WHY PRINT NEEDS DIG­I­TAL

As CA’s Rosie Hilder pre­pares to move to Cre­ative Bloq, she re­flects on the role of print in a dig­i­tal age

Computer Arts - - Contents - Does print need dig­i­tal, and vice versa? Or are they bet­ter off apart? Tweet your thoughts @Com­put­erArts us­ing #De­signMat­ters

Rosie Hilder re­flects on the role of print in a dig­i­tal age

Over the last two years, I’ve worked on 23 is­sues of Com­puter Arts. But by the time you read this, my print ca­reer will be over – at least for now. I’ll have moved to a new job on CA’s web­site, Cre­ative Bloq. Leav­ing one role to start an­other is al­ways ex­cit­ing and scary in more or less equal mea­sure, and though this move is within the same com­pany (on the same floor, no less), I’ve got mixed feel­ings.

There are so many things I love about mak­ing print mags. I love the quest for the per­fect syn­ergy of words and pic­tures, I love work­ing on cov­ers – es­pe­cially with CA’s beau­ti­ful cover treat­ments – and I love be­ing able to show peo­ple what I do by hand­ing them the fin­ished prod­uct. I also en­joy get­ting feed­back on an is­sue I’d long for­got­ten about. For me, work­ing in print is de­layed grat­i­fi­ca­tion at its finest.

There are also things I won’t miss. I won’t be sad to leave be­hind the four-week is­sue cy­cle, the stress of re­al­is­ing an er­ror has made it to print and the in­evitable feel­ing of panic as (yet an­other) dead­line looms.

In some ways, that’s why the new job is so ap­peal­ing. I’ll no longer be ruled by print dead­lines – mean­ing tak­ing hol­i­day will be eas­ier, and in­stead of hav­ing to wait a month or two to get feed­back, I’ll get in­stant sat­is­fac­tion in the way of likes, shares and page views. But best of all for a per­fec­tion­ist like me, no mis­take will be per­ma­nent, and I’ll be able to quickly up­date a mis­spelled name or an er­rant apos­tro­phe.

My day-to-day work won’t change that much, though. I’ll still be in charge of fact check­ing, spellcheck­ing and sort­ing out wonky gram­mar. I’ll still need to con­cern my­self with page fur­ni­ture, it’ll just be a dif­fer­ent kind – my head­ers will need to please Google, not just the ed­i­tor. And while I won’t have to worry about mak­ing copy fit in InDe­sign or stand­ing out on the news­stand, I will have to nav­i­gate the CMS, mas­ter SEO and grab peo­ple’s at­ten­tion on the in­ter­net – where they’re ar­guably more dis­tractible than they ever were at WHSmith.

These days, declar­ing print is dead and dig­i­tal is the fu­ture is hardly orig­i­nal, but it’s not as sim­ple as that. Why do they have to be so sep­a­rate? Shouldn’t the best web­sites and dig­i­tal cam­paigns rely on print, and vice versa? Can’t both medi­ums learn from each other? And don’t mag­a­zines need to go dig­i­tal to sur­vive?

That’s why I feel this is not a move away from print or Com­puter Arts, but more a swing to a dif­fer­ent branch of the same tree. Cre­ative Bloq both sup­ports and re­lies on the six mag­a­zines in Fu­ture’s cre­ative and de­sign divi­sion. So while I’ll have left print, I’ll be do­ing my bit to sus­tain it, too. I think that’s some­thing to be ex­cited about. If noth­ing else, it’s at least worth a ‘like’ or two.

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