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Why Does Science Like Print?

  • October 09, 2017

Kodak was recently asked to participate with its partner Mimeo in the creation of a report titled ‘Print’s Evolving Role in the Modern Enterprise.’ Mimeo is an award-winning print-on-demand solutions provider – and a very important Kodak customer who just recently surpassed their billionth NexPress print.

Mimeo patented their initial idea in 1998, with a vision to combine printing technology, rising Internet connectivity, and reliable logistics. By 2002, the company launched Easy Copy (which would become Mimeo in 2005), the first online document platform that allowed users to upload, build, proof & order documents from anywhere. Today, Mimeo’s model has lowered document-related costs and improved employee productivity for over 50,000 organizations in 140 countries. With a focus on the learning and development market, Mimeo’s operation spans three printing facilities in the US and Europe, with production reaching nearly 2 million digital impressions per day.

Their model is very much about how print and digital live together today – and thrive in today’s modern enterprise.

That philosophy is also reflected in how Kodak approaches technology development. Kodak's focus is on offering solutions that connect software, equipment, controllers, substrates, inks, plates, chemicals and services in ways that generate growth for printers. With Kodak solutions, printers can receive a job, and with our workflow software do the initial set-up then drive it to any number of devices, offset or digital – as well as select what type of finishing operations are needed, choose specific substrates that are optimized for the equipment, and select which plates enable the best on-press performance.

For both Kodak and Mimeo – it’s not an ‘OR’ world but rather an ‘AND’ world where the combination of digital and print provide the most comprehensive and effective solutions when working seamlessly together. Both companies are also focused on keeping print a vibrant and relevant medium into the future.

Chapter 1: Why Does Science Like Print?

Retention of Information

A recent European study sought to measure the information retention of readers after reading a hardcopy and electronic copy of a short story. The research concluded that Kindle readers performed ‘significantly’ worse than paperback readers when asked to reconstruct the story’s plot.

One of the primary drivers behind that result could have to do with ‘deep reading’ as enabled by print. Deep reading refers to a level of engagement when a reader is fully attentive to a text; it requires full attention, in contrast with the way people read content on the Internet: by quickly skimming and scrolling.

“Deep reading requires human beings to call upon and develop attentional skills, to be thoughtful and fully aware…”

Robert P. Waxler and Maureen P. Hall,‘Transforming Literacy: Changing Lives Through Reading and Writing.’

“Deep reading requires human beings to call upon and develop attentional skills, to be thoughtful and fully aware…” Robert P. Waxler and Maureen P. Hall, ‘Transforming Literacy: Changing Lives Through Reading and Writing.’

strenuous to read something in print. T.J. Raphael of Public Radio International explains, “Neuroscience, in fact has revealed that humans use different parts of the brain when reading from a piece of paper or from a screen. So, the more you read on screens, the more your mind shifts toward ‘non-linear’ reading – a practice that involves things like skimming a screen or having your eyes dart around a web page.”

Print and Neuromarketing

In a recent study developed by the Canadian neuromarketing firm TrueImpact, the effects of paper marketing were compared against that of digital media. The study concluded that printed marketing materials were easier to process mentally and were better for brand recall. More specifically:

Print marketing (in this study specifically, direct mail) requires 21 percent less cognitive effort to process than digital media

Brand recall was 70 percent higher in participants exposed to direct mail

Reward and Reinforcement

Print and digital mediums are shown to activate different areas of the brain. Temple University’s study, ‘Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper’ compared 3D images of the participants’ brain activity. These brain scans showed that paper advertising activated the ventral striatum area of the brain more than digital media. The ventral striatum is an area of the human brain strongly associated with reward and reinforcement.

Digital Fatigue

Computer Vision Syndrome, also referred to as Digital Eye Strain, is an increasingly prevalent group of eye and vision-related problems that result from too much time in front of digital devices. The American Optometric Association explains one of its primary causes: “Viewing a computer or digital screen is different than reading a printed page. Often the letters on the computer or handheld device are not as precise or sharply defined, the level of contrast of the letters to the background is reduced, and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen may make viewing difficult.”

In sum, science tells us that print more closely affiliates with how our brain, neuro system and vision works, which keeps the print experience differentiated and value-creating. As such, print remains a critical element of the overall mix for many different segments and markets, working together with digital in today’s ‘AND’ world, to offer the best of both technologies and drive the highest rates of return.

Read more about ‘Print’s Evolving Role in the Modern Enterprise’ how Kodak’s NexPress technology enables business models such as Mimeo’s with its complete offering of digital print solutions.

Read the report:
Digital version
Print version

Chapter 2: Multiple Generations Under One Roof
Chapter 3: Print for Good