printer

What Do People Want From Printers?

What Do People Want From Printers?

That is the question. Monday is always a great day for printing news. If you care about printing. Which, let's face it, not a lot of people outside of the print and design industry do. I mean, people care. Print buyers care. Companies across all industries that use print advertising care. YOU care, of course. But as far as lives are impacted by the future and enduring health of the industry, do people outside of said industry care? Not deeply. The upshot of all this is that most discussion pertaining to the future and enduring health of the print industry happens within that industry, much as it will next week at Print '09. The digital people will preen their feathers, the oldschool guys and the new wave 'marketing service providers' will raise their eyebrows at each other, everybody will scratch their heads over why the heck the social media wiz they hired to Twitter for them 8 hours a day […]

Time For (serious, budget-minded) Back-To-School Advertising

Time For (serious, budget-minded) Back-To-School Advertising

Recession-conscious print promotions. The back-to-school spendfest that marks the end of summer is the second-largest consumer blitz of the year, after the holiday season. But this year? Less kids are going to college, and according to market-surveyors, more kids are going to be wearing last year's gym shoes. According to a feature in AdAge this week, spending per family on school supplies will be down 8% this year, which means down, approximately, fifty bucks per family. So does this mean retailers should be advertising less? Nay. Rather, the challenge is to advertise differently. Instead of creating back-to-school print ads that look like posters for a rock concert or a Disney sitcom, the focus this season has to be on savings, and making the most of your money. Postcards and door hangers will be a valuable resource for getting the word out about special sales and bargain offers. The ad campaigns that will do the best this season are those that […]

Printers Make Bankruptcy-Prone List

Printers Make Bankruptcy-Prone List

But what about our customers? A grim little news piece on WhatTheyThink reports today that printers have made the list of the top ten most bankruptcy-prone industries. Research firm Sageworks, inc. compiled the list based on the debt-to-equity ratios of various industries over the last 12 months. On the upside, printers snuck in at the very bottom of the list. Unfortunately, that put nine industries, most of which use print collateral heavily, ahead of us. It's no surprise that printers would be hit hard when industries that buy print – like automotive, real estate, hospitality, and hobby industries – are being so affected. When any business (or family, or person) is struggling, it's easy to overlook the fact that others are also having trouble, but like the Sageworks' data shows, not only is the printing industry better off than others, the success of all is interconnected. Many printers are managing to survive and thrive still thanks to the continued strength […]

Is Technology Stealing Print’s Soul?

Is Technology Stealing Print’s Soul?

Hey! That's a leading question… Computer technology has come to play a central role in the printing process. GOA recently posted a list of the 10 'Critical Core Technologies' that any printer requires to survive in the unavoidably techno-centric future. The thing about this list, and the way it's presented, is that it makes the whole situation seem rather grim. Like the print industry has gone from craft to manufacturing process, and, in short, the romance is gone. Examples of the soul being sucked out of printing may include: Loss of specialized jobs like type-setting. Loss of craftsmanship in areas that have become automated. Web-to-print eliminating face-to-face communication between both customers and printers, and printers and vendors. Variable data and 'personalization' creating an advertising culture of what is, in fact, absence of intimacy masquerading as personalization. The uniqueness of the industry itself being subsumed into just another IT job. That being said, my position on the issue is STRONGLY DISAGREE. […]

Print Industry Mind Map

Print Industry Mind Map

Courtesy of M-Bossed I'm not sure what the ratios on this blog are in terms of industry types vs. print buying types. I'm guessing three print buyers and two industry people? Haha. But seriously, if any of you do come from other areas of the printing industry, you should check out a cool project being put together by Ryan McAbee over at M-Bossed. Ryan's working on putting together a list of all the information on printing available online, using this really cool collaborative mapping tool: mindmeister. Any print industry enthusiast can get on the mind map and add their favorite printing news and information resources. I just added the Hotcards blog, now you add your own gems. If you're anything like me, you've probably got a list of dozens, if not hundreds, of printing blogs and resources bookmarked in your web browser – am I right? Of course I am! So start adding. An important part of the future of […]

What is a Marketing Communications Provider?

