After three years, it is time to refresh our web presence. Original impressed.co.za performed rather well. We got lots of compliments about the look and feel. Locally we feature on top of relevant Google searches. The site still conveys our story in a powerful yet simple way. The current ABOUT US is essentially the same, with notable exception of gallery, which we moved to its own folder. However, the static nature of the original site began to fall behind the ever changing dynamics of imPRESSed.
When we started we were not quite sure where this adventure will lead us. Trying to follow in the footsteps of great studios, our goal was to create a space that would be revered by young and old, and one that would allow future generations of typographers, designers, artists, access to facilities that are unique in South Africa. We believe we did just that, judging by the numerous comments in our visitor book.
On the other hand, one of our biggest shortcomings was, and still it creating sustainable environment for the collection. Yup, the studio does not generate enough income to survive on its own. It probably has to do with perception of our identity: we see ourselves as custodians of those grand machines and knowledge required to operate them. General public for sure, think of us as just another printer. To be honest, one can hardly blame them: no institution, not even Printing SA or Department of Arts and Culture, does anything to promote printing heritage in South Africa and the changes it affected to fabric of our nation.
Becoming heritage workshop was very important point on our agenda. After all, being able to share ones knowledge and resources is what moves the world forward. However, becoming heritage workshop requires buy in from community. Respecting silent wishes of our neighbourhood, we abandoned this concept. Instead we opted for plan B: virtual museum. Thanks to Matterport 3D filming technology we created world’s first virtual printing museum. Anyone with access to internet can wonder about the studio, learn about various machines and their stories, from comfort of their chair.
Where all of this is getting? The romance of collecting and creating something unique and special has worn off a bit over the past few years. We are entering a period of consolidation: we need to put our energy in ensuring that our collection will last until another worthy custodian emerges. And hence the new web site, which will combine blog, e-commerce and the portal to the museum. Through the blog we intend to keep the site current, by highlight our challenges, projects we are working on, machines we are restoring, as well as new finds and historical aspects of binding and printing in South Africa. The e-commerce, well: to allow us make all the above happen. Watch this space: our journey is as exciting as ever.