Tag Archives: interactive media

Digital media? Interactive media? What’s the difference?

The final year on the Master in Graphic Design has started. This year the focus is on the Major Study. I am currently looking at exploring the way that branding adapts and responds to the introduction of digital & interactive media. But before I can start all the research I need to get a better understanding about the difference between digital and interactive media? Do they have a distinct difference?

When searching for the definition of digital media it is interesting to see the variations found on the internet. On Wikipedia, digital media is discribed as a form of electronic media where data are stored in digital (as opposed to analog) form. It can refer to the technical aspect of storage and transmission (e.g. hard disk drives or computer networking) of information or to the “end product”, such as digital video, augmented reality, digital signage, digital audio, or digital art. On businessdirectory.com, digital media is described as content (text, graphics, audio, and video) that can be transmitted over internet or computer networks. And on pcmag.com digital media is described as a storage device that holds digital data, or any data generated or stored in a computer (this includes data, voice and video) But it can also be the news from a TV network, newspaper or magazine that is presented on a Web site or blog.

This is all a little bit confusing… the above gives me two different points of view. One is saying that digital media is the device that we use to store our information on and the other is telling me that it is the interactive content. So what is it!

I found an interesting article written by a man called Stephen Landau who is the Creative Director at substance.com. In his article “digital or interactive…what’s the difference?” he asks himself the exact same question. His reasoning is fascinating. He says “Digital is a medium. Interactive means people interact. It’s medium-agnostic. You can interact with a website, a physical button, and people. Interact is a verb. For many people, interactive means “web.” But then digital means web, mobile… and while that is true, it leaves out a crucial part of the equation. Conversations aren’t digital. They might be had over a digital medium, but conversations are interactions. Interactive brands are brands that don’t simply push their marketing message out to the masses. They have conversations, they have a give and take, they interact. Interactive brands are the ones who will make meaning through these interactions. The more we remind ourselves of the difference between digital and interactive, the more we think about the interaction and less about the media. And this allows us to build interactions between a sales force and their customers, between a skier and a mountain, and yes, between people and a website.”

So knowing the importance that “digital/interactive” media reaches into an organization, can that strategy be isolated to a single medium focus? This is where Stephan’s definition of interactive as “interactions between company and customer” really has strength because it is not limited by medium. It is fundamental.

Let me know what you think.

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