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What FESPA taught us about the future of print

January 2016 seems like a long time ago. There was a Democrat in the White House. Leonardo DiCaprio still hadn’t won an Oscar.

Yet some things don’t change.

Nearly 18 months ago I wrote about why print isn’t dead – it’s more alive than ever before. The evidence for this is still all around us. Think about your daily commute. Billboards, leaflets, newspapers, tickets, the logo on your coffee cup, even the motif on a fellow commuter’s t-shirt. It all comes from print.

The recent FESPA event in Hamburg stands as the perfect proof point that print is indeed far from dead.

With over 700 exhibitors from across the world, there was a great deal to discuss. For us at Ricoh it was all about sharing the creative possibilities that our large format print production portfolio can open up to Print Service Providers. There’s no doubt that our industry is riding a wave of innovation that is opening up a world of new and exciting applications.

At FESPA we demonstrated our new direct to garment printers as well as printing on diverse items including banners, labels and posters, ceramic tiles and floor standing display units. It’s these products that allow businesses to make connections with their customers – us – that resonate and build interest in brands.

Of course, the expertise of our industry is not confined to the physical act of printing, nor is innovation confined to tradeshows.

Market forces and macro trends have a huge impact. In the past 12 months we’ve seen major deals in the market. This proves that investment and innovation remain top priorities for the industry.

Printing is rarely out of the headlines. Take 3D printing (or additive manufacturing as we refer to it at Ricoh), for example. It can completely reimagine entire processes within the likes of automotive and aerospace. Lighter, cheaper parts that can be printed on demand can bring huge financial and operational benefits.

Every day the print industry brings new ways to help businesses reach people with more creativity than before. Don’t just take my word for it. The view that print isn’t dead is borne out by media buzz, big money deals and experimentation which are clear hallmarks of an industry that is very much alive.

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