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Print Isn't Dead.

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I’m not a paper guy, a print geek, nor a publishing guru.

As a digital designer, through and through, I was interested in what surprises I’d find at my first Paper Expo held at the Art Directors Club on West 29th.

My first booth stop of the evening was at Sappi, one of the largest paper suppliers in North America. In all honesty, while their booth design wasn’t extraordinary, their materials were bold, compelling, and well-done, particularly the Communicator’s Guide to the Neuroscience of Touch book.

As I continued walking through the expo, the digital side of my brain was in overdrive thinking about the relationship between what I understand as a digital designer and the similarities with print.

For example, purely from a UX perspective applied to print: Does a softer cardstock give a friendlier feel? The same way a website might choose soft, gentle blurs or rounded button corners to give that same tone?

In a way, printers have even fewer tools to make their designs resonate. We digital designers sometimes undervalue our toolsets of interactivity, animation, and visual states. If we make a mistake, it likely won’t cost thousands to fix. All it takes is a File, then Export New Version.

There were so many connections to be made between print and digital, from design strategies to user experiences. Beyond the half-ton of paper samples I carried out in my tote bag, I’d also leave with a new-found respect and interest for all that goes into print design.