Open Enrollment | Subscribe to Printing Impressions HERE
Connect
Follow us on
Advertisement
 
Founder, Print Buyers International (PBI)

Margie's Buyer Insights

By Margie Dana

About Margie

Margie Dana, a former print buyer, is the founder of Print Buyers International (PBI) and its member-based organization, Boston Print Buyers. These professional organizations cater to print customers worldwide through education, an annual buyers conference, Print Buyer Boot Camps, and networking opportunities.

Margie's perhaps best known for her weekly enewsletter, Margie's Print Tips, which she's published weekly since 1999 in an effort to build bridges in the industry. For years, Margie has been a popular speaker at industry events here and abroad. Her clients include print company executives who rely on her to help steer their marketing campaigns and make their online efforts more customer friendly.

 

The Object of Print Buyers' Affection

7
 
What's clear to me about serious, professional print buyers is not so much their skill and savvy; rather, it's their affection for print.

I've been hanging around print buyers for 25 years, and I've noticed that when they talk about their work, they're animated. There's the thrill of the daily challenge — what jobs will surface today, how will I ever get all of this stuff done on time, can I trust that new printer, and so on and so forth. Every day's a new day — and usually an exciting one.

But if they didn't genuinely care about print, they wouldn't be half as good at their jobs. I don't know if most printers realize this about their customers: for a number of reasons, they love print as a medium, and that's why they remain in the field, typically for life.

Some love typography. Some love paper. Some love the mix of magic and manufacturing that turns out printed piece after printed piece.

What concerns me is the "incoming class" of freshmen print buyers. I don’t think they'll major in print buying anymore. They will major in media or communications or marketing, with a minor in print.

They won't seek out jobs as print buyers out of a love for the medium. They will be generalists who must be comfortable with different media. Print will hold no allure for them, no mystery.

I worry that they'll be missing a key criteria for excellent print buying; that is, an appreciation for print. If they can't recognize stellar printing, why will they care who does the work — let alone how it gets done?

It's an issue we all face together. How do we pass on the affection for printing? Does it start in the schools, or at home, or in the curricula of colleges and universities? It feels like a Sisyphean task. But I for one have always loved a good challenge.

Industry Centers:

7

COMMENTS

Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments:
Portland Printing Services - Posted on December 02, 2010
I agree 100% with this post. Most people are not trying to get a degree for printing alone. Because of the way things have changed, the internet is king when it comes to advertising. But I do think it is very important to still understand the print game.
Print Peddler - Posted on November 24, 2009
Some items will always be produced by a commercial printer. Ever seen a presentation folder run through an office printer? Even in this age of downloadable PDF brochures, how many offices run out of toner in the middle of page 2?
Nani - Posted on November 19, 2009
A few professional schools, like Seattle's School of Visual Concepts, offer classes in print production management, taught by working senior-level print management professionals. When I taught this class in the past, I was heartened by the curiosity, excitement, and ah-ha moments my students exhibited, especially when it all came together for them the night that we took our field trip to a large offset printing plant!

I'd like to see more opportunities like these for young designers and production folks to learn about print! See http://tinyurl.com/yz538mj

Margie Dana - Posted on November 16, 2009
Cranky,

I don't believe it's because it's so rare. The print manufacturing process/industry is totally hidden from the public eye. Nowadays, people associate "printer" with a laser or inkjet printer. To them, that's "where it all happens" and that's all you need to print.

MD
Cranky Pressman - Posted on November 14, 2009
Could it be that great print, with a solid concept, beautifully designed, art directed, shot, written and produced is so rare today that the younger generation has seen too little to really appreciate and have a passion for the medium?
Margie Dana - Posted on November 14, 2009
You're welcome, Kyle. I think about it a lot, too. I have half a mind to create a bunch of short info-videos for YouTube to show the "kids" how printing is made possible...in ways that will make them impressed and excited. Print really is alive, isn't it.

MD
Kyle Richardson - Posted on November 13, 2009
Margie, you pose a very realistic dilemma. I am a young guy who is selling print, and what I have seen from the younger print buyers is the notion that printing something is a luxury. They regard print as a "really cool, old-school, vintage" way to market. I try and let them know that print is alive, it is tangible, and it is vital for any marketing campaign. Thanks for the insight!
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Portland Printing Services - Posted on December 02, 2010
I agree 100% with this post. Most people are not trying to get a degree for printing alone. Because of the way things have changed, the internet is king when it comes to advertising. But I do think it is very important to still understand the print game.
Print Peddler - Posted on November 24, 2009
Some items will always be produced by a commercial printer. Ever seen a presentation folder run through an office printer? Even in this age of downloadable PDF brochures, how many offices run out of toner in the middle of page 2?
Nani - Posted on November 19, 2009
A few professional schools, like Seattle's School of Visual Concepts, offer classes in print production management, taught by working senior-level print management professionals. When I taught this class in the past, I was heartened by the curiosity, excitement, and ah-ha moments my students exhibited, especially when it all came together for them the night that we took our field trip to a large offset printing plant!

I'd like to see more opportunities like these for young designers and production folks to learn about print! See http://tinyurl.com/yz538mj

Margie Dana - Posted on November 16, 2009
Cranky,

I don't believe it's because it's so rare. The print manufacturing process/industry is totally hidden from the public eye. Nowadays, people associate "printer" with a laser or inkjet printer. To them, that's "where it all happens" and that's all you need to print.

MD
Cranky Pressman - Posted on November 14, 2009
Could it be that great print, with a solid concept, beautifully designed, art directed, shot, written and produced is so rare today that the younger generation has seen too little to really appreciate and have a passion for the medium?
Margie Dana - Posted on November 14, 2009
You're welcome, Kyle. I think about it a lot, too. I have half a mind to create a bunch of short info-videos for YouTube to show the "kids" how printing is made possible...in ways that will make them impressed and excited. Print really is alive, isn't it.

MD
Kyle Richardson - Posted on November 13, 2009
Margie, you pose a very realistic dilemma. I am a young guy who is selling print, and what I have seen from the younger print buyers is the notion that printing something is a luxury. They regard print as a "really cool, old-school, vintage" way to market. I try and let them know that print is alive, it is tangible, and it is vital for any marketing campaign. Thanks for the insight!