Digital: what will it print on next?

John Zarwan - Digital: what will it print on next?

Most commercial printers print on paper. Seems simple and straightforward until one thinks about the different kinds of paper: coated and uncoated free sheet; coated and uncoated groundwood; newsprint. Even within each category there are gradations of quality, basis weight and brightness. It’s not so simple anymore.

Still sticking with offset, unusual but increasingly common substrates include folding carton and paperboard, card stock, plastic and lenticular. When there is a need for more specialized jobs, one normally thinks of flexo presses for flexible films and screen print for just about everything else.

Print 09 post-show report

“Print is not dead!”

This statement, exclaimed by Frank Romano at Print 09’s Executive Outlook, just may have helped set the tone for this year’s show. Despite the heavy weight of the recession, the trade show was positive and optimistic for many.

After accepting his award from the NAPL for 50 years of service in the industry, Romano gave a few tidbits and predictions for the future of print: “Colour management is an oxymoron; flexography will die; digital print will grow; offset will not die; there were 25,000 printers in 1965 and 60,000 in 1995; in 2020, we will return to where we were in 1965.”

PMA 2009 show review

The annual Photo Marketing Association event, held in Canada, is a two-day product showcase featuring manufacturers and vendors catering to photo retailers. The show offers world-class education seminars, dynamic keynote speakers and networking opportunities with colleagues and suppliers.

This year, I attended the show (Sept. 10-11) and looked specifically for money-making ventures that could also be applied to the print industry in general.

For the record: Richard Armstrong

This month, I sat down with Richard Armstrong, president of Heidelberg Canada, to find out what he thought of the Print 09 show and what’s coming up for the Heidelberg Canada.

K: How did Print 09 go for Heidelberg, and what was your overall impression of the show?

R: From my perspective on the Canadian side, it was very good. I would say that all regions of the country were represented – and I was extremely busy!

K: What sort of infrastructure do you have in place to support your consumables business in Canada?

Quite Hot Imposing – plug it in

When creating automated workflows, the tools you choose should have features that allow you to grow in any direction you want. Opening software up to third-party developers ensures variety, creativity and the ability to choose. There is a long list of third-party plugins created for FullSWITCH and PowerSWITCH offering extensive flexibility to customize workflows. One of these plugins is Quite Hot Imposing.


Successful gluing work needs a scientific approach and an artistic touch. The four horsemen of gluing – paper, ink, coatings and glue – are about equal contributors to a job’s success. Their combinations are nearly infinite and unexpected results frequently occur. Sometimes easy-release glue tears paper fibre; sometimes permanent glues perform like easy-release.

Graphic arts glues are mainly oil, resin or latex-based. Each type performs as expected most of the time, but there are exceptions.

Sales and management: effective practices for today

In today’s turbulent market, I think it’s healthy to start with some perspective…and nothing sheds perspective better than some humour.

How do salespeople introduce themselves?

“Hi, I’m better than you.”

This was one of the first sales jokes I was ever told (by a prospective customer, of course). It is no secret that salespeople get a bad rap. The customer’s joke didn’t bother me at the end of my work day though because I knew I wasn’t “that” salesperson. It does, however, bother me today because I teach sales management. In every class of 100 students, there sit (usually at the back) at least 10 young people who have incredible sales potential and because of jokes like this one, they steer clear of that career path. I spend an entire semester going through why sales isn’t like that – something I really believe.

Editor’s notebook – October 2009

Graphics Canada Trade Show and conference gaining momentum

For more than four decades, Graphics Canada has always been “the show” on the Canadian printing industry landscape. This year is no exception.

Launched 44 years ago, Graphics Canada has not only endured, but it has prevailed, showing amazing resilience especially through difficult economic times.

Happy halloween

While I’m far too old to get away with trick-or-treating, I am still a big fan of walking around on Halloween (and the candy, but that is another story). Aside from it being nostalgic, it is interesting to see how people decorate their homes and businesses.

My customer asked me…

“If you started over, would you choose printing again?”

The printing industry is often characterized as a “dying industry” that has to contend with forever-progressing digital technology imposing on its marketplace. Large-format printed signs are being replaced by larger-than-life video screens. Printed newspapers don’t provide information fast enough for our news-hungry society that can get up-to-the-second information via cellular phones. Dynamic web ads are replacing printed flyers and brochures because of their inexpensive and interactive nature. All around us we see examples of the digital world merging into the printed world. In many instances, it’s more like a hostile takeover.

In light of this view, there is an interesting question to be asked: “If you could start over, would you still choose a printing-related field?” A LinkedIn discussion question, posed by industry professional Marc Mapes, sparked a number of interesting responses that gave way to this article. The question he posed was this: