Digital Original: Hot New Technologies to Watch

Coming off the latest Graph Expo in Chicago, it is easy to see that the printing industry continues to evolve and change. New tools make production easier and new processes change how consumers view information and print.

New tools for printers are constantly released. PDFs have become the more popular way for customers to provide their files to printers, but there can still be issues and changes needed once they are in the printer’s hands.

Editing PDFs has gotten easier with the introduction Markzware’s ( PDF2DTP for InDesign and QuarkXpress. The plug-in lets users open PDF files and migrate content from a PDF into an editable format for their familiar Adobe InDesign and QuarkXpress tools. PDF2DTP will recover embedded images and save them in a job folder, as well as place the text, frames, images, and colors back into the InDesign document. It will convert a PDF to InDesign or Quark no matter what application was used to create the original file. This file conversion tool costs $199.


Disappearing Ink & Singing Paper

People continue to attempt to improve the print experience. Sometimes it works and sometimes you just have to wonder. For most people, print is permanent, but a new printing technique may add a sense of urgency to reading the printed word. If an Argentine publishing company has its way, the shelf life of a printed book will be short. The company has printed a book in ink that disappears in two months after it is exposed to sunlight and air. Eterna Cadencia printed a book called “El Libro Que No Puede Esperar”. Translated, it means “The Book that Can’t Wait”. The publisher believes you will be forced to read a book you bought if you know it is going to disappear in two months.

Some say e-books are killing the printed book, but I never expected to see a book commit suicide. The company says it hopes to instill a sense of urgency in the reader to read the material, but it sounds like it is trying to mimic electronic publications and make it hard for users to share material.

You haven’t seen much of this next new print process, but expect it to be showing up on a poster or package coming to you soon. Scientists have developed a “paper app” that turns a printed piece into an audio message. The first practical use of a new paper app for interactive printing was to modify printed posters to play music via printed circuits made with conductive ink.

Developed by British research firm Novalia in cooperation with scientists and musicians, the Listening Post poster incorporates mini-circuit boards equipped with speakers and a small amount of memory into conductive ink. When listeners touch the appropriate spot on the poster they will activate song clips. The Listen Post poster debuted at the SXSW music festival in Austin, TX, this spring.

Not only could viewers hear samples of different bands’ music, they could also book tickets to see the musicians through the poster. Like a QR code, the new technology blends print with the digital world, but also means that the user doesn’t have to go online.

The group also has developed postcards that contain a sample of music that can be played via a paper player. The developers believe the low cost of print will help the new technology integrate into marketing throughout the world in the next few years. It will be interesting to see where the new technology is used in the future.


QR Code Helper

Speaking of QR codes, Great Reach Communications ( has released a customizable QR Code Primer. Printers, distributors, and other industry service providers can brand the eight-page guide by adding company logos and contact information, and use it to educate target audiences on one of today’s fastest-growing trends: QR code marketing.

The company hopes the primer will help explain and promote QR code opportunities to prospects and clients while reinforcing their own brand at the same time. Printers can license the primer for a one-time fee of $295.


John Giles is a consultant and technology director for CPrint International ( He is the author of “12 Secrets for Digital Success” and “The DTP PriceList”. He can be reached at 954-224-1942 or You can also find John on Twitter @JohnG247 and LinkedIn. His blogs can be found at To order John’s books, visit