Print Producers: Make The Best Of Your 525,600 Minutes In 2013

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Assuming the Mayans were wrong, in a few short weeks we change the calendars and start a fresh new year with a rejuvenated and hopeful outlook for things to come. Here are a few things Im anticipating, examining, and planning to immerse myself in during the next 365 days.

Technology is moving so fast and I really believe Near Field Communications (NFC) is finally in our immediate future. I’ve been waiting over three years for this tech so as soon as I can get a phone with NFC capabilities (that isn’t an iPhone) champagne corks will be popping! Of course marketing executions need to follow for us to have the NFC experience, so expect me to be combing the planet for them, and sharing info with you!

If you aren’t on the marketing technology train, now is a great time to jump on board. Skip QR codes and move right into Augmented Reality, NFC, and of course Documobi’s Intelligent Print Recognition (iPR). The more you know, the more invaluable you will be to your company and clients.  

Design is going to be HUGE in 2013. In the past few years we have moved through CMYK vs RGB and now the mobile and tablet world is at our door. I expect design will regain control of branding next year and become the bridge between print and digital. That is great news for Print Producers/Project Managers by the way since a bridge usually has a tollgate, and someone needs to monitor what gets through, or is turned back.

Speaking of which, last week in Dallas I had a cool idea. During a panel discussion at Clampitt Paper I was asked about the evolving role of the Print Producer – do Buyers need to learn new skills and if so, what would they be.

I think there is a really awesome opportunity now to create a Production Team to support the design shift. Just as a Creative Team has an Art Director and a Copywriter, a Production Team would have a Print and a Digital Producer.

The Production team would be responsible for ALL materials – and actually sit together vs having your counterpart on the other side of the Agency. They would have a 360-degree view of brand and messaging and be able to help keep it unified as well as learn from each other. Is anyone out there already doing this? I’d love to hear from you.

Something else I would mention to my fellow Print Producers is to pay close attention to wide format and packaging. I am pretty much on a mission in 2013 to focus on finding us the best resources and information to help us migrate into this area, or hone skills if you are already there. These segments will continue to grow as areas such as publishing diminish. Start preparing for it, there is no such thing as having too much production knowledge!

Inkjet and paper are also on my list. Nanography is on the horizon but until the Landa Presses come out there are inkjet presses curently in use. I really have no clue if I need to prepare my photography differently, potential color variances, why I would or wouldn’t use such a press, what it’s best for, and so on.

On top of that, with all the new digital presses and paper specifically being made for those presses, it’s back to paper school time! Mills rock at providing info but they usually only talk about their stocks, and who can blame them. Paper Merchants are way more flexible since they work with many Mills and truly are an untapped resource for all Creatives and Buyers. I am going to fling that merchant closet door open in 2013 and lead the Paper Parade straight to The Printerversetm  at Print 13!

Last item – BIG DATA. Other than having to spec for a lot of VDP projects, Im really not sure how this will affect us yet. Adobe is also bringing PDF/VT into the mix, which will change the way we create and submit variable data projects to our printers who adopt that workflow. I hope to work with Adobe again next year, and specifically in relation to keeping us in the loop as this technology advances.

Lot’s of things on the horizon, and for the first time in a while I am actually excited about what’s brewing out there since I can see the direct relationship and NEED to have Print Producers around! That is always a great way to start the New Year.