Our portfolio of global clients sees my role as Creative Services Director review many different aspects of brand execution. The diversification of modern branding and all its considered touch points is an exciting arena to be in.
Speaking at recent industry events has led me to analyse what part we play in innovation within this area. Being close to marketing, R&D and purchasing, let’s me see the struggle technology has. Attending press passes highlights how a balance of attendees makes a very successful day. Every key stakeholder contributes their expertise, but to bring innovation to the table is challenging. To change process takes all of my 20+ years’ experience. However, I have worked in all aspects of this industry and have found that honesty and setting expectations early are my key learnings.
If we propose a new substrate or print process to a client, we always investigate in advance the benefits for ROI and printability. So with this in mind, where is digital printing in our client’s plans? I believe it’s about time we moved on from the debate of digital printing’s place within the world of packaging. Recent innovation and trends to short-run, more personalised and consumer interactivity with FMCG, are set to grow its market share. There are enough advantages to make an assured way across our client’s radar.
At recent trips to both Packaging Innovations and Ipex, we saw an increased level of competency. The Konica Minolta KM-1 sheetfed digital press shown at Ipex uses UV inks and with practical zero make-ready time allows the bespoke short-run print capability that other print processes lack. Registration issues are a thing of the past, so fine text is now back to a practical reality. Increases in resolution now allows digital print to rival traditional litho for colour gamuts. Revolutions in ink technology alongside traditional experience in litho have led to market shares in digital print unheard of only a few years ago. This is all bringing confidence in the market to use digital as an effective solution.
We know that brand consistency is key in today’s FMCG sector. Touch points that use digital printing are no longer so far away from others that use traditional methods – something recently demonstrated to us by Ultimate Packaging. Its innovative digital capability alongside an already established flexo offering show how far printers have come. Examples shown to me are indistinguishable between conventional and digital. The colour achievability and quality are excellent.
So what is the future for digital printing, or more to the point, how can we play our part in its destiny? The answer is – we already are.
You might be surprised to see how much packaging in local supermarkets is already printed with digital. It’s all about content in the current marketplace. Ironically, the synergy between print and the digital space is particularly evident through packaging, with the most ability to adapt to trends. Digital print has this ability, especially through variable data printing. A brand’s ability to personalise will lead to increased consumer loyalty, if it’s done with consideration to core messaging.
As we see this increase in variable data printing, we now have the ability for brands to use digital print to access micro trends. Activities that typically only last a short time yet yield great possibilities. A television show’s popularity or celebrity endorsement can be used whilst still current with minimal change to the supply chain and minimal cost to implement. As fashion changes overnight, so could packaging.
The part of my role I love the best is innovation and sharing insights with clients, so I’ll be watching digital print with great expectation moving forward.
As featured in Digital Labels & Packaging