The route taken by the graphics industry in its particular movement towards renovation means that it can print on anything now, not just paper. The sector is turning to design, innovation and customization as a way to offer professional clients and customers unique final products. By printing what we are feeling, the industry can compete with digital communications, as we can see in Graphispag.
Printing has never stopped evolving throughout the 550 years since it was invented, although this transformation has been particularly intense in the last decade. The financial crisis and changes in consumer habits in relation with printed materials, resulting from widespread use of digital content, has forced the printing sector to modify its business models.
One consequence of this is that paper is no longer the universal support for printing work. Almost half of the printing that is done in Europe uses supports other than paper. The future of the sector lies here, in offering printing solutions for any object or surface, and the more personal it can be made, the better.
We are also witnessing the development of other advanced printing applications tied to 3D, electronic and functional printing and applications that connect the printed products with the digital environment to generate new revenue streams for the companies in the sector. Graphispag will also be offering these segments for examination.
Printing companies are making use of three main ingredients in this renovation of their sector: design, customization and digitalization. Graphispag 2019 is focusing on how these three aspects feature in the commercial plans of its 200 exhibitors and nearly 380 brands on display, but also on the conferences and experience areas in which industry professionals and visitors from sectors that rely on printing can see, try and learn about the new applications.
Unique, singular products
Customization has ceased to be a trend and is now a fact of life for the printing industry. Customers demand products that are unique, different and made to order, and are willing to pay more for them. Digital printing makes this customization of any printed product possible almost immediately, whether on an object or a surface, and this opens doors to interesting business options for the printing sector but also for the retail, textiles, advertising, marketing, packaging, decoration sectors and many others. The practice of turning everyday objects into personalised gifts on the part of the consumer is growing in importance at the same time.
According to Infotrends, the “next generation” of printed products is emerging as a result of the creativity of consumers, who enjoy getting involved and spending time on their designs, but also as a result of advances in printing and production technologies, software development and applications, and enhanced mobile use by the general public
Design with personality
This search for the singularity of any product means that design can make all the difference, adding personality and creativity. Graphic design, of course, is the source of all printing projects that are eventually produced by the printing industry.
“Visual communication today demands projects, images, icons, messages, texts and colours as clear as they as attractive, as easy to grasp as they are to distinguish, as familiar as they are unique. This is where their essence lies”, says Marta Cerdà, a designer who is due to speak at Grada&CongresGràfic in Graphispag. Design is the great ally of the printing industry’s efforts to surprise and stand out.
Competitive advantage in the printing industry does not consist today in equipment and finishes, but in work flows and integrated systems able to digitalize and automate production and sales and to generate information to ensure the traceability of all printed material and, above all, to understand what customers want.
The printing industry is working on this. These new technologies and solutions such as web-to-print have opened up new opportunities for sales and direct contact with the end consumer, who can now order customized printed products from home with a simple click.
Aurelio Mendiguchía, assessor for the technical department of the Tajamar Graphic Technology Institute, says that concepts associated with Industry 4.0 such as artificial intelligence, smart factories, IoT, robotics and big data are reaching the printing sector, where competitiveness now depends on innovation and “combining the real and virtual worlds”.
The stamp of Graphispag 2019
The Spanish postal service, Correos, issued a 1 peseta stamp in 1966 to mark Graphispack, the first trade fair for the graphics, packing and packaging sector held in the country. 53 years later, Graphispag will once again have its own stamp, using the customization service the Spanish postal and parcel delivery operator offers through its website.
It is just one more example of how the graphic arts have affected the world of stamps, miniature objects that combine design, message and printing quality using different systems and formats, special inks, textures and embossments, and which are collected and treasured as works of art.
CA collection of 350 self-adhesive stamps measuring 28.8 x 40.9 mm will be issued to mark the occasion of this fair, in sheets of 25 units made by the Royal Spanish Mint Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre (FNMT), which is collaborating in Graphispag.
Each exhibitor will receive a stamp, presented in a personalised methacrylate case. The people, companies and entities recognised by Graphispag for their work in the promotion and growth of the printing industry will also receive this singular commemorative element in the traditional testimonial event. Collectors take note.