Everyone loves free stuff. Some though have more of an enthusiasm for it than others, take for example my friend Laura. Laura is a printer’s dream. She not only loves the medium but also appreciates a good freebie. Recently, I had a chance to travel with her to Ithaca, NY and got to see this tiny obsession for myself. When we went to lunch, she immediately pointed out the stickers at the cash register and when the cashier said they were free, well I think I have never seen anyone so happy to get a sticker. As we made our crawl through the famous Ithaca Commons I noticed as she grabbed postcards, stickers and business cards. Anything free and printed was her gain. Laura – the printing industry would like to thank you for increasing the amount of printed material in the world.
This small act of collecting printed material may be an underestimated art form for printers everywhere. There is a constant pressure for printers, especially the small shops where it is a necessity, for you to have the ability to push the email or app to the client. However, the digital trend setters in a way are under estimating the power of print. The USA Government of Labor even predicts that the need for the short run printing will cause a large opening within the printing job market, as those who retire step down to allow the young blood in. Or take for example, a recent exhibit by the School of Print Media at RIT for their Innovation Festival which turned out to be voted a top exhibit in which people could come see all different objects around them that were printed. Even though those of us in the industry speak darkly of the decline within our field we have to remember the passion the public has for print. Many offices that go digital or companies that move to online billing actually report more printed material since people feel some comfort in print, in its permanence (Chianello pg. 16). It may be changing, yes we use inkjet now not litho but we are still printing out material for the public aren’t we?
When we become melancholy about our industry we should remember those like Laura who still pick up the print. Free or not someone printed that material, made some sort of a profit and continued a tradition of making something of permanence in our industry. As I go off for vacation this week, I think I am going to pull a Laura and start picking up some free print. What could be better? Print and free!