Recently, the International Sign Association (ISA) released the results on the 2016 ISA State of the Industry survey, and we're happy to report that things are looking good for the print industry, particularly for the sign and graphics market. After more than a decade of growth, the sign and graphic industry continues to climb. There are more innovative methods than ever before, and The Vomela Companies is at the forefront of the industry's innovations. Let's look at some of the highlights of the ISA's State of the Industry report.
1. Digital Isn't Killing Print
In fact, print is stronger than ever—but that doesn't mean that digital isn't playing its role. Digital is actually pushing print graphics into new, more creative directions tying the physical and digital landscape together. "Traditionally, the print channel anchored marketing campaigns, " said Mark Lewiecki, a senior product manager at Adobe. He continued, "[M]arketers today are rapidly shifting toward a 'mobile first' strategy, whereby design and execution for the print channel is complementary, not primary." Print graphics are now becoming bigger and bolder, and they're being used to encourage shoppers to become buyers with cross media promotions linking traditional print media to digital communications.
In essence, your printing partners are becoming "fabricators"; static sign printers are starting to expand into digital devices, and vice versa. Lori Anderson, president and CEO of ISA, said," We are starting to see the borders of traditional print and signs expand in exciting new ways—and to deliver opportunities for companies." Automation is key to the transition; an efficient workflow is the only way to get the work delivered into your hands as quickly as possible. More and more printers are embracing cloud-based workflows, and remote access to the printing company's production equipment will soon be the norm.
2. Soft Signs: The Rise of Printed Fabrics
There are more options available for retailers who want to move beyond traditional vinyl graphics. Retail environments are shifting rapidly, and retailers expect their printing partners to keep up with their needs. One of the trends in signage is the printed fabric. There are a number of reasons to embrace fabric signage.
For one thing, fabric signs are cheaper to transport. They're lightweight, and they can be packaged in a more efficient manner. You can ship many fabric signs for less money than traditional paper or vinyl signs, and they're more environmentally friendly.
They're also on trend at the moment. "Look at any trade show today compared to five years ago and look at home much of the signage has migrated over to fabric soft signage," said Ken Hanulec, EFI Inkjet's vice president of marketing. Fabric signage has a premium look, and is easy to store and re-use if needed. In fact, the World Textile Information Network has predicted that there will be a 25% growth in digital textile printing—this trend isn't going anywhere anytime soon!
3. Personalization and Customization
Inkjet printing has changed significantly over the last two decades, and it's continuing to evolve. "Continuing innovation in inkjet will continue to impact the industry," said Lewiecki. "Personalization, customization, and targeting remain untapped opportunities to increase relevance, and therefore responsiveness, in the battle for audience attention."
What does this mean for you? Well, if you can dream it, your print partner can probably do it. Personalization can extend in many directions, such as packaging, apparel, interior decor, or vehicle graphics. It seems that vehicle graphics in particular have become very popular; not only do they personalize your vehicle to your specifications, but they also protect your vehicle's paint job.
Apparel has also become a big player in the print industry. Print apparel is very trendy right now, and the possibilities opened by your printing partner for creating the patterns and prints that you crave are nearly endless.
4. Single Point of Contact
With the many options available, many customers want one point of contact; one place that can offer everything they require, from a variety of services to a merging of specialties through partnerships. The segmented marketplace of traditional printing doesn't appeal to customers of today.
If the thought of visiting many different vendors to bring your marketing plan to life exhausts you, take a moment and speak to your printing partner; more printers are combining services to provide you with one stop shopping, so to speak—a place where you can handle several aspects of your plan, whether it's in-house or working with one of their partners.
The print industry has been around for hundreds of years, and there are new developments on the horizon. You can be confident that as your printing partner, we are meeting the challenges of the 21st century with new technology and interesting techniques that will allow us to continue to serve your needs for years to come.