The End of Print? Not Quite Yet.


"Break up the printing presses and you break up rebellion."

- Dudley Nichols, American Screenwriter

When I first saw the links relating to The End of Print on Design Observer last week, I frowned, shrugged sadly, and moved on. But after having slept on it, and despite being an avid reader of the blog, I woke up this morning kinda grumpy about the attitude behind the concept.

The End of Print, William Drenttel? Why don't I start posting about 'The End of Stuffy, Elitist Design Blogs'? Hmm, maybe because I would sound crazy, since the design blog, however overblown at this point, is nowhere near passed its prime. Which is kind of the problem. The bigwigs of the design blogosphere say print is over, thereby helping to usher in its end with the heft of those negative words.

Ironically, all that power language has to influence hearts and minds, and to make tangible change happen in the world? That's all thanks to print, and printers that once hand-laid type letter by letter so that news and ideas could be spread to people across borders and vast geographical spaces.

I won't argue that the internet hasn't taken us a step further, doing an unbelievably amazing job of connecting human beings together, and ushering in the age of the global community. But I still know that print is a relevant and essential part of our world. It still has as much disruptive power as newer technology, as much as this country's first political activists and labor unions had when they governed the course of our history by disseminating ideas about democracy and equality through print.

So maybe I won't start posting about The End of Design Blogs, but I think I will start posting about all the great things happening in the world of printing, and I think I'll call it Don't Stop The Presses.

For those who think it's lame and unproductive to read about all the ways that printing is coming to an end, check in here for cool stuff about just the opposite. As one Canadian printer so famously put it: Printing's Alive!

To kick us off, check out this great story about a startup in Chicago that's turning blog posts into print. The best blogs of the day will be included in The Printed Blog, with editions distributed in Chicago and San Francisco, and a New York edition on the way.

Best success to new and hopeful publisher, Joshua Karp, who's quoted as saying, "newsprint is still going to be a main mechanism for information for years to come."

Snaps for believing in the disruptive power of printing, and way to use printers located close to distribution points! That's good eco-thinking.

And hey readers! If you hear any other cool stories about print being awesome, tell me about them here! Let's not turn 'the end of print' into the latest blogging trend.

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2 Comments Posted So Far:
Posted By: On 2009-01-20 11:21:22

Enough is enough!
The web blablabla that has been drowning us all will soon recede. The Internet is TV+Search+Telephone+ a really big filing cabinet. It's like the railroads, back at the beginning of the last century.

While they are being built lots of buzz, lots of money made and lost. But then most of them were built. And it just became another part of the infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Print is a perfectly evolved information tool that has the benefit of 500 years experience on the planet.

If you are into SEO, the web is still interesting. If you are into video, the web will get more interesting. But then TV was pretty interesting in the first place.

If you into spreading knowledge and joy, through beautifully thoughtfully produced objects that need no upgrade and have a pretty good chance of hanging around for the next couple of hundred years.

That means Print.

Posted By: Anne On 2009-01-21 06:19:52

Wow! Thanks for the awesome comment! I would love to hear from more people out there who love print!

You're right, print IS a perfectly evolved information tool. Inexpensive, incredibly easy to use, portable, hard to 'break,' dependable. There's something about the fragility of technology that just can't compare.

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