6 March 2013
Dscoop review: From digital to letterpress
NASHVILLE, TN—More than 2,000 HP Indigo and Scitex users gathered in the country music capital last week for Dscoop, the annual conference and networking event.

In addition to Dscoop University and the online printer directory reported on last week, other highlights from the event included an address from Steve Nigro, the newly appointed head of the graphic arts division, a new installation announcement for Canada, and a visit by your editor to America’s oldest working poster print shop.

PrintCAN editor Filomena Tamburri visits Hatch Show Print

Nigro’s key message revolved around strategizing for a communication universe that is “mobile, social and on the cloud.” These developments are the future, and we have to come up with an answer for what they mean to graphic arts, he said. One thing it means is bringing the digital world and print together. On a more practical footing, Nigro said one of HP’s strategies is the transform printing in selective industries, including packaging and educational printing. “There is an incredible opportunity for packaging,” he said.

At the conference, Jet Label in Edmonton inked a deal for a new WS6600 digital label press. Founded in 1998, Jet Label, headed by Darrell Friesen, was growing nicely until 2008, when it became a victim of economic dominos: Many of its clients were in forestry, a sector that got hit when the housing market crashed in the US, and suddenly sales dried up. To turn the business around, Friesen bet on a digital direction and picked up his first 6600 in 2009. Sales have been on a steady incline since then. 

Darrell Friesen, president of Jet Label, and Danny Ionescu, vice president of sales and marketing, Indigo and inkjet high-speed production solutions HP Canada, sign a deal at Dscoop

Founded in 1879, Hatch Show Print is a step back in printing time. A downtown Nashville landmark, the shop made its name producing advertising posters, and from the 1950s it boasted Grand Ole Opry stars like Johnny Cash as clients. Now owned and operated by the Country Music Hall of Fame, Hatch still crafts promo posters for modern acts including Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Coldplay.

The work is done on three letterpresses in a shop charmingly packed to the rafters with wooden blocks of images and type and where, according to its literature, computers are strictly ornamental. The results, often described as simple, fractured, and even crude, starkly stand out against the sterile perfection of modern design. It must be working because on the day we visited, the shop was full of visitors curious and fascinated about this new, old, printing technique.

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