More Print Than Not
So here it is more than 20 years later, and we’re still feeling the effects of Aldus PageMaker, even though the product has long ago been replaced by QuarkXpress and Adobe InDesign. Desktop publishing is now such a natural part of the printing business one wonders what we would do without it. There would be no digital printing without desktop publishing, and neither would there be computer to plate systems, except in the most extreme circumstances.
But what’s next? It’s clear from Adobe’s recent acquisitions that video, especially mobile video is at the top of their to-do list. We may not think that holds any future for us, but e-books with embedded video have to be created, produced, and managed by some business entity. The management of images and design elements that work in media of all types have to be coordinated as well. These were all at the heart of that old prepress business, but we didn’t know it at the time. That workflow that we had, and the trade practices that were built around it, was a barrier to the creation of print jobs. Desktop publishing smashed that barrier down, reducing production costs and creating a more flexible and richer creative environment, despite the obvious and notable problems with standards and consistency it had, and essentially solved, along the way.
Economists sometimes refer to what happened as “creative destruction.” That’s a strange phrase, in light of our industry, as desktop publishing’s creative destruction elevated the capabilities of creatives to the point where once sophisticated and costly prepress tasks are now almost thoughtless mouse clicks. It actually created more creatives. There are more creative businesses, workers, and freelancers than before. More is expected of designers, in terms of their skills and creativity, and their access to imaging technologies, than ever. It’s our task today, as entrepreneurs and an industry, to find where the next opportunities of creative destruction will be, and lead their charge.