Once upon a time, digital media didn’t exist.
Pretty much everything was produced as a physical entity. There weren’t any differences between online and offline collateral because there was simply no other option.
The world has changed.
Realistically, how often do you find yourself actually writing with a pen?
Pretty much anything ‘graphic’ begins its life online, or at least in a digital space. There might be some preliminary paper sketches, but the ‘meat and potatoes’ is created using a computer.
And this got us wondering – how do we take online…offline?
We’re not talking about the physical act of digital printing; instead, we’re looking at the actual concepts behind bringing digital design into the physical world. A good printer brings design to life with an artist's touch and a craftsman's precision.
For example, how can the branding and design elements from your company’s website translate to an exhibition stand – maintaining the same aesthetic and function but in a different context?
How can your two-dimensional company logo be utilised in a three-dimensional physical space?
Look at it Backwards
This might sound pointless, unhelpful and somewhat contradictory - but the best way of taking online offline is to have created it in the offline space to begin with.
Computers are great, there’s no denying that. The Internet changed everything and most of us now rely on it to function. However, that’s no excuse to forget about the physical world around us.
You don’t have to begin everything on a computer.
In the initial branding or design process, create physical mood boards. Find cuttings of colours or textures that you like. Sketch out how your initial logo ideas will look on the walls of your office or on your company brochures.
It’s so much more effective to take something three-dimensional and flatten it online, than take designs that have always been two-dimensional and bring them into the real world.
It's all about Feelings
There’s so much more to branding and design than shapes, fonts and colours.
It’s all about the feeling.
If your brand was created purposefully and effectively, it would have been created with the values, feeling and mood of your business in mind.
Shapes and colours can be difficult to transpose to the physical world, unlike feeling and mood.
You need to stop seeing your brand as a series of hex codes, stroke weights and exclusion zones, but instead, see your brand for what it truly means. If you were a superhero, it’s what would be emblazoned on your chest. It’s not until you completely and honestly understand your brand that you can effectively take online…offline.
DIGITAL ISN’T GOING AWAY – BUT NEITHER IS PRINT
At this point, you’re probably thinking – “so everyone used to create with pen and paper, now everyone’s moved online. Does that mean digital is going to soon take over the physical space?”
If you regularly attend trade shows and exhibitions, you are likely to have noticed the increased use of screens and digital displays to present information and branded elements.
Now that virtual reality is now becoming so much more accessible, the line between the digital and physical world is blurring.
What’s important to realise is that although digital media is becoming more and more prevalent in the physical space – print is never going to be replaced.
Digital and physical media work at their best when they’re used codependently.
Print will always be necessary to support digital media.
Digital is great because you can display so much information so quickly to so many people. Though there isn’t a huge amount of longevity.
Tangible printed material is so much more permanent.
Creating materials that flow seamlessly between your online and offline proposition is how you take your proposition to the next level. A display screen that blends with your exhibition stand so when the demo starts your audience is amazed is how you transcend your competition.
But take it further.
Identify design elements and flourishes from your website and incorporate them into your office space so clients who visited your website feel like it’s merely an extension of your office rather than ‘where all the money went’.
The technology exists so you can take any design element and turn it into something amazing be it a vinyl decal, a window cling or even a physical model made from acrylic.
You’re only limited by your ambition and ability to see where the digital and analogue intertwine.
Finding opportunities to create synergy across all of your brand’s media types is something we should all be doing.