Every year for several decades, we have spotlighted the companies and institutions that provide first-rate products and services to creative professionals, adding value and finding solutions, communicating with and standing behind our community.
Companies that understand the creative mind have always been rare. They are even moreso today, as we say good riddance to 2009, a harsh Darwinian year that managed to kill off some grand old institutions and brands through death or merger; to winnow down the number of organizations who have the energy, commitment and resources to focus on the creative community; and to make "cheap" and "good enough" an all too common basis for buying and specifying.
That makes the 2010 Designer-Friendly Companies even more deserving of special recognition. Among them, you will find treasures: paper mills, commercial printers, stock agencies and type houses, hardware and software companies, recruiters and consultants, brick-and-mortar and online services. These smart and motivated companies have figured out how to provide first-rate solutions in a way that fits a changing world. They deserve a salute.
Included are company overviews or statements, new developments of note, and contact information. We continue to add information about educational institutions and non-profits — schools, conference organizers, certification programs and others for whom the creative community matters — to the traditional mix of manufacturing and services. Today's roundup will soon appear on our popular website, too.
Why does "designer-friendly" matter in 2010? Because in an age of interdependence, collaboration and the blurring of design and production, you are only as good as your tools, your technologies, your services, your vendors, your knowledge and your information. And in an era where only the strong survive, double down on what I just said.