Printing is dead! Ask most people and that’s what they’ll tell you. I know because I’ve just returned from the 3rd international ‘Future of Printing’ conference I’ve spoken at in the past 3 years. The first one was Rome, Italy (2013), the second in Orlando Florida, USA (2014) and the 3rd was last month in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.
When you don’t work in the printing world full time, and you’re asked to give a keynote address at a Printing Conference, to printers, you need to do a lot of research and work in order to be relevant to your audience. So I got to speak to a lot of people, both inside and outside the printing world. And I learned that whether you you’re in or you’re out, most people believe that when it comes to print, the industry is somewhere between lukewarm and cold, between dying and dead.
It’s easy to take that view in today’s world of ubiquitous digital screens. The PR driven by the world of digital screen companies is loud and pervasive, as it should be when you’re building them as quickly as they are, and you’d like everyone to own one otherwise you’re going out of business. The printing world PR is a lot softer, and far less pervasive. But it shouldn’t be, because ‘print’ still has a great story to tell.
Let me give you just one example…..
A few years ago, in Australia, the Coca-Cola company launched the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign (it was rolled out in South Africa around 2 years ago).
This campaign couldn’t have been conceived before 2012. The technology needed to execute this campaign wasn’t around until 2012, and that technology wasn’t digital, well, not completely. It was fully industrial, with some digital coolness evolved into it.
Printing with the HP Indigo
This campaign was enabled by a printer. An HP Indigo to be exact. Built by a company founded in Israel and acquired by HP a few years ago. I got to meet the developer of the Indigo in Rome, 2 years ago, and it was wonderful meeting him. The story of the Indigo is the story of a bunch of printers that refused to die, and instead of staying alive through a good defence, went on the offensive to remain relevant in a world moving digital.
The Indigo is a remarkable machine, that for me stands as a symbol of what can be built when people don’t simply roll over and die. During the past 3 years, at the 3 conferences I’ve been fortunate enough to speak at, I’ve met amazing human beings in an industry most wouldn’t go near, who love what they do, are optimistic about their future, and refuse to become irrelevant in a world that will apparently be fully digital in no time at all 🙂
The Printing Industry is far from dead. It’s nowhere close to lukewarm. I know, because I’ve met the people who work in it.