What is a Marketing Communications Provider?

Is it the next phase in the evolution of commercial printing? Last Week, the 2009 Offset and Beyond Conference took place in Las Vegas. It was an interesting year, with the focus of the conference mainly on the shifting face of the offset printing industry. Experts spoke about the importance of strong leadership, 'leaning,' and embracing new technologies to get printing companies through turbulent periods. However, the main point put across by many speakers is that to survive, printers need to shift from being 'just printers' to being 'marketing communications providers.' What exactly does this mean? Obviously, it's one of those amorphous, evolving words that can mean both everything and nothing. As more printers develop from technical craftspeople into these new hybrid creatures, a different term might pop up, but for now 'marketing communications provider' (MCP) will just have to do. What exactly is a MCP? An MCP is a printer who doesn't just offer a technical service so much […]

Can Print Be For the Web and Survive?

Can Print Be For the Web and Survive?

Check out For Print Only to find out! Life is funny. Just a couple of years ago, it was hard to find information about printing online. Web-to-print services were just starting out, and there were only a handful of real 'print authorities' contributing to a web-based print discussion on anything like a regular basis. Most interestingly, there were very few print designers talking about and showing off their work on the web. Today, as print struggles against the looming threat of extinction (and I mean threat not so much in the 'impending' sense as in the 'receiving death threats on a daily basis' sense), all of a sudden, everybody's online. And all of a sudden, printers and print designers are using the very medium that menaces our future to communicate the enduring vitality of our craft. Like I said, life is funny. As a perfect example of this emerging trend, take a look at the fabulous new branch of UnderConsideration […]

Good Print Design Isn’t Always Pretty

Good Print Design Isn’t Always Pretty

And event promotions are most at risk. I was just reading a post on designing collateral for small businesses over at Orange Envelopes. Author John Heaney made the point that pretty much all designers can create things that are pretty. The problem is that pretty doesn't always equal effective print design. In design, it's too easy to become dazzled by style, and to forget about substance. No matter how good-looking a design is, it can be a fail if, as Heaney lays it out, it: Doesn't support the brand it represents. Doesn't gel with the end-goals of the company. Doesn't actually get a message to the audience. Doesn't fulfill the project brief. Doesn't contain anything of substance, despite being incredibly sexy. Heaney's post got me thinking about a lot of the posters, flyers, and club cards I see advertising DJ productions and other music events around town. And I'm not just talking about my town. I'm thinking of the print […]

Print/Design Posts of the Week – Swine Flu Edition

Print/Design Posts of the Week – Swine Flu Edition

Because if your printer can't keep you informed, who can? I know there's a lot of you out there depending on this blog for all your news, so I felt like I had no choice but to do at least one terror-inducing post about the latest potential pandemic. As it turns out, Swine Flu and print design have a lot in common. You can't have a really solid, widespread pandemic without posters and billboards and newspaper front pages plastered with warnings and updates and all that good stuff. Of course, I admit that when it comes to scaring the largest possible number of people, the internet has print beat, hands down, but that being said, here are some of the greatest posts from around the web this week that mark the meeting points between Swine Flu and printing. It begins with the need for poster printing. Do-it-yourself stuff, like these downloadable PDF files from the California Board of Education remind […]

Cool Piece of Printing History

Cool Piece of Printing History

From the Ministry of Type With the wealth of information we find online, it can seem like there's very little to be had from other sources. But every once in a while, I'm reminded that print is still replete with more words, wisdom, and history than we can yet uncover on the internet. Such a reminder came today in the form of a post on “The Romance of Printing” from the equally romantically titled, Ministry of Type. Blogger and all around good thinker Aegir Hallmundur brought my attention to a great old print proto-net titled The Wonderland of Knowledge. From The Wonderland of Knowledge, Aegir scanned a no less than 23-page-long survey of printing history and techniques. Check it out, and check out these great excerpts from the 1930s publication: “For many thousands of years every book that was produced had to be written by a scribe. Then, at last, someone thought of using type, and so changed the world.” […]

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