Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Learning Bindery Online

Every single facet of the printing industry is affected by the Internet – even bindery. Bindery is still a semi-automatic and manual function in most shops and the skill sets needed by an employee are specific. For most shops, training bindery workers is a time consuming task.

The Internet is making it easier. has a number of online videos that demonstrate different bindery tasks and offer the best practices. One in particular that caught my attention was
Trish Witkowski, a graphic designer who says she has “a passion for folding,’ has created a website that offers video instructions about different folds, how to create and produce them in a production environment. Trish has a specialized expertise in the area of folding and finishing and is the creator of the FOLDRite brochure folding system.

Visit her site at and learn about the best practices in folding and finishing. She even provides a free weekly email with a video on the “60-second Super-cool Fold of the Week.”

YouTube is a great source of training for the quick and small commercial printer and should be a regular stop when trying to find answers to production questions.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Are Printers Going To Lose Out Again?

Are printers going to let someone else make money off a cool communication idea and just sit around waiting to compete for the printing? It seems so as we see new social media support companies popping up around the country to handle the social media mechanics for businesses. These companies are charging premium fees and handling the print buying for their clients because print is important to use when creating followers and fans.

Why can’t printers offer social media services too? They already work with customers in creating and distributing the customer’s message with print. They know how to manage a customer’s printed brand. Why not use those same skills to help customers with their social media?
The printing industry has let this happen before. Graphic designers and ad agencies sell the print buying customer the perceived value part of a project (idea, design, concept, etc.) and leave printers to compete on price and service for the printing portion. Printers can do just as good work, but customers don’t think about printers when getting graphic design.

The same thing happened with PURLs. PODi, the organization that helps set strategic direction in the digital print industry, reported that on many PURL (personal URL) projects, printing costs made up only 10% of the total selling price. The people selling the idea to the customer took the other 90%. Printing became the commodity product in the mix. Someone else sold the value of the project to the customer and left the printer to compete for what was left.

The same thing could happen with social media unless printers get in front of the curve. Printers need to learn and use social media to increase their own sales as well as learn the mechanics so they can do social media services for their customers. It isn’t hard. It doesn’t require a major equipment investment. It is an opportunity that the printing industry shouldn’t let slip through its fingers.