Having only been with the AD team for a couple of months now, I’ve been privy to an overwhelming amount of new information. From flatbeds (which, apparently, are not orthopaedic mattresses), to thermoforming inks, I feel the print industry is firmly, well, printed on my brain!
Because I’ve learned so much in the short time I’ve been here, I decided to delve a little deeper in to the history of print to see exactly how far the industry has come…
Although I’m fairly into history and can distinguish my Thomas Edison apart from my Isambard Kingdom Brunel, I had never heard of Johannes Gutenberg; the man accredited for inventing the first ever moving printing-press machine, using ancient Chinese wood-block method. Although this was one of the oldest methods of printing, I was shocked – and pretty impressed – to find that this printing method is still being used in Argentina. I’d love to see an old-school print revival like this be reintroduced and can imagine just that on a Camden Market stall, so hey, who knows?
A few openings of paper mills and ink developments later (around two centuries worth, to be imprecise) and Blighty soon had its first newspapers. One of the hotspots for printing English newspapers was The Printworks in Manchester, where a group of non-conformist businessmen produced the Manchester Guardian, now The Guardian. Being a Mancunian myself, I can safely say The Printworks is now mostly frequented by those going to watch the latest blockbuster or anyone who has a penchant for Nando’s, but walking through it, you really do get a sense of the vastness of the machinery the building used to house; it’s quite impressive if you take a minute to pay attention.
From a near-novice perspective, it’s pretty amazing to see how modern print or print-related applications can transform any run-of-the-mill campaign. From Lipton Ice Tea’s clever utilisation of phone booths, to the innovative NFC (near-field communications), the print industry, to me, seems to be developing faster than most other industries.
I, for one, am so interested to how far the world of print has come, and even more so to see where it is going to take me. Will there be a resurgence of old-style printing techniques? Or will technological advancements be the real driving force in making the print industry become ever-more instrumental in the world of advertising? I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to being part of it.