Print – back to basics

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print back to basics

Print – back to basics

Like many business travellers, I use a lot of rental cars. I quite enjoy this as it means I get to try many of the newest models.


Recently I was reflecting on the changes in car design over the years and its direction. Time was when I could collect a car and quickly acquaint myself with all the key controls. Lights, heater, windscreen wipers, radio, these were all pretty much the same in any vehicle and were all I needed to get safely from a to b.


On my latest trip, it took me five minutes to work out the controls for the car lights and even after I located these I felt the need to walk around the car to see what had actually lit up! The controls accessed through the central touch screen menu system (which, by the way, seems different on every car) simply don’t get a look in. Who has the time I wonder?


I can’t help thinking there are parallels in our industry. Only last week three of us in the office were prodding despondently at our office printer’s touch control panel, trying to convince it to print from the ‘empty’ paper tray that was in fact full. How many print professionals does it take to work a printer? …answers on a postcard!


I’m sure our office is not alone. Most people simply want a printed copy but are often confronted with over complex, over specified devices. Maybe it is the fault of procurement processes that seek to cover every eventuality. Maybe it is that simplicity can be quite hard to achieve. New features are exciting for manufacturers and developers, but it is easy to lose sight of what people actually need.


Many iconic leaders believe if you make time to make things simple, your customers will thank you. As the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal once penned in a letter to a friend: “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”


Does this current path lead to a future where such print devices will need a supervisor to help guide users? If so, it makes sense for all the printers to be located centrally for convenience? I know, let’s call it a print room!

Chris Camp

Chris is Managing Director of ePrint direct, creators and developers of Skyline, a comprehensive print direction, web-to-print and publishing solution. Chris has over 20 years’ experience in the print sector, working with global industry partners and with customers based around the world and across a number of industries, including education, government and commercial.