Signs of the Times - September 2012 - (Page 16)

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE By Darek Johnson Darek Johnson is ST’s Senior Technology Editor/Analyst. Email him at Fire your geeks? Old-school tools remain critical to sales. Sales are a firm’s revenue source, its very lifeblood and cause. All doors should be open to the cause. – Zafarrano Wolfe Wolfe Street News There’s more. My Saturday morning snail mail held a PPAI Expo postcard that promised my attendance would allow me to pull away from my competition. “From the first education session to the last booth visit, the PPAI Expo has intensity – an energy from start to finish,” it said. Great news, but, uh … what’s PPAI? I had no idea. And, get this, the full-color, glossy (and expensive) postcard didn’t define the term. I of course checked the Internet and learned PPAI is the acronym for Promotional Products Assn. Intl. Er, sorry. It’s the Public Policy Action Institute (PPAI). Or, wait, it’s the Professional Patient Advocate Institute (PPAI) – or, damn, is it the Press Photographers Assn. of Ireland (PPAI)? You get my point. PPAI’s ad writer/ designers need to revisit Marketing 101; they forgot the “who, what, when, where and why” rule. In simple form, marketing is both research and the distribution of information, so, even though it’s tough work, it shouldn’t be complicated. Geek work, generally, is the interpretation of codes and procedures in a way that’s similar to accounting. Today, we see geeks as having exclusive knowledge, so they’re often called upon to advise marketers. Trouble is, geeks don’t always appreciate basic communications tools. They call them “old school.” Another peril is marketers that become too geeky, because such viewpoints block out traditional, effective and logical marketing utensils. Like, telephones. Have you noticed? Website builders often bury telephone numbers behind a near-invisible “contact” label. And, even when found, the contact information lists only an email “info” address, one that links to nowhere. People have died while waiting for “info@---” replies. I’ve long suspected geeks discourage prominently listing telephone numbers on websites because they believe it may lessen the website hits and, thereby, their importance – but, isn’t the first tenet of selling to make contacts through every possible means? I include Cincinnati’s CityBeat newspaper application on my iPhone and recently wrote them a grumpy note. My grievance? Crappy technology. The app downloads the newspaper’s pages, but, to access the news, one must scroll through tiny, unreadable pages and then double-tap to enlarge any chosen page to a font size that comprises 6-10 words. Further, when you scroll sideways to finish a sentence, the app again refocuses (in geologic time) the words. You could bake a Tombstone pizza while you read a headline. It was the weekend, and I wanted to see if anything interesting was happening in town. Ever do that? Ever miss some grand event because you couldn’t get advance information from available media – apps, the Internet or standard news media? My note to CityBeat’s editors said, “Fire your geeks and start over.” Possible Future for Digital Printing By Vince Cahill, VCE Solutions The word “future”both the possibleimagiemboldens the nation to dream of and impossible, and we all know of successful and failed dreams. Remember, for example, when Disney and company dreamt up cars that drove themselves? So, just where is the dreams-come-true genie? Technology, today, comes close; however, even genies know most technologies require application and market demand to sustain their development and growth. In our interest area, digital-print technologies that provide quality, cost effectiveness, durability and other desired performance to image applications will be part of our future. Today, electrophotography, inkjet, valve jet, and 16 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / SEPTEMBER 2012 / thermal-transfer print systems account for most digitalprint technologies, and each category comprises numerous subcategories and varieties. Inkjet, most familiar to signmakers, offers continuous and drop-on-demand systems through numerous machine systems. Interestingly, some analysts would include computer-controlled, inkless-imaging technologies here, those that use radiation to change carrier-coatings’ applied colors. Examples are laser-imaging, laser-engraving and thermal-direct systems that image on coated paper or film. Textile printing At the International Exhibition of Textile Machinery 2011 (ITMA), in Barcelona, Spain, the production, inkjet-textile printers from d-gen, Durst, Konica Minolta, La Meccanica, MS, Reggiani, Xennia, Robustelli, Stork and others proved inkjet textile printing has captured the flag, banner and flexible-signage manufacturing

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - September 2012

Signs of the Times - September 2012
ST Update
Possible Future for Digital Printing
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review
Technology Review
Design Matters
New Products
Show Yourself
Enter STs 2013 Intl. Sign Contest!
Looking Ahead
Pop Art
Neon: Green Again
Channel-letter Update
Industry News
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - September 2012