As you are probably already aware, this is the digital age. We send messages across continents instantaneously. We carry computers around in our pockets. We use a thing called, "the cloud." Newsletters are digital, bank statements are digital - if you are determined, you can probably make your life completely free of paper.
If you drive around any semi-urban or industrial area, you are bound to see a few print shops. And online-only printers like Vistaprint are thriving by making things like cheap photo prints for people.
No, despite our mass societal move to an online and digital world, some things still remain - and likely always will remain - analog.
For a business, most of what you traditionally would have printed can probably be replaced with a digital equivalent. Direct mail could be replaced with email marketing, magazines can be replaced with blogs or even "e-zines." And so much marketing is done now through online social media channels.
But there are those precious few items and circumstances where printed items still make sense. Take business cards for instance. Nobody has come up with a viable replacement for business cards yet, and many have tried. Sure, there's LinkedIn, but that is kind of a different animal. In fact, instead of replacing business cards, social media handles have just become another bit of contact information that might get printed onto a business card.
The business card has been resilient to changes in society and technology because there is something very satisfying and irreplaceable about meeting somebody and handing them or receiving a card. You can put it in your pocket, forget about it, then when you clear out said pocket at the end of the day, add the information from you new contact into your rolodex (aka contacts app). It's tactile. It's personal. And if you are skeptical of this theory, I offer the mere continued existence of business cards as proof. If they weren't super important, they wouldn't have stuck around.
And business cards are just one example of items that fall into this category. For many companies, some form of letterhead still makes a lot of sense. Major events like weddings or galas generally are accompanied by a physical invitation rather than an e-vite. Going through the trouble to print and hand or send someone a physical item adds an air of importance - a literal "weight" - to the interaction.
So why on Earth would you cheap out on that?
People have gotten so used to avoiding print shops and NOT printing things, that they've forgotten how to do it properly. So, let me remind you.
Printing is an area where you very much get what you pay for.
When you do find yourself in the situation when you need to print business cards, invitations, etc., going for the cheapest option possible will absolutely be reflected in the quality of the good you end up with. This happens for a few reasons.
For one, there are hundreds and hundreds of options when it comes to paper choices. There are different weights, textures, sizes, materials, manufacturing processes. There's text-weight paper, cotton paper, rag paper, double-thick letterpress paper, and so on, and so on. With something tactile, the paper's weight and quality are going to be one of the first things that you notice. And generally, the more you spend, the higher quality paper you get.
Like with paper choice, there are an almost infinite number of ways to put words and images onto paper. This goes way beyond just laser printing vs inkjet printing. There's letterpress, screen printing, offset printing, embossing, foil stamping - the list goes on. Each print process is going to have its own unique benefits and qualities to it, but some of the results you'll get are truly awesome and worth spending money on.
The other option that professional printers will afford you is flexibility when it comes to size and format. They'll allow you to print anything and everything from giant, oversized posters, down to tiny half-sized business cards. Cutting corners in your print budget might literally prevent you from being able to cut corners (off of your printed item).
Finally, professional printers are used to dealing with anywhere from large to massive quantities. And unlike many budget printing options, with professional print services, the cost-per-item frequently decreases substantially with higher overall quantities.
So, while the need to physically print something may have become something of a rare occurrence in recent years, that doesn't mean you should treat it like a chore to get over with as quickly and cheaply as possible. On the contrary, it should be treated like the special occasion that it is. People will notice. Invest in the presentation you are giving people of your brand. Need help brainstorming ideas or executing this in your print materials? Contact us today!