Science Agrees on the Power of Print

Even today, where digital technology reigns, print retains a uniquely powerful place for marketers – and there’s research backing it up. Digital has its own perks, but print offers several key benefits to marketers looking to ensure their message is seen and remembered.

  • Print requires less effort to pay attention, also known as cognitive load. Instead of audiences being distracted by other elements on digital, print focuses on just one item and one message requiring attention, leading to better understanding and recall.
  • Reading on a printed page actually increases reading comprehension. For marketers, this means audiences better understand the brand’s messaging and are more likely to be persuaded to take a desired action.
  • Print can lead to stronger recall and emotional connection by engaging more senses. Where digital media typically engages sight and maybe sound, print is also tactile, which can create deeper senses of connection and memory.


Print’s Primacy: Backed by Research

The benefits of print have been proven repeatedly through extensive studies on print and digital media, reading comprehension, and similar topics.


One 2023 study from the University of Valencia compared print and digital reading habits for leisure reading. Researchers found a minimal relationship between reading comprehension and reading on a digital screen, but a significant positive relationship between comprehension and paper reading. In fact, the study found that print readers are likely to have six to eight times the level of reading comprehension than if they read for the same amount of time on digital devices.


Another 2023 study published in the journal PLosOne found that screen reading leads to greater cognitive load and reduced attention compared to reading in print. The study considers the difference from a neurobiological perspective, comparing measured brain activity in certain regions of the brain during both screen and print reading. The results proved that print is better at activating higher-level frequency brain activity, which in turn is connected to better attention and focus.


Even earlier studies noted some potential downsides to digital reading. A 2014 study from the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand found that increased digital use for reading led to an increased amount of reading (mainly due to the availability of material online). However, it also led to changes in patience as readers, increased skimming, multitasking, distraction, and even eye strain.


Today’s marketing world requires a smart combination of print and digital, working in tandem to create a seamless brand experience. With technology like QR codes, personalized URLs, and augmented reality, print can layer digital enhancements for a personalized, interactive brand experience that still captures the strong attention and recall of print.


At World Press, we’re here to help our clients make their print dreams a reality, with experienced workers, cutting-edge equipment, and a forward-thinking approach. With creative thinking and a dedicated print partner like World Press, the sky’s the limit for your brand!