Technological advances, coupled with a booming economy, mean that the printing industry is rapidly evolving. Ultimately, these changes mean that printers will be able to better serve their customers and clients.

Improved technological capabilities are allowing printers to create signs, banners and other types of branded collateral that are more vivid than ever before. Additionally, it’s now possible print shops to make bigger and more unique pieces of collateral that are especially valuable for businesses of all sizes.

Increasing collaboration between print shops and marketing professionals also means that more printers are transitioning to full-service packages that include design, copywriting and printing. This is allowing businesses to take their marketing dollars further, and reap the highest possible return on their investments in branded collateral.

There are several trends that are shaking up the printing industry this year. It’s important for companies both within and outside of the industry to pay attention to changes in the printing world. If you’re aware of upcoming changes in the industry, you can plan your marketing strategy for the coming fiscal year much more effectively.

Here are some of the top printing industry trends to keep an eye on this year:

Going digital

Digital printing is no longer a budget option that yields inferior-quality printed collateral. Today, digital printing is keeping pace with, if not surpassing, traditional analog printing techniques.

There are a number of reasons that printing companies are making substantial investments in new digital printing equipment. Digital printing allows printers to create images directly from computer-drawn file – rather than setting up an expensive rubber plate mechanism, printers can now use digital gear to create lasting images on almost any surface.

Digital printing is more cost-effective for both printers and their customers, particularly for small one-time or limited-run print jobs. This means that you can more easily invest in a series of fabric posters, for instance, that all bear slightly different branded messages.

More comprehensive services

Another significant change in the printing industry is the fact that more companies are now offering comprehensive marketing services alongside their printing services. A number of print shops are now offering marketing consulting, design, copywriting and more.

When print shops offer a comprehensive service package, it often results in higher-quality final products. Printers know the way that ink will appear on different fabrics in different designs, which means that they can offer companies the most effective designs and branded messaging possible.

Working with a full-service print shop is also more cost-effective for businesses hoping to increase the reach of their branding efforts. Local or locally owned franchises may also be able to assist with distribution.

Room for creativity

Thanks to the recent technological advances taking the industry by storm, there’s more room for creativity than ever before. Businesses have more opportunities now than ever to express their individuality and unique branding.

It’s easier to create collateral in unique shapes with the help of laser and die cutting machines. Additionally, digital printers can yield vibrant colors with ease. Thanks to the cost-effectiveness of limited-run printing brought on by the advent of digital printing, it’s also easier to try experimental or highly specific marketing campaigns.

Many print shops are also resurrecting ‘retro’ printing techniques, like thermography, to create high-quality advertisements.

An over-saturation of advertisements both on and off-line means that companies must becoming increasingly creative to compete for audience attention. Thankfully, printers are up to this challenge.

More material options

Digital printing makes it easier than ever before to create engaging branded collateral out of a wide variety of different types of media, including fabrics and plastics.

Today, products like printed PVC sheets, customized peel-and-stick murals and glossy fabric banners are ubiquitous. Digital printing makes it possible to brand every aspect of your space, ranging from the exterior of the windows to the bathroom wall paper.

The increase in potential media types allow business owners to decorate their spaces more effectively with branded collateral, and utilize better indoor and outdoor advertisements. Printing branded messaging on a variety of different types of materials allows business owners to attract audience attention more effectively.

Inventive innovations

Integration between print shops and marketing professionals are creating innovative printed products that interact with the digital world.

Augmented reality technology is allowing printers to create advertisements, banners and more that coordinate with smartphone apps and social media campaigns. The days of simple QR codes are long-gone – now, marketers and print shops can work together to turn traditional printed collateral into powerful experiential advertising.

Everything from printed canvas ads to magazine spreads could get the augmented reality treatment in the near future. Print shops are embracing a comprehensive advertising strategy that integrates the power of internet marketing into a physical space.

AlphaGraphics is a full-service printing company with more than 270 franchised locations around the globe. We utilize cutting-edge printing equipment and offer design, marketing, copywriting and printing services. For more information please visit www.alphagraphics.com.