iStock_000017626720SmallI recently stumbled upon a video by Ikea that humored me and got me thinking about how much I enjoy printed materials. You can watch the video here. Ikea has done a great job of highlighting the usefulness of a printed catalog while poking fun at tablets and our technology obsessed culture. A few of the highlights are “infinite battery life”, “pre-loaded content”, and an “intuitive tactile touch interface”. While the video is tongue-in-cheek, Ikea has hit upon a variety of truths about the way that I am interested in consuming media/information.

In many instances I will actively choose printed materials when given the choice. Wired magazine continually reminds me that I have access to their online tablet edition, but I have yet to check it out. I prefer to have a magazine in my hand for extended reading sessions. Don’t misunderstand me, I use a content aggregator to read articles on my phone as well, but those tend to be short articles and I bounce quickly between them. They don’t provide the same satisfaction as when I sit down with the most recent issue of a magazine.

I’ve also been looking at catalogs lately. My wife and I are planning a remodel and catalogs have been a superior way for me to look at styles and options. I like being able to mark things by quickly folding a page or adding a tab and we can quickly and easily pass it back and forth. It is also easier for us to interact while looking through the catalogs together. When we try and use a tablet or computer, one person is in control and it seems to impede the discussion.

There are many ways in which technology is more useful than printed materials, but to me the real advantage is being able to access both. I can use technology to get immediate access to a wide range of new information and can use printed materials for things I want to explore more deeply or share with others. I’m happy to say that for all the benefits of technology, there is still a place in my life for the printed word.

Do you find printed materials useful or are they superfluous to the technology in your life? Leave a comment below and let us know! 

—Aaron Baldwin, Designer