Learning Curve: Why Schools Need Print in the Digital Age

As we widen the scope of education with distance learning, it’s never been more obvious why schools need print. From teacher and staff supplies to classroom essentials and decorations full of school spirit, print marketing can provide it all.


Using tangible, hands-on materials is still the best method to boost engagement and build awareness about your school. Learning Beautiful’s Kim Smith says the strategy is simple: “We respond so powerfully to things we can touch and hold in our hands. Paper communicates directly in ways that a screen fails to do.”

Why schools need print
School print marketing

A Scholastic Strategy

As educators, you simply can’t do your job without the right tools. Smartpress’ online printing lets you design and print your own school supplies, whether you’re planning your whole year with Desk or Saddle Stitch Calendars that begin in July, compiling informational packets for prospective students and families with Pocket Folders or creating an entire overview of your school with Brochures.


One obvious reason why school needs print? Notebooks – no school supplies cabinet is complete without them! Our Wire Coil Booklets let you personalize gradebooks and planners for yourself and guidebooks for college entrance exams for your students. For annual reports, student handbooks and marketing catalogs, Saddle Stitch Booklets are essential.



Print your own school supplies



Smartpress’ online printing services include stationery to ensure the business side of education runs smoothly. Send Letter Mailers and Business Envelopes filled with Letterhead and Business Cards for your official communication to families and the community.

Create Direct Mail Postcards to announce school events like conferences and fundraisers. Handle day-to-day demands with Notepads, create parking passes with Window Decals and offer branded apparel and swag like clippable hand sanitizer, Klean Keys and drawstring bags.

Teacher supplies
Custom printing

Using Print to Prosper

A whole world of information opens up inside the classroom. Liz Mester, Director of Communications and Engagement for Wings for Kids, wanted to “put positivity on display for others to see and spread” with “affordable and impactful” Small Posters.


“Our Compliment Corner poster is one way we bring to life our lesson on positive feedback,” she said. “Staff and students recognize each other and their actions by posting compliments on it.” Mester goes on to say, “What we love in particular is the quality and durability. Our Compliment Corner small posters are printed on a heavier stock of paper and laminated – and this winning combination allows these posters to look good year-long.”

Large Posters come in handy, too. They’re one of our favorite products that prove why schools need print because you can use them to make your own dry-erase board to track student progress. Other classroom essentials include Stickers for labeling personal and school property and Flashcards that make sequence learning easy. Certificates are a versatile must-have for student awards and recognition, supply lists or informational materials, as used by Living Word’s Leslie Rich.


“[Our print project] sets expectations and builds parents’ confidence in our teams’ professionalism when dropping off their kids,” he said. Rich has seen how helpful print can be to send students “home to their parents with an envelope of assets to communicate through.”


(Hint: Take a deep dive into flashcard printing: Decked Out: Customize Flashcards for Learning & Fun)

Make your own school supplies

Time & Money Management

And since educators are always pressed for time, our Versions feature is available on most products. Letting you print projects with various designs but the same size, stock and finish, Versions saves you the time (and the budget) it’d take to create individual projects.


Steph Shotorbani, Senior Graphic Designer at Sorenson Impact Center, can attest to that. “The Versions feature was a dream to use,” she said. “Smartpress never fails to impress me.”


And while timing is everything, budgeting is right up there in priority. Fortunately, Smartpress has the answer to both. Shotorbani says, “I was astonished at the fast turn around and fair price for something with such a large scale.”

School branding
Custom signs

The Right Course

Outside the classroom, guide students and visitors with indoor and outdoor signage. Indicate teacher names and room numbers with Clear Acrylic Signs and Braille Signage, advertise registration deadlines with Razor Feather Flags, direct foot traffic with A-Frame Sidewalk Signs and designate parking areas with PVC Foam Signs.


A sign solution that wears many marketing hats and must be included in the why schools need print debate is Yard Signs. Collaborating with an online printer like Smartpress lets you design event announcements and celebrate graduates like Abby Malesytcki, Administrative Manager at Preschool of the Arts.


“We were not able to give graduates headed off to Kindergarten next year the send-off we had hoped to, so we decided to put signs in their yards, along with a book about our school that we also had printed with Smartpress,” she said. Malesytcki sees print as a relationship-builder that’s vital for a nonprofit preschool. “It’s so important that we stay connected with our families and our alumni families.”

Show your school spirit
Celebrate graduates

Honor Roll Advertising

For students to truly thrive, they need to be in an environment that inspires, motivates and welcomes them every day. Show your school spirit (and safety precautions) in classrooms and hallways with Vinyl Wall Decals and Floor Graphics full of school colors, mascots and artwork. Advertise dances and food drives with Foam Board and Cardstock Signs. Spotlight student academic and athletic achievements and boost activity sign-ups with Hanging and Retractable Banners.

Not sure where to begin? We can customize options that tailor your design to your specific needs. We’re with you every step of the way, something Smith experienced first-hand. “The entire process is easy and efficient and the follow-up and communication is very good,” she said. “I especially appreciate the online calculator that allows me to make decisions on products and paper options very quickly.”


And what impressed Rich most on his experience? “Good quality and color matching on what we know to be a challenging brand color.” At Smartpress, we take all the extra steps to ensure your details are met with A+ standards.

School marketing ideas

Lessons Learned

As the education landscape continues to evolve, one thing remains true: print will never fail to succeed. “We know that children respond well to hands-on learning, sensorial feedback and visual communication,” said Smith.


And whether you’re a teacher, staff member or part of the student body, the page will always be mightier than the screen. “Print materials are a kind of guide and resource that can allow children to understand and experience their world in new ways,” Smith concluded. “[They] engage in ways the screen never will.”



Hint: You’ve seen why schools need print – now see why other industries do, too:



Pocket Folder, Letterhead, Direct Mail Letter Mailer, Wire Coil Booklet, PVC Foam Sign, A-Frame Sidewalk Sign, RAZOR Feather Flag Designs by Maranda Steinmetz-Robey
Saddle Stitch Calendar, Desk Calendar, Foam Board Sign, Card Stock Sign Designs by Nicole Bullock
Business Card, Notepad, Business Envelope, Wall Graphic, Retractable Banner Designs by Nicole Bullock and Maranda Steinmetz-Robey
Brochure Design by Rachel Clabaugh, Graphic Designer, Spokane, WA
Saddle Stitch Booklet Design by Deena Neimat, Creative Director – Little Voices Are Loud
Notecard Design by Courtney Kassner, Owner and Designer – Crew + Co
The Girl Who Painted the Sky Illustrated by Steph Shotorbani and Written by Mitch Stevens
Stickers Design by Lauren Honaker
Clear Acrylic Sign Design by Steven Hansen, Graphic Design Associate – Grace Church, Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Floor Graphic Design by Hastings Museum
Hanging Banner Design by Tanya Cook, Art Director and Designer – Will Work for Clothes

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