit down with a good book or to read through some quality articles in a magazine. I just don’t do that on the web—the method of engagement is completely different.

Print isn’t dying anytime soon. It will change, and our consumption of certain media will change as a result, but I seriously can’t see a whole lot changing in the next twenty years or so. We’ll see.

An Approachable Platform for Debate

I love the idea of A Brief Message. Love it. As Khoi writes on his blog, there’s a place for in-depth design writing—such as Design Observer and AIGA—but quite often, the longer and more in-depth these pieces get, the more academic and less approachable they become. It’s about time there was a platform for short, approachable design commentary. Hats off guys, you’ve done a great job.

Filed in: design.

Further reading