Augmented reality brings light to the dark future of print

It was a rather dark and gloomy Monday inside and outside of the studio. Our spirits were weathered from the weekend and we nursed a grievance against the sudden wintry weather. It was around noon that we received a little brightness in the form of a flat blue cardboard parcel in the mail. It had the words ‘every cloud’ printed on the top, but was otherwise fairly inconspicuous. When we opened it, the inside of the parcel revealed to us a luminescent silver lining. Very clever.

The contents included a small instruction flyer, and a colourful book with a cover featuring an array of citrus fruit. The book was bound at each end and had a perforation line through the centre, making it seemingly impossible to open. The simple instruction slip detailed how to open the book. We bent the book back and forth to loosen the perforation before carefully tearing each page open. Upon opening the first page, it became clear that the book was the Jacky Winter Field Guide of curated artworks from around the globe. The next page instructed us to download the Jacky WintAR app, which would allow us to utilise the augmented reality features of the book. Every page revealed a new layer of intrigue.


We meticulously opened a few more pages, before impatience kicked in (Gen-Z here) and I took to it with a ruler and scalpel. One half of the book featured a striking artwork on each page, the other half featured the short story ‘Through the Looking Glass’. On every few pages there was a symbol that prompted us to use the augmented reality feature. These pages revealed playful animations and sounds that breathed life into the artworks and added depth to the stories.


After an hour of browsing the beautiful artworks, entertaining stories, and unique augmented reality animations, our spirits had lifted. This book is a wonderful example of the intersection of print and digital through the use of augmented reality. Many of us favour the speed and convenience of digital content, however there is still a considerable desire for printed material. Immersive content can bring a different energy to print, creating new channels for learning and interactivity.

Augmented reality is changing the way we interact with print through the use of technology that connects it to the digital world. It can be challenging to properly combine print, mobile and online content for AR, and I won’t lie, there were some hiccups with the speed of the AR elements in the book.



However, it excites me beyond measure knowing that there are clever, forward-thinking people out there who are trying to find ways to merge both worlds. The world of digital technology and the world of paper magic. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in time, augmented reality is adapted by marketers and publishers alike, helping print to stand the test of time.

Hannah Guilford 

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