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Sponsored by Mingo Press

Robotics, artificial intelligence, and automation are taking over customer service. In the retail and hospitality industries, this means guests can have a better, more efficient, more customizable experience.

But what about creative fields like commercial design?

Here at Mingo Press, a large portion of our client base is made up of creatives and those working in creative fields—commercial artists and designers, project managers, advertising executives, marketing coordinators—and let me tell you, it would be an unmitigated disaster if we ditched Team Picasso (our customer service gurus) for AI-based customer service.

“But why?” you might be asking. “Don’t you call yourself an online printing company? Isn’t much of your ordering process already automated? Are you telling me your LiveChat web feature is answered by real humans?”

Well, yes, yes, and a resounding yes. Here’s the thing: realizing and executing a creative vision is often a nebulous, almost alchemical process of false starts, trial and error, and seemingly endless revisions. It takes hard work and thoughtful problem solving to take a creative project from that seed of an idea in your brain to a beautiful physical artifact ready to go out into the world. It takes adaptation and improvisation. And it takes collaboration.

We take this very seriously. Even the most beautiful design can be undone by a bad print job, a poorly chosen ink, or the wrong paper selection. A designer might be a great artist without understanding the intricacies of printing processes or the full-breadth of treatment options available—and that’s where we come in.

The specialty print services we offer are a merging of art and science, left and right brain, logic and emotion, math and gut instinct. Each project is utterly unique, with its own special needs. That’s why it’s incredibly important that we’re attentive to your vision, your goal, and the integrity of your design. We don’t just take your file and press “print”—we act as your advisor, your collaborator, your partner, and, occasionally, your therapist.

Even as the world becomes more automated, there’s a growing desire and need in the culture for a return to human-based exchanges. Much like corporate globalization resulted in the rise of hyperlocalism (a conscious return to community-based commerce, dining, and art), the rise of the machines in customer service, while not inherently a bad thing, is actually helping to demonstrate the enduring value and importance of human-to-human transactions in fields like ours.

This return to personal customer service is the focus of the first direct mail piece in Mingo Press’s forthcoming 2019 marketing campaign, “Team Picasso Concierge.”

“Creativity is arguably the most difficult human faculty to automate: robots are unlikely to be fully creative any time soon,” said Michael Osborne, associate professor of machine learning at Oxford University, to The Guardian in 2015. “It is certainly possible to design an algorithm that can churn out an endless sequence of paintings, but it is difficult to teach such an algorithm the difference between the emotionally powerful and the dreck… Putting some evidence to our thesis, we found, for both the U.K. or the U.S., that almost 90% of creative jobs are at low or no risk for automation.”

A robot can answer questions with hard facts, but can it think critically and offer advice based on the unique needs of your specific project? Can it suggest a treatment flourish that’ll really make your design pop? Can it re-assure you that your instincts are spot on, or offer suggestions for navigating a creative obstacle? Maybe, eventually, but not any time soon. Until then, us humans, with all our flaws and inefficiencies and passions, will always be the superior creative partner. ca

Amy Gravley Witkowski is account director at Mingo Press, and a printing buff. She routinely geeks out on Gutenberg, G7 System Certification, and the Gravley family heritage of quality printing that goes back more than 50 years. She’s super pumped about this latest development in digital printing at Mingo Press.

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