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Printing & Design Tips

The Future of The Printing Industry

Posted by Clash Graphics on

Not knowing where the printing industry is heading can put you at a disadvantage. Despite the explosion of online marketing and social media advertising, the printing industry is evolving but continues to be vibrant.

Future of the printing industry mixes traditional methods with technological advancements in paper ink and machinery

Clash Graphics gathered information about the future of the printing industry, what has happened over past decades, and new strategies and technologies driving it to remain relevant.

The Future of Printing

Making predictions is a risky business. However, there are three areas that top printers are embracing to remain profitable and relevant as technology and consumer trends change. Those areas are:

Innovation/Diversification - Through mergers, companies streamlining their processes, technological advancements, and changing market demands, only the printers that adopt new technology and transition from traditional print to more of a “communications company” will survive.

Digital Technology - In the future, print will remain relevant because of its reliability in driving an audience online. Ultimately, people like to hold printed objects. Through this tactility, marketers will undoubtedly continue to integrate print with digital technology.

Custom Print - The days of printing massive numbers of flyers, brochures, etc. to cover as many people as possible, are coming to an end. In today’s market, smaller, more customized runs that target specific customers and demographics are on the rise.

To grasp an idea of how printing has evolved over the years, read clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/how-many-types-of-printing/

What Happened to The Printing Industry?

For more than two decades, the printing industry endured a significant reduction in business volume, manpower, and, subsequently, revenue. This occurred due to the increases in business workplace technology (PC’s, software, etc.) and onsite printing capabilities (inkjet, laser, etc.). Other factors include:

Future of the printing industry and in office equipment for marketing and advertising development

  • Online direct marketing
  • Social media advertising
  • Increasing paper costs
  • Increased ink and supply costs
  • Postal rate uncertainties
  • “Paperless” initiatives
  • Healthcare cost increases
  • Increased cost for related support services

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the printing and related support activities industry (bookbinding, graphic design, data imaging, etc.) are expected to decline by roughly eighteen percent between 2016 and 2026.

Also, from BLS, continued loss of the market share to other media and continued automation causes net employment to decline in the future. But this is happening at a much slower pace than in recent years. In the decade between 2006 and 2016, the industry had declined by about thirty-four percent.

In contrast to BLS information, the Printing Industries of America (PIA) forecast a one to two percent increase in revenue from 2019 to 2020 and printers’ profits, are to sustain historic growth levels.

Changes in the Printing Industry

To compete with internet and social media marketing strategies, the printing industry has had to consolidate and diversify to remain both relevant and profitable. Services that were once third-party “related support activities” are now being integrated and offered in house.

Further defying BLS predictions, the majority of printers have adjusted their business models to account for changing industry trends and realities. Types of products that continue in demand include:

  • Direct mail
  • Menus
  • Specialty printing
  • Large format
  • Labels
  • Brochures
  • Business cards
  • Packaging
  • Promotional products
  • Product/Point-of-purchase displays

Future of the printing industry and large format print to continue meeting marketing and business needs

Some of the services that many printers have brought in-house include:

  • Kit fulfillment
  • Professional creative/graphic design
  • Web-to-print (documents, marketing, brand management)
  • Logistics management
  • Marketing development
  • Custom website creation and curation

For many printed products, like packaging, a substitute does not exist. For others like magazines, newspapers, books, and store catalogs, there are electronic equivalents. The internet, mobile technology, and tablet publishing have had a significant impact on the printing industry. However, once again, the statement that “print is dead” grossly overlooks key advantages of printed communication. Consider the following:

  • Printed material allows for easy distribution to a specific region or target market
  • Various printed publications maintain a level of popularity unrivaled by online/electronic media
  • Printed media are often more engaging than electronic equivalents
  • Printed material continues to produce positive results in marketing strategies and campaigns

With today’s online and technological capabilities, printers can assist a business from project creation to project completion, even distribution. As well, their consultants can help businesses build their brand and develop a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Future of the printing industry icludes printed material like newspapers magazines and easily circulated marketing products

Printing Technology

Significant advancements in technology have had an incredible influence on the printing industry. The following are just two of the printing technology trends making an impact on the industry:

Sustainable Packaging - Environmental concerns and high demand for recycled material have prompted the printing industry, specifically the packaging industry, to seek drastic changes in the form of:

  • The use of recycled paper
  • The use of flexible, biodegradable plastics
  • Using folding, collapsable, and reusable boxes
  • Using eco-friendly alternative ink when printing

By using friendly printing technology and techniques, the industry can improve biodegradability, recycling, and the use of sustainable raw materials.

3D Printing - The applications of 3D printing has gained significant interest in recent years. Some of the industries already implementing 3D printing include:

  • The Health Industry (printing skin for grafts and researching how to print organs)
  • The Food Industry (restaurant chefs use this technology to improve plating and design some foods)
  • The Fashion Industry (big brands use 3D printing in sneaker and t-shirt production among other applications)
  • The Architecture Industry (3D printing is widely used to create precise scale models and has been used to build/print full-size structures)

As new technologies are applied to the printing industry, machinery, systems, and raw materials become more efficient, sustainable, and in demand.

Future of the printing industry includes innovations and applications in 3d print

The Future of Printed Media

In this article, you discovered the factors influencing the future of the printing industry, what has affected it in the past, and the technology driving it forward.

By embracing new technology, a streamlined way of meeting customer needs, and offering diversified products and services, the printing industry has remained robust and relevant through the digital revolution.

Those that have failed to incorporate new technology and business strategies have either gone out of business, been absorbed by other companies, or are finding it more and more challenging to keep their doors open.

Sources:
qualityinfo.org/-/technology-reduces-employment-in-the-printing-industry
printing.org/press-room/printing-industries-of-america-to-bureau-of-labor-statistics-print-is-still-here-were
bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag323.htm
scholarworks.rit.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1048&context=books

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing

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