What can be done to ensure that the importance of print is not forgotten in the digital age?
The answer may lie in the technology itself. I believe we don’t really mean “paper” when we say “print”. Communication has evolved over the years. The forms of visual communications have taken a very long time to evolve and are perhaps the most evolved is the one that we recognize as ‘Print’. This is a graphic language and requires a learning to send as well as to receive this communication. This learning curve has had many important impacts on cultures and civilizations. The form, the format, the broadcast to multiple recipients and the integration of technology in all these aspects has been altering the shape of “Print communication’ into almost a fluid state.
Development industry, digital, Internet, travel and other integrated technologies have lead to the coming of a very complex and confusing consuming society. The concept of brands and positioning has now become inseparable from geographical indications. This new awareness of brands is demanding a communication broadcast, which is consistent in its format and appeal. I believe this consistency is only possible thru ‘Print’ communication. Though the medium of broadcast may itself be digital. We would come to recognize this consistency in recognition and appeal the new “Print”.
Digital is nothing to be afraid of, but a tool to be used to enhance and develop Print further.
In a project for the city of Pune in 2008, I lead a project to create a city branding using various means and mediums to enhance the culture but direct a futuristic message to unite for green reasons. We were able to create a unique identity for the city and communicate it to the audience using multiple mediums over a time span of two years. The challenge was to keep the communication topical and interesting over a longtime, also to keep it consistent but fresh. I adopted the ‘Print” consistency model to drive all medias and another approach of communication planning where I had a team working a few months ahead of schedule and another that would pick thus created work and adopt to ongoing work. This created a spectacular consistency as well as freshness in the communication.
The project has been seen as the most successful city branding effort in India so far.
I proposed to explore the inherent strengths of Pune as a city of 4 million inhabitants (and growing) to reestablish the cultural identity through communication.
As a part of work in the field of branding and strategy and out of my love for the city of Pune, I have on my own volition helped developed the brand identity for the city of Pune. Also through my new company INDI Design, I have published a book on Pune city “Pune and Beyond Travel Guide” (www.puneandbeyond.com).
It would be interesting to study the role that consistency of print communication plays in communicating a brand.