Sign & Digital Graphics

November '12

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The Long View BY KEN MERGENT IME __________________________________________ Publisher When Dinosaurs Roamed S James Kochevar – Executive Editor Ken Mergentime – Managing Editor ometimes—when I consider current trajectory of technology, and how rapidly it is changing the sign and commercial graphics industry—I find myself looking back and recalling how my father used to complain about all the gimmicky new technologies that kept coming at him. It started with early multi-function TV remotes and such. I remember helping him read the manual and figuring out how to hookup and program his VCR and syncing it to his remote. At the time it seemed to me that he was actively resisting learning. He wanted the convenience and benefits of the new technology, but found the learning curve confusing and complex. He eventually acquiesced, but he did so "kicking and screaming" as it were. Later, when personal computers, the internet and cell phones tried to intrude on his life he simply refused to acknowledge their existence, preferring instead to live life as he had always lived it. I remember being quite annoyed by this at first, but soon realized that my dad, who grew up during the Great Depression, came from another time, another era. He used to joke with me, acknowledging his seeming Luddite attitude by say- ing things like, "You know, they didn't have all this computery stuff when dinosaurs roamed the earth. What do I need an internet for?" But to give him his due, he somehow accepted epochal technological develop- ments such as the splitting of the atom and the reality of living in a nuclear world. But he also helped usher in television, transistor radios, power steering, Teflon, laser technology, hand-held calculators and other useful things. After a lifetime of deal- ing with change, I guess he finally decided he'd had enough. Now I find myself faced with a barrage of new technologies that seem to be bombarding the sign and commercial graphics at increasingly rapid rates. Look how much things have changed just within the last 10 years or so. Not only has per- sonal computing and digital technology driven the development of inkjet printing, die-cutting, CNC routing, laser engraving, EDS systems and graphic design, but it has also become integral to workflow, bookkeeping, marketing and mass communi- cation. In my own job, everything has changed since I signed on in 1997. It's no longer enough to simply put out a great magazine; we also need to have a great interactive and constantly updated website, a powerful social media presence, a weekly newslet- ter, e-blasts, an extensive CRM database and a gigantic professional online network. If I were to become a curmudgeon like my dad, I'd say that digital technology has "ruined everything." Why do we need all this gimmicky new technology any- way? But truth to tell, I love how much better the sign industry has become at com- municating their clients' messages. I love the immense variety of creative output that this technology makes possible. I also love my super-fast internet connection, my 54" hi-definition flat-screen TV and my new TiVo. Besides, it's pointless to look back a million years and long for a time when dino- saurs roamed the earth. All this new technology... it's not going away, and things will just continue to change. We need to accept, adapt and take advantage of the benefits—and help to usher in our hi-tech industry for the next generation. Okay, back to work. Got something to say? Join the S&DG Discussion Group at: 6 • November 2012 • SIGN & DIGITAL GRAPHICS Eddie Wieber – __________________________________________ Matt Dixon – Reporter at Large Art Director Linda Cranston __________________________________________ Graphic Artist Daniel Ahrens Ashleigh Rothhammer – Advertising Account Executives Dan Peckham – Diane Gilbert – Matt Charboneau; Marilyn Davenport and Michael Syverson; Vince DiCecco; Regan Dickinson; Duane Fast; Ryan Fugler; Charity Jackson; Amanda K. McGrory; Bill Schiffner; Steve Vigeant, Rick Williams; Don Woodard ___________________________________________ __________________________________________ Contributors in this Issue: Advertising Production Coordinator Sara Siauw – Custom Marketing Specialist/ Supplier Spotlights and Reprints Matt Wieber – ___________________________________________ Kendall Buckley – Damon Cincotta – Show Sales Director, Exhibitions & Events Sue Hueg CEM, CMP – Nichole Doolan – Laurie Thiel – Exhibitor Services Director of Event Sales Corporate Marketing Manager Katie Orrell ____________________________________________ National Business Media, Inc. Education Manager Linda Eddleman President & CEO Robert H. Wieber Jr. Director of IT Wolf Butler Manager of Accounting & Finance Kori Gonzales, CPA Director of eMedia and Creative Services John Bennett Audience Development Manager Lori Farstad

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