Starting with IPEX 2002, this blog covers events relevant for UK print, including Seybold and DRUPA. See also website at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is print now part of communication?

This note is intended for the IP3 website (Institute of Paper, Printing and Publishing) . It may be an article or more like a blog post if other people add to it. It is mostly opinion but starts from some facts.

The London College of Communication will host a Futures Conference on October Wednesday 21st - Friday 23rd. Previously this was located in Earls Court as part of Total Print Expo but this show has been cancelled for 2009. The change of scope to include litho in Digital Print World was not enough to expand a base. The Futures Conference has had a different direction, taking digital to include the Web and new media.

I have written reports on previous conferences for OhmyNews, a news website in Korea. Last year they switched my headlines so the talk at the conference about e-books became the main story and the subheading was about Heidelberg demonstrating litho for runs under 50. It turns out the editors may have had a case for doing this. Including the content on mobile phones there has been increasing interest in e-books and devices. I usually include opinion from people I meet about the name change from London College of Printing to LC Communication. Hardly anyone supports this as LCP is still widely known and the Communication word has not really been promoted or explored.

IPEX recently announced that John Warnock and Chuck Geschke from Adobe are to be Champions of Print for IPEX 2010. IPEX has effectively already started in terms of presence on Twitter and general promotion. However as far as I can make out there was not much Adobe presence at Print09 in Chicago. They definitely did not attend Total Print Expo in 2008 and Apple decided not to buy space at drupa. Computer companies have a radical view on the speed of change and what is worth advertising. The recent Adobe press releases are mostly about Flash and video.

My guess is that the products regarded as Adobe Classic - Postscript and PDF - are regarded as mature and Macromedia is effectively repositioned as Adobe(FLSH). This may be just some strange behaviour that the UK can ignore or it may anticipate some disruption that will be evident fairly soon. By next May there could be some significant changes. At IPEX there is a category of "pre-media" but not much clarity on what this means.

Many e-books are in the EPUB format, based on XML. The speed and flexibility of the Web means that publishing can be interactive. So far the Job Definition Format (JDF) has not been promoted as a way for print customers to specify requirements. Web to Print appears to be just another browser screen but XML for hard copy is a topic to explore if print continues as part of a publishing mix.

IPEX will continue on a large scale, partly because of the global audience. Annual events such as Total Print Expo may give a better indication of what is happening in the UK, even when postponed. The Futures Conference will discuss most related issues and it may soon be time for acceptance of the word "communication", something print is part of. It will be also be interesting if details are public on how the courses are arranged around media, design and publishing.

The Elephant and Castle is not a hard place to find, but for people who cannot be there some online social networking could start soon and then continue through October. My own Twitter tag is #will789gb.

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