The WA branch of the Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA) presented "Pinnacles of Printing."

In a bold move to confront head-on the changes happening in the Australian printing industry, the WA branch of the Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA) presented ‘Pinnacles of Printing – Looking for high points in print’s future’ at Central TAFE on 10 March.


 Pinnacles of Print: Speaker Andrew McCourt, PIAA WA President John Stangeland and Deb Whitington, Senior Lecturer at Central TAFE WA.

The event was held in conjunction with TAFE and Océ Australia, and presented by Sydney-based industry researcher and analyst Andy McCourt. McCourt’s 25-year career in the graphic arts includes editorship of Print21, editorial contributor to many publications around the world, including our own Wide Format Online and Digital Reproduction magazines, presentations at Australian and international conferences, and involvement in the genesis of digital colour printing in the early 1990s.

PIAA state President John Stangeland said of the presentation: “Printing in Australia employs well over 100,000 Australians and is a ten-billion dollar industry. However, digital technologies and societal and business demands are changing the face of printing faster than many organisations can keep pace with.

“The WA branch of the PIAA wanted to bring relevant knowledge to the industry and students here. We found a willing partner in Océ Australia and terrific co-operation from Central TAFE School of Graphic Arts, where the event was held.”

Stangeland explained that, rather than bemoaning the state of the economy and the loss of old trade skills, ‘Pinnacles of Printing’ examined who is winning by implementing digital strategies. It also explored emerging trends and how printing businesses can change to prosper in an increasingly digital communications environment.

“This is of particular importance to students of graphic arts, who will constantly need to learn new skills to become print media ‘all-rounders’,” added Stangeland.

The presentation covered the state of the local, national and international print markets, projections to 2012 by PIRA (Printing Industry Research Association), and several ‘Pinnacles’ where opportunities lie.

Amongst these ‘pinnacles’ were the integration of the web into print businesses, creating a link between print buyers and producers, called Web-to-Print. Another ‘pinnacle’ was the use of websites in direct marketing and the phenomenal growth in all forms of direct digital output. Digital production is estimated to grow 105% between 2007 and 2012, against a 5.7% decline in conventional print methods.

“As is often the case,” said McCourt, “WA is well ahead of the trends and I was delighted to visit a few local businesses after the show, who are without doubt futureproofing themselves with the adoption of digital print and internet marketing methods. Your TAFE Graphic Arts education facility is also one of the best I have seen.”

Looming large on the global printing landscape is the environment and conservation of precious resources. ‘Pinnacles of Printing’ revealed that, by adopting short-run, targeted digital printing workflows and output methods, printers can reduce paper wastage and carbon ‘footprints’.

Instead of a publisher printing a long run of 10,000 books, only for 4,000 to be repulped, publishers worldwide are availing themselves of digital short-run production and only printing what they need. They can reprint on-demand, or even sell books on websites first and print after the sale.

Even newspapers have begun to adopt digital output methods to re-invent the printed newspaper as a dynamic, personalised communications medium. Last year at a printing trade fair in Germany, daily editions of the Sydney Morning Herald were sent digitally and printed out in full.

“Printing has been with humanity for around 600 years,” says PIAA state President John Stangeland, “and is interwoven in the fabric of society. It is changing for sure but will always be with us for information, news, entertainment, commerce,
packaging, decoration and leisure.

“In bringing ‘Pinnacles of Printing’ to WA, we hope to have catalysed some serious debate and action in the state’s industry.”




Pin It