It was 1967 – a lifetime ago – when Sonny & Cher performed “The Beat Goes On.” Although extremely simplistic, the lyrics spoke of the changes happening in society, while other aspects of life still remained the same.
Since the time of Sonny & Cher, the print industry has seen the beat go on, and on, and on. Print and its effectiveness still play a crucial role in communications, but how it is created has changed dramatically.
In 1967, the industry relied on layout artists, typesetters, strippers, camera operators, and dot etchers. Those roles (and well-compensated craftsmen) no longer exist and their skill sets have been supplanted by software.
In 1967, if you wanted to produce a printed project, it WAS a project. You had to rely on a variety of experts who dealt in the dark secrets of kerning, etching, trapping, and color separations. It was time consuming and expensive.
Today producing print is extremely simple. All you need is a computer and an ink jet printer – and the ability to use a keyboard and mouse, which any five-year old can do.
Producing complex printed projects takes a bit more expertise and understanding, but that continues to change. There is now a Cloud printing service called LOB, which desires to be the “Amazon Web Services of Printing.” Although this project may never really get off the ground, we need to remember that the genie is out of the bottle. And the beat goes on . . .