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Printing Industry Exchange (printindustry.com) is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Large Format Printing: Focus on Digital Printing Trends

I just found three articles on current trends in digital printing that I’d like to share with you. The news is most heartening.

Article #1: “Newsweek Print Edition Is Returning”

The first article is from The Huffington Post (12/04/13, by Joanna Zelman) and is called “Newsweek Print Edition Is Returning.” While one article on one news entity does not confirm a trend, I think in this case the information in startling, provocative, and reflective of the still surviving love of ink on paper.

To quote the Huffington Post article, “Newsweek is bringing its print edition back from the grave.”

The news magazine had been printing since 1933 and had stopped the presses at the end of 2012. It’s new owners, the International Business Times, did not specify in the article why they made the decision to resume printing on a limited basis in January or February of 2014. Huffington Post quoted Newsweek’s editor in chief, Jim Impoco, as saying this would be “a more subscription-based model…a premium product, a boutique product.”

My reading of “Newsweek Print Edition Is Returning” suggests that the new owners believe there will be a market for at least a modest return to the print edition. To me this means that at least some subscribers are not happy with the digital-only format. I think this is great news for commercial printing, and I think it is the beginning of a trend.

Article #2: “Latest Trends in Digital Printing”

The second article is called “Latest Trends in Digital Printing.” I found it on the website www.business2community.com (12/04/13, by Eddie Tabrizian).

  1. This article lists many of the trends I have written about in prior blog articles, such as digital printing using large cut sheets (i.e., substrates much larger than prior digital presses had accepted). For instance, new sheetfed digital equipment will accept a B2 sheet (27.8” x 19.7”). This allows digital sheetfed printers to compete head to head with offset printers producing direct mail, collateral, and books.
  2. Another trend the www.business2community.com article addresses is 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, in which metal particles or liquid plastic can be “jetted” through multiple passes from a printer driven by digital information, in order to produce three-dimensional objects.
  3. The article then goes on to discuss inkjetting onto substrates other than paper. These include foils, textiles, wood, metal, and glass. The ability to print not only on flexible materials that come in rolls but also on rigid materials placed on a flat bed in the inkjet printer have opened up a plethora of possibilities for folding carton, packaging, ceramic, and label printing.
  4. Next, “Latest Trends in Digital Printing” expands its view to embrace inkjet printing in general, noting that inkjet “has taken over label and color document printing and wide format graphics” and is expected to “push into the territories of publications such as newspapers and catalogs as well as commercial printing in general.”
  5. Finally, the article notes that mass production is being replaced by mass customization within the arena of digital custom printing. Each item can be different (unlike offset printed products), and because of the nature of the technology, this can actually be cost-effective. In addition, the article notes that personalization makes printed marketing products infinitely more useful as sales tools than generalized, static printing of the same products.

Based on all of my reading over the last few years, I agree with everything Eddie Tabrizian has said in the www.business2community.com article. I think these are exciting times for digital custom printing, and I am seeing increasing enthusiasm, increasing innovation in digital printing, and more and more vendors buying digital printing equipment for their pressrooms.

Article #3: “Digital to Drive Future Graphics Revenue Suggests FESPA Community Survey”

This was the third article I read, “Digital to Drive Future Graphics Revenue Suggests FESPA Community Survey,” on www.whattheythink.com (12/05/13, a press release describing a survey from FESPA, the Federation of European Screen Printers Associations).

The survey reflected views of more than 250 printers in 53 countries. Here are some quotes from the article:

“Over half of the 250 printers surveyed by Infotrends on behalf of FESPA in Summer 2013 reported that wide format digital now represents more than a third of their revenue.”

“Buying intentions are stronger than at any time since 2007, with 51% of respondents planning to purchase a new digital wide format printer in the next year, up from 37% in 2010.”

Commercial printing suppliers are jumping on the bandwagon, according to the article, because of the increased speed and quality of the digital equipment. Clients are demanding not only speed but delivery to the point of use, and this also bodes well for printers to add signage installation to their offerings, not only producing the large format graphics but hanging them as well.

In addition, according to the article, clients are seeking the integration of custom printing with other vehicles for communication such as the Internet.

In the realm of large format printing, clients want banners, posters, and signs (the top requests, according to the article) as well as building wraps, textiles, POP work, and wallpaper.

Finally, the article notes the expansion of large format printing from traditional roll-fed media to rigid media as more interior design work and industrial printing projects are produced on the growing base of flatbed inkjet presses.

Overview of Digital Custom Printing

Digital printing is thriving. Demand is growing, and the equipment manufacturers are providing new technology for an ever widening “virtuous circle” of growth.

4 Responses to “Large Format Printing: Focus on Digital Printing Trends”

  1. Offset printing is vital in conferring a brand reputation to a business.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment. I would agree. And I would say the same about digital printing. Both are essential in establishing and projecting a brand identity.

  2. Gooԁ day! I simply would like to give you a huge thumbs
    up for thе excellent infoгmation yοu havе rіght heгe
    on this post. Ӏ am coming back tο your blog for more soon.

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