Print and Augmented Reality, a Match Made in Heaven

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Recently the internet has been obsessed with the AR craze that is Pokemon GO. It has become impossible to escape online as well as in the real world, and that, my friends, is the entire point.

Augmented reality has been around for a while now, but just as the iPhone made smartphones mainstream, Pokemon GO has done the same thing for AR. This has been a boon for retail businesses and restaurants in terms of generating foot traffic, and it has been lucrative for businesses with the foresight to embrace the current trend.

An interesting if somewhat unexplored opportunity for the print industry that is right around the corner—and already growing—is a similar boom thanks the power of AR.


iGreet makes a line of augmented reality greeting cards

Imagine for one moment that as an AR game such as Pokemon GO allowed retailers to offer special bonuses to their patrons in the form of vouchers for in-app purchases. Another possibility would be to use print materials to enhance the experience of game—as some physical toys and games are beginning to do—with unique items such as hidden maps or keys accessed when your phone or tablet camera sees a special printed code or icon.


Print when married to AR can create even more user participation and give developers more creative freedom to expand their games and generate user interest. While this relationship doesn’t currently exist in Pokemon GO and many other AR games, we do see it other Apps that augment our reality. We are already seeing this with SnapChat and SnapCodes. As I covered in a previous article, QR codes are being used (moreso overseas and in the United States) to create augmented experiences for users. SnapCode-based flyers, business cards and even t-shirts are becoming more and more common nowadays.

We are seeing a paradigm shift right before our eyes, and this has wide implications for many industries, including print, web and especially brick and mortar businesses. If nothing else we should anticipate more businesses taking AR seriously over the next few years and that could dramatically change their approach in marketing.

What are your thoughts on this brave new Augmented World? Do you think augmented reality will catch on, and can you see it impacting the design and print world significantly? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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