Once upon a time there were relatively few places that a business, organization, or individual could go to buy printing. General commercial printers, as we were known back then, had large, noisy printing presses best suited to areas zoned for manufacturing and away from retail centers.
Technology changed that in the 1970s when small, clean presses and photo direct plate makers gave birth to the quick print segment of the printing industry. Quick printers could operate in a 2000 square foot retail storefront, readily visible from the street. Another shift in technology added copiers, then digital output devices that eliminated the need for chemicals to process press plates and run the presses. Now printing could be done in an environment less like a factory and more like an office.
Digital technology also enabled printers to expand their offerings beyond offset printing to include high speed digital printing (color and black and white), large format graphics, posters, banners, signs, and even mailing services – a complete range of services needed by businesses and organizations to communicate, market, and sell.