“Expand the brand should be the print industry’s motto for the coming year,” says Phil McMullin, sales manager of Epson UK. “Printers can, and will, continue to diversify, expanding their product portfolio by using wide format technology in new markets. Increasingly the industry is expected to take on a more advisory or consultancy role and, as the keeper of a client’s brand, printers are in an exceptional position to help their customers add value to their name and reputation.”
“We will see a resurgence of eco-solvent technology as the ink set of choice for discerning printers who want to produce vibrant outdoor displays and vehicle graphics. There will be further expansion of dye sublimation technology for short runs of bespoke graphics, promotional products and textiles. Digital printing technology can now deliver outstanding quality across a wide array of applications without compromising productivity and printers need to take advantage or lose competitiveness to others. The investment level in this sector is very competitive,” says Mr McMullin.
Printers should regularly check their calendars for special opportunities like the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May which will undoubtedly provide some interesting print opportunities. There are also regular events, from London Fashion Week through to the FIFA World Cup, which might inspire promotional material.
Over the past year Epson has introduced SurePress L-4533 aqueous series of label presses and the SureColor SC F-9300 dye sublimation printer. Epson invests €1.4m a day in R&D globally (about 5.2% of annual revenue) so undoubtedly there will be developments in the next 12 months.
“I am optimistic for the coming year,” says Mr McMullin. “I think some of the political uncertainty will evaporate and business confidence will build. Printing is holding strong, at least in the sectors we serve and with the future-minded technology that we offer.”