Humanizing the Print Medium

I’m in the midst of planning a campaign for a client that compliments their brand identity advertising campaign, so I’m very focused on how the brand statement (advertising) becomes brand behavior (PR and digital). It’s more or less along the lines of creating a user experience that reflects these new brand attributes that are promised in the advertising. It’s a fun project.

I’ve had some inspirations of late and here’s two:

GOOD SHEET is a pamphlet I noticed in a mall location of the ubiquitous Starbucks coffee chain. At first I thought it was a Starbucks newsletter of some sort but visiting the good.is site revealed it’s a Starbucks exclusive publication but from the GOOD.is organization. They have some other advertisers but it looks like Starbucks went for the extra big ass (Idiocracy reference) sponsorship, which gets them an exclusive in-store publication.

The GOOD SHEET in Starbucks

The GOOD SHEET in Starbucks

The pamphlet masthead has the following description:

THIS IS THE GOOD SHEET. IT’S A WEEKLY SERIES BREAKING DOWN AN IMPORTANT ISSUE TO HELP MAKE SENSE OF THE WORLD AROUND US. EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE AT STARBUCKS.

It gives me the warm and fuzzies and that’s well and good (no pun intended) but what was most pertinent for me as I work on my client project is the notion of breaking down a seemingly complex issue and doing it in a timely and relevant, if not more human, approach. This particular issue (#4) took on the subject of gas prices. Open the GOOD SHEET up and you reveal an almost 11 x 17 spread with a big image of gas pumps in the background and more than 10 call outs for various aspects of the issue.

Inside spread of the GOOD SHEET

Inside spread of the GOOD SHEET

At first glance my contemporaries might think “woah, there’s too much going on here. Information overload! Help!” But in a world where the primary interface for information is frequently a computer screen and more specifically a Web browser, this layout would probably score higher on the heuristics for sub-oldster (including myself in that group) audiences. My camera phone pic above doesn’t do it justice but you almost want to click on the call outs.

Here’s another from marktd

from marktd.  Go visit their site.

from marktd. Go visit their site.

PSFK’s Nico Margolies had a post on Adidas’ new print campaign that incorporates the magazine fold into the functionality (dare I say) of the print ad. Even though I hang to the digital side of marketing for the most part, I always appreciated that print had a user experience of its own, although I’m pretty sure that term is rarely used in the print world. This Adidas two-page spread makes the fold (the UI of the mag) part of the creative presentation.

These examples of humanization inspire me on my current project, but I hope I can retain that when I consider user experience for any project I’m working on. Human factor and usability folks are saying “no duh, doofus” so this post is more my personal reminder than real value for the blogopshere.

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