Mass customization colors printing future

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Joe Fazzi has worked in printing manufacturing and management for more than 40 years. He is currently VP-media production technologies for IDEAlliance, which helps create best practices and industry standards for magazine production internationally.

Media Business: What do you see changing in the b-to-b printing world in the next six months or year and why?

Joe Fazzi: Digital press technology is changing the landscape for all publishers, including b-to-b. It allows short, customized printing. Traditional printing will continue to trend toward more creative, high-impact, decorative printing and will continue to hold on to high-volume print runs.

MB: What are the biggest technology changes you see coming?

Fazzi: Managing content and color across multiple print and e-media platforms. Content and brand recognition is king. Digital print technology now allows for the merger of static and variable data and imagery. The traditional direct-market approach was to print a fixed or static image, then address using variable data. New digital press technology can print what was fixed or static as variable and merge this onpress with variable messaging. The challenges include IT for data management and building the imagery so that its color fidelity is reproduced as the content creator intended. Put all these together and you have mass customization. A perfect combination for short-run, targeted publications. Digital printing can be the new delivery vehicle.

MB: What should publishers be preparing for?

Fazzi: There are new colorimetric standards for printing coming soon from ISO. There is a great deal of color science that printers will need to school themselves in. Software programs will need to be developed to improve the work flow. Educating customers/content creators and brand owners in these new standards will also become necessary. (So will) maintaining these print conditions over time, gathering trend data and reporting these metrics back to the customer, and using these metrics as an internal gauge as to how well your quality is being maintained. It's going to be all about process control and “conformance.”

MB: What are the biggest challenges in the b-to-b printing world, and what should publishers be doing to deal with them?

Fazzi: Streamlining the work flow to support multimedia platforms; creating content, tagging the content with meta-data and managing that content across multiplatform outputs (print and digital devices). Printers should be offering these services to their clients. Publishers should be working with their service providers (print and e-media) to ensure that the content is being created properly.

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