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Print Trends For A Digital Age: Insights from GRAPH EXPO

Print Trends Have you heard, print shop owners? Your industry is dying, and digital will soon rule the world. Or so some would have you believe.

In reality, the value of print in a digital age isn't diminished, simply changed. It is actually easier than ever to reach a wide audience with print. Print is still a trusted format, and while print shops are eyeing the threat of a paperless world, that reality is a long way off, if it ever comes at all. With innovative new technologies and savvy use of emerging techniques, print shops have more opportunity than ever before to showcase what they do and win new customers.

Here are some print trends worth keeping your eye on as we ride out the rest of 2017.

The Rise of Inkjet

As we'll discuss more thoroughly in an upcoming blog post, the rise of inkjet printers has created a renaissance in print. That's because inkjet offers a relatively affordable, fast printing method that can be useful in a huge variety of contexts, with unique substrates that can hold up to even the most rugged uses.

Per research from InfoTrends, toner shipments and services have been relatively static for years now, but Inkjet has risen from a roughly $130 billion industry in 2008 to a nearly $200 billion industry a year ago. Because of Inkjet's ability to offer longer and shorter jobs for print shops, and to improve margins on existing jobs thanks to efficiency, print shops can win new business and retain current business more effectively than ever.

New Substrates

One of the key factors for increased print business has been the increase in the types of synthetic paper available. Products like Relyco's owner REVLAR offer a fresh take on traditional paper with increased durability and nearly all of the utility of traditional paper, enabling a number of new uses. You'll find many of those here on the Relyco blog.

Print 4.0 & Automation

The first three waves of modern print came with mechanization, mass production and electricity, and automation, but we are now at Print 4.0. That involves the use of robotics to increase output and accuracy and reduce labor costs, all items of interest for a print shop owner looking to maximize profit and please customers. Plus, everyone likes robots.

These systems aren't necessarily affordable just yet, but that is coming, and the opportunities they afford in reduced labor costs and production can't be overstated.

Even if you're not dipping your dollars into the world of robotics, you're using automation in your everyday life as a print shop, and automation has only gotten better in recent years. Like everything else you're keen on doing, it helps to greatly streamline operations.


So the print industry is not dead; in actuality, it is thriving. It's all about seizing the emerging opportunities that technology—and yes, even digital technology—is offering you. In the coming weeks, we'll be offering a dialed-in look at some of the biggest topics in the world of print, so be sure to come back!

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