Can Print Ever Look Modern? 4 Styling Strategies for Marketers

Print is old news. Not as old as space or the dinosaurs, but the oldest known printed text dates back to the first century AD, and the more modern Gutenberg press dates to the 15th century. Given this timeline, then, is there anyway print can seem modern? Yes!

The print industry has taken significant steps to keep up with changing marketing trends and to stay competitive in a digital-first environment. These 4 innovative styling strategies can take your physical marketing to the next level, helping your business stand out, no matter the industry.

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Change Your Substrate

When we talk about physical media, at least in marketing, we typically focus on typographical elements – font, sizing, ink color – but often, type isn’t the most compelling element. Print companies know this, which is why they’ve worked to develop printing strategies that work on alternative materials. This includes printing on metal, as well as glass and textiles, and it pushes those materials beyond classic etching and screen printing.

On the client end, receiving print media on an alternative substrate can be truly attention grabbing.

Go For Motion

In marketing, we associate motion with video, whether it’s digital content or conventional commercials, but with advanced printing strategies like large format lenticular printing, you can make use of movement on the page. According to Parallax Printing, new lenticular printing practices can create basic narrative through “flip” images, as well as produce depth through the illusion of 3D. Now, this sort of immersive imagery can go wherever print goes.

Add More Senses

Scent marketing has been around for years. From the classic trick of baking cookies before an open house to the way Starbucks only smells like coffee and not any of the food it sells or Lowe’s only smells like wood, not paint or other chemicals. Brands choose the most appealing, most deeply associated scent with their repertoire to attract customers. The trouble is that this is historically hard to do in print – but not anymore.

Increasingly, printers are making use of scented inks and papers in marketing, allowing brands to carry their most distinctive scents right into customers’ homes or wherever else they’re found. Because scent is so deeply tied to emotions and memory, by making scent part of your marketing campaign, then, you build a link that goes deeper than that single mailer or individual point of contact.

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Light It Up Right

Physical media is a big field, but it’s often reduced to print. Larger formats that go beyond the page, however, often open up new opportunities for innovation. Backlit prints, for example, are a great way to draw attention to your storefront, and they work well even in low-visibility environments. Since print, even large print, generally underperforms without great supplementary lighting, starting with backlit printing ensures your advertising is always front and center.

It’s time to stop thinking of physical media as fixed or flat, when recent efforts have made it dynamic and exciting, as much as digital marketing. You just have to let go of your preconceived notions about print because we’ve come a long way since Gutenberg.