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Impacts of Modern ICTs in the Print Industry

Five centuries after Johannes Gutenburg invented the first movable printing press, the advent of the ICTs has permitted the printing method to change connotations,   paving the way for the computerization, mechanization, and automation of the whole printing process. 

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The impacts of the development of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are visible in many different aspects of the print  media as a whole.  In the past, printing was a laborious process.   It was the end-result of the work of a number of skilled operators.  It was a world of  craftsman and very expensive machines.  Printing a communication material was focused on the ability of each skilled worker to do their respective jobs in order to complete the whole cycle of the printing process.

So, if you were to print a communication material containing some images and type  in a piece of paper, first, the editorial staff would have to type set the clean copy, do the proofreading, correct it again, choose the appropriate illustrations, make a dummy for the layout, make the paste up, then only after these,  you then proceed with the plating,  then, the printing process. 

The pre-printing process, specifically,  was a lot of work that involved a lot of people.  Then, another group of skilled people were concerned in the plating process.  Finally, a different group of extremely skilled people were needed to do the printing.  The press operators were needed to control manually every step of the whole printing procedure.  

Nowadays, the development of ICTs has transformed the printing process and has made things easier, faster, and more productive.   ICT has revolutionized the quality of the prints and the volume of prints produced.   Complex and multi-faceted operations done by a number of skilled operators are now easily brought together using  electronic computers and sophisticated software programs. 

It’s the electronic computer, with its integrated circuits and transistors, that is making this enormous leap viable in the print industry .  This is viable because of the great potentials of the computer technology and the process that governs it, which is any data stored into a computer in a digital form can be consequently manipulated by the computer or other computers,  regardless of the physical format or visual appearance of the input and output.   

In fact, an electronic computer identifies texts, symbols, graphics, photographs and moving images as sequences of digital code.  Thus, provided that two computers have the same software, data which is entered or stored into one machine can be read in another, and can be therefore revised and manipulated.

In the print media, the rise of computers and software programs opened the door to an innovative way of crafting communication materials. This include the use of sophisticated word processors that led to greater ease in text correction, proof reading, and, therefore,  has eliminated typographical errors, the main source of problems and delay in the pre-printing process. 

Furthermore, the computer technology and desk top publishing software programs permit editors to go through the whole layout process without even leaving their comfortable offices.  With  ICT, it is  therefore possible for the editorial staff to be physically located in another place and the printing press in another one.  Full time work flow is obtained because of the widespread adoption of word processing softwares.   As a result, this has created the  computerization  of print journalism, from the reporting and editing stages to layout and printing. 

The real printing process has also changed because of developments in ICT.  Tedious tasks that were once in the hands of skilled press operators are now mechanized and even automated.  Nowadays, there is no need to manually feed individual sheets into presses or adjusts screws for appropriate inking distribution.  With modern electronic consoles, a press operator can adjust certain print parameters by just pressing a button. 

The advent of ICT has, therefore,  resulted in the computerization, mechanization of the printing process, which, in turn,  created the need for more mechanization,  more computerization and even, at a certain degree, automation of the other important processes involved in printing communication materials.  Thus, more ICT investments are allocated by firms in the print industry  in order to fully benefit from the advantages that can derive from its application and use. 

As a conclusion,  a lot of important advancements have happened since Johannes Gutenberg invented the first movable printing press.  Today,  we have a world wherein a normal person can print a communication material even without going to an offset printing press.  It’s enough to buy a computer, an inkjet or a laser color printer,  and a digital camera to print, in the comfort of our homes,  business cards, documents or pictures.  

For development communicators, advancement in ICT has made printing communication materials easier, faster and less tedious to achieve, regardless of the place they are operating.  

.  Close-up on Color Printing


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