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If your business produces PDF newsletters then I encourage you to read this and then question your strategy.

Because sitting on the bus last year, I began to wonder, “Will PDFs soon follow the fate of vinyl records?”

The rise of the PDF

As a graphic designer in the mid 1990s it seemed like the Portable Document Format (PDF) Newsletter was the silver bullet of business communications.

  1. Adobe created the PDFs in the early 1990s and designers like me loved them because they locked in the integrity of our layouts including fonts and images. And designers were needed to create each edition in their designer software (which soon became an all Adobe affair).
  2. Brands loved PDF newsletters because the one single beautifully designed PDF could be printed and mailed, sent as an attachment by email or even put on the website to view or download.

In the golden era of PDFs, the newsletter recipient found them easy enough to view on screen or, more often than not, printed out to be read later. A complete four page printed newsletter could be read in all of its glory – but without the green stigma (and costs) of printing.

The beginning of the end for PDFs

But that has all changed with the rise of the iPhone (in 2007) and iPad (2010) – OK and Androids too.

Engaging with content has become mobile.

Screen reading is no longer confined to desktop workstations or kitchentop laptops (after the kids are in bed). The latest news and gossip can now be consumed anywhere, anytime. And news is no longer confined to text and image as video and affordable 3G+ plans are part and parcel of our digitalised lives.


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