The emergence of digital and Internet technologies in recent years have brought about new printing trends that will forever change the printing industry. These printing industry trends have changed the way companies do business from the design to the printing phase of operations.
In Australia, the printing industry has met these new printing trends with open arms as many have updated their workflow and production strategies to meet the changing demands. On the other hand, many of those who never made these important changes have struggled because of the growing competition by non-print and online media.
According to the Rochester Institute of Technology School of Print Media, there has been a growing media competition considering the fact that print advertising is driven by newspaper, magazine and periodical revenues while “the Internet is chipping away at traditional media usage and communication.”
The recent developments in the printing industry can be attributed to several printing trends:
- One of the most important printing industry trends has been the electronic delivery of files as desktop publishing takes full control of the printing process.
- There is an emerging need for the electronic delivery of graphics and images, which has made film media process obsolete.
- The industry has adopted automated workflow processes that would link customers, printing systems and services like never before.
- Printing trends are gearing towards full workflow automation with the development of computer-to-plate imaging technologies that allow desktop publishing applications to output directly to a printing plate.
- Many printing presses are integrating “hybrid” printing by combining different reproduction processes since many print jobs are complex with specialised coating or printing requirements.
- There is a growing trend in cross media conversion from one file to any information distribution and electronic publishing methods.
- The advancement of digital technologies such as Direct Imaging offset presses and Inkjet printers have made colour printing cost effective.
- Printing trends have also pointed towards shorter production runs and schedules in an effort to compete with digital printing.
- Printing production now shifts closer to the point of distribution as printing trends move away from being press-centric to printer-centric.
- A greater volume of printing jobs has moved away from printing companies to those produced by desktop printing and offshore printing firms.
The implementation of new printing industry trends such as the workflow digitisation, technology integration and changing demands have transformed companies into more efficient and effective businesses. However, some niche pre-print operations are now rendered obsolete because desktop publishing has eliminated the need for pre-press and film-based processes. The implementation of a digitised workflow has further automated the printing process and at the same time freed the operation from labour-intensive tasks that may hamper production schedules. Despite the growing significance of online-based services, the printing industry remains strong and enduring as it adopts new strategies to achieve success in the future.