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'What is the future of analogue design in an expanding digital world'

Hello brother/sister designer folk

I'm a graphic designer/creative with 18 years studio experience, I'm taking a year out partly to give myself a creative kick up the arse (UK), ass (US) and partly because of recession to do a Master's Degree in Creative Technology at the University of Salford.
I'm writing a paper on the topic of 'What is the future of analogue design in an expanding digital world'. I use the term 'analogue' to describe two dimensional print production processes.

This subject as been greatly debated for the last five years in all areas of communication/publishing/advertising and general graphic design. As a design professional myself, who still works in and loves print while studying emerging creative digital technologies, I want to ask questions and explore the areas of; social user interaction of printed materials juxtaposed with digital media equivalent, the creative view point - use of typography, imagery, impact and effect on the audience or end end user, ecological and economic factors that will effect how we consume information.

Example. If in five/ten years time there is a great reduction in printed matter due to ecological and economic reasons, would that mean major printing press manufacturers like Heidleberg, Kamora etc. would halt or reduce research and development in new print technology that leads to a scale down of production of printing presses etc. Same with ink and paper production.

I'm not an harbinger of doom for the print industry, I'm simply looking into the reality that as an information hungry society, where technology is playing a leading role in how we access this information in a social and economic context, is there a role for traditional forms of media and the time-frames that we can honestly predict (Minority Report scenarios and the Hollywood sense of what is feasible to be discussed in another topic).

I know this is a huge and subjective topic of discussion so if anyone has any thoughts, theories or snippets of advice please feel free. If anyone's thoughts and comments are used in my piece with your permission I will credit in, an acknowledgment and in the bibliography, I'll also will email you the final written paper in pdf.

I have often pondered on this very subject especially with the advent of the iPad and the ensuing tablets.

The thing is it reminds me of the Hi Def debate. When Blu-Ray and HD-DVD were battling it out, there was a lot of talk that neither will win as downloads are the future.

That may be the case and it may be the case that printed material will stop and it will all become electronic.

However with my same reasoning for Hi-Def, that is simply not going to happen anytime soon. It could be decades. Why? There is a huge percentage of the population that do not know how to switch on a computer and will never know. There is a huge percentage of the amount of people that use a computer that do not know how to download a movie file and then watch it on their TV.

Apple are making great strides in making technology easy to use for the technophobe. Granted. However, until we are living in a future where the old are our yet to be... it will take a small few generations to be dead.

He says this from his Mac.

Hope I have managed to convey my sentiments correctly.


Active Member
Print and Traditional media and mediums died about 3 months ago I think. Olgivy said print died in 1985, he was close by 25 years.


Senior Member
I don't care how advanced iPads, Kindle's, basically any e-reader device/star trek pad thing gets, I still want something to hold!

People keep telling me that the physical medium of music is dead, but it hasn't changed my buying habits! I fail to see how digital will kill print in the long run. There will always be a place in the world for a physical product.

I know, I have to design posters for gigs that work well at screen/thumbnail size and a2! So the digital may get seen by more people but the physical is just as important.


Senior Member
Great subject pedro. I also studied a masters at Salford university during 2006 in graphic design and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Your chosen subject is something I am quite interested in myself. I am a print designer but I'm nervous about being left behind as the e-reader and ipads of this world build in popularity. I do agree with mrp to an extent that people need something physical to touch, feel and play with but I can see the iPad successfully achieving this as it develops in the future. Why hold a dirty 40pg newspaper when u can flick through pages on your iPad? I think it's only a matter of time before printed magazines/newspapers/brochures/catalogues etc are a thing of the past. Economically/environmentally digital medium is better, more up to date (newspapers are outdated by the time they hit the shelf) and offer such a wide range of interactivity I don't see how printed media can compete.


Senior Member
I think its the Times mrp, I see alot of people on twitter moaning about it lately. Its controversial at the moment because they are in the minority but Im sure the rest of the press are watching on with interest to see how it goes.

I give it 5 years before traditional newspapers as we know it are obselete. Why would you want to read yesterdays news in todays Guardian when you can go direct to their website and read news that is updated minute by minute?

Advertisers will also prefer digital newspapers (and they have a big say in the industry) as it opens up to a whole world of interactivity, video, mini games, linking directly to their website driving sales to their online stores. A printed ad cannot compete with that level of success.