In the midst of the grief and the loathing that last week’s terrorist attacks in France stirred in all of us, there was one small scrap of comfort that touched close to home: the fact that no innocent people were killed at the print shop where the Charlie Hebdo gunmen made their final stand.
Création Tendance Découverte (CTD, Creation Trend Discovery) is the kind of progressive printing business that everyone in the industry recognizes and that many of our readers either own or work for. Located about 25 miles northeast of Paris, it’s a small but diversified shop that offers a remarkably broad selection of commercial print products, signage and display, vehicle wraps, exposition materials, and promotional items. Its brochure is an excellent example of how printers can use their own medium to showcase and market the work they do (even to those of us who aren’t able to read much French).
It’s almost impossible to imagine that an environment as familiar as this could become the setting for the kind of mayhem that the Kouachi brothers brought to the place before they died. Beyond comprehension is the murder of hostages at a kosher supermarket by an accomplice of the pair—an outrage that fate mercifully spared the personnel at CTD.
However dreadful it may be, the symbolism of a hate-filled and revenge-driven attack upon a printing shop is inescapable. In this country, we revere printers and publishers like Benjamin Franklin and John Peter Zenger as champions of the freedom of expression—the very gift of democracy that the Paris killers sought to destroy in their assault on Charlie Hebdo and in the crimes that followed. In this sense, they were crimes against all of humanity, and no printer anywhere on earth is untouched by them.
No one yet knows how the world will move on from the horrors that occurred in and around Paris last week. But we do know that right-minded people everywhere are rallying to the slogan, “Je suis Charlie.” Shouldn’t our counterpart cry in the printing industry be, “Nous sommes CTD”?