Disappearing Dinosaurs

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“What were once solid institutions are melting… the institutions that you think you’re going into are dinosaurs and disappearing, vulnerable and changing.”

This week, our content director announced that we would be publishing a ‘yearbook’ of sorts alongside the next print issue of Desktop, the Create Design Awards and the reinvigoration of our online presence. It seems that each boardroom discussion we’ve had lately, runs in a perpetual and detrimental cycle that concludes with an existential discussion of print. As graphic designers are upskilling – or need to – while the world becomes dependant on digital, companies dealing solely with printing, paper and publishing, are enduring a steady decline. Once heavy with advertisers from all of those realms, we now struggle to attract dwindling businesses that have become almost irrelevant and perhaps redundant.

We seem to oscillate between excited strategy sessions that are dizzy with the potential of social media and crowd funding campaigns, and dismal discussions about the future of print and how this will effect designers, the creative industry, and most immediately, our entire target audience. What do people want in print that they can’t get online? How do we maintain a distinct analogue and digital voice, yet still appear cohesive? Why print what we could publish online?

Designers are  being urged to translate their manual skills into digital ones, technology consumes the economy and information radiates from illuminated screens. It’s like being stuck in an odd grey area, where we’re aware of the potential that the internet holds yet we’re not quite sure how to grasp or wrangle it. Neither do our readers or advertisers, apparently. Is it time to step away from print, or is there more to learn from the capabilities of all communicative platforms as media continues to evolve?

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