In this day and age, how your print pieces interact with your digital content can help you combine the immediacy and intimacy of beautiful print piece with the information, info graphics and moving content of your digital.
Print is proven to reach people – it affects them in a different way than digital information and has a proven rate of return. The question then is how best to use both your print and digital marketing.
At Naked Binder, we have been thinking about this a lot. We all know the QR codes, those odd-looking boxes that you can snap with your smart phone and be brought to a webpage. This is a great first step, but I think we all agree that they are inelegant in design.
There are interesting ways of using them – the pint glass where the QR code doesn’t show up until your Guinness is in it perhaps but the quick response code doesn’t allow for the graphic interface we were trying to figure out.
Next we looked at digital watermarks. very similar to the QR code in how your computer/phone interacts (scanning) but it is better hidden in the graphics of your images.
These seem to offer a better way if imbedding information. The watermark is embedded in a graphic or photo as ‘noise’ that can be read by a scanner. This allows you to great a visual and beautiful print piece to drive traffic to a much more information heavy web site. Have a catalog? Instead of printing 40 pages and sending that to your 20,000 people, perhaps you can move to a 2 or 4 page format that leads people to scan through to the information they want.
So who is doing this? Costco, Meredith Publishing, HouseBeautiful magazine… OK lots of people. This is not new, but it seems underutilized and under promoted by printers and designers.
Lots of information?
In information heavy industries such as building materials, medical and healthcare, insurance and financial there are ample opportunities to provide a clear conduit to the technical information that people need. Instead of printing all the information for everything that someone may need, provide links to information that they can search.
Digital watermarks can also be used to ‘pin’ photos and otherwise promote your products.
So now the real question, if I am buying Naked Binders and printing labels for small custom runs, can I embed digital watermarks on a label? As far as we can tell, yes. All of the specs have suggested that the printing can be digital or offset, so there should be no reason a laser printer couldn’t be used. Imagine your proposal or meeting binder standing out from the crowd offering back up information in video.
Do I need another app? Absolutely. But if you think that will hold people back, think of how many people have the app for QR codes..or angry birds. If you haven’t grown up with this stuff it seems crazy people would scan things, but really people do.
Digital and print are going to coexist for a long time. Finding interesting ways to present your information is now a bit more complicated, but also more fun.