The Problem with the Printing Industry is that We Don’t Know What to Call Things
I’m wild about the printing industry—the advanced technologies, ever-evolving companies, incestuous relationships and the wacky people. I think it’s a great business to be in. The one thing that drives me crazy though is that we’ve developed a poor lexicon to communicate together. A lexicon is a vocabulary of agreed upon terms. An industry as rich in technology and as specific in manufacturing as ours requires its own language. Our problem is that we don’t know what to call things.
A typical example of our poor lexicon is the word offset. This word of course can refer to several different things, including a type of printing or a printing problem. Vastly different meanings.
And it’s not just homonyms that are a problem. As new technologies or services emerge, we have to create words that describe them. As the service or technology evolves, sometimes the vocabulary doesn’t evolve with it. Here are some examples: What exactly is an e-procurement solution or a print management company? What about digital printing? A wide variety of solutions or technologies are lumped into the same phrases, which can be incredibly confusing.
Let’s have fun here. Tell us which words you find flawed. Bonus points if you can suggest a better word.