15 November 2011
Veteran designer talks about future of print at Graphics Canada
TORONTO—Dave Watson of TAXI, a creative agency, says print can still has the power to outwrestle digital campaigns.

Watson, the agency's creative director, used an example of a TAXI project for the Toronto FC a couple of years back;  instead of season ticket holders getting a stack of tickets, TAXI came up with a poster perforated into individual tickets. A deal was also struck with a framer to have the ticket posters framed at season's end, making it an attractive collectable, he added.

A season ticket poster from TAXI for Toronto FC
A season ticket poster created by TAXI for Toronto FC

The creative director was speaking at Graphics Canada at the International Centre last week, offering a designer's perspective on the future of print.

"Sixteen years ago we were talking about the end of print, and we're still talking about it," he said. He added that graphic designers "love printers" but that clients these days aren't putting as much emphasis on print in campaigns.

Dave Watson, creative director of TAXI
Dave Watson of TAXI

While he doesn't see a bright future for paperback books, newspapers or the "rows of magazines" at newsstands (except for fashion mags which he said are "cherished"), he sees magazines at the supermarket check-out continuing to thrive. Ad flyers arriving the mailbox will also remain strong, he predicted.

Also, he said "we are seeing more and more beautiful designs" in packaging, and believes "more and more, packaging will become an advertisement for the product." The more attractive or effective the packaging, the more edge it will have on its shelf neighbours, he explained.

He said the key for printers to remain viable is "understanding social behaviour and trends" to determine what the market needs and wants. "The question for printers is, how will kids shop in the future, and how will print fit in?"
— Jeff Hayward
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