As a company working hard to be ‘cutting edge’ and keep abreast of the various new media that have revolutionised 21st century communication it might seem strange that we should write a blog post extolling the virtues of analogue. Isn’t the new world of digital communication all about no longer having to accumulate physical stuff? Pretty much all the information and content we could ever need is streamable or downloadable to the various devices we almost all own, after all.
But, there’s a reason that the word ‘print’ is at the heart of our strapline. We are, at heart, a print company, for all our mastery (or at least attempted mastery) of the virtual world, and what we love most about coming to work each day is when we get to make something. Digital media engages with our visual and auditory senses, but leaves our sense of touch unstimulated. A really nice book, full of compelling images or fine writing is a tactile pleasure as much as anything else. We get to hold it, and engage with the physical medium of its manufacture in a way that simply doesn’t happen with an e-book.
It’s not only print where the analogue renaissance is happening, although Jonathan Jones makes a compelling case for it in this Guardian article. Even back in the eighties the musical world was divided over whether analogue or digital synthesizers were better – old school Moog fans versus the New Romantics and their DX7s (yes, I was there; yes, I’m THAT old). When the CD boom started, die-hard vinyl lovers insisted that the conversion to binary data removed the warmth and vitality from the sound of a CD, while the strictly analogue pressing of vinyl retained it.
Now, as Simon Richardson notes in his BBC blog, the analogue fightback is growing. What he calls “the gritty sensuality of old-school tech and media you can hold in your hands” is fighting back against the onslaught of Apple and Android. Maybe it’s a symptom of a wider concern about big business IT dominating arts and culture, but guerilla vinyl meeting, hand copied and stapled fanzines, 35mm photography film and cassettes are all making something of an underground comeback.
Which brings us back to the book, and print in general. Design and marketing agencies haven’t forgotten that print exists, but it has been a less important part of their mix for a while and new designers coming out of Universities have often done all their work online. Slowly, that’s changing, as we rediscover the tactile pleasure of holding something that someone has made. Next time you think about your marketing, or your sales strategy, or even just a birthday present for a loved one, consider the joy of actually holding something in your hand and drop us a line to see if we can help. You don’t need to remember your password to access it (I’m talking to YOU, iTunes) and it’s harder to ignore. Print is analogue, and analogue is cool!