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Commentary & Analysis

Darwin Was Right: The Digital Print Evolution Continues

Darwin was right.

By Noel Ward
Published: December 14, 2007

Darwin was right. The more things change, the more they change. Or are reinvented. Or simply evolve. That goes for just about everything, and it's certainly true for publications both virtual and physical. When we began On Demand Journal in the summer of 2003, digital printing was gaining momentum, but was still a ways from being a broadly accepted process. We launched it to be the part of WhatTheyThink that focused on the applications that were unique to digital printing; to look at the technological, business and marketing issues of digital printing, provide interviews and articles that gave voice to the perspectives of vendors, print providers, educators, analysts, and others as digital print transformed an industry.

In the course of hundreds of articles, interviews, white papers, case studies, and columns we've looked at variable data, wide format, book production, transactional print, direct mail, and more --and seen how each application has expanded and how some --trans-promo, web-to-print, books, and direct mail, continue driving millions of pages to the digital print engines of Canon, Epson, HP-Indigo, Kodak, Konica Minolta, Nipson, Océ, Ricoh, Xerox, and Xeikon. As these machines found homes in a variety of environments, digital printing became a mainstream technology. We all know it won't replace offset for many applications (at least not yet), but walk into many successful print providers today and you're likely to find one or more digital print engines running a variety of jobs and adding to the bottom line of the shop.

So in recognition of that fact--and I guess really celebration of it-- we're shutting down ODJ and shifting all its content to the Digital Print Center at WTT. This fits well with the growth of digital printing technologies and the needs and interests of the readers of both WTT and ODJ. We're still developing some of the types of content we'll have in the DPC, so watch there for changes and be sure to let us know what works (and doesn’t) for you, and especially what you'd like to see. I'll be managing a lot of the content there and elsewhere on WTT and you'll still see our eclectic mix of contributors in the DPC. Some have already told me about the next pieces they are planning and I think you'll like what they have coming up. There's a lot to look forward to, with opinion, reviews, interviews, perspectives, video, and much more. The evolution continues in January.

Darwin was right. The more things change, the more they change. Or are reinvented. Or simply evolve.

So as I write this on my next-to-last plane flight of 2007, I want to thank all of you for your support these past four years, for your many emails and phone calls, your compliments and criticisms, opinions and ideas. I especially want to thank all the contributors who have provided the content that has driven us forward every week. It's been an honor working with all of you and I know we'll be moving forward together next year and beyond. And I can't wait.

See you in 2008.



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