Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paper Still Matters

You have a great idea and a compelling story to tell. It’s clear in your mind what story you want to share, but the question is how do you share it to the world? Paper can help.

Paper remains an important medium in the digital age. In fact, the business industry still largely depends on paper when it comes to documenting important events. In today’s business environment, electronic media is not only the best way to communicate with prospects; print and online messages should complement with each other.   

In a 2009 research conducted by Harris Interactive® for Earthtone, a majority of Americans say that printed materials are easier to read than their digital counterparts. In fact, 64% of office workers prefer ink on paper to a computer screen when reading. They said that they are more comfortable reading materials when they can touch and feel them since it’s easier to navigate hard copies than electronic documents.   

A Kindle experiment conducted by University of Virginia Darden School of Business also revealed that most Darden students prefer not to use electronic reading devices in the B-school classroom. Michael Koenig, director of MBA operations of Darden, said that the Kindle is “not flexible enough. … It could be clunky. You can’t move between pages, documents, charts and graphs simply or easily enough compared to the paper alternatives.’’ The experiment also argued that people may actually learn better from a book or printed report than through a computer.

Consumers also continue to choose print over other mediums as evidenced by the Doremus/Financial Times study which showed that 64% of the executives surveyed said they pay more attention to print ads than online ads. Similarly, consumers still read or scan promotional materials they receive in the mail according to the Mail Moment Study conducted in 2004 in behalf of the U.S. Postal Service. The study revealed that 80% of consumers sort through the direct mail materials they receive almost immediately.    

People may have varied reasons for preferring print over electronic media—practicality, ease of use, familiarity—but whatever it is, no one is saying that electronic media is not practical and effective. However, it’s clear that the enduring popularity of print in business will continue and will have a significant impact on both consumers and the company’s bottom line. With print and electronic media complementing each other, the possibilities are endless.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What’s the Key to Profitability and Long-Term Success in the Print Industry?

Too often clients just nod with everything you say and recommend, and then go home to realize that what you suggested doesn’t fit their need. Instead of finalizing the details and getting on with the print job, you end up wasting time redoing everything until it fits your client’s need.

The ability of a printing company to design materials for print and get clients involved early in the process is the key factor to success in the print industry. According to an article by MyPrintResource, what sets a print shop from others is its ability to “carry design right through the finishing process, match printed materials to a client’s Web presence, create special folds and effects, and design pieces that save the client money in mailing costs.”

Print providers agree that carrying the design from start to finish is crucial in gaining customer satisfaction. Lou Goldberg, president of New Haven, CT-based Goodcopy, said that “The more control you have over the job, the better it is for everyone. You want to be able to make your client happy. Deadlines are very tight, and if you can control all aspects of the project, you can meet everyone’s needs.”

Similarly, the ability of the print company to match print and web design is crucial as more and more companies these days are directing their prospective clients to their websites. Additionally, if the company can offer cost-effective mailing cost, the more they will become valued partners of their trusted clients.

Good graphic design capabilities partnered with impressive print solutions will definitely help print shops grow over the years. As Goldberg said, “customers like one-stop shopping” these days. Providing them everything they need in one place will encourage them to come back again and again.    

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Magazine Stand on iPad

In an article written for The MacObserver entitled “The Problem with Magazines and the iPad”, David Winograd talked about the problem with magazine storage on the iPad. For him, and certainly for many others, keeping digital versions of magazines is quite an issue since they take up a lot of storage space. “The more interactive the issue, the more storage it takes,” said Winograd. “I’ve watched the digital magazine market progress from mere .pdf files — which some still are — to immersive interactive supersets of print versions. The better ones will take more and more storage.”  

Winograd added that the digital magazine market is quite confusing these days since some digital magazines like Macworld cost more than their print version. He expected that there will be savings in not having to physically print a magazine copy, but it turns out that the digital magazine market doesn’t run that way.  

Sarah Rotman Epps, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, as quoted in an article by Nick Bilton of the New York Times, said that publishers want to create an exact replica of their magazine including the ads, thus, making digital magazines extremely huge. For instance, Wired can take as long as 40 minutes to download through a basic home DSL connection while The New Yorker can take from 15 to 20 minutes.  

In another article written by Bob Sacks, which basically discusses Winograd’s article, Sacks agreed with Winograd on the problem of large download size of digital magazines, but he said that this problem will likely be solved in the next few years.

Sacks pointed out that computer processing speed is getting faster and faster each year. He cited two forecasts that tackle the issue on speed: (1) by 2020, processing speed will be 30x faster than today, and (2) the processing speed combined with FCC implementing policies to make 100 megabits per second the average US broadband speed, 6x what it is today. The result is a faster download speed which will allow people to buy, store, and retrieve as many digital magazines as they desire. Additionally, personal searches will be possible, providing people a quicker way to find and download articles they want. Of course, there will be privacy issues here but that, too, will be addressed by new technologies.

In the end, Sacks concluded that we are still in the early stages of our digital future while Winograd said that he’ll be happy to pay extra money for a 128GB iPad until he can find a better way to manage his digital magazines.    

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

3D Printing to Produce Customized Medicines

BBC reports that scientists from the University of Glasgow are pioneering a £1,250 research that will use 3D printing to create drugs and chemicals, some of which can be used to create treatments for cancer. If successful, the process can be used to create customized drugs and be made available to pharmaceutical companies in 5 years and the public in 20 years.

