Tech Trends

The Book Is Back: New Print Technologies Help Art Books Survive

The “tactile immediacy” of the art book has been enhanced by new print technologies that make them thoroughly modern products.

As broadsheet newspapers grow skinnier, and page-turners become digital files, it’s easy to overlook how technological progress has bolstered print while simultaneously undermining it.  Museum publishers have the latitude to capitalize on today’s printing capabilities in a way that many other publishers can’t.

“Print technologies have gotten so advanced,” said Elisa Leshowitz, director of publisher services at D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, the largest distributor of art books and museum exhibition catalogs. “You pick up a book from 1980, something that was considered an important art book back in the day. And you compare the quality of its printing to today’s printing, and you essentially see that we’ve come a very long way. The amount of colors that can be used to replicate an original illustration. The extensive selection of papers available. Things have gotten very exciting.”

Images courtesy of nytimes.com, Cuts on a book of “Ed Ruscha,” Noriko Ambe 2008

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