EarthColor’s Jon Landua chimes in on the state of the printing industry in today’s Professionally Speaking. I’ve know Jon for about five years, since he helped us with our award winning Christian Heretic project. His knowledge, attention to detail and professional demeanor make working with him a pleasure.
Printing is Dead! Or so they say …
By Jon Landua
“… drupa 2012 is sending out key impulses for the worldwide print and media industry. The most important signal: print has potential and the sector is investing heavily in its future… 314,500 experts from more than 130 countries came to drupa…”
More than a quarter of a million people attended a print show! This wasn’t the unveiling of the latest iteration of the iPhone or Facebook’s newest application. It was / is an event that is centered around putting ink on paper. The printing industry has certainly taken a back seat to “new” media over the last decade, but drupa is proof that it might not be ready to pick out a burial plot.
Roughly 7,700 print companies closed from 2000 – 2011. That’s a big number, but as a result the market is filled with stronger organizations that are investing in technology and new equipment to gain a competitive edge over what’s now an even more competitive market.
The star of drupa was the announcement of Benny Landa’s Nanographic Printing Press. “These presses use water-based inks comprised of pigment particles only tens of nanometers in size. These nano-pigments are reportedly extremely light absorbent and the new process used to print with them—Nanography™—boasts high uniformity, high gloss fidelity, and a broad CMYK color gamut. And here’s the hook that’s getting everyone excited: Nanography is a digital printing process with offset speed.”
Digital printing has provided a great lift to the industry since the 90s. The quality is improving with every new product release. Targeted communications are used in a myriad of print collateral, which are directly tied into other mediums to help improve response and ROI. And now the man behind the Indigo has essentially reinvented the wheel.
Landa’s press will require one operator. The nano dots will provide a much higher digital print quality that what we have today. Landa’s presses will be more environmentally friendly than a traditional (or even UV) offset press. And as mentioned previously, these presses will be 40” and print with the speed of a 40” press, but each and every image can be different. The possibilities are endless and believers include; Heidelberg, Mitsubishi, Komori, and many other major players who have invested over $1 billion (that’s billion with a “B”) in Landa’s new print technology. Traditional offset printing has certainly changed over the last 100 years. Digital printing has added to our footprint, but in many ways been considered the great for “some” products, although not good for all. Landa’s Nano technology stands to revolutionize how we think about printing. He’s combining the old with the new and making both better at a time where our industry needs an innovative and impactful “something” to change the landscape. Landa did it first with the Indigo and now he’s back with what many feel is his greatest achievement yet. Beta testing should begin late 2013 or at the beginning of 2014.
I don’t know if this will stop the industry from contracting, but its certainly building excitement. Printing is nowhere near dead. It may be aging and in need of a facelift, but its here to stay, at least as long as we have innovators like Benny Landa around.
Jon Landua is a National Account Rep for EarthColor. He has been in the printing industry for the last 10 years, the first 5 of which was spent with RR Donnelley after graduating from Texas A&M University. He has been with EarthColor for the last 5 years developing long-term relationships and partnering with hundreds of organizations across dozens of industries. He whole-heatedly believes that the printing industry is here to stay and looks forward to what the future holds. He lives with his wife Jessa and 19 month old son Preston in Austin, TX.
Established in 1982, EarthColor is one of the largest privately held printers in the U.S. The company has a reputation of high quality production and superior customer service. Locations include; 7 manufacturing facilities and a vast array of digital, sheetfed, and web equipment. But more importantly, EarthColor has been recognized as the “Most Environmentally Conscious Printer” in the country.
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