Will print ever be completely eclipsed by digital media?
No. Printed news and short fiction may be fazed out over time, but hard copy books will never go away. Why not? Because designers and craftsmen will begin to hone in on the unique strengths of the medium that cannot be authentically replicated digitally. The texture and smell of a book are the first things that come to mind – even dimension and weight.
Going back to the advent of photography, artists feared the end of painting as a medium. However, that was clearly never the case. Rather than dying, painters stopped thinking about the picture plane as a journalistic tool and began using it as a field of expression. There is something about the look, feel, and smell of a painting that a photograph simply cannot capture.
The same principle applies to print vs. digital. It’s easier to share news and short stories digitally, so it doesn’t make sense to continue printing them. Rather than looking at it as the death of print, we should be looking at it as a renaissance.
How can graphic designers translate their training in print media to an increasingly digitized environment?
It’s the principles of design that matter most. Right? If designers learn how to make things for printed material, they should easily be able to adapt to web site design and motion graphics – at least in theory. I tend to believe that designers with a strong background in visual communication can adapt to any design challenge regardless of the medium in which they were trained.
That being said, navigation and storytelling progression on the web are relatively different than on print. Just as an architect must know that basics of construction, a designer for the web must have some understanding of the underlying structure of the web. What are the strengths of the medium, and what are the limitations. How can those limitations be pushed or utilized for maximum impact? Designers already have the training to answer the second question – provided they have the education to answer the first.