The use of control strips for print has puzzled graphic designers for years. As long as one sticks to the traditional formats for annual reports, the control strip would be considered too small. When on the other hand the graphic design incorporates the strips, and even enlarges the space available to them by reducing the annual report of the bank or the maintenance manual for the machinery supplier with a few millimeters on each side, then a comfortable space is created for a tiny booklet. Recently, the Government of the Balearic Islands (comprising of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera) has agreed with the local industrial printer to secure the distribution of 36 fables to 92,000 children between 3 and 10 years using the technique imagined by Pamela, good for 3.3 million free copies.
Governments are suffering from major cutbacks. Budgets are under stress everywhere and the department of education is not spared. However, this basic approach to “printing stories for free” overcomes the typical drawback of reductions in public funding, especially in a cash strapped country like Spain. It is expected that the case of the Balearic will spread to other nations where demand for innovation in education is high, internet and iPads are not available to all, and thus this traditional form of communication could well open avenues for millions of children around the world to be inspired. Whereas the number of copies printed and distributed may have topped the 100 million mark over the past decade, it is only a minute droplet compared to the world’s potential. If the big communicators delivering print to consumers where to evolve from recycling to upcycling their waste paper at the point of print using a smart graphics design, then a billion of children could be exposed to these simple one on one tool of communication each day. Of course, to achieve that we need a new generation of entrepreneurs and graphic engineers.