Spotlight: Emily Wong of Penguin Random House Canada

PrintAction Staff
February 19, 2019
By PrintAction Staff
An integral component of the Canadian Printing Awards is the dedication, expertise and keen eye of the esteemed judging panel. PrintAction spoke with Emily Wong, Associate Analyst, Consumer & Digital Marketing at Penguin Random House Canada and judge for the past six years, for her thoughts on the relevancy of print in an increasingly digital world.

PA: Why do you continue to support the Canadian Printing Awards?
EW: I have participated on the judging panel since 2013. To be surrounded by some of the print industry’s finest quality of work and to work alongside many leaders who bring many years of experience and expertise is a huge honour. As the only female member on the Canadian Printing Awards judging panel for the last six years, I feel empowered to represent and support this program by contributing a different perspective on the team.

PA: How would you describe the quality and calibre of Canadian print?
EW: When I look back at the entries over the years, the advancements in technology is evident by the high quality of execution across categories. The print quality between offset and digital has become more and more comparable. From magazines to packaging, there are fewer printing flaws as presses integrate with technology, such as artificial intelligence. Companies are competing not only on experience, but against technology. It is exciting to see how companies continue to emerge as leaders of innovation and showcase the talent and technology behind each submission.

PA: What excites you most about print?
EW: The tangible experience! Although print has become a traditional medium, I am so thrilled to see the creative opportunities and capabilities it will have as we continue to think outside of the box. Whether it is variable data printing to enhanced personalization or the ability to 3D print stem cells, the innovations and technology rooted from this industry will continue to impact so many others.

PA: How does print fit into a digital future?
EW: Although the future has moved toward a digital landscape and technology continues to advance, the print industry will become more integrated with devices and digital media. Augmented reality and intelligent packaging are two topics that have been explored for many years in print, and this is only beginning to touch the tip of the iceberg in today’s society. I’m excited to see the many more ways print and digital will integrate in the future.

PA: Why do you think print continues to be relevant?
EW: Print will always be relevant. Regardless of how digital media continues to integrate into our daily lives, print will never be fully replaced. From a marketing perspective, print and digital media are integrated. People are constantly interacting on their phones and through social media, being exposed to hundreds of digital ads daily and our attention span can only retain so much. When people interact with print media, they are engaging and processing the content on a deeper, emotional level. To be the most effective, marketers will need to integrate both media to enhance the awareness and engagement generated by their campaigns.
 
PA: How has your perception of print and the graphic communications industry changed since taking the Ryerson GCM program?
EW: I have such an appreciation for the foundational skills that the GCM program has instilled on me. My perception has not changed — it has only further strengthened my belief that graphic communications continues to be relevant. The trends we learned in class were so ahead of the time in comparison to other industries. It excites me to see how students are being prepared to become leaders to make an impact for the future.

I currently work at Penguin Random House Canada, which is the Canadian division of the largest trade book publisher in the world. Every day I am surrounded by so many passionate people who are working towards making a positive impact in our world through books. It feels amazing to be part of a movement that helps to put physical books into the hands of readers.

My background in graphic communications technology and marketing theory has been invaluable to me at this company. The program taught me not only the in-depth history and hands-on experience, but how to be able to work in an agile work environment and adapt to change, which is a constant in this industry. I can only see myself continuing to pursue a career where my skills and experience in graphic communications can be applied.

This Q&A was originally published in the January/February 2019 issue of PrintAction, now available online.

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