Going Beyond Paper
We live in exciting times in the print industry. We have more choices than ever before for the substrates that we print on, which in turn has opened up the creative floodgates. Print buyers, ad agencies, graphic designers, and even consumers are looking for new and innovative ways to showcase their materials.
“Gone are the days of defaulting to a glossy photo paper for printing images,” says Jeff Smith, Product Manager, Epson America (Booth 831). “This is an appropriate paper for certain images like portraits, but can be a rather boring look. Today we are fortunate that there is a great variety of papers, films, and substrates available to showcase important images. Canvas and fine art papers are awesome, but in some senses, seem almost as old and boring as photo papers. New up-and-coming media solutions are dye-sublimation prints on metal plates, and metallic papers face mounted on acrylic. Featuring your image on these substrates produces a 3D appearance with amazing depth, as well as having great colors with perfect tonal gradations.”
But assuming that print buyers are aware of these options isn’t the way to go. They aren’t coming to shows like PRINT 17, where they can see the latest print technologies and all of the new substrates they are capable of printing on. It’s not enough just to stock a few neat new substrate options in your shop—you need to make the substrates an integral part of your initial consultations, making sure your customers understand just how far beyond paper you can go with their job.
“We encourage printers to look beyond the substrate and identify application ideas that they can tailor to particular verticals,” says Mellissa Campbell, Marketing Coordinator, Masterpiece Graphix (Booth 3143). “That way, they can provide specific direction to their sales team in proactively pursuing new business. In other words, printers see more return when they actively promote and sell the value of the substrates, instead of waiting for a customer to ask for a particular material. As demand increases, adding new substrates to their product lineup will be an easy fit.”
Jack Smith, SVP, Hop Industries (Booth 558), agrees, noting that, “Printers should talk with their consumer-brand customers—and their advertising agencies—about using synthetic paper for in-store advertising and POP displays. They should also promote the sustainability advantage and environmental benefits of using synthetic paper over less environmentally friendly substrates. Printers should also promote the benefit of printing synthetic paper for short-run promotions using digital printing equipment.”
Whether it’s the latest synthetic papers, a metal sheet, plastics, or even a door or other object, substrates have come a long way. With today’s print technologies, it is as easy to print on specialty media as it is paper, allowing every project to be unique. Make sure you don’t leave opportunities ono the table because you aren’t promoting the full capabilities of your equipment. And use your time at PRINT 17 to look for new ideas and new items to print on that you can use to amaze and delight your customers at home.