First things first – clarify what control and generativity is. For the sake of this blog post we’ll say that control refers to having control over what types of data are put in to a print spec (so, for example, you select paper weight from a list of discrete options rather than typing whatever weight on an undefined continuous scale). Conversely, highly generative processes would refer to ones with no such parameters, and hence are more suited to extremely unique efforts, as you could, in theory, type anything you want into your print spec.
The issue with print it, and it’s a growing one, is that there are so so many different variables which go into every order of print. As such, the typical generative methods of specifying orders are becoming more varied, and more subjective to printers. In turn, this can lead to a mistranslation when converting the buyers wants into actionable print specs.
To avoid this, some system is needed whereby print buyers can specify exactly what they want ensuring each criteria is directly actionable by printers – ensuring no loss in translation. The difficulty with this is the system must allow some form of flexibility in order to allow buyers to take advantage of the huge variety of options open to them.
At this point, it becomes clear that different print buyers will need different systems. Some, who predominantly buy relatively ‘straightforward’ print (and even some complex print) would likely be better served by a system which favours control over generativity, as it would mitigate any translation issues between buyer and printer, allow anyone (even without extensive print knowledge) to accurately and efficiently specify orders, and allow for quicker re-ordering and quotation collecting.
Conversely, buyers who exclusively buy highly unusual, highly complex print would be better served through a generative system. Whilst the buyer would likely need a strong understanding of print, the freedom offered with a generative system would allow for new and innovative print products to be created.
It’s probable that most buyers fall somewhere within the spectrum of these systems, but whilst it’s very possible for an experienced print buyer to specify unusual print jobs with printers, those looking to quickly order print for the best price, whilst not necessarily having extensive knowledge of print, are currently chronically underserved, with no universal control based mechanisms available for specifying print, requesting quotes or generating orders.
This is the gap that Printelligence hopes to fill.By Tom Maskill at 23 Jun 2017