Good Enough is better than Perfect
The print industry can see its future by looking at the history of the Fashion industry. Years ago, ‘Haute Couture’ (High Fashion) gave way to Prêt-à-Porter (Ready to Wear), an MVP, minimum viable product. It served the purpose of producing clothes for the masses; manufactured in factories rather than the designer’s atelier. The result was affordable clothing more efficiently responsive to trends. The mass customization process is the basis of an MVP, and the practice has found a home in ‘low-code’ software development: the democratization of workflow software automation.
And so, we have print. Mass customization, the recently re-coined mantra of CIMPRESS/VistaPrint, and the impetus of print industry growth. Upload and print, online design tools, gang printing, drag-and-drop automated workflows right down to the package being loaded on the delivery truck.…anyone can produce print, minimal skills required. Printed product that is ‘good-enough’.
Are the results comparable to what a high-end printer with the most skilled prepress and press operators can produce? Yes, they are. The market has spoken and proven that point. Why? Because good-enough print is an MVP that is better suited to the user than a ‘perfect product’. This is the change print is undergoing. Custom printed jobs with people standing on-press, measuring with spectrophotometers, approving press sheets is the opportunity for the few, not the masses. The printing Atelier has ceded market to the Prêt-à-Porter of print.
Every aspect of printed products is being automated, democratized for the end user. Easy to use tools, reliable results. Self-service is the goal. From the business management perspective, the reduction of the cost of sale is among the benefits. The reduction of labor costs in manufacturing workflows creates affordable product. The definition of a printed product has necessarily expanded. Anyone can design their own brochure, brand a promotional item and create an original fabric design. It is easy. And as this article adamantly proposes, it is good-enough.