‘Print’ is ditched as group looks to digital age

A group set up to lobby on behalf of Yorkshire’s print industry has changed its name to reflect the new digital age.

Robert McClements

In a move which signifies the evolving nature of the print sector in Yorkshire, CDi (Creative and Digital Industry) Print Yorkshire will now simply be known as CDi Yorkshire.

Robert McClements, chief executive of CDi Yorkshire, said: “We’ve been going through a transition, from being totally focused on print, to recognising the importance of the role of print in creative and digital industries.

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“We will be, simply, Creative and Digital Industries Yorkshire. The word print is going from the title.”

The reason for the change is because CDi wants to educate printers and marketeers, about different types of media, and how they can collaborate in a multi-channel climate.

Despite dropping ‘Print’ from the title, Mr McClements maintains that the industry is in good health.

He said: “Print has turned a corner. We know from the surveys and discussions with people in the industry that they are feeling confident.

“There were closures, there were redundancies, there were amalgamations and there may be still some more (work) to do.

“But the rate of that has slowed dramatically and there are people now who are very busy. They will tell you that the advertising world is busy and that’s filtering through into printing.”

Yorkshire has a strong print heritage dating back to the industrial revolution. Wharfedale printing presses, which started in Otley, West Yorkshire, in the middle of the 19th century, revolutionised the industry with the development of lithographic printing.

The Wharfedale Machine was not patented, which led to many copying it and that led to a boom in printing in Yorkshire.

The Electric Press building, opposite Millennium Square in Leeds, used to be home to Chorley & Pickersgill. Waddingtons, who printed the board game Monopoly, also started in Leeds.

Nick Wayne, a director at printing company Print Ideas, said: “There are fantastic stalwarts of the print industry from generations ago.

“There’s a real centre of gravity of the print industry, around the Leeds and Bradford area in particular.”

Mr Wayne said that it wasn’t just about the machinery but the quality of the people who worked on the printing presses.

“It’s not just the print businesses, it’s the people that operate the print machinery that make it a good printer. It’s about the individual.

“Now, unfortunately, due to technology a lot of those people have gone,” he said.

Despite the thinning of the industry, as technology like digital printing enables print companies to produce efficient, less labour-intensive, quality work, Mr Wayne remains optimistic.

“Print, contrary to popular belief, is definitely not dead. There’s a huge amount of print going on in the region. People say everything’s gone online, people say everything’s done by ecommunications, well it’s not,” he said.

Last year, the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) announced £100,000 digital skills support for small and medium-sized businesses in the Leeds City Region. LEP chairman, Roger Marsh, said the digital age is at the epicentre of the City Region’s growth aims.