Saying Goodbye to PRINT

Now I’m not saying PRINT magazine was the sole reason I selected graphic design as my academic major, but boy did it sure have a lot to do with it. The Internet was certainly a thing as I exited high school, but in the late nineties I was still gleaning my sense of the world primarily through tangible materials. PRINT was not only a source of information and inspiration; it also served as a beacon, an apex of the printed object itself. Paper samples from French and later Yupo would be bound in with the rest of the gloss paper stock giving the magazine a feel of part art-object part publication.

Earlier this year I found out, (rather late I suppose), that PRINT was going out of, well…print.

This is a shame. PRINT is going to be missed. Even if you never cracked a cover, you should miss it. What will especially be missed is the PRINT Regional Design Annual. To be honest, it really is the idea of the annual that I believe we should miss the most.

Here’s why; it represented two critical things for our industry. (And when I say “our” industry I am not only referring to graphic design; but marketing, mass communications, illustration, shopper marketing, typography, commercial art, content marketing, marketing content…call it what you will.) The first is that the annual was a collection of work that subjectively represented the best of our craft. It was a guidebook, a premier on what relative approaches were appropriate for current culture and time. Second, and this one is important—it represented a goal. If you worked as a graphic designer, art director, account manager, creative director, writer, photographer, illustrator, you name it…you wanted to say at least once in your career that you were included in the annual’s collection of work.

It was always my goal, one of the “KPI’s” I sought to validate my career but I never made it into the annual and so I’m left to speculation as to whether my work was ever close to being selected.

And I’m good with that.

But what I’m not sure I’m good with is that in our industry’s assumed digital maturity that the need for analog print, for paper, for design to be held up as it’s own discipline should be ignored or presumed invalid or dead. Even as the size of the PRINT RDA dwindled over recent years you still got a sense of the vitality of printed material’s relationship to design. I believe human beings’ relationship to printed material is just as important as our relationship to digital material, social content and even voice.

PRINT will apparently live on as an online community and while I hope it thrives in that new iteration our industry should continue to champion the types of design and thinking that can only occur on paper and tangible formats. Furthermore, designers and thinkers still need to seek validation for their craft beyond the reach of their social feeds. Regional and national award shows such as the Addy’s are great, but in a sense they are ephemeral, (if not highly political). They are fleeting, but the record and residue left behind through printed and published material leaves strong evidence and inspiration for us and the future makers and thinkers in our industry…and in our communities.

Judging the 2018 Effies

As I reflect on the past year, I can’t help but focus on a trip I took to Chicago in December to be a judge for the 2018 Effie Awards – one of the most prestigious awards you can win within the Shopper Marketing industry. PHX has submitted programs to the Effie Awards in the past, but I’ve never been a judge so this was something completely new for our agency as well as myself.

When I originally submitted my application to become a judge, I didn’t know what to expect. There were several questions spinning in my mind; How would I fit in? Were there going to be 50 judges from top agencies? Or the most daunting question for me; How would Phoenix Creative compare to the larger, global Shopper Marketing agencies in the room—those agencies that submitted for the same top awards that Phoenix was competing for?

After going through the experience of being a judge, I knew in my heart that Phoenix was right where we needed to be and that we deserved a seat at the judge’s table.

So, how did I know? It’s simple: as the day progressed, it became clear through judging entries and talking with fellow judges that the brand experiences I’ve had at Phoenix provided me with valid first-hand experience and insights that contribute to the larger conversation about Shopper Marketing. Another belief was reinforced while I judged; opportunity matters—and I’m thankful to the many brands that have given me the experiences necessary to put new thinking in retail to use for them.

In reviewing the entries I was given to judge, I witnessed how important it is that PHX has begun to fully know and understand how retailers think and market just as much as the brands we support. At the end of the day, our job is to help sell more products for our customers, but we can’t do it without a superior relationship and understanding of the retailers.

As we drove back through downtown Chicago to O’Hare, I began to process the very quick, but highly beneficial day—I couldn’t help but be so thankful to the clients that asked me to consider becoming a judge and the opportunities that experience has provided—and of course held hope that our agency had some finalists in the mix for Effie Awards!

Phoenix Wins Silver Reggie Award

For the second year in a row we’ve won a Reggie Award! The 35th Annual Reggie Awards were held in April and our team traveled to Chicago to claim our trophy. The Reggie Awards brings together some of the brightest minds in marketing and has become one of the industry benchmarks in shopper marketing achievement. With 23 categories, two focusing on shopper marketing and submissions being judges judged by leaders in the retail marketing industry, the competition has been heating up each year!


Our submission was a program surrounding the limited-time-only SOUR PATCH Redberry SLURPEE at 7-Eleven. We developed strategy and organized the program for release in summer 2016-in-and-out of store POS, custom displays, digital and social media takeovers were just part of the nationwide program urging Generation Z to get themselves to 7-Eleven and grab a SOUR PATCH Redberry SLURPEE. For our efforts, we won SILVER! We are honored to have won and grateful to work and collaborate with our great partners and clients at Mondelēz International.

Phoenix Creative Co.