2018: A Year of Dividing and Conquering for Print

Greetings Citizens of the Printerverse!

It’s almost time to close the books on 2018 which means it’s a perfect time to look back at some of the subjects that drove discussions in the Printerverse this year, and what we can learn from them moving forward. Be prepared, it’s not all pretty.

2018 year in print - print media centr

Print Customers. I couldn’t be happier that end-users are finally getting their moment to PUSH their printers and the print industry to innovation that matters to them. This year the manufacturers put more emphasis on helping their PSP customers have more success with their customers. On-going, direct education is the key to all of our mutual success. Take that advice into 2019, and develop a knowledge sharing strategy. If you need some ideas or things to share, #ProjectPeacock is leading the print customer education charge. In 2019 our offerings and events will bring more companies together to share a broader array of applications and print technology directly with print customers to drive awareness, interest and more effective use of print media.

Inkjet and Wide Format. Something clicked this year. I could argue for inkjet it was quality and for wide format it was speed/substrate versatility, but that would be the surface layer. Beneath, what I heard when I spoke with 100’s of commercial printers this year was their fear of fading away. The industry has done a great job positioning inkjet and wide format presses and their applications as a big part of the future of print, and in many ways I’d have to agree. In 2019, if you aren’t looking at these technologies… you’re fading. Get educated and stay educated, when you are ready to write the check you will know it’s the right decision for your business and your future.

Augmented Reality. I know. I am as shocked perhaps as some of you. However, let’s keep it real. The explosive interest in this topic was fact finding focused on how a print shop can make money, and how deep are they involved in the AR process. The good news is that there are some real, viable options to explore with some of the press makers and print friendly AR service providers have been coming to industry events. In 2019, you need to think beyond the page. Don’t freak out, partner with a company to provide the digital media services and focus on getting your sales people trained to sell it. That is the real problem, they don’t know how.

Orgs and Events. To catch everyone up… NPES became APTech; NAPL became Epicomm which is now in some form at Idealliance; GRAPH EXPO became PRINT in perpetuity; SGIA Expo ended under that name and next year transforms into PRINTING United, a joint venture from SGIA and NAPCO Media launching in Dallas; and SGIA purchased Graphics of The Americas (GOA) which will skip 2019 and be back in 2020. With org and event musical chairs in progress, in 2019 it will be more important than ever to support the people, events and orgs that matter to you. Be part of the transformation, all of these things exist to SERVE the print community. Contribute to and participate in the community part, or you may lose it.

And finally… Women and Diversity in Print.

I am not going to rehash points from last month’s post, Now Trending: Mansplaining the Women’s Movement, I’d like to add to the broader discussion.

Diversity Study_Dr Cumings _ print media centr

In 2016, Dr. Twyla Cummings from R.I.T. first published the results from her 2015 study, Diversity and Inclusion in the U.S. Graphic Communication Industry. The summary findings and abstract are attached to the post, here is the full report. All worth downloading. Needless to say you won’t be surprised at the results. However, the benefits for having a diverse workforce are worth reviewing, and embracing.

And Embrace Them Quickly…

The thing I love most about Millennials (born 1981-1996) is that they are intolerant of intolerance. The older end are approaching 40, and as they gain professional decision and purchase making power they will factor in all the parts that make up your companies’ whole. They will do their research on Glass Door and other sites. They will discuss company culture and their salaries with each other. They grew up with information literally in the palm of their hand and they share it freely.

To that point, and speaking to the business owners out there, the topic of ending the gender pay gap is not going away. There is a bigger cultural shift happening and eventually through litigation and law making all things will right themselves. You can wait until your pay gap hand is forced, or lead and change whatever antiquated policies (or thinking) are in place that discriminate against women. The decisions you make from this point on will have a long-term effect on your business. Whether that is positive or negative is up to you.

Looking to the positive… Here is some great content from Girls Who Print Day 2018. These panels / podcasts feature strong women sharing their stories and guidance for navigating some of the challenges they have faced in the print industry.

HELP WANTED! The Industry Needs Girls Who Print: Video / Podcast

Girls Who Print 7th Annual Women in Leadership Panel: Video / Podcast

Bonus!! Dedicated #GirlsWhoPrint Podcast stream!

Next month I will share my 2019 CMYK Manifesto and set the “Mission for Print”… until then think about this:

Next year find a NEW way to talk about your business and the industry. Find new places to tell that story, and new faces to hear it. Open your doors to students, and work with schools and technical programs in areas that need support… and SUPPORT them. Yes, it takes time and effort. Is the future of your business worth it?

Thanks for a topical 2018… Happy Holidays and see you next year.


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Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse™ at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist™, industry speaker and blogger, host of Podcasts from The Printerverse, cultivator of Print Production Professionals the #1 print group on LinkedIn, Head Girl in Charge (H.G.I.C.) at GirlsWhoPrint, host of #PrintChat every Wednesday at 4PM ET on Twitter, the founder of International Print Day and the founder of #ProjectPeacock. She is the recipient of several industry honors including the 2016 Girls Who Print Girlie Award, and sits on the boards of the Advertising Production Club of NYC and The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi.

Deborah has 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer. She currently provides printspiration and resources to print and marketing professionals through PMC, and works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them create meaningful relationships with customers, and achieve success with their social media and content marketing endeavors.

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Connect with Deborah: Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / Instagram / YouTube / Pinterest / Print Production Professionals Group / deborah@printmediacentr.com

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