Tony Murphy-Associate director, McGowan’s Print.

  • Tony Murphy has had extensive retail experience since joining Quinnsworth in 1976 with further experience in marketing research and consultancy in 1983 to 1988.A move in 1988 took him into the Human Resources field with Wang Computers before moving back to the retail sector with XTRA VISION. Since 1992 Tony has been involved with the  Print marketing and design sector and is currently in a working relationship with McGowan’s Print since 2012.


    The Evolution OF Print


    What it means to The Foodservice, Hospitality and Retail sectors.

    I make my living selling print, I’ve been doing it for over twenty five years so I’m as familiar with so called traditional print as I am with so called digital print. I say “so called” because very soon there will be just simply – print. It will of course be digital print because litho, flexo and screen will soon be redundant and eventually extinct. It’s progress, it’s evolution and despite it’s digital moniker, it’s nature in its most base form – survival of the fittest.

    Print, in the form we are all familiar with has been around for well over 2 centuries but it’s only in the last 20 or so years that we have seen real developments and progress in this industry. The need for plates, film, colour mixing and large volume ordering have all been rendered obselete by digital printing. Quality has improved continously to the point where is is practically impossible to identify the method used to produce a print. Both finishing processes and substrates have also improved and have resulted in quicker turnaround and durability in the final product whether it is indoor or outdoor, large or small format printing . The attraction for marketers and designers to digital print’s versatility and budget friendly options has grown expedentially in recent years. As more people have become aware of the numerous advantages digital print has to offer and the previous negatives like quality issues have, over time, been eradicated.

    Printing presses like our own HPIndigo 10K print every single sheet individually. Not making copies from one printing plate or piece of film. This means that every single printed piece can be as unique as you you see fit. It’s no secret that people are more likely to engage with personalised material than something generic. Another huge advantage is the abilty to print to order. Just buy what you need or can store. Artwork changes quick and painless and lead times are shorter than ever.

    In the food industry where food regulations change frequently forcing labelling and packaging changes on producers, the abilty to order smaller amounts of labels and packages avoids the nightmare scenario of piles of redundant, unusable print. The possibility of reactional or seasonal promotions is an easily achievable option. Another advantage, for the food industry in particular, is unique tracking codes printed on each label for true product traceability.

    Some of you here might be tempted to argue that print itself, whether digital or not, has been rendered useless in the digital age. Where the internet rules supreme and we all digest our media through computers, tablets and the phones in our pockets. While it’s true that newspapers and magazines have struggled in the 21st century, print as an industry has in fact grown. Print has and will continue to stand the test of time. Why? Because print is tangible, a physical thing that we can see and touch and above all, trust. Printed advertisments, indoors, outdoors, instore or in homes last, for weeks, for months, for years. A banner ad on the internet is something to be ignored, never clicked for fear of spam and viruses. There is no trust in an internet ad but there is no danger in a printed ad. Consumers are more engaged with physical print than websites which are sometimes skimmed in seconds and nothing is more tangible and interactive than the actual package that houses your product. It’s in this area that the most recent and possibly the most exciting development in print is about to enter the market and we are in a privileged position in that we are only the second company in the world to utilise this technology and the first to employ it in both the POS and packaging markets.

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