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Happy 564th

2008 is the 564th birthday of the printing industry.

By Frank Romano
Published: December 18, 2007

2008 is the 564th birthday of the printing industry. Born in the heart of medieval Europe, printing spread throughout the world and brought literacy and learning to everyone touched by it.

Printing survived cinema, radio, and television. Printing survived censorship, poor writing, and bad ideas. Printing survived war and peace, boom and bust. Printing survived mechanization, automation, and interminable technology upheaval.

Printing will survive the Internet and e-books and all those misguided souls who say that “Print is dead.” Print is more alive than at any other time in its history.

Because you cannot achieve with pixels on a screen the look and feel of ink on paper. A beautiful brochure says as much about the product it promotes as the text and images. The medium truly is the message.

Try to reach every person in a selected community by e-mail—there is no way. However, you can get a mailing list by zip code and mail to them. Printing is democratic in that it is accessible by anyone, anytime, anyplace without special readers or energy.

Read a book to a child. The book becomes the embodiment of what the book taught. The child will treasure the book, but will not treasure an electronic file and fall asleep with it.

Some print will decline as we substitute electronic methods. This is to be expected as technologies clash and certain printed products lose to more effective approaches. But new printed products will evolve to fill the void because printing technology is not standing still.

If all printing disappeared and someone invented communication on paper, the world would proclaim it to be a marvelous invention.

That already happened - 564 years ago and the future of print will still be print.

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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