Why Should You Print?

Two key benefits of this tried and true medium



Christine Dunne


Our industry talks a lot about print, but not always why you should print. It’s a fundamental question that gets to the heart of print’s strength and potential.


Based on my experience researching print as well as recent conversations with colleagues, I’ve distilled the reasons for printing into two categories: because it is decorative (evoking pleasure among those encountering it) and because it is functional (leading companies and organizations to achieve their goals).


Print Is Decorative and Pleasurable

When we ask office workers why they print, they frequently say they enjoy reviewing or editing on paper. This affinity for holding an object that is (in and of itself) disconnected from links, social media, and instant messages is probably why so many of us enjoy reading old-fashioned books.


The books—which, in addition to their covers, may have decorative touches within—give us a time and space to immerse ourselves in new ideas, possibilities, and strategies. This helps explain why Keypoint Intelligence is forecasting US print volume for digitally printed books to grow at a 13% CAGR during the 2020-2025 forecast period.


The last book I read for my book club gave me a break
from COVID-related headlines and made me think


When handling printed material, there’s no need for plugging in a device, remembering a password, or accessing a secure wireless network. You simply pick it up and do what you want with it. This could mean hanging a poster on the wall, looking at photo prints, or jotting your thoughts in a journal.


Decorative print also makes a good gift. It makes the recipient feel special, as someone took the time to not only get them a gift but have it be something they can appreciate with numerous senses. The recipient may not have limitless space in their home or office for print, but a spot will be found when it is meaningful.


Print Is Functional

Print can also be effective at getting businesses and organizations to achieve their goals. Whether this is inciting customers to order products or ensuring students engage with coursework, print plays a key role in shaping these behaviors.


In the business realm, print often captures the attention of the recipient—especially in today’s cluttered communication market. When delivered through a low saturated channel, like the mailbox or on a billboard, print stands apart. This is especially true when it incorporates colors and creativity, special papers and sizing, as well as original finishing like artistic folding.


Print can further engage recipients when it is personalized; features like QR codes or AR or NFC tags can lead to more information of relevance and further boost the likelihood the individual will purchase or perform another specific action. 


When it comes to educational institutions, they can leverage print to help students connect with material and retain information. This may help explain why children’s schoolwork has caused the most growth in home printing during the pandemic, and education is a top vertical for print service providers in terms of print volume. (This is based on a 2021 survey in which more than half of respondents were commercial printers as well as earned less than $3 million in annual revenue.)


Based on your total print volumes (offset and digital), could you please select the top three
vertical markets that you produce the largest print volumes for?
Source: Keypoint Intelligence Market Trends and PSP Strategies and Interests (2021)



Keypoint Intelligence Opinion

Print industry professionals clearly want to sell print. But getting to the bottom of why people should print (or use print) needs to be a greater focus. Conducting and leveraging independent research about the benefits of print—including research from universities—can help customers make more educated decisions about their document-related needs and investments.

Log in to the InfoCenter to view more research on the top reasons and applications for printing through our Office CompleteView and On Demand Printing & Publishing Advisory Services. If you’re not a subscriber, just email us at sales@keypointintelligence.com for more info.


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