Print: It’s Alive!

While flipping through the Houston Press, I discovered (for the trillionth time) a little half checkered, half gingham square, smack-dab in the center of my attention. It is so very 2011-this funktafied barcode that went multi-sensory savvy. Right there, in the middle of my “Stick Em Up” article, was an invitation to capture data and transform my printed Houston Press into a dynamic information-gathering experience. If I put my hand-held device to the paper, I could peek at the movie. A motion picture sample-packet, embedded right into the paper. They are everywhere; retail displays, magazines, at the grocery, in your mail. When we think of these auto data-capture codes and discuss the advances in holographic technology, Harry Potter’s trippy books are not so-far-fetched concepts. Information, information, IN FORMATION. Sprout. We are the sprout. The hands across America.

As things such as hot nail polish and end-of-the-world theories come and go, other methods of riding the time and space continuum include moving forward in a non-linear fashion. Designers have discovered a way to keep print alive. Methods of communication and information-sharing are now ultra-dynamic in nature. This makes me think about a lecture I attended by Scott McCloud. He pointed out how the nature of a comic or graphic novel can be used to understand our blooming field of designing interactive experiences. We are no longer designing for communicator to recipient: past, present future. Rather, we are designing with an element of interactivity in mind. Past, present, possibility, possibility, possibility. There is a constant ellipses present-conceptual possibility rays that point in 360 degrees. If they click here-this and when they rollover here, that. Interactivity drives design, be it material or conceptual in nature.

The barcode contains information in a horizontal or vertical direction, (depending on how you look at it). The Quick Response Code, or QR Code contains information in both horizontal and vertical directions and so, can hold up to several hundred times the amount of data. I’m wearing Yellow Polka Dot Bikini by China Glaze and reading a 3D newspaper about people who affect their community by turning ideas into realities. Designers, unfasten your seat belts. We are in the future. Print: It’s Alive!

By Jessica Rios-Almanza
Published May 28, 2011
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