The process will make use of syringes that are controlled by robots to create objects from gel-based ink where the chemicals and catalysts are mixed. Prof. Lee Cronin said that they are “mixing the concept of the glassware and the chemicals together in the 3D printer to create what we call 'reactionware’ … you print the last reactionary agent first and then build other chemical layers above, finally adding a liquid at the top. The liquid goes to layer one making a new molecule which goes to the next layer creating another and so on until at the bottom you get your prescription drug out."  

Researchers have used bathroom sealant for their reactor, but until now the substances they have created are not yet suitable for human consumption. They also intend to replicate the drugs already available in the market so pre-set recipes will be available for download to doctors and individuals.     

Epson laid down its Commitment to Customers and Society in its 2012 Sustainability Report

With the growing concern for the environment, more and more printers these days are making their own move to commit themselves—and their company—to protect our natural resources. The most recent among them is the Sustainability Report released by Epson for this year. The report contains accounts of how the company is addressing its responsibility to the environment. 

One of them is the introduction of the SmallInOne inkjet series launched in 2011 as a response to the growing need for environment-friendly printers. According to Epson, this printer is much smaller than its competitors. Another is the increasing use of the company’s Micro Piezo printhead technology. This technology allows materials to be created in “high quality output, reliability and high cost performance”. Epson also expanded its 3LCD projector lineup, launched a head-mounted display, and used its impressive technology to provide wearable and low power products and services to the healthcare and sports industry. 

According to Minoru Usui, President of Epson, “relentlessly pursuing innovation in compact, energy-saving, high-precision technologies, Epson can create fresh customer value that matches the world’s desire for smaller, more powerful products that have lower power requirements and lower environmental impacts”. 

                                                                                    Minoru Usui

 For the full report, visit this site.     

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Art of Postcard Collection

Deltiology is the term for studying and collecting postcards. Currently, deltiology is the third largest hobby in the world next to coin and stamp collecting. It was a huge craze in the 20th century, particularly from 1907 to 1913. In fact, the US Post office recorded 667,777,798 postcards mailed in June 30, 1908.  

However, with advancement in technology, postcards have been ignored more and more. They are uncommon these days and difficult to find in stores.

The latest craze in postcard these days is Postcrossing. It’s an online project where members can send and receive real postcards anywhere in the world. As of 2010, there are already 200,000 members from 200 countries.

Here are some of the oldest postcards created:


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why Printer Ink is Expensive?

Printers and consumers have constantly been barraged with the high cost of ink. Perhaps you have heard that printer ink costs more per millimeter than Dom Perignon champagne. Why is this so? The truth is there is no complicated answer for this question. The simple truth is that manufacturers can choose to make it that expensive.

 In an article posted in PCWorld entitled, 16 PC Mysteries Solved! several reasons were given to explain the high cost of ink. One, as stated earlier, is because ink manufacturers can get away with charging that much. Although there are remanufactured inks which costs lower they are often messy to install and deliver lower print quality. And second, it’s hard to duplicate ink. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Why Printer Sales is Declining

Printers were once an essential peripheral. Recently, though, they have become nothing more just a ‘peripheral’. As a result, sales have considerably declined. What’s to blame? Mobile devices and cloud storage—that’s according to a recent article on ReadWriteWeb

Meg Whitman, HP CEO, said that the company experienced sales loss in printers and ink. What previously accounted for 20% of their revenue has now declined—commercial printer sales is down by 5% and consumer printer by 15%. Similarly, Lexmark, which takes 93% of their revenue from laser and inkjet printers, said that they expect a 12% decrease in revenue this quarter. 

The Last Lead Type-Casting Printing Press

The invention of the movable-type printing system in 1040 AD revolutionized the printing world. It allowed for quick and easy printing of books, materials, and even money. Sadly though, only a few people these days make use of this printing system. It’s a dying profession as more and more printers shift to more modern printing techniques.

In an article of Cindy Sui for BBC News Asia, she relates a story of one man who until now makes Chinese characters out of lead. Chang Chieh-kuan, 59, owns the last word-making shop in Taiwan—the Ri Xing Typography. He inherited it from his father and kept it running despite losses. From the outside, the shop gives no sign of the relics it stores inside: molds, character types, and many other historical items.   


The shop has 120,000 moulds of different characters and 10 million or more of lead characters. From its conception in 1969 to the 1980s, the shop had 7 type-casting machines that ran nonstop each day with more than 30 people working regularly. But with the introduction of offset and computer typesetting, the number of print shops and print runs has dropped drastically.   

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2012 Laser Die Cutting Workshop is Set

This year’s Laser Die-cutting Workshops will take place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, IL, on September 11 to 13. This event will showcase the latest in label and package printing secrets. It will showcase effective and inexpensive solutions to help clients deal with the need for label variations and personalization. 

Hundreds of live demonstrations and machine tests will be seen at the expo. This is a great opportunity for companies and stakeholders to understand laser cutting technology. Four manufacturers, Sei Spa, Spartanics, AB Graphic International, and Delta Industrial will set up their machines and take part in four workshops with each testing a different cutter profile: blank office product labels, prime product labels, industrial labels and free label solutions. 

The workshop is intended for converters and brand owners and is organized by Labelexpo Americas. For more details and pre-registrations, visit this site.