Commentary: How Graphic Arts Can Redefine Print in a Digital Era
Consumers are increasingly inundated with information and expect brands to capture and compete for their attention. Like most industries, print faces similar demands from consumers. The days of one-dimensional campaigns are dead. And while multimedia strategies used to be the print industry’s go-to response as their replacement, those too are no longer enough. The future focuses on printers in the graphic arts community embracing omni-channel communications to redefine print in a digital era.
An omni-channel campaign represents an integrated approach to providing customers with a seamless experience across all platforms, creating touchpoints through both digital and print channels. But the digital media realm is quickly saturating, with an abundance of marketers now readily relying on email and online advertising campaigns; print, therefore, is an art form quickly resurging in power and stance.
Printers are acutely aware that they need to apply the latest trends and technologies, like artificial intelligence and augmented reality, to pivot and revitalize their business strategies to stand tall in a cluttered competitive landscape. Because in a world full of dynamic digital content, printed applications need to be just as creative to truly push the boundaries of what was once considered to be a conventional and predictable medium.
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The Dance of Digital and Print
An omni-channel communications approach readily addresses the dance of digital and print. Both serve to complement each other and, when interwoven together, produce dynamic content designed to serve a larger purpose in the graphic arts community.
As such, it is imperative that printers provide solutions that offer augmented reality or artificial intelligence features that can easily intersperse digital content into printed pages to, quite literally, bring the pages to life, enhancing messaging and promoting user engagement.
And the printed pages should appear just as engaging as digital content; the two should complement each other without running the risk that the digital content will supersede the boldness and creativity of the printed content. It is the printers that possess the ability to produce rich and consistent color on a variety of media types, with enhanced finishing options, that sit best-positioned to accomplish such tasks.
Defining the Appropriate Application Mix
Related to the omni-channel communications approach, it is no industry secret that digital printing is on the rise in the graphic arts market for its ability to print directly to a large variety of media. Printers now need to define their application mix and volume to determine the appropriate output strategy. This could involve monochrome toner, color toner, or high-speed inkjet. It is, therefore, imperative for a printer to honestly evaluate potential growth opportunities and then develop a printing strategy specifically tailored to meet the demands of its target markets.
Canon’s Océ VarioPrint i300Sheetfed Production Inkjet press, for example, helps signmakers and graphics producers migrate from analogue processes and unlock the potential of digital technology, especially for creative, high-value customized applications on a wide variety of media.
Attracting and Retaining Customers
Immediacy and the market demands of “I need it yesterday” are prevalent in every industry, and commercial print in the graphic arts market is no different. While producing professional quality prints and delivering quickly is important for shops that want to increase their sales and profitability, quality cannot be sacrificed. Print providers can look to leverage technology that will help them scale their services as their client base grows and customer requirements change.
Whether a print shop wants to market their services, attract more orders, or grow their print volumes, they should look for software that can help them take on more short-run jobs and commit to faster turnaround with confidence.
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The graphic arts market is a great example of an industry in which the ability to offer flexibility and mobilize quickly provides printers with a powerful advantage over competitors to produce content that creates a compelling omni-channel communications strategy. Through the process of redefining print by interweaving digital elements into pages, defining the appropriate application mix, and expanding media offerings to attract new customers and retain existing, print providers can put themselves in a profitable position that paints a vibrant picture.