Back when I started this weekly column (1999), I focused on the nuts-and-bolts of print. I wrote about specs and terminology, paper characteristics and ink properties, printing presses and production workflow.
My interests have changed. What fascinates me today about the print medium is how it’s used by businesses and by individuals. Print promotes. Print informs. Print educates. Print announces. Print delivers. Print reminds. Print excites. Print connects.
There’s a whole new generation ready to be introduced to the power of printed communications. They’re not interested in manufacturing processes. They’re interested in the possibilities. What can be achieved using print today? How can companies integrate print with digital media to promote, inform, or otherwise communicate?
High quality is expected. Lightning speed is expected. Perfect color is expected. Online information and sourcing is expected. Convenience is expected.
In 1999, I was hell-bent on raising the profile of print. I’d decided that businesspeople and consumers needed to learn about print from the ground up (or should I say, ‘from the dot up’). Only then, I thought, would they come to appreciate just what print could do for them.
The print medium has taken a beating in recent years. Today, it’s not about raising the profile of print; it’s about changing the profile. I believe it will be more effective to show marketers, executives, future sales reps, buying professionals, and consumers what’s possible with print. To expose (and defend) its value, we have to feature how far it’s come and what can now be achieved.
Print plays well with others. This informs and inspires me. It will continue to guide my weekly column. Books, magazines, newspapers, mail, iPads, computers, and smartphones are all communications lifelines. Together, they’re an “information ensemble” I depend on. I daresay that most of us do.
My columns will touch on a range of media issues, with particular attention to how print fits in. Where is it going? How are new technologies changing print applications? What communications and marketing trends involve print? How are print buying careers evolving? What’s changing about the face of the print industry? What should printers know about customer expectations? What should print customers, especially marketers, know about the new possibilities of print?
These are the topics that intrigue me. I hope that by covering them, I can move the needle even slightly in the perception of print as a valuable medium. Exposing print for its power and possibilities, particularly to a new generation, is a goal that all of us in the field should grab hold off. Let’s go for it.
(c) 2014 Margie Dana.