Part of a Series Featuring the 2016 Accelerator Pitch Program Winners
The Average Joe reading the paper can’t see them, but they are there: thousands of little dots, saving thousands of dollars.
The small dots are called Dimples, patented technology created by son-and-mother team Jonathan and Mariemma Miller.
They weren’t satisfied with the current options for saving money printing. It looked ugly, faded or cheap.
They did a lot of experimentation, focusing on clarity and cost cutting.
“It became Dimples, Inc., a play on words,” he says.
The way it works is simple: Publishers share the fonts they use for headlines, bylines and copy. The Dimples team then puts small perforations as an overlay on the font. The glyph of the font is preserved, resulting in clear text.
“Because we come in at the font level, this is different and complimentary to any other ink optimization systems closer to press,” Miller says. “If a publisher can do something with a font, they can do it with the dimpled font.”
Depending on circulation size, the savings range from 15 to 40 percent on ink cost. The Dimples technology is not used on images or advertisements. It can be translated into different languages and used for colored fonts.
Pilot newspaper partner, Altoona Mirror, began dimpling the full newspaper earlier this year. The last pages integrated were obituaries and the front page.
Originally when the Millers began the project, they were looking at home uses and small projects. After they were awarded the patent in 2013, a friend from Altoona Mirror suggested the ramifications this could have for the print world.
“That got us looking at newspapers as a really good fit,” he says.
Miller laughs when describing his shock looking at the giant press for the first time. He said he was worried about breaking it.
He didn’t, and three years later, the Mirror is fully dimpled.
“They’ve had no complaints or anything about the Dimpled paper. We found with the readers, the Joe Schmo, there hasn’t been any notice or negative feedback at all,” Miller said.”Those looking for minute changes; they notice the slight dimpling effects. They’re also able to see the return on investment with the paper overall.”
Next on their docket is Dimple Everything, where full print pages are dimpled including advertising and graphics.
“It would be sort of an intelligent dimpling, or intelligent saving of ink,” he says. The goal of it is to reduce ink without fading the appearance of the page. “We’re focused on keeping legibility and readability strong, very strong so even users with low vision or low lighting would still be able to read the document or understand the image.”
Since beginning to work with publishers, Miller noticed the general conception that”print is dying” was wrong.
“As we get more involved with print, we see print is shifting and evolving, but it’s not on its way out at all,” he says.”There are many indicators it’s growing. It’s getting easier to print things. I’s just shifting, tha’s an opportunity for everybody.”
Kirsten is the Social Media and Blog Editor at the News Media Alliance.