With a quiet roar, the namesake of a product we are all familiar with is taking a leap into the digital age. Formica Group, global manufacturer of the ubiquitous–and trademarked–Formica, is taking a bold step and now offers custom versions of its decorative architectural laminates to meet the needs of individual customers and designers called Formica Envisionâ„¢. Your restaurant’s bar counter, or your living room wall panels could thus soon feature your theme, or whatever other image or pattern that you want. Naturally, digital printing is behind the change; Formica Group will not comment on its technology, except to confirm that it some species of inkjet. Read more »
This month consumers in Europe are beginning to see Coca Cola bottles on retail shelves labeled in a new way. Each bottle has the brand’s familiar swoosh graphic and red and white colors, but with iconic brand name reduced or cut out entirely. Instead, the words “Coca Cola” on the bottle have been mostly replaced by one of 150 most popularÂ firstÂ namesÂ in the country where the drink is sold. HP Indigo WS6600s are printing all the names, essentially a giant exercise in versioning–overÂ 800 millionÂ labels will be used between now and the end of Q3. Special kiosks will be on tour in the region so consumers can personalize their own Coca-Cola bottles. Coca Cola is also enlisting social media, first by encouraging Facebook users to create aÂ virtual personalized Coke can to share with someone, and then look for their own names on bottles in stores. The deal is historic, not just because it’s for Coca Cola, but because it likely is, in effect, the biggest color digital label print job ever.
One day, during my second year at university, as I was storing away some boxes in the cupboard under the stairs I came across an old grey box wedged in a neat crack in between two steps. The box was covered in what looked like years’ worth of dust. Inside the box was filled with personal photos, certificates and letters. So many wonderful memories just stashed away and unintentionally forgotten about. There were many letters from family, friends, pen pals and girlfriends all addressed to a Scott Goodfellow. With almost every letter there was a photo. Amongst the letters there were endless photos of Scott and his family. I remember many of them clearly; Scott as a baby in the garden with his mum. Another of Scott sat beside his Nan. Several of Scott lined up next to his football team. I couldn’t bring myself to just tuck the memories back under the stairs, so I made it my mission to return the box to Scott. Read more »
The idea behind dandelion distribution is simple. Imagine thousands of dandelion seeds being spread by the wind. Of these, only a few may ever grow into dandelions, but that’s enough. As it relates to e-books, dandelion distribution happens when reproduction and distribution are so cheap as to be virtually free. This idea is encapsulated in the book Spreadable Media by Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green, and it was also discussed at length during one of the keynote sessions at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference (February 12-14 in New York City).
Panelist Cory Doctorow (more on him at Craphound.com) suggested that book publishers consider replacing their traditional “mammalian intuition” (i.e., the idea that each book is precious and must be protected by any means) with “dandelion intuition” (where it is acknowledged that any individual book has a small chance of success and therefore the strategy should be designed around spreading as many ‘seeds’ as possible). This concept goes against traditional publishing logic, but so did a lot of other ideas at the conference.
In this video blog I discuss a recent Printing Industries of America (PIA) initiative on the value of print. See www.printing.org/valueofprint for more on this program, which includes a flip book and a mobile application.
It has been more than 35 years since Kodak engineer Steve Sasson built what is widely regarded as the first digital camera, and nearly 18 years since Apple introduced the Kodak-built QuickTake 100, the first sub-$1,000 digital camera. For several years, it was important to note which cameras were digital and which prints were made from an image captured by a “digital camera,” often to explain away any image quality differences versus “real cameras” that still used film.
Much has changed since then. Film is but a distant memory for nearly everyone — except those who don’t remember it at all. Digital cameras are real cameras and digital photos are real photos, but for some reason the industry (InfoTrends included) continues to use the terms “digital camera” and “digital photography,” as if to differentiate them from something with which they would be easily confused. Read more »
Somehow, zombies have crept into the debate about the value of print. Below are three recent examples of how print and zombies have been connected in some fashion on the Internet.
Why Print Books Are Like Zombies — This blog is actually about digital rights management, but the point is that printed books live on and on (in your bookshelves, your attic, your basement, etc.). They never die. Nor can they be taken away from you by the publisher after you’ve bought them.
Print Zombie — Is Print Dead? — This blog examines the future of print. It’s called Print Zombie because “Everyone knows if something dies, it just comes back stronger as a Zombie!”
This week Kodak made news with the announcement by CEO Antonio Perez that his company will focus on commercial, packaging, and functional printing. The choices are not surprising, given prospects now for conventional document printing (down) and for “unconventional” printing such as packaging and labels (up). Kodak is fortifying for life after its planned exit from Chapter 11 next year and has made good choices, all markets where there is still growth for digital printing.
A recurring theme at drupa 2012 is that many of the planned digital devices are intended as B2-format offset press replacements. This is puzzling positioning. Is there really a need for digital stand-ins for very efficient offset presses? The digital market, need I remind you, is built on values well beyond mere quick turnaround and cost-effective short runs. Production digital print is best leveraged when it facilitates full process automation, electronic collation, variable data, and the use of the digital printer as a virtual document archive. Designs that lack duplexing or use traditional offset feed and delivery systems miss out on some of the most basic digital print advantages.
I could be wrong. After all, the show doesn’t start forÂ two weeks, but I think these will be the top stories at drupa:
Benny Landa — Whether Landa Labs shows market-ready products or early tech demos doesn’t really matter. This will be a drupa remembered for the show that Benny Landa put on. Is it ready for prime time? We won’t know until May. One mystery that should be solved by then is why their press releases refer to “ink ejectors” rather than inkjet heads (like every other inkjet system vendor does). Could it be that they are doing something different than using inkjet heads to apply ink to paper? Wait and see. Read more »