If I can give you one takeaway on the state of print in 2017 it’s this: Printing is in a constant state of evolution. We’ve come a long way since Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in 1450. Whether it’s technology, equipment, paper or marketing, I think it’s safe to say we saw some interesting trends in print this past year. Here’s my take on the what stood out in the state of printing in 2017.

Long Live the Magazine

The popularity of print magazines cannot be denied. Whether it’s a celebrity launching their magazine as an extension of their brand or a company-sponsored magazine, we saw magazines grow in 2017. The magazine is a natural vehicle for brand storytelling and a powerful part of the marketing mix. Over 226 new magazines launched in 2017. We are obviously a little biased since we deeply believe in the power of brand storytelling with our very own Blueline Magazine. Read more on how print magazines grew in 2017.

Quality, Not Quantity

While mail volume may not be what it once was what I have observed is the quality of printed pieces have gone up. One trend in 2017 is the “oversize catalog.” It’s approximately 10 x 13 and brands such as Ethan Allen and American Girl have used this tactic to stand out in the crowd. I find myself draw to these magalogs because they have a magazine-like appeal, employ lush photography and I just love a good catalog. I’ve also seen more uncoated papers being used that offer a more tactile and upscale brand storytelling experience.

Also, as digital printing continues to evolve, you see the arrival of techniques such as digital metallic inks, white and dimensional printing that can be achieved on a digital press. Jill DiNicolantonio does a deep dive into digital printing techniques in Seen by the Spec Rep.  I think the flexibility that you can have with your print project is endless with the ink and printing technologies currently available.

Omni-Channel Observations

For today’s marketer, omni-channel is mandatory. I think what’s interesting is that you are now seeing digitally born companies embracing print. Companies such as One Kings Lane and AirBnB are using print tactics to drive traffic to their sites. According to the DMA Statistical Fact Book, “Direct mail continues to serve as a key driver in most omni-channel marketing plans.  For more tips on how to live in an Omni-Channel world, check out “Do You have an omni-channel marketing strategy?

So, what does this all mean as we head into 2018? By no means are the trends we mentioned above going away. As creative professionals, staying on top of trends is part of growing and evolving in our respective fields. So, ask yourself how can your print projects evolve in 2018?

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