Saturday, 16 June, 2012

It’s over but its not over: The summer after drupa

After a pleasant and unexpectedly rainy April and an equally unexpectedly temperate May, June is upon us in New Delhi. Fiercely hot with an occasional dust storm and daytime temperatures touching 44 and 46 degrees centigrade and night time lows above 30, we are now waiting for the rains – the monsoon which hit the Kerala coast on time at the beginning of the month, proceeded up the coast to Mumbai and is expected to reach us by the end of June.

If you were there at drupa, you were there. You made your choice and you saw what you saw and you learnt what you could. You had a good time, met up with printers across town that you haven’t seen for a decade. You saw many others who were totally unfamiliar, a sign of the Indians being the largest foreign contingent at the show. You met up with the sons and daughters of printers – the new breed of highly educated and very polite kids that only printers have. And then you came back to the heat and dust and the grinding work – trying to remember what you saw and trying to digest what it means.

In Delhi this has meant several events by paper manufacturers – itself unusual, but a sign that paper mills and traders are becoming aware of the possibilities of our large market and the necessity of increasing their branding. It’s no longer the sellers’ market that it once was.

Meanwhile we are putting together our drupa experiences for readers in what we hope are meaningful and digestible articles in both our magazines. This itself is a luxury – to have two magazines and one especially for packaging – the most earthy flavour at this drupa notwithstanding the digital raz matazz. There are some review events also, like the drupa impression event in Mumbai on 30 June where I have been invited to give an overview and share my understandings, skepticisms and futurisms on digital print and packaging.

These are generally good events and they reflect the enthusiasm of an industry that is still growing in the traditional ways of print. Often, the leading printers reveal the direction of their thinking and they are generally quite smart – they are part of an industry that is capable of realizing drupa for what it really is – a knowledge event that gets us thinking, debunking, sharing, enacting.

Naresh Khanna

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