By Betty Ann Krischan, Production Manager
First, you have to remember I’m something of a “press room junkie.” I love printing. I’m really into everything from the feel of the paper, the color of the inks, and the eye-popping special effects like foiling and embossing. And I really like looking at ink on paper: the Sunday morning newspapers, annual reports, business cards, novels, cookbooks and greeting cards. You name it, I like it. If it’s printed, I’m interested. I can’t go to a restaurant without thoroughly examining every menu and tent card within my reach.
With all the talk about major newspapers folding, the internet replacing more traditional forms of printed materials and the upsurge of social media, do I think printing is on its way out? No, I don’t. I do, however, think that it is evolving.
Although many people may listen to books on iPods, or read them on the internet, those new formats will never replace hard and soft cover books and printed materials. What is better than relaxing in your favorite spot with a good book, or sitting on the beach or by the pool on vacation with that long-awaited best seller? Or in my case, enjoying the fun and memories being made as my grandson and I huddle under the blankets with a flashlight reading the next book in the series of the Spiderwick Chronicles. While periodicals may be seeing a downturn in today’s world of the internet, Facebook, Twitter and Google, I think books are here to stay. A great example of how new technology and traditional print have been combined is the new line of children’s books called, “Leapfrog:Tag – The Amazing Touch Reading System.” Not only can it be read aloud but individuals can listen and interact with it.
What about commercial printing like brochures, sell sheets, catalogs and corporate identity materials? When it comes to printing business materials, I think the current trend is to print lower quantities. In the past six months, I have done more and more short run digital printing than ever before. While digital printing has its niche in the market for customization, fast turnarounds, low quantities and small budgets, nothing can totally replace traditional offset printing. When a company is establishing its brand, how their corporate identity materials look and feel give you your first impression of just who they are? You can’t replace offset printing when a project calls for quality color reproduction, paper selection options and special effects like embossing, foiling or die-cutting. The craftsmanship of a quality printer can give you the impact and lasting impression you want for high-end projects like corporate identity materials, product catalogs and sales brochures.
Here’s my prediction on where print will win and lose this year:
Winner – educational materials – regardless of more distance learning, I think there’s going to be a heavy emphasis on learning and going back to school for advanced degrees or training programs in this tight economy
Loser – daily newspapers - with the exception of the New York Times and USA Today, more and more people will get their news on the internet
Winner – packaging – short-run digital with customization
Loser – annual reports - down turn in the economy and posting to the web takes a big cut out of printed books
Winner – lottery tickets – with unemployment up and the economy down, the desire to get rich quick is high
Loser – newsletters - decreases in funding to not-for-profits make e-newsletters an easy solution
Winner – direct mail - now is the time to reach out to customers and potential customers; increase in solicitations for not-for-profits because of cuts in funding
Loser – clothing catalogs - people are shopping less to begin with and shopping on the internet is here to stay whether it’s buying from retail store sites or websites like eBay, zappos or overstock.com
Remember this is purely my opinion and there is nothing scientific about my predictions. Write back and let me hear your thoughts on the subject. If you are interested in a more scientific approach to market trends in printing and media; try this website: http://printinthemix.rit.edu/fastfacts?of