Page 55 - Print 21 Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 55

Association News News updates from the printing industry
Take time to stop and smell the printing
When I tell people I meet for the first time that I work in the printing industry, four out of five people comment on how difficult that must be to work in a dying industry. Nothing gets me riled up and on the bandwagon quicker than this.
My response is that we cannot live in a world without print, and I then proceed to
tell them why, and give them examples of print all around us. Hopefully it makes them think about it a little more, and consider just how much print is part of our everyday lives.
In October I was fortunate enough to have three weeks in the United States on annual leave. It was a chance to visit places I have never been before, and to take time to smell the printing. Often as we go about our daily business we don’t pay much attention to a lot of the printing that surrounds us, but having time while I was away
to take stock of what I was seeing was a great opportunity to reinforce the important role that print plays in our lives every day, the beauty of it, and the purpose it serves.
“Every ride, every gift shop, every food place, every item available for sale – printing, printing, printing.”
Aside from the endless menus, tourism brochures, street signs that stopped me getting lost, and tickets that were put in front of us every day, there were many, many other examples that stood out, from the simple through to the extraordinary.
We started our trip in Orlando at Disney World and Universal Studios. These places are of such large proportion that it is hard to describe to anyone, and so is the printing. Every ride, every gift shop, every
Ruth Cobb
PrintNZ CEO Ruth Cobb says it is important
to celebrate print and not underestimate its importance in today’s digital world.
food place, every item available for sale – printing, printing, printing. From enormous posters to tiny badges, all colourful and engaging.
I am not sure if they are printing this on-site or whether there are some printers in the US with incredible contracts – but it would take a big haul of equipment to keep up with it all. And judging by the (printed) shopping bags everyone was carrying, it was moving out the doors quickly.
By far the highlight of the trip for me was Nashville – both from a personal and a printing point of view. There was a whole wing at the airport dedicated
to a pictorial/captioned display of the process of letterpress printing – a really nice surprise when getting off the plane.
Nashville lived up to its expectations as the capital
of country music - it was absolutely thumping and did not disappoint at all. I’m sure there is a little bit of country buried in all of us somewhere, and it was easy to immerse yourself in the atmosphere.
Downtown Nashville is the home of Hatch Print, which a
thriving letterpress poster and design shop. At 139 years old it is one of America’s oldest working letterpress print shops, and it still prints 500-600 first edition posters a year for music shows.
It continues to operate as a business, but is also now part of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, ensuring the preservation of its history, and a tour around the shop was as fascinating for me who already loves print, as it was to the non-printers.
It would not have been
a trip to Nashville without slipping across Tennessee to Lynchburg and visiting the Jack Daniels distillery. This
is another amazing piece of American history, and again it was immersed in print – from the barrels they make on site through to the packaging and the thousands of labels and boxes going off the production line at the end.
They made it sound easy to make with just four ingredients – corn, barley, rye and water – but the complex process left you feeling just a little drunk.
The distillery produces 2000 gallons a day, and all the world’s supply of JD is produced from this one plant in a town of 500 people.
Interestingly Lynchburg is in a dry county, but they managed to get around that by selling commemorative bottles – which you could have your name printed on while you waited. And of course it wouldn’t be a gift shop if they didn’t sell a raft of other printed merchandise at the end of your tour.
I am back to the real world now, but what this trip reinforced for me is that we cannot live in a world without print, and in fact every day you see new examples are how people are using print to promote a product or solve a problem.
So make sure you take time to stop and smell the printing – and tell people about it. 21
Left: Printing everywhere on Ruth Cobb’s USA visit.

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