Pressing On: Quickness Counts

Much like the print medium itself, I’m back. Actually, neither of us ever really left. Print, as we know, is ever evolving to coexist with and complement New Media technologies. As for me, I am excited to begin 2014 at Cygnus on a full-time basis. Many of you 77,000+ faithful readers have been reading my writing in Printing News, Wide-Format Imaging, and now Inkjet’s Age in print and online.

As Quick Printing’s new editor, I have some big shoes to fill: namely those of Karen Hall, who spent more than two decades helping to build the QP brand, earning your trust, and counting many of you as friends. Along with filling Karen’s proverbial shoes comes the realization that foot quickness is required for this job and industry. Speed “kills” in business as in sports, which is a good skill if yours is the team with the faster equipment or athletes. Once used to identify a vertical market, “Quick Printing” now conveys the speed at which printing takes place in the commercial print, sign, and digital print marketplaces. To successfully compete and keep pace with online, tablet, and mobile media platforms, print needs to be fleet-footed and up-tempo.

Using an American football analogy, ask chiseled 250-NFL pound linebackers how much “fun” it is to try and slow down the Philadelphia Eagles’ fast-flying offense, which former collegiate head coach Chip Kelly adapted to the pro game from the University of Oregon Ducks. Not huddling permits a limited amount of defensive personnel substitutions for opponents, who frequently gasp for oxygen after chasing ball carriers. Running more plays per game is akin to getting more productivity from running a faster, speedy, finely-tuned printing press.

Switching sports, basketball aficionados recognize the immortal words of late, college coaching legend John Wooden, who taught, “Be quick—but don’t hurry.” Affectionately known as the “Wizard of Westwood,” he coached such superstars as Gail Goodrich, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bill Walton. Coach Wooden was a stickler for basics. The former English teacher reportedly spent no fewer than 30 minutes at the start of each new season lecturing his UCLA teams about the importance of proper foot care: how wearing two pair of socks is the key to preventing blisters. A good player is not as good with sore feet, was his thought process.

Fundamentals are important in our business of printing. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail,” another oft-quoted Woodenism, traces its origins to US printing patriarch Benjamin Franklin. So, let’s not forget the basics, many of which cross sports, decades, centuries, and communication mediums. Keep on eye on this space to see where we may be going.