Is Print Dead? NO! Changing…YES!

If you are a part of the graphic communications industry or better yet, the printing industry, you probably hear daily that print is dying.  Year after year analysts predict that print is declining at such a rate that it will become extinct in our lifetime.  Coming from someone that grew up in the industry and is still heavily involved in it, I call their bluff.

Innovation of print over the last 30 years has been a game changer.  With mainstream adoption of digital print in the early 90’s, traditional printers had to change fast or face dwindling profits on shorter runs. You may think that this is bad news, but you, my friend, would be wrong.  Traditional printers who stood around and did nothing but tell their clients that digital print would never match up to the quality of offset, are most likely extinct or soon to be. The fact is, digital print is taking over, and we should embrace it.  It has opened up a can of worms in terms of making our messaging more effective. No longer are we shouting down an empty hallway with a catch-all phrase, rather, we are speaking to our peers in an educated manner with relevant information.

Today the happy marriage of traditional print, digital print, and digital media is the perfect trifecta to any ad execs quiver. This artillery is not going anywhere. The impact of a good cross-media campaign compared to a traditional mass mailing is astounding. It makes one think, why does anyone do it the old way?

So what is next? Do we have to change yet again? Yes, of course we do! This is assuming that we want to stay in business. It is imperative that everyone in the graphic communication industry stays abreast of the latest and greatest feats in technology.  If we fail as companies to teach your clients about the newest, most innovative and effective ways of communicating with their customers, we have wasted their time.  You may ask why, and that’s because if you don’t, someone else will!

I leave you with the next best thing in our industry, 3D printing, and no I am not talking about TV’s.  3D printing which started to take off in 2003 has become more highly published by main stream media this past year. Right now architects, engineers, and hobbyists are adopting this technology, but, I believe that there is a far broader reach of its capabilities. Being able to custom manufacture or prototype a tangible object, directly from a 3D file has already astounded many. This process, while not cheap, is only a fraction of the time and cost when comparing it to the traditional prototyping or custom manufacturing process. I encourage you to get out there and learn more about this, because I guarantee you, this will be the next piece of technology that sits on our desk next to your inkjet or laser printer!

Author: John Mehl

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