The world’s number one film manufacturer, Kodak, has finally gone out of the film business. With the rise of mobile technology, the telephone is now the world’s most popular camera. Twenty years ago who would have predicted that?! Now pundits who study industry trends are debating the future of paper.It is again mobile devices that appear to be the leading instruments of change. In some industries now, having a strong Facebook presence is as important, if not more, than having a website. Can brochures and business cards hold on for long?

At least for the foreseeable future, paper as a way of promoting your business, is not going anywhere. There is still nothing you can give a prospective client that gets your information on their desk more simply than a business card. Doing a p0resentation? Take along brochures so that attendees will remember the salient points of what you said. Need to get information into people’s hands quickly, often a flyer is an easy way to get the word out. Digital technology is important but it is also fleeting. People see your info but do not hold onto it in any retrievable form unless it is on something printed, something tangible.

Fortunately, the digital revolution has not only affected printing negatively. It has also done printing some favors by eliminating a lot of the factors that made printing expensive. It used to be a cumbersome process to get a proof approved. The customer had to come in to the print shop and look at a blue line proof and say yes or no. If there were changes, the customer had to come back in again.

Once the proof was approved, a metal plate was burned in a machine called a plate maker. Toxic chemicals helped to form the images on the plate and then the plate went to the press room. If it was a color print job it would take four passes on the press to create the print. There was a tremendous amount of waste and the inks were a toxic combination of oils, poisonous colors, and harmful drying agents.

Now, everything is smoother. Proofs are delivered via email to customers and approved via email as well. No need for the overhead of counter help.  The print job is delivered electronically to the press and printed with a digital system so there is less waste and no need for a plate burning machine. Finally, advances in ink have given us soy-based inks and greener alternatives all around. That makes waste removal costs disappear.

In conclusion, the digital revolution has made printing less expensive, quicker, and therefore likely to survive longer. For now, paper is not going anywhere!

 

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