What is the beauty of print and digital print?

17Dec11

From landscapeurbanism.com :

understanding media: Marshall McLuhan

 

“The art of making pictorial statements in a precise and repeatable form is one that we have long taken for granted in the West. But it is usually forgotten that without prints and blueprints, without maps and geometry, the world of modern sciences and technologies would hardly exist.”

 – Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1994), 157.

McLuhan is famous for his lengthy—albeit at times opaque—descriptions of media, a term that he introduced to its modern usage. Famous for the phrase, “the medium is the message,” McLuhan examines the idea that we are able to transmit information only through the mediums we have at our fingertips and, at the same time, that we become what we behold, “we shape our tools, and therefore our tools shape us.” (Introduction, xi)

Yet despite a profusion of printed matter, McLuhan notes that “all the words in the world cannot describe an object like a bucket, although it is possible to tell in a few words how to make a bucket.”(158) In essence, then, we are confronted with the conundrum of media: “That basic function of media—is to store and to expedite information.” (158)

Do you agree? Print conveys a message and an idea from the hands of the author to the eyes, ears, and being of the receiver. But many of us are designers: what is the beauty of print, and now, that of digital “print”? Does the medium—words on a page, typography set against paper, pixels set against a screen at various resolutions—matter? Moreover, does it do what we want it to do? Are we sharing useful, effective information, or are we piling bits of printed debris onto mounds of printed debris?

Post your ideas on these questions at: http://tinyurl.com/cshzzqh

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