Archive for February, 2013

Why print finishing will be the future of the print industry

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

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It’s not exactly breaking news that print has to adapt to a new digital world.  Changes aren’t just happening in the amount or type of print in demand, but also in the technology being developed to produce print.  In order to survive, printers are being required to innovate and one area where print can really stand out is in print finishing. There’s a whole host of techniques which can really set off your printed item but many underestimate the value of a decent or unique finishing technique.

Why

Print finishing takes an ordinary printed item and adds tremendous value.  Our move into the digital world means that a tactile, physical experience is really valued and print finishing enhances the physicality of your printed item either by creating a unique visual or texture.  Things like foiling and embossing will give your print a metallic look that you just can’t get from a screen, and UV varnishing allows you to create a variety of textures.  Printed materials can become as engaging and interactive as your computer screen with the right finish.  Thermochromic finishes use inks that are sensitive to heat so that when you touch them they reveal something beneath.

The inks are available in different temperatures so could be designed to react to chilling, moisture or more intense heating.  This allows for some really creative possibilities for a cookery book or menu, for example.  Digital publications are striving to make their applications as interactive as possible with personalised online recipe books and the like, but maybe a page which demonstrates the cooking process through touch has more of a wow factor?  Photochromic ink works in a similar way but reacts to UV or sunlight.  A campaign about solar power or lighting could employ this kind of technique creatively.

Lots of printers agree that print finishing is where some real innovations can be made.  Speaking to printweek, Celloglas explained that they see the future of print heavily involving innovations in print finish. After all, the one thing print has over digital information is its physicality, and print finish is designed to enhance this physicality and the tactile experience of a printed item.

Preserving kinaesthetic teaching in a digital age

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

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Our children are growing up in a world vastly different from the world older generations grew up in. Over just the past five to six years technology in the classroom has radically changed and now learning through digital tools is the norm.  But what does this mean for children whose learning styles don’t suit new technologies?  What about kids who thrive on tactile or kinaesthetic learning?

What is kinaesthetic learning and who thrives on it?

It’s broadly accepted that there are three main types of learning style; visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.  Both the visual and auditory learner can be catered for by digital equipment  as they learn best either from visual aids like pictures, colours, to-do lists and calendars or from sound and verbalisation.  The kinaesthetic learner, however, needs to interact with information in a physical way.  They thrive on touch and active engagement in learning environments to take in information.  Movement is key and the kinaesthetic learner will struggle if their teacher favours a traditional instructive style rather than something more interactive.

Most adults learn best through visual or auditory styles but nearly all young children are kinaesthetic learners.  According to developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, people who use their body to create or do something, like surgeons or dancers, are likely to have strong kinaesthetic intelligence.

Is it really under threat?

Though individuals have different learning styles research indicates that a mixture of teaching techniques will result in the best learning.  Ideas and information should be consolidated through different methods and this includes getting kids involved in hands on learning.  The worry is that with the rise of digital equipment a child’s relationship with their physical environment may get skewed.  As teaching methods develop to cater for the average child “growing up digital” will those learners who aren’t adept to this kind of teaching suffer? Numerous reports have been recently produced to develop teaching which takes into account how children now relate to their environment and take in information, and all these call for a digitalisation of the classroom.  Though it’s important update teaching according to a changing world, taking everything from the physical classroom into a computer, laptop or tablet may well alienate some members of the classroom.

The classroom will inevitably evolve to harness the power of digital media, and this is by no means a bad thing, but what we may need to be wary of is putting too much energy and focus and digital platform, whilst neglecting physical interaction in the classroom, and thereby neglecting the kinaesthetic learner.

Interesting facts about familiar fonts

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Talk to the right person and you’ll discover that fonts are a big deal in the world of design.   Typographers can spend weeks designing a new font and designers can spend forever gushing about the elegance of an old classic.  A lot of fonts actually have a really long history which dates back much further than the dawn of Microsoft word.  So read on to find out a few things you never knew about fonts you might use every day.

Times New Roman:

Probably the most well-known font of all time, times new roman was first designed in 1931 by Stanley Morison and Victor Lardent.  The designers were commissioned by The Times newspaper to improve the readability of print following complaints from readers.

Helvetica:

Helvetica is used by countless brands in logos including British Gas, Oral B, Evian and Post-it.  It was originally designed in 1957 by Max Meidinger and Eduard Hoffman and has become one of the most popular type-faces in the world.  Managing director of Linotype (who own the font) Frank Wildenberg speaking about the font said,

“It’s durable.  It comes from natural design forms.  It doesn’t have an expression of fashion.  It has very clear lines and characters”

This might explain why it’s lasted so long and is used in countless contexts from airport signs to big name brand logos.  The font is so popular it’s inspired a whole film.  Will Helvetica’s dominance ever wane?

Clarendon:

Clarendon is a very old font which you might not recognise by name but you’re bound to recognise by sight.  It was originally created in England by Robert Besley in the 1840s, and was commonly used on wanted posters in the Wild West.  Today it’s often used for decorative door numbers and building name plaques.  Sony use it in their logo.

Gill Sans:

BBC news and the London Underground both use this clean, clear font which was designed by Eric Gill around 1926-1928.  It was adopted heavily by the London and North Eastern Railway system for use on station signs, timetables and in publicity and advertising.

Comic Sans:

Comic sans is one of the most controversial fonts ever designed with a lot of font fanatics repeatedly describing comic sans as the worst typeface ever.  There’s even a website dedicated to ridding the world of this font. The playful font was first made by Microsoft word in 1995 and mimics the style of comic book scripts.  It’s generally considered to be a font reserved for informal purposes and not suitable for use in professional environments, but comic sans does have its defenders.

If you want to know some more facts about famous fonts then take a look here to expand your knowledge!