« | 7th July 2018

Yes, we print!

This is a printing office


I love this little prose poem. Yes, the writer confers a nobility on printing which is removed from the daily slog of the modern printing trade. But, poetic license aside, it’s stirring stuff.

Beatrice L. Warde was an American typographic expert, author and lover of fine printing who obviously held the field in high esteem. But to connect printing with crossroads of civilisation is going a bit far, right?

Maybe not.

The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenburg some 600 years ago really was revolutionary. A milestone of society. The mass printing of the Bible led to the Reformation. 

Prior to that pioneering development, only a select minority had access to the written text. Or any other text.

“The most important thing about printing,”  wrote Warde, “is that it conveys thought, ideas, images, from one mind to other minds.” ~ from The Crystal Goblet, or Printing Should Be Invisible. 

The mass transmission of thoughts, ideas and images began with printing!

Mass communication did not exist before the printing press

Before radio, television, and internet, the dissemination of information could only be achieved in large scale through printing ink on paper.

People take printing for granted, but it was, in many ways, the forerunner of the electronic devices we use today.

With the advent, long ago, of personal computers, desk top publishing heralded the demise of print. Later on, the internet signalled much the same. Thankfully, for us, it hasn’t happened.

A few stacks of printing

Why hasn’t printing died out?

Printed media is tactile, allowing consumers to interact with it in a way they can’t with a digital medium. Consider labels, cartons, posters – all tangible, all printable, all create instant engagement with people. How often do we find instructions or recipes online and print them to read because it’s just so much more convenient? More often than not I’d say. The same applies for lengthy online content, and important emails such as accounts payable and receivable.

Custom cut stickers

Digital delivery may save time and money, but hitting the print button creates a concrete reminder, which can be filed for later use.

Though users can print out low volumes of items once the purview of the printing office, and though digital formats, like this very blog, have wide appeal, and as printers we employ and embrace every development we can, people still prefer print. They still love to flick the pages of a glossy magazine, or sit down with a beautiful book instead of scrolling through a tablet, or stick up a poster to promote a cause.

And no batteries, restarts, and updates are required.

A1 and A3 size Posters on 200 gsm poster paper
The modern printing office is hardly sacred ground. At least ours is not. Yet I can see how it could be held up as a refuge of the arts, or the armour of truth, or indeed crossroads of civilisation. As I said, it’s stirring stuff.
Gowans & Son Pty Ltd
Unit 1, 52 Alfred Road
Chipping Norton NSW Australia 2170

Telephone: (02) 9755 3545
or (02) 9755 3327
Email: sales@gowansprint.com