Turning a new page

Found this book on the train the other day. Now, I love a good book and I love a good pattern too (and a few dodgy ones if you've seen my collection of jumpers) so combine the two and you've got me.

What made it even better was finding out that it was a first edition, designed by Jeffery Matthews.

Who? Well to be honest, I had no idea, but turns out he was a leading 60's designer who produced a lot of iconic work for the Royal Mail. He's now in his 80's and it's Jeffery Matthews MBE these days, so shame on me for the gap in my design knowledge.

Anyway, it got me thinking.

The book as we know it appears to be under increasing attack from e-books, e-libraries; even the Nintendo DS can be used to read books these days. But instead of caving in, book publishers and book lovers seem to be fighting back.

If people won't come to the libraries, organisations like bookcrossing.com, are showing them what they are missing. And to show that nothing beats owning, holding and turning the page of a real book, publishers like Penguin are investing large amounts of time and money insuring that covers are as visually appealing and desirable as possible. Take the Penguin Gothic Reds collection for example. Brilliant. And just as beautiful as anything Jeffery Mathews or other designers were producing decades ago. They are not bowing to the pressure to embrace digital, because that is not what they do.

Now my point is (and thanks for bearing with me if you've got this far) wouldn't it be nice if more traditional ad agencies did the same. If they set about raising the standards of their press advertising so that it once again gained the respect it was held in decades ago. But faced with so many messages, the humble press ad seems more keen than ever to blend into the background. Surely now is the time for it to be more brave, more interesting and more arresting than ever?

This isn't a rant against digital, that would be ridiculous. It just seems strange when so many traditional agencies suddenly start to focus on chasing digital. Surely if they are only just starting to chase, then they have already lost the race against the many, well respected, talented, digital agencies that are already out there?

Maybe it's naive, but after what appears to be a rather disappointed response to the ANNAs results over on Scamps blog it's just a thought.

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