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The world of spaceships, thumbs, and paper music

August 23, 2012


It is said we evolved from apes, a big grizzly animal that did not have thumbs. As we evolved, we grew thumbs because we needed to press the space key on our computer and … or maybe grip objects.  This evolution amongst many others (I hope) kept us alive. I believe that evolution is the key to surviving the ever-changing environment around us. But how does this relate to paper?

Paper can’t just be paper anymore. It needs to do things that it didn’t do before. It needs to be multipurpose just like everything else. People like fast, small, and multi-functional and that is what paper needs to do to evolve to 2012 and beyond. Yesterday we just used paper for writing and reading. Today we need to use paper as one avenue for our marketing campaigns, QR code placements, and triggers for business processes.

And then after that, paper will need to evolve to meet the standards of the new and maybe it will be better suited for a niche market rather than for the masses.

Statistics show that using print communications, though declining, is still effective. Direct Mail has higher response rates than email marketing in some industries. A Neilsen study showed that 84.5% of recipients opened and read personalized printed envelopes. Evolution is needed. Without change, the iPhone would not be as popular as it is today, so think the same for paper.  Yes as time has gone by new treatments (Washable envelopes), etc has been applied but now in the world of technology, paper needs to go a step further. I believe paper/print media is correlated with the evolution of communication:

I really liked this statement Terry Horton, a Senior Account Executive at PCI, made on a LinkedIn discussion: “Yes print will survive. It will however become the road vs. the destination of facts.”

Paper can do the same thing: communicate, but it cannot be looked at the same way. Do not expect to find success by not adapting your paper environment to fit the world of iPads, smartphones, augmented reality, and space ships. Here are some examples how paper has been taken to the next level:

Talking resume 

Paper Music 

Learning English 

Starting business processes 

Annual Report powered by the sun 

I hope this entry has helped you open your eyes to what paper has the potential to do. I am sure more cool things can be done and more creative approaches are out there.

Great print media resources:

Print Power

Print Media Centr 

Print in the Mix 

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