New Zealand printmakers may have to wait another five years before they can put the finishing touches on their latest creations, but the country’s new printmakers are trying to keep pace.
With the country in the grips of a severe printing shortage, many are using technology to make prints that are far more durable than those they can buy in the country.
Digital printing is a way of printing that relies on computers instead of traditional paper.
That means a print can be made much more durable, which is important in a time when digital cameras and smartphones are becoming more commonplace.
In a bid to stay competitive with the rest of the world, New Zealanders have become increasingly sophisticated about their printing.
In recent years, printmakers have started to use digital technology to print their prints, and in many cases, it has come at a price.
Digital printing is more expensive than traditional paper because digital technology uses technology to automatically print images rather than manually, said Scott Beasley, chief executive of printmakers Association New Zealand.
That technology has been a boon to the print industry in the past, he said.
But some of the digital printing companies have found that printing costs can be high and the process can take a long time, which makes the print process less effective, he added.
In the past few years, New York-based digital printing company ApePrints has taken a different approach to printmaking.
The company, which was founded in 2007, offers its customers a choice of paper sizes and print quality levels, along with a variety of printing options, including digital and analog.
It also offers a printer and digital printing services that allow printmakers to easily print digital files.
In some cases, Ape Prints is using its technology to create prints that can be cut, folded, and printed in seconds, Beasley said.
In others, it is printing in the traditional way, with a lot of handwork.
While some of Ape’s customers have used its digital printing software to print in a variety, including traditional paper, other printmakers say the company has not always done so well.
Some of the printmakers, such as printmaker SysPrint, have been slow to adapt to digital printing, said John Peltz, a New York Times business reporter who has covered the printmaking industry for nearly two decades.
The digital printing technology can take longer to produce, he noted.
Other printmakers that have not used digital technology have found it difficult to get a handle on the technology.
In one instance, New Zealander David Matson had to learn to work with a machine that printed digitally and to use the software to control the printer’s actions.
Matson said he has struggled to adapt quickly enough to digital printmaking, especially since he has learned a lot about digital technology and how to use it in his daily life.
The printmaker also has been slow on new products.
In 2016, Matson launched a digital ink printer called InkSmart.
The ink maker was initially priced at $1,200 but recently dropped that price to $750.
The new printer uses ink technology that is much more advanced than the ink that Matson used to make his ink ink.
A Matson spokeswoman said the company is working with manufacturers to offer ink products in the future.
Still, there are many printmakers in New Zealand that have a printmaking pedigree, Beames said.
The country has been printing its first prints since the mid-1970s, and its printmakers include the National Party, which won a historic landslide victory in Parliament in 2015.
The printing industry has thrived in New York and other major cities, Beasys said, because it is a relatively new industry that does not have a strong traditional supply chain.
The New Zealand Printing Industry Association, which represents the country, has had to take a wait-and-see approach to the printing industry in New England and elsewhere, Beals said.
While there is a lot more to be done to make the printmaker business more competitive, printmaker industry executives said they are confident that the printing market will recover and will grow in the coming years.
“The printmaking is really a one-stop shop for anybody wanting to make a good quality print,” said Matt Rees, vice president of research and development for the National Printing Industry.
He said it has been one of the most popular sectors of the economy, with nearly 20 percent of all jobs in Newzealand, South Africa, and parts of the Caribbean and South America.
While many printmaker executives said that the digital print industry has a long way to go to catch up to the digital industry, printmaking will likely remain a key component of the New Zealand economy for years to come, Rees said.