The Power of Print

11-12-2014

As an advocate of the digital movement, I fully embrace how the printed word has migrated gracefully from page to screen. Educated throughout the late 70’s through to the late 90’s, I have been fortunate to witness the birth of the internet and how this digital presence has moulded the creativity of the printed word and made it accessible to the masses via the internet.

Granted, the early days of the world wide web was far from a creative feast for the eyes. What with its limited typefaces, colours and basic layout; it had the visual appeal of a shopping till receipt.

With a raft of digital reading aids at our disposal today (iPad, Kindle) we can easily forget the legacy that has allowed us to reach this stage. Replicating the written word onto small screens has become so creative with the development of code such as Javascript, .PHP, HTML5 and CSS3.

We are only aware of our heritage by the legacy of literacy. Handed down throughout the generations, the printed word has created, divided and destroyed civilisations. We look to the future as being a digital revolution, in the event of depleted, sustainable power resources, without the back-up’ of printed material we run the risk of losing our identity.

Education of the printed word is heavily ingrained in the design industry. In order to understand the current and future applications of type used in graphic design we need to understand its past. It’s very easy today to sit down at a computer and through some words onto a blank canvas without any thought to composition, font size, kerning, leading and ligatures. This is where we need to learn from the typographic masters and even as far back as early manuscript culture of the 12th century where monks copied manuscripts by hand to create visual masterpieces, switching from vellum to paper.

Throughout the centuries, print has become the leading media in decimating cultures and spreading the word of civilisation. The dawn of the modern european printing press during the early 14th century saw huge leaps in creativity and mass production. It is said that ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’, that accompanied with explanative narrative allowed for mass produced pictographic novels as well as educational learning tools such as maps, medical and scientific reference books.

Print has seen somewhat of a renaissance in recent years. With the introduction of more sustainable materials becoming available to express the printed word, designers can now express their art through more senses such as touch/texture - enhancing the design. Here at Zero Above we pride ourselves on sourcing the most environmentally and sustainable solution for any project, particularly for print. Originating from a print only background, we have fully embraced the digital growth market from animation and film through to ecommerce and mobile/web app development. Never dismissing the skills we’ve learnt over the years and utilising the multitude of media at our disposal - we can truly inject the power back into print once again.