Metal has been used for its malleability since the beginning of recorded history. It’s a material that has transcended years of engineering advancements. The properties of metal are so unique and versatile that there’s really no end to its uses.
The advent of plastics changed everything. Plastic was a fraction of the cost, a fraction of the weight and even more versatile than metal. There was very little contest.
Plastic replaced metal components from toys to tools. Plastic, it seemed reigned supreme.
However, tastes change. Consumers and businesses became far more aware of branding and messaging - largely based around the concept of ‘perceived value’.
Media in the online space holds as much value as we want to take from it. In the offline space, messaging tends to have more weight behind it through the idea of perceived value.
That is to say: the quality of the design, the quality of finish and the quality of the material.
If a business looks like they invest in themselves, the perception is that they’ll invest in us as a client.
Image courtesy of Jacob's Well
BUT WHY METAL?
Echoing the sentiment of the title, metal works.
It can be directly printed to, it can be shaped, bent, cut, welded together, riveted, drilled, bolted, distressed and weathered.
Metal communicates in a way that no other material can. Metal signifies a real sense of solidity and permanence.
Acrylic has been the go-to material for years, largely because it’s cheap to buy and provides many of the same properties as metal. What acrylic lacks compared with metal is something that can’t be measured. Something that is difficult to describe.
Metal has a reassuring tangibility in the same way as wood.
Metal holds characteristics that just can’t be expressed using any other material. It’s these characteristics that should resonate with your brand and create something that simply exudes everything that your business stands for. Your principles, values and brand should all be felt through the materials that you use.
Metals themselves have associations that are also communicated to your audience.
Brushed steel, for example is synonymous with artisanship, temperance and precision.
Aluminium is a space age material. It’s light, versatile and used in some of the most sophisticated technologies in the world.
METAL IS COOL
Plastic is often chosen for its practical applications but the reality is that metal is too.
It can be manipulated in much the same way as plastic but it’s thinner, it’s weightier (figuratively and literally) plus it can be heat treated, painted, polished or even rusted. The result is some incredible finishes.
Moreover modern inkjet printers have come so far that printing to metal isn’t just possible – it actually provides a quality that’s almost unrivalled. The detail is absolutely incredible and the colours really pop. Metal, being almost entirely impermeable, eliminates potential ink bleeding. This keeps your artwork looking perfect at all times.
In a completely saturated world full of businesses vying for attention, marketers and business owners are looking to connect with customers on a more emotional level. It’s all about feeling. You can dazzle people with all of the price cuts and optional extras that they could ever want – but people don’t like being sold to.
Create something that stands out. Create something that leaves a lasting impression and create something that’s so tangible. Something that’s so tangible that they can almost feel you’re the quality of your brand oozing from it.
When you’re working on your message, media and timing – always remember to consider your material too.