Kenneth Ballenegger

Angel Investor, Engineer, Startup Founder

Armin Vit on Khoi Vinh’s argument that sending well-crafted print promo is worthless and wasteful, because they inevitably end up tossed out:

Designers send out printed promos to get your attention OUTSIDE of the internet. They want you to look at the piece of work as an actual physical specimen that demands a different kind of interaction than a webby thing. Whether you toss it or not is not the point, just as it’s not the point whether you ignore an e-mail or Tweet or not. It’s about saying “Stop, look at this. Got it? Okay, carry on.” There is nothing wrong with throwing things away (or recycling them).

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I bet you have dozens of design books on your bookshelf that you haven’t seen in years. I know I do. I have them because they give me a weird sense of joy in knowing that I have them in my collection and accessible at any moment. Which is the same reason I, personally, hoard designers’ promotions and things. I have a bookcase filled with them and there is stuff I haven’t looked at in more than ten years. But every now and then I want to remember what a piece looked like either for reference or just for pleasure and I know that it’s there, not in some landfill.

To conclude: Designers, please don’t stop making things or refrain from sending them out. Those things play an important role in the way we consume design material. If everything becomes JPGs, GIFs, and PNGs served on a browser then we are screwed—anyone can create things that look good on the screen, it takes real mettle, vision, and investment to produce something that has physicality and presence. Even if it’s fleeting. For that one moment you have the ability to evoke a response from someone, and that’s not worth tossing out.

I couldn’t agree more. Khoi’s post is interesting and raises some valid concern—but I fully disagree with him. There’s something wonderful about a well-crafted print piece that digital media can never achieve. A pop-up will will never obscure a print poster to notify you of an incoming tweet or email. For the seconds (or perhaps even minutes) that you’re looking at the work, you’re fully engaged and responding to the designer’s intended experience. That’s worth much more than an email can ever get you.