Binary Graphics, Inc.

Use the communications continuum to manage change

by John Knapp, Binary Graphics, Inc. Seattle
© 1997 Binary Graphics, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

We are in the communications business and our customers are communicators. Some are professional communicators and some are not. Many of us are most comfortable when dealing with professional communicators like designers and print buyers, but more frequently than ever before we are dealing with non-professionals. These are individuals whose primary job function is not design, production or anything of the sort. They are busy business people who just happen to be responsible for getting a message across. We come in contact with these individuals on projects ranging from forms and stationery to collateral and annual reports. They have special needs which we must recognize and address.

Certainly this is an industry in transition. Not only regarding the individuals with whom we transact business but in the nature of the communications pieces with which we get involved. These changes are legendary and a great deal of printing plant management's time is spent considering where they are and where they are going within this landscape.

Changes naturally occur as projects go in-house and as run-lengths, content and mediums change. We cannot ignore these changes. In fact, we should (obviously) act upon change and use it as a lever for growth. But many peoples minds numb a bit at the tumult we are experiencing. As I consider change, it helps me to divide the world of communications in the following way. Consider where you fit in this continuum, what changes are going on at that place today and tomorrow, and consider where on this continuum you might optimally want to position your business.

Here is some description about these variables:

Number of Pages

Are the jobs you work on short or long in page count?

Print Quality or Fidelity

Do you produce laser quality documents or high-quality works of lithographic art.

The Documents Practical Life Span

Are your projects single use documents or are they reference materials with a long life span

The Intended Audience Size

Are your documents shown to a small or large group

The Public Nature of the Audience

Are your documents for private internal use or are they shared with the general public

Is the Document Subject to Change

Does it change like a magazine or is it static like most reference materials

The Way in Which The Document is Used

Is it linear like a novel with a beginning and end or dynamic like a dictionary or a website



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