Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 17:41 GMT

The New Digital World

As technology continues to infiltrate daily life, print is establishing its place in the new digital world. Summer Brooks asks: “how are emerging technologies changing the face of print?”

Harry Potter magic

Digital printing has obviously arrived, and what’s interesting now compared to when I started is that you get an awful lot of hybrid presses where you have a mixture of different processes coming from the same machine.

With my work with Novalia, some of the digital printing technologies are less relevant to what we do, as we work with traditional print houses using impression printing techniques and incorporating them with our electronics. We subcontract to printers who have the print capabilities, but we supply our materials and designs and the parameters and guidelines for production, and then they [the printer] produce something they didn’t realise they could.

From our perspective, we’ve developed a technology platform, but the ultimate goal is to deliver experiences. It becomes interesting when we start working with different clients and they can look at the exact same technology platform, but it’s their creativity and their team’s interpretation of the technology as to what truly makes something innovative. The technology is just the technology, but innovation comes from the design side of things, from the application of the technology rather than the technology itself.

From our perspective, we’ve developed a technology platform, but the ultimate goal is to deliver experiences

I’m mildly biased to what we’re doing at Novalia with printing conductive inks and attaching them to electronics in a way that was considered ‘Harry Potter magic’ a few years ago, and that is continuing to develop as well; but I think the way the whole industry is changing is it’s shift towards using print as a manufacturing process, or what we’d recognise as print processes becoming manufacturing process steps, like it is in additive manufacturing.

I definitely see a place in the future for print working in harmony with digital technologies like AR and NFC. NFC needs to work in conjunction with print and at the moment, we’ve all got a little mobile phone carrying all this technology in our pockets, which we could never have imagined 15 years ago.

A game reinvention

Paul McCormack, business manager, Hobs Digital

Digital technologies are starting to develop at a very fast pace, with added value online enhancements driving the business to astounding new levels. Metallics, Pantones and elaborate new inks are being incorporated with higher output resolution, sharper screens and add-ons that get the best from the clients’ print files. These new enhancements all in-turn have helped change the face of print, and what was previously thought to be possible.

The market demand for print is higher than ever, but with lower quantities and tighter timeframes. The face of print has changed as technology has become easier to operate and allowed a higher standard of quality. The emergence of inkjet technology and superior xerographic presses mean that the factors of price, run and quality are starting to be squeezed closer together. With this in mind, there remains one factor on everyone’s mind: our planet.

Crossmedia technologies are the shot in the arm that has been needed to keep our industry relevant

In turn, we need to follow suit and be more aware of our own practices, in order to help clients be environmentally friendly with our end product. By utilising recycled paper, biodegradable laminate, compostable plastic alternatives, deinkable and recyclable prints and ensuring that waste is reduced, we too can reduce our own carbon footprint whilst not compromising on quality.

The improved quality and sustainability allows cutting edge technology to be sold on service, and with a wider range of options available, enabling our clients to produce more targeted material and utilising a wider range of crossmedia platforms.

With inkjet digital technology predicted to take a large share from the lithographical market, and forecasters predicting digital print to peak in 2028, the industry we love so much has truly stood the test of time, whilst reinventing itself on an annual basis. Crossmedia technologies are the shot in the arm that has been needed to keep our industry relevant and sustainable to our clients’ requirements, both today and for the future.

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