Research Study Showcases Trends in Digital Printing Enhancement
A growing opportunity for print service providers is offering print work that is embellished or enhanced with special effects produced on digital presses or finishing equipment. Commercial printers, packaging printers/converters, publication printers, and in-house printing operations all stand to benefit from offering customers print products that include eye-catching special effects.
Many types of embellishments, such as extended-gamut colors, specialty colors, embossing, foiling, textures, and specialty coatings, aren’t new. But, the ability to produce them on digital devices is making them more affordable to marketers and brand owners, while also offering new products previously not possible.
NAPCO Research conducted a research study to define the opportunity printing enhancements and embellishments offer print service providers and their customers. NAPCO Research’s study, Adding Value to Digital Print, finds that print providers are leveraging digital printing embellishment options to improve profitability. The research effort included surveying both print providers and marketers/brand owners. The study focuses on trends, demands, challenges, and requirements of brand owners/marketers in specifying special effects in their print applications. It also documents the actions print providers are taking to offer enhanced print capabilities.
Marketers Want Providers to Offer Enhanced Print
Many printers are looking for new value-added print applications to help boost their profit margins and differentiate their offerings. As a result, there is a growing interest in incorporating special effects/techniques that enhance visual appeal. According to the study, marketers value providers that offer ways to enhance print. Of the 600 brand owners/marketer respondents that influence commercial printing taking the survey, 52% said it is highly important that their print providers offer unique ideas to enhance the print they purchase (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Marketers Want Providers that Offer Print Enhancements
A number of today’s digital printing devices and finishing solutions support special effects and embellishments to enhance print. Almost half of print provider survey respondents that offer digital printing report enhancing digital print with special effects, while another 23% plan to add it. These imaging capabilities can transform printed materials from commodity, price-sensitive offerings to higher-value products that command a premium.
A big influencer of the types of embellishments providers offer is technology innovations. In the area of print enhancement, equipment manufacturers are adding capabilities and feature sets to digital printing presses, digital enhancement presses, and finishing solutions to simplify processes and reduce production costs for special effects. In addition to enhancements produced on digital printing presses, printed materials can be embellished on digital enhancement finishing devices that utilize inkjet printing heads to create texture, dimensional, and foil effects. These enhancement presses/devices do not require plates, screens, or dies and print service providers of all sizes can utilize the technology.
Substrates Also Offer Enhancement
Another important enhancement is the ability to print on a wider variety of materials. Today’s digital print engines are capable of supporting an increasing array of substrates, including heavier stocks and synthetic materials. This brings great flexibility to print buyers in terms of the jobs they can produce. More than half of all print provider respondents (54%) report that customer demand for special substrates is increasing, and 49% are using substrates to enhance print.
This research report identifies the types of enhancements providers offer and marketers demand, the obstacles and benefits to offering enhancements, and best practices for adoption. Download the full report and learn more about leveraging the opportunity in adding value to digital printing.
Lisa Cross is the principal analyst of NAPCO Research (a unit of NAPCO Media) where she conducts market research and analysis on emerging trends and changing dynamics in the commercial, in-plant and packaging industries, and the market forces that are driving those changes. With decades of experience covering the graphic arts and marketing industries, Cross has authored thousands of articles on a variety of topics, including technology trends, business strategy, sales, marketing and legislation.