High Touch

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Blog, Creative Process, Graphic Design, Marketing | 0 comments

High Touch

In my 18 years as a professional graphic designer, I’ve felt many times that I ‘should’  move into web design, but resisted.  (Whose voice is that anyway?) The programming aspects of web development are not a good fit for me, for one thing. But even more, I love the look and feel  of the printed page—how it engages multiple  senses and is so enduring compared to the fleeting, virtual world of pixels on a screen. I am even more kinesthetic than I am visual (perhaps unexpected in a graphic designer) or auditory. I learn best hands-on and am most strongly rewarded by movement and touch. So tactile engagement works for me. And I am not alone.

Graphic Design USA magazine recently put out an issue focused on product packaging that spoke my language. “Humans were designed to touch and feel. Print—an extremely tactile media—caters to this need,” writes Gerry Bonetto, of the Printing Industries Association, Inc. of Southern California.


Scan 1Maybe the pendulum never swung as far as we thought from high touch to high tech. Four years ago, five major magazine companies—Condé Nast, Hearst Magazines, Meredith Corporation, Time Inc., and Wenner Media—launched one of the largest print advertising campaigns ever, to promote the vitality of magazines as a medium (See below). It was published in 90+ magazines reaching 112 million readers per month. The goal? To “reshape the broader conversation about magazines, challenge misperceptions about the medium’s relevancy and longevity, and reinforce magazines’ important cultural role.”


The ‘Magazines’ logo, created by Y&R NY, combines the distinctive typographies of multiple magazine logos. How many can you identify? (Answers: M from Time, A from Vanity Fair, G from Rolling Stone, A from Entertainment Weekly, Z from Harper’s Bazaar, I from Marie Claire, N from Fortune, and ES from Esquire)

Bonetto goes on to share the latest data on print vs. other forms of media: “Print not only provides a warm and friendly experience that no other medium offers, it also offers a sense of permanence that simply feels more trustworthy.”

  • Recent studies show that consumers find print ads quite a bit more trustworthy than those they see online. While 60% of consumers trust newspaper and magazine ads, just 48% trust search advertising or online video ads, and only 42% find online banner ads worthy of their trust (1)
  • Another recent study shows that newspaper ads rank noticeably higher than ads on radio, TV or online-only sites when it comes to measures of advertising effectiveness such as “usually notice ads” and “likely to purchase.” (2)
  • Magazines outperform TV and online for critical purchase drivers such as brand awareness, brand favorability and brand purchase intent. (3)
  • Social media—the darling of the marketing world—may not be that darling after all. In a 2014 study of more than 1,700 social media marketers, less than 8% were actually happy with their efforts and 21% were so dissatisfied that they’re ready to replace their social spend with more traditional buys. (4)

(1) Nielsen, Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages, Sept. 2013

(2) Nielsen, 2013 National Cross-Media Engagement Study

(3) MP, Magazine Media Fact Book, 2013-2014

(4) iMedia Connection, The Declining Value of Social Marketing, Jan. 15, 2014

… All this to justify my pattern of disregarding that voice (whoever’s voice it is) and designing what I love—messages that reach out and touch somebody.

ASSESS YOUR OWN SENSORY PREFERENCE(S) with this questionnaire  from Arlene Taylor PhD. of Realizations, Inc.


Be Sociable, Share!
468 ad

0 responses to “High Touch”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *