Dscoop announced in January that it would be holding a special conference co-located with Dscoop7 in Washington D.C. Called DSee, it is aimed at creatives, design professionals and brand managers and is a full day structured to educate them about the possibilities that digital print offers them in everything from direct mail to packaging to signage. The event features well-known speakers, who we understand were an important part of the draw. Dscoop expects 300 attendees and the event was sold out in the first eight hours following a targeted email campaign to AIGA members. Representatives told us they are looking for ways to accommodate more attendees, since there is still demand for seats. This is great news in a time when many conferences are still struggling to meet minimum attendance goals. Speakers include:

  • Stefan Sagmeister, founder of New York-based Sagmeister Inc., award-winning international designer and author
  • Hashem Bajwa and Neil Heymann, members of the Droga5 team behind the “Decode Jay-Z with Bing” campaign, which nabbed the Grand Prix in Outdoor at Cannes in 2011
  • Jake Lefebure, creative director of Design Army, who will speak about his award-winning work with clients, including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Verizon, GE, Marriott International, Disney and the Smithsonian Institution


According to Eric Hawkinson, Dscoop Executive Director, “The DSee event has been in the works for the last couple of years, based on conversations we had at the last two HOW conferences. We were interested in expanding our efforts to educate this market, and to connect them with printers—Dscoop members--who can help them take advantage of what digital print has to offer. We also wanted to make sure it was a comfortable educational environment for attendees. It is not a selling event. At the same time, it is a huge benefit to Dscoop members and the industry as a whole, since attendees will begin to see what digital printing technologies can offer them.”

HP is supporting the event, of course. Sumeer Chandra, vice president of marketing and strategy for the Graphic Solutions Business at HP, said, “This is part of a broader strategy we have in place to drive awareness in the design community, and to educate them about what HP’s high quality and flexible digital printing solutions, such as HP Indigo and HP Latex, can do. When you put the technology, the service provider and the designer together, they will create new applications. A good example is the work we are doing with custom wallpaper. Designers and creatives probably hadn’t given a lot of thought to designing for walls, and now they have a huge new canvas available to them. If we do our job well, we can create a buzz and be the education anchor around print for this community.”

Hawkinson added, “We were blown away by the response. We expected best case to get 300 people there, and now we are trying to find a way to accommodate 400.”

A key purpose of this conference is to turn the focus of designers, creatives and brand managers back to print. Susan Moore, chairwoman of Dscoop’s North American Board, said, “One of things I have noticed in the last couple years with all of the emphasis on social media and the Internet is that designers are focused on getting those skills upgraded and kind of letting go of their print skills. They are not investing in educating themselves on the digital part. And the education is not there in college and university programs for designers, either. We wanted to do something exciting, educational and fun to reenergize the emphasis on their print skills and show how important print still is in the communications process.”

Chris Petro, chairman for Dscoop Global Board, added, “Within graphic arts, the entire ecosystem was almost fighting digital print at the beginning of this century, with confrontation between digital and conventional processes. Ten years later, we are coming together as more printing firms have hybrid digital/offset production in place. In a drupa year, with all of the new digital technology we expect to see, it is a great time to renew our educational efforts and to evangelize the whole shift in digital technology.”

These types of events are important for a struggling printing industry. As I have written many times in this space, it is no longer effective to take a defensive posture about why people should print. Rather, we should be working hand in hand with the design, creative and marketing community to figure out exactly what the role of print is in a dynamically changing media mix. In some campaigns or projects, there may not be a role for print. But with proper education of those making the design and buying decisions, it is likely that many more campaigns and projects moving forward will make use of print in some form. WhatTheyThink will be attending DSee to better understand the perspective of attendees. Watch for a follow-up report.