The technology is not the problem, but the people

  • Christian Greim Hochschule Mittweida, Mittweida University of Applied Sciences
Keywords: printing industry, monopolies, open-source, higher education


We actually in printing-industrie have almost everything we could wish for in terms of printing technology. We have the possibility to match the colours to a large extent beforehand and to print in such a quality that the customers are satisfied. Everything is actually there.
The problem, however, is the complexity of the solutions. Suppliers suggest the exact opposite of complexity. The common programmes that are used to create the PDF files that are then sent to the printers for printing, initially give the impression of being child’s play to use. The graphic agencies, the largest group of customers of the printers, also think that everything is very simple. In the courses for graphic designers, printing technology is often not even taught as a separate subject. The idea prevails: “If the file looks good on the screen, my job is done!” That this is only about half the job, is known to anyone who has to rework PDF files in the graphic arts industry. And so we have the problem that from the outside everything in the printing industry is quite simple, almost trivial. But if we look more closely, the enormous choices in prepress and production, ultimately create an enormous complexity of all processes, that is difficult to oversee and deal with. Colour management, for example, requires very extensive knowledge. CIP3 cannot be mastered without in-depth IT knowledge. The temptation is to buy in the knowledge from suppliers. As a result, printers have equipment that has been set up once by suppliers and is then only to be operated in a comparatively mindless manner. The slightest error means that technicians have to be called in.
This article examines the real problems in the day-to-day work of printers, in opposite to the problems that manufacturers tell us are a problem. It gives principled suggestions on what should be changed in training, it formulates questions that responsible people in the printing industry should ask themselves. And finally he gives practical advice on what could be done differently in concrete terms.


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