Sophie Matthews-Paul dies aged 68

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Sophie Matthews-Paul dies aged 68
Sophie Matthews-Paul

Sophie Matthews-Paul, the veteran print technology and communications consultant, has died at her home in Herefordshire, UK. Diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in January of this year and given a six-month prognosis, Sophie enjoyed a peaceful departure, in the presence of her son, James, and her three cats. She was 68 years old.

The curriculum vitae of Sophie Matthews-Paul reads like a register of the printing industry’s largest and most specialised organizations. Originally a journalist and editor of a number of trade publications, Sophie launched Screen and Digital Printer in the 1990s before contributing to a number of other titles, from PrintWeek to Output, Image (Australia) to Large Format (Germany).

Over the last three decades she acquired a wealth of knowledge about the digitization of the industry, becoming an instrumental influencer in the evolution of digital ink-jet’s role within the fields of wide-format, textile and industrial print. A renowned international speaker, Sophie was also a mentor to many, both officially and unofficially, and is often credited as the midwife of the modern industry. Alongside this eminent career, Sophie’s diverse passions included photography, aviation and chicken-keeping.

“Sophie’s extraordinary charm and intellect left an indelible mark on the lives, careers and hearts of everyone she knew,” says James Matthews-Paul. “A potent and effusive life force has gone from the world, but I know she would want each of her friends and colleagues to remember her inimitable spirit with a smile.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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