From the cavemen painting on walls to the ancient Egyptians making papyrus paper for record-keeping to today’s jaw-dropping printing techniques, we’ve always had a fascination with writing things down. Something is comforting about physically holding something, and printing makes it possible to turn intangible ideas into something which can fit into your carry on. As technology expands, the future of printing continues to change. In the beginning, printing was done by humans who handwrote copies of important information as needed. The press printer followed, which needed a plate dipped in ink to reproduce copy. Finally, the printers we see on our office desk were brought into the world. Since the advent of inkjet and laser printing, the future of printing has expanded to include inkless printing, 3D printing, and even the possibility of digital display printing. The printing industry has always been about evolution, and it shows no time of stopping any time soon.
Printing as a medium encompasses a wide range of items. There are billboard printers, which show no sign of lacking in business. Birthday cards aren’t quite as effective when they’re digital. Printed materials interact with us on nearly every aspect of our lives, and it’s already grown far past the 8.5×11” sheets you ran your thesis on in college. The printing industry has had a lot of time in the limelight lately with the popularity of 3D printing. The latest printing trend works by either layering materials on top of one another to create a physical item or by removing pieces from a large chunk of material (plastic, metal, you name it!) to ‘carve’ out the item. Even though 3D printing started with just a few small startups, the materials are more available to the general public by the day. You can get a starting kit for just over $300! Printing has also gone into the future with inkless printing, which has just begun to flow over the mainstream headlines. This utilizes specialty paper which darkens when exposed to heat. Instead of layering ink or toner over the page (like traditional printing), an inkless printer layers heat. This darkens selected text or pieces of an image, creating a clear print. While this new tech offers a lot of promise, it’s not quite feasible for large-scale consumption quite yet. The paper can cost around a quarter a sheet!
As we mentioned, there’s something so satisfying about physically touching something. Print marketing is far from dead, even with the popularity of digital advertising. Printed materials make a statement in places where people are (such as a coffee shop, dog groomer, or store). Are you more likely to use a coupon that was handed to you once you were actually in the store, or will you remember the ad you saw on Pinterest a week ago? The coupon, of course! Flyers, billboards, brochures, and business cards are all ways printed materials can leave an impression on consumers. They’re still considered highly effective in today’s economy, especially when used in targeted areas. Where you can integrate the futuristic aspects of print right now is by blending digital and print marketing, such as by putting a QR code on your weekly brochure. This gets you the best of both worlds – a strong physical impression as well as digital prominence. You could even really step outside of the box and use a 3D printer to create keepsake items!
For those who say print is passé, let us invite you to take our business card. Printing isn’t slowing down at all! The future of printing lies in growth. New technology allows you to reach a higher-end clientele for less money with glossy advertisements you can run on specialty paper from your office. Campaigns you already run can do double damage with both printed and digital aspects. 3D printing can even transform your business, such as a dentist practice being able to print new teeth. Think of this: in two years, your company could be at the forefront of the eco-friendly movement with your new inkless printing policy. There may even be a time where we see massive digital display billboards shouting your company’s mission! Whatever happens, printing is here to stay, and we’re excited to see what it grows into. Contact Vegas Ink and Toner for any questions you may have now or in the future.