“The Medium is the Message”
By John Dalpe
Owner and Managing Partner at Ink Waves, LLC
Think about this…”often it’s not just what you print but also what material you print on.”
At Ink Waves, the most important time we spend with our clients is helping them choose the right material. Our goal is to ensure that our clients’ intended audience of the “printed message” also enjoys the look, touch, and feel of the finished product.
In many respects all of our clients have very similar needs; they print to motivate, educate, or communicate. Most of the time they are trying to accomplish all three in the same piece of print. Why do our clients do that? Like you, they are trying to get the best bang or value for their buck.
Coined by Marshall McLuhan, the phrase “The medium is the message” has been explained as; “the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.” One example of this are paintings, including the painting on the ceiling, in the Sistine Chapel. How do you separate the painting from the building? Is the Sistine Chapel famous because of the paintings or are the paintings famous because they are in the Sistine Chapel?
Does the material or medium that you print on really make a difference? The answer is a resounding yes! With hundreds of colors, sizes, finishes, textures, weights, and stock types to choose from, selecting the right material for your printing project can make the difference between having printed material they pick up and glance at versus having that one piece of material that they interact with, learn from, and remember. It’s what we refer to as offering “Quality in Every Color.”
One of our most popular and market leading services is “P-Value Posters.” P-Value Posters is a service that provides for the design and production of Scientific Posters. Combining over 20 years of sales and marketing experience with our printing expertise, two years ago we started shifting our clients to Scientific Posters printed on a lightweight poly fabric instead of poster paper. Our goal was to help them deliver scientific research information to their audiences on a material that was very modern and “cool” or “techie”. They found that, in addition to having a “wow” factor Scientific Poster, they also saved money on shipping and other production costs. They also found the material much more convenient to travel with when going to meetings (NO MORE TUBES!). The results of this switch in materials have been tremendous. Nearly all of our Scientific Poster clients have switched over to this new and exciting material for their presentation. In their words, “sometimes the audience is just as impressed with the material the content is printed on as they are with the content itself,” making the medium a part of the message.
So the next time you pick up something to read, or walk by a sign, banner, or poster… think about this: does it jump out at you, does it compel you to pick it up and read it, do you wish that it was your piece, or is it really your piece and you’re very proud of it. Then ask why? It is the medium, the message, or both?