Print media is a form of publishing that relies upon paper as its medium. Magazines, newspapers, flyers, and books are all examples of print media.
This type of publishing has been around since the emergence of the printing press in the 15th century, when it enabled the rapid spread of information for the first time in human history. It remains an important part of communication and marketing to this day.
In the past few decades, print media has faced stiff competition from new media, such as the internet and television. Nevertheless, print media still remains relevant in some contexts. Large newspaper publications, for example, are still seen as the elite mediums for political discourse.
Print Media Examples
For most of the 20th Century, newspapers were the dominant mass media form of information sharing, particularly in the fields of economics and politics.
Historically, newspapers were published in national broadsheets, state-wide, and local formats. They are typically published daily or weekly.
Many newspapers include sections for national and international news, local news, sports, weather, opinion, business, and crime. In addition to news articles, newspapers may also contain comic strips, puzzles, or advice columns.
Magazines are printed periodicals, typically released on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. They are usually geared towards a specific intended audience, and they often have a specific focus or niche.
For example, there are magazines for bird enthusiasts, carpenters, pop culture fans, and car enthusiasts.
Unlike newspapers, magazines tend to have more graphics and fewer articles. They also often include glossy advertisements targeting a niched-down audience demographic.
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For centuries, books have been an important source of both entertainment and education. The first book is thought to have been invented by the Ancient Egyptians, who used papyrus scrolls to record their history and myths.
Around the same time, the Chinese developed paper and began using it to create books. Books then spread to the rest of the world, thanks to the efforts of early explorers and traders.
The invention of the printing press in the 1400s made it possible to mass-produce books. This helped to make books more affordable and available to the general public.
We can divide books down into categories such as textbooks, encyclopedias, and novels. Each of these sub-categories serves its own purpose, including education, knowledge storage, and entertainment respectively.
Billboards are signs, often advertising signs, that are plastered in public thoroughfares including highways and popular shopping strips.
Billboards were first used in the early 1800s, when advertisers began using large posters to promote their products. These early billboards were often written by hand, faded easily, and were difficult to read from a distance.
However, they proved to be effective at catching people’s attention.
In the late 1800s, advances in printing technology made it possible to produce large lithographs that could be easily mounted on walls or fences. By the early 1900s, companies were using these lithographs to advertise everything from cars to baby formula.
Today, print billboards are increasingly being replaced by electronic billboards that can display a flashy, moving image to catch people’s attention more effectively.
Posters, like billboards, are used to advertise products and brands in public spaces. They are often seen in spaces such as bus shelters, on the sides of buildings, in cinema foyers, and in subways.
One of the key benefits of using posters to advertise is that they can be very cost-effective. Unlike television or radio ads, which require airtime or production costs, posters can be produced relatively cheaply. Additionally, because they are typically placed in high-traffic areas, posters have the potential to reach a large number of people with minimal effort.
Posters are most commonly used to promote films, live shows, and music gigs. They’re still used regularly as a form of guerilla marketing – anyone can throw up a poster in a public space in the inner city.
Flyers are handheld advertisements that are are typically distributed in public places such as on street corners or in bus shelters. They may also be mailed directly to potential customers.
Flyers contain printed text and images promoting a single message, such as a message about a product, event, or who to vote for in an election. They also sometimes offer coupons or discounts.
Their goal is to generate interest in what they are promoting and to encourage people to take action, such as visiting a website or attending an event. When designed effectively, flyers can be an important tool for marketing and advertising.
Catalogs are printed media that demonstrate and promote the inventory of a shop. They typically contain product photos, descriptions, pricing information, and contact information. Many businesses also use catalogs to showcase new products or seasonal offerings.
Historically, brands such as JC Penney would send out their catalogs, then consumers would send back purchase orders, and get their products delivered. With the rise of the internet, catalogs have moved online, and print catalogs are less common.
Often, seasonal catalogs are also provided that target specific events and product segments. For example, a retailer might create a holiday gift catalog that is specifically designed for Christmas shoppers.
Coupons are a type of promotional discount offered by retail stores or manufacturers. As print media, they are typically distributed through newspapers, direct mail, or on flyers. Today, they’re often also emailed to consumers (as an example of electronic media).
Coupons are offered for a short period of time and offer a discount on the purchase of a product or service. One common way that coupons are used is for buy one get one free deals. Customers can also use coupons to receive a percentage off their total purchase, or to get a free item with purchase.
In addition to being used at traditional brick-and-mortar stores, coupons can also be used at online retailers. Many times, customers will simply enter a coupon code at checkout in order to receive the discount.
A zine is a small-circulation self-published work, usually reproduced via photocopying. Zines are most often created by individual writers, artists, or small collectives, and bound with staples, tape, or string.
Unlike magazines, which are typically published by large media companies on a regular schedule, zines are often produced sporadically and without any preconceived notion of audience or market. They’re usually much smaller than corporate magazines as well.
In recent years, the rise of the Internet has made it easier than ever to produce and distribute zines, and the DIY aesthetic of zine culture has been increasingly embraced by mainstream publishers and arts organizations.
10. Yard Signs
Yard signs become very popular during election campaigns when parties distribute the signs as a form of flash marketing before the election. A yard sign typically contains the name and logo of the candidate or party, along with a slogan.
