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Print. It Ain't Dead Yet

Print is dead. Or is it just sleeping?


Print is dead. Or is it just sleeping?

A decade ago, designer Jessica Helfand, wrote a passionate defense of the written word (and of typography in particular) to her then two year old daughter, Fiona. Well, it actually was an essay commemorating the second edition of David Carson's The End of Print, (which was published way back in 1995, ages before Kindles, iPads, and Smartphones and had precious little to say about technology's rapid encroachment).


Print, she wrote to her young daughter:

"... is a word that occasionally causes people to wrinkle up their noses and describe a time when it was customary to wear burlap shoes and sit hunched over, by candlelight, scratching painstakingly written messages to one’s friends and neighbors using quill pens. This really happened, back in ancient times. Like back when there were mummies and dinosaurs. Before television. Like when Daddy was little."

Over a decade later, when our culture has talked and tweeted itself hoarse about print's imminent demise, we see how prescient Helfand was, and how wise she remains:

"And even though we read them printed on paper and you will very likely read them emblazoned on a screen, do you know what, Fiona? It doesn’t matter, because no matter what the typography does (or doesn’t do), and no matter what print is (or isn’t), words are just ideas waiting to be read. And reading will never die. Reading is your ticket to the world."