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50th Anniversary Print Survey

is print getting smarter and more sustainable?

Print has gotten its wake up call and is fast evolving to adapt to its new environment. Designers and printers are taking increased advantage of new technologies to customize, personalize, sharpen, target, interact and integrate. New print tools include expanding printing press capabilities, variable data printing, interactive components such as QR Codes and PURLs, software and services for extending print into digital documents, and more. Indeed, the vast majority of designers say they are incorporating these components in selected projects. And speaking of environment, another area where print is evolving and adapting to market demands is in the area of sustainability: most designers recognize that papermakers and print providers have made great strides in introducing green processes and products. It is all part of “Smart Print” or “Print 2.0” ‒ shorthand for a bundle of innovations helping to keep the medium relevant, responsive, exciting, affordable and green.

Print is becoming more practical and accessible with the advances in things like digital printing, short runs and integration with web-based communication via QR codes, as well as to supplement and reinforce web-based communication.

Jenn David Connolly Founder & Creative Director, Jenn David Design

Print is being redefined. It is getting a new meaning. Now the print piece can be extended and have a life in the digital world so it is not just a print piece anymore, it is the beginning of a story, or part of a story. The smart thing to do is not just eliminate traditional ways of communication, but to find new ways of using the old/traditional to make a better communication altogether.

Mary Luz Manchado-Seil Senior Art Director, The Bravo Group

Print is not only getting smarter, but more accessible. I have clients that could never have touched color printing for whom it is now routine. The key is creative and appropriate use of these tools... In addition, the print industry has become a leader in making things cleaner and more efficient, both in response to regulation and in their own self interest. They recognized that it was cheaper and safer to be clean. The paper industry has been slower, but has come a very long way in the past few years, largely due to consumer demand. The real myth is that not using print is greener. The whole footprint has to be examined.

Rosanne Gibel Designer Rosanne Gibel Graphic Design

QR codes are fun and informative. Digital printing is coming up fast as a really cost effective way to do interesting creative things with raised lettering/art elements. Digital has always been the way to go for short runs and a great way for a low-budget project to get full color.

Andrea M. Owsinek Brucker Owner/President, Anne Ink

Print IS smarter. With the invention of the computer mixed with digital printing capabilities, one of a kind printing can affordably hone in on a targeted customer or audience. In the past, one would have to print millions of printed pieces, mail them to a wide area, and hope that the targeted customer would read their message. Today we know who our customers are by name and profile. All we need to do is customize our message to their profile and send it directly to them via mail, email, smartphone, etc.

Theo Camut Art Director, Polyconcept North America

Print is getting smarter and has a dynamic that evolves with the needs of our society and times. Look at what and how we print in comparison to 20-years ago. Our targeting can be more specific, our products a larger format, our strategies more multiplying, and our message more personal. The future of print and paper in the mix for designers will depend on the innovations of these industries. I believe there will always be a need of print, but how, and to what degree, will be determined by what the designer is given to work with.

Glenn Haugh Graphic Designer, Haugh of Haw Design & Prepress

Print is getting greener and cleaner. It is a slow process. A huge and responsible task, that will take more time. Thanks to the advocacy of the print industry's leaders notable progress has been made. More consumer education is needed and hopefully other industries will actively join in their example.

Stan Fine Creative Director, Fine Design

Print is definitely getting smarter. QR codes are already viewed as a thing of the past but the technology can be the start of something better in the future. The integration of specialty inks, varnishes, and glosses really take print to an entirely different dimension. Sometimes it's the small details that make print memorable and stand above the rest. Also, print is getting greener. The best part about this is that you aren't able to visibly tell the difference in final pieces. If the appearance and feel of greener print is similar to that of traditional print than it only makes logical sense to go with the greener option and not only for monetary reasons.

SteveORama Graphic Artist & Designer, SteveOramA Graphics

Smarter, yes. If print did not evolve in today's ever-complex environment, it would have gone the way of the dinosaurs. These value-added benefits can provide a dynamic solution for marketing and advertising.

Thomas Bergeron Owner/Designer, Thomas Bergeron Design

I'm not sure “smarter” is the right phrase I’d use, but print is learning some new communication skills. Some may stick, some are destined to go the way of the Dodo.

Jeff Smith Co-Creative Director, Smith/Walker Design

Print is getting smarter. Personalization is something we all relate to so having something with your name on it really speaks volumes.

Shelly Miller Graphic Designer, Keenan & Associates

Print is getting smarter. Printing can be used as a viable vehicle that other mediums cannot achieve. Whether it is a marketing vehicle to lead the prospect or consumer to the web or other electronic medium.

Rick Shaffer Creative Manager, Flight Options

We are located in a paper mill town, Wisconsin Rapids, WI, and are first hand witness to the changes mills and printers have made over the years to caring about the environment.

Mary Schill Art Director/Owner, Forte Design

No longer must we produce large runs that become outdated before the run is used up. Pieces that can be personalized and use QR, etc, tend to combine print and interactive and produce a more immediate action.

Edward Knight President, Communications Art & Design

Print is smarter but at the same time there is still a lot of room for improvement. Not necessarily in design specific environments, such as a design firm, or smaller company truly focused on being as efficient and cost effective as possible. But more like the stuff that is printed for the masses. So much of that is unnecessary and so much is still being wasted in this day and age. Eric Wood Designer, Team Simson Racing Products I have always felt that paper companies have done a great job in replanting what they take down, but now with everything going 'green' these days, I feel they are doing more to improve their green manufacturing as well.

Lauren Kranak Designer, Think Tank Studio

Digital creativity ... its all about personalizing ... social media. It has to get smarter. The youngsters are changing and driving this whole thing. Peggy Denton Freelance Graphic Designer, Design 9 Creative Print is getting smarter and more sophisticated but so is the audience for print. Personalization can’t just be “Hello Jane Doe!” on a postcard. There has to be a personal connection between the sender and the receiver that's more than just data. Print also has to keep up with the quick response time of online ads and social media.

Wendy Ruyle Co-owner, 5 by 5 Design

In my personal experience, I've increased the use of QR codes in the past two years. Targeting is also something that is increasingly important depending on the type of project you are working on. Sharon Metzung Publications & Graphics Manager, Lake Metroparks With all the data that can be gathered from social media and analytic tools it would be foolish to not target your audience. No only does it help strengthening a brand but it helps consumers feel important by offering customized solutions.

Sarah Binion Senior Graphic Designer, The Marco Consulting Group

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