Yard signs are placed in high traffic areas such as near busy intersections. They are also often placed in people’s yards with the homeowner’s permission.
This is one example of print media that has been largely unaffected by the digital revolution of recent decades. During elections, yard signs are as popular as ever.
A periodical is a booklet, often with illustrations, that is issued at fixed intervals (or ‘periods’), typically once a month or once a week. It contains articles, stories, and other writing on a specific niche or topic, such as economics or politics.
Examples of periodicals include The Virginia Quarterly Review, Slate, Jacobin, and The New Statesman.
They’re often seen as a high culture version of magazines, exploring well-edited, detailed, long-form pieces from expert authors in the niche. Periodicals provide a convenient and in-depth way to stay up-to-date on current events, trends, and news.
12. Comic Books
Comic books are illustrated stories that tell a story through image sequences rather than paragraph-form writing. Targeted at youths, they tend to feature superhero characters and include elements of fantasy or science fiction.
Comic books are typically published on a weekly or monthly basis and are typically collected into “trade paperbacks” which compile several issues into a single volume.
While they have been around for over a century, comic books saw their golden years in the 1950s and 60s. However, they have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, thanks in part to the success of movies and television shows based on their characters.
13. Phone Books
Prior to the internet, phone books were the primary way for people seeking help to contact service businesses. The most famous type of phone book is, of course, Yellow Pages.
To make money, phone books would often also have featured companies who would pay to have their service advertised in larger text or with additional details.
There used to be controversy surrounding phone books because they publicly displayed people’s phone numbers. This allowed anyone to call someone’s landline. Some countries subsequently implemented ‘silent’ phone numbers where people could opt to have their phone numbers removed from public records.
Since the rise of the cell phone, as well as the emergence of the internet, phone books have become less and less popular. Nevertheless, they do still circulate in some towns.
Postcards are a personal form of print media that are usually just sent and seen between a small group of people. They are still popular with people who are traveling and want to send messages to their family at home.
The postcard, which is smaller than an envelope so it will fit in the post, usually has a picture of the place the person is staying on the front. On the back, there is space to write a short letter and to provide the address of the place you are sending the letter to.
The idea of a postcard is to send a personalized message to someone letting them know you are thinking of them. Social media such as Instagram have meant people are able to send personalized images instantaneously have quelled the enthusiasm for postcards. However, the old-timey thoughtfulness associated with postcards means they’re still in circuluation.
15. Greeting Cards
Greeting cards are generally fold-over cards that are cards sent to express a variety of emotions, from congratulations to condolences. They often include an image or photograph on the front, along with a message inside.
They are typically given on special occasions such as birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. However, they can also be sent simply to simply express thoughts or feelings, especially to loved ones.
Greeting cards remain popular because they are personalized and a sign that you have thought of the person enough to get them a physical gift. The receiver can physically hold the card and read the message at their leisure.
In addition, greeting cards can be kept as mementos or stored in photo albums. For these reasons, greeting cards continue to be a popular way to stay connected with friends and loved ones, despite the rise of digital media.
Letters are generally a one-to-one form of communication between either two individuals or a business and an individual.
Before telephones, they were a primary way of communicating with family who lived a long way away. During old wars, they were also one of the only ways soldiers could stay in touch with loved ones back home.
Companies also use letters to send bills or provide updates on products and services. Today, most companies encourage people to receive communications via email instead.
The postal service, one of the largest government bureaucracies in most countries, is in charge of moving letters around the world. The first postal services in the USA were set up in the 1640s, starting with one out of Boston. Today the US Postal Service employs over 600,000 people and is buoyed not by letters, but by packages.
17. Print Photographs
Photography was invented in the early 19th century. Its earliest recorded use was in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.
Niépce used a camera obscura to capture an image on a pewter plate, which he then coated with bitumen and exposed to sunlight. This process produced the world’s first permanent photograph.
However, it was not until 1839 that photography truly began to develop as an art form. That year, Louis Daguerre invented the daguerreotype, a photographic process that produced high-quality images on metal plates. The daguerreotype quickly became popular, and by the 1850s, there were numerous studios specializing in this type of photography.
Photography is a celebrated art form that can have a serious impact on the cultural zeitgeist. Images of war from Vietnam, for example, spurred on the Vietnam war protests of the 1970s.
Great world-influencing photography is celebrated in art galleries and yearly prizes. The most cherished photography prize is the Pulitzer Prize, which has been awarded since 1942.
A yearbook is a published compilation of photographs and other images typically documenting the events of a school year. Yearbooks are generally published annually, though some schools opt for biennial or triennial publications.
The photos within a yearbook provide a visual record of the activities and people associated with the school during that academic year.
Images may include portraits, class, and individual photos, action shots of sports teams and club members, as well as images of special events such as proms and graduation ceremonies.
In addition to photos, many yearbooks also include snippets of text, which may document important moments or provide details about student life. Yearbooks can be a cherished keepsake for former students, offering a glimpse into their past and providing a source of nostalgia for years
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Print media is any form of media that exists in a printed, in-based form. It’s contrasted to digital media which, in many ways, is a technological innovation that superseded it. Nevertheless, many forms of print media persist to this day in niched-down formats. While print media is never going to go away entirely, it will continue to evolve out of the mainstream as the world is increasingly digitized. New media has significant advantages including the fact it can be shared and stored more easily.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.