Carl Barenbrug

Product design, creative direction

For Digital, For Print

Over the past decade, the debate between print and digital has been prevalent. For those dedicated to and passionate about print, there is an unwavering defiance and likely stubborn denial that print will come to an end as a means of publication—at least as a profitable one. And yet still the new books and magazines keep coming, still relishing the scent of fresh ink and tactility of paper. That’s not to say there won’t always be a market for it—you simply can not replace the tangible experience of paging through a printed book or magazine. No smartphone, e-reader, or VR headset will achieve that. Simply because those devices are not designed to compete with that experience. They are designed to be more practical, affordable, lightweight, convenient, and accessible.

There will only be one winner when it comes to how the written word is experienced and consumed, but what about art? Digital art certainly has its place in consumerism, but print (or analogue) currently has a stronghold over digital when it comes to experiencing artwork. 50 years from now, that may change drastically, but for now, printed art is not going anywhere soon. A physical screen print, framed, and precisely positioned in a space will have a far greater impact and lasting effect than a digital projection on a wall or a wallpaper on your phone. Of course printed art can originate from a digital creation or even be programmed for robotic technology to perform. That kind of blending of the methods is fascinating. Robotic art has an exciting future, whether in exhibition or in performance.

It can be a tough decision on whether or not to produce a digital product or a printed one. I’m at a bit of a crossroads myself. I am still unsure whether I want the next edition of Minimalissimo magazine to be printed like the three previous, or if I should design it specifically to be read and experienced in a digital format. I do still have a lot of love for print though. I have worked with graphic design consultancy Berger & Föhr to produce a very limited edition set of screen prints, which, once printed and framed, will look incredible in any space. More on that when these become available. Maybe I need to do a readership poll. Or maybe I need to go with my gut and take a risk.

If you have any strong opinions on digitised or printed books, magazines, and artworks, please get in touch.

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