May 26, 2010
Frank Romano often volunteers to host Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) alumni events at his beautiful home in the South End of Boston. At a recent one I asked Frank if I could have my picture taken with one of the many interesting historical objects that he has collected in a lifetime in the printing industry. Frank thought a little bit and then chose a drawing by Frederic W. Goudy, the famous typeface designer. (The image below comes courtesy of Frank Cost, interim dean of the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at RIT, who took photos that night and after the event put together a lovely photo book commemorating the event.)
Frank Romano and Jim Hamilton with a Goudy drawing
Frank is holding an original drawing for Goudy’s last typeface, Goudy 30. Those of you who have seen the book “The Hand of a Master may recall seeing a similar drawing in the background of one of the illustrations that Kimberly-Clark commissioned on printing history landmarks (see below). Frank says that the Goudy drawing is one of the oldest things in his house (besides himself). The truly oldest things are two leaves from the Nuremburg Chronicle of 1493, which was the first publication to mention the work of Johannes Gutenberg.
Frederic Goudy illustration from The Hand of a Master
Frank’s home is like a museum of printing history, but not everyone knows that he is also very actively involved in (and is president, in fact) of an actual Museum of Printing, one that resides in North Andover, Massachusetts. For more information, see www.museumofprinting.org. If you go there on a Saturday when he is in town you may find that he’s the one giving tours. See Matt Swain’s blog on his recent visit there.
May 25, 2010
There is no question that IPEX attendance was hurt by the travel problems associated with the Icelandic volcano. The real question is “How many people chose not to come because of it?” 5%? 10%? 25%? We’ll never know, but it definitely had a significant impact. Many people were delayed and many cancelled their trips entirely. And yet, it could have been much, much worse. The travel blackouts only lasted for a relatively small block of time. If it had been for three or four days the impact would have been devastating. With economic concerns still looming, particularly in the European Union with the Greek crisis, the last thing a trade show of the scale of IPEX needed was travel disruption brought on by an act of God. It makes exhibitors even more nervous than they already are about the money they invest in trade shows.
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May 24, 2010
On May 20, 2010 Böwe Systec AG, one of the three global leading manufacturers of inserting equipment, declared the opening of insolvency proceedings (the German equivalent to chapter 11). The announcement by Böwe Systec came as a bit of a surprise to stock market analysts as orders for the first 4 months in 2010 had increased by 40% over the previous year, although revenues were down considerably in 2008 and 2009. The announcements, which came at IPEX 2010 in Birmingham UK (this year’s largest international graphic arts show) also took Böwe’s staff by surprise.
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May 20, 2010
Three days into IPEX 2010, I see some themes emerging from the show:
- IPEX theme #1: Things that are out of our control — After having had a minor travel disruption involving planes, buses, and trains on the way to Birmingham, I have to admit that when it comes down to a battle between me and the volcanoes, the volcanoes win. I feel the same way about the impact of the economic downturn. We all have to acknowledge that there are some big, global trends that will continue to impact everyone whether we like it or not. I put the move toward mobile technology and social media in the same category. This will happen even if we personally do not desire an iPad of our own.
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One area where InfoTrends has started looking at more over the past few years is the Digital Asset Management (DAM) software market, which comprises solutions designed to help organizations better-manage and more ably utilize digital media. More organizations are using digital media on a frequent basis, and even the large majority of physical media now originates with digital files. Being able to efficiently find the right asset for the right medium and application is becoming more critical, and many DAM vendors continue to enhance their products to meet ever-changing needs.
Additionally, DAM continues to be more tightly integrated with other software systems depending on the needs of an organization. In many places where DAM used to be its own entity or “silo” we see an increased value being put on its overall role, which subsequently leads to the need for integration. We’ve seen DAM integration with MIS and ERP systems to help gather specific job or product information related to digital assets; integration with third-party image and video processing and conversion systems to deliver required formats; and connectivity to popular image editing and layout applications to drive common asset use and brand integrity. Read more »
May 19, 2010
Hewlett Packard introduced a series of new wide format printers at the IPEX show in Birmingham England. These printers extend HP’s technology platforms and increase the addressable markets for HP and its customers.
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May 18, 2010
Yesterday, Bitstream, the developer of the Pageflex solutions suite announced it has agreed to acquire all of Press-sense’s assets for $6.5 million in cash.
For those of you that are not familiar with Bitstream, the company develops and sells a range of software technology including fonts, variable data publishing, Web-to-print, and more recently mobile Web browsers. The company, headquartered in Marlborough, Massachusetts, has been around since the early 1980s and has been public since 1996. Last fiscal year, Bitstream reported revenue of $21 million. Read more »
Today at IPEX HP previewed the T200, a 22-inch web width companion to the 30-inch T300 Inkjet Web Press. The T200, which is capable of color speeds of 200 feet per minute (875 color letter images per minute) and black speeds of 400 feet per minute (1,750 black letter images per minute), will be formally announced at Graph Expo and will become available in 2011. Though the T200 builds on many components and technologies used in the T300, it is not a slimmed down T300, but instead a new design that uses an innovative paper path that prints both sides of the web without using a turnbar. The product will also be used by Pitney Bowes as the print engine for the new IntelliJet 20.
Supporting CMYK plus a fifth color (in addition to the heads that apply the bonding agent), the T200, like the T300, uses a tight web design. Instead of two separate print engines the T200 has two imaging areas within a single integrated device. The configuration shown at IPEX prints the four process colors plus the bonding agent. There is space for another color in the device and HP said that it would be adding MICR capability at a later date. Both HP and Pitney Bowes expect the device to be “plug compatible” as a replacement to monochrome toner-based devices where the user is looking to move to color and mixed color and black & white workflows.
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May 17, 2010
A few weeks ago, I took advantage of a rainy Saturday morning and visited the Museum of Printing. At one point over the last year, I had promised Frank Romano that I would make the pilgrimage. After driving through the sleepy town of North Andover, MA, I arrived at a colonial brick building with a bell tower and a sign out front that indicated I had arrived. I noticed the weather vane on top of the bell towerÂ had what looked like a cat on it — I was expecting Gutenberg.
I was a few minutes early, and surprised to find five cars in the parking lot already. As I walked through the door, it was only fitting to see Frank’s beaming face. “Hi Matt, you are just in time to join the tour that I am giving for Hesser College!” I had unwittingly walked in on Frank in one of his favorite personas — Professor Romano.
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May 14, 2010
In its first move to retail, the new Dell NextLife (www.nextlife.com) remanufactured inkjet cartridges are now available in all Best Buy locations and on the store’s website (www.bestbuy.com). The consumer electronics retailer carries about half of the higher volume NextLife cartridges in the stores. To promote the new products, advertising in Best Buy fliers will begin next week. Read more »