Back in Black: Why Hard Rock Band AC/DC was a Futurist

Written by Siddhartha Bhattacharya
Worldwide Senior Product Marketing Manager
Enterprise Business Group, Xerox Corporation
Back in black I hit the sack I’ve been too long I’m glad to be back…Forget the hearse ’cause I’ll never die, I got nine lives, Cat’s eyes, Usin’ every one of them and running wild…”
Monochrome Print SamplesIt seems certain to me that this hit song was written as an ode to monochrome printing! For years now, we keep hearing and reading about the demise of black and white printing. Contrary to popular belief, the trends are actually quite the opposite. If the recent reaction to the Xerox D-series launch at Drupa – the world’s largest printing show – is any indication, black and white printing is here to stay and  to thrive, especially in the 100 – 134 pages per minute segment!
One would imagine that with the steady lowering of color printing costs, the overall attractiveness of printing in monochrome would disappear. However, the true advantages of printing in black and white over color, tie directly to the applications printed. From book blocks, security documents, labels to transactional documents, bills and manuals – printing in color might not make sense as monochrome printers are more cost effective and faster. If you add variable data printing to the mix, and the host of advanced inline finishing options available on these ‘light production’ monochrome devices, the equation becomes that much more compelling.
An emerging trend that offers a unique value proposition to printers is the collaboration between monochrome and color printing – also known as a ‘hybrid job’. Think about creating a document that is predominantly black and white but uses color strategically to add value to the document using color covers or color inserts – low cost black and white, high impact color create a powerful combination. One such Xerox designed application – Best of Both Worlds –  printed on the Xerox 4112/4127 (predecessor to the Xerox D Series) and the Xerox 700i Digital Color Press has won several industry plaudits ranging from the IAPHC International Gallery of Excellence award to the Gold Ink award. It is a testimony to the capabilities that exist and the opportunities that abound when it comes to monochrome printing.
For the music aficionado, the 1980 song ‘Back in Black’ is known for its opening guitar riff, and the song was AC/DC’s tribute to their former singer Bon Scott. His replacement Brian Johnson recalled to Mojo magazine in 2009 that when the band asked him to write a lyric for this song, “they said, ‘it can’t be morbid – it has to be for Bon and it has to be a celebration.’ And that’s what monochrome printing is all about – a celebration!

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