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Commentary & Analysis

FREE: A Message For Printers as We Enter 2007

Welcome to The Printing Industry 3.

By Frank Romano
Published: December 15, 2006

Welcome to The Printing Industry 3.0, the latest version of a proud and venerable industry.

Born in the Middle Ages, nurtured through the Industrial Revolution, and brought to maturity in the age of advertising, Version 1.0 was letterpress printing, metal typesetting, and engravings. It was craft and skill.

Version 2.0 began with offset lithography and advanced with phototypesetting and film. It was craft and science and skill.

Today, Version 3.0 is a blend of offset litho and the application of all things digital. It is workflow and automation and technology. It is science and intelligence and innovation.

As our industry has upgraded from version to version, it changed everything about how we printed. It thus affected users and suppliers and everyone along the supply chain. Printers have had to re-invent themselves, just as all of us have had to re-learn what our industry is about.

My grandmother had a litany of sayings and one was, "One door closes; another door opens." This applies to all of us as the printing industry phases to new technology and as the very nature of the business changes. But, where there is change there is also opportunity and I think there is more opportunity than at any time in our history.

Digital printing is opening new doors as it becomes a mainstream technology for printers. Variable data printing has opened the door to new business and longer-term customer relationships. Package printing continues to grow in new directions and this opens many doors for new volumes of new work. And let us remember that offset is now and will continue to be a viable process that will generate profits for decades.

The Printing Industry 3.0 balances the Internet as friend and foe—using Web tools but also seeing work flow to electronic alternatives to print.

As we enter 2007, there is opportunity behind every door. With imagination and dedication we will all pass through those doors into a bright and prosperous future.

Frank J. Romano
Professor Emeritus

Frank Romano has spent over 50 years in the printing and publishing industries. Many know him best as the editor of the International Paper Pocket Pal or from the hundreds of articles he has written for publications from North America and Europe to the Middle East to Asia and Australia. Romano lectures extensively, having addressed virtually every club, association, group, and professional organization at one time or another. He is one of the industry's foremost keynote speakers. He continues to teach courses at RIT and other universities and works with students on unique research projects.

Please offer your feedback to Frank. He can be reached at frank@whattheythink.com.



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