10 Mantras before PrintPack India

Ramu Ramanathan gives 10 mantras, a week before PrintPack India 2013, one of the Asia’s biggest exhibition, kick starts.

16 Feb 2013 | By Ramu Ramanathan

1. Came across the latest Vogue issue (Feb 2013). It's very well done; the colour reproduction and renderings of skin tones. This is a combination of Conde Nast rule-book, Comart's pre-press and Manipal Technologies pressroom capabilities. And of course Amit Navarange. As production director at Conde Nast, Navarange believes, perfection is the measure of a true pressroom, and the wish to be perfect the measure of a printer. And he goes through great trouble to ensure this happens.

2. This has been acknowledged in a survey released by Cogito Consulting called An Analysis of Marketing Communication of Luxury Brands through the Lens of Luxury Magazines'. The report examines 511 advertisements in premium luxury magazines like Vogue, Verve, Time N Style, GQ, Harper's Bazaar, MW and Cosmopolitan. All the ads were mapped quantitatively on parameters and additionally, a qualitative analysis along with expert interviews were done to arrive at learnings.

3. The learnings seem to suggest: Ink on paper is frozen music. And in the case of the above publications, the hero of the magazine is the printer.

4. And yet, in 2013, the future of print is so uncertain. Which is why a printer hears only what he wants to understand. They talk about squeeze in price; and how they lost a tax battle with a local government official.

5. Having said that, the great printers I've come across (and we've doffed our hat to them in The 1000) always pay attention to the merits of their competitors, and make that an advantage.

6. One thing I heard from a big brand print buyer. She said, why is it, printers can never really understand themselves. Once a day they should stand up and give themselves a standing ovation.

7. It's true you know. All extraordinary printers, who have accomplished great and astonishing print jobs, have ever been decried by the world as foolish or unprofitable.

8. But we always live in the past (in our prices, in our mind-set, being risk-averse), even though that past is being systematically destroyed.

9. One major concern is finance. While speaking to a small print firm CEO, we discovered that most of the small businesses had been refused loans, or have a perception that their loan terms will be turned down. He said: we need more small businesses to have access to finance - too few businesses are able to get the money they need currently to reinvest and their inability to do that is harming the economy as a whole. Print needs much better access to funds, and more variety in the offering. We are pushing for many more avenues opened up for print businesses to apply for loans so there is crisper competition in the market.

10. And finally for those of you visiting PrintPack 2013 from 23 to 28 February, remember technology is not an end, but a means: a means of attaining the best. When you buy a piece of kit, it is like moving a piece at chess: it may be a terrific bargain, and you may even win the game. But at the end of the day, the chessboard belongs to someone else.