Multiple requirements of communication channels

Any product used for communications in modern times  needs to be print, online and mobile compatible. Technology that adapts, works smarter and keeps pace with the digital innovations will rule the roost.

Print is still a very powerful tool for communicating, branding and marketing - however we need to re-evaluate its power.   Print today needs to be more interactive, be able to connect the brand and the consumer,  flexible and adapt to the mobile revolution. New machines released into the markets need to factor in  and integrate with current requirements to be able to face digital challenges on its own merit.

This edition of PrintWeek MEA, we have featured interviews taken from exhibitors at 2 exhibitions - the eighteenth edition of

The possibilities and potential of 3D printing

As one traverses through these technologically galloping times, one wonders in amazement at many new developments - robots that can be programmed to become security guards; a small chip that can hold trillion bytes (a terabyte) of data; helium balloons or drones to reach areas where cell towers cannot; the  list is endless.  

And, now we are seeing the huge potential of 3D printing - prosthetic limbs being 3D printed, fully functional 3D printed buildings (see PrintWeek MEA article in August

Responsible printing-the fast track to sustainability

It’s becoming fashionable these days to talk about ‘green printing’ or following ‘environment friendly practices’.  However, in private most printers agree that ‘green printing’ is an expensive option, and in these tough and competitive times, price is the most important factor while vying for orders.  And hence, while everyone acknowledges that we must ‘certainly’ adopt the best environment-friendly printing standards and reduce the impact on our surroundings wherever practically possible

Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in our life

CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility, is it only an obligation to be fulfilled by the larger organisations or does it have a role to play in smaller, family owned enterprises like printing and publishing companies? Is corporate philanthrophy an activity undertaken only by the cash rich multinationals or do SME’s also have a duty towards society, employees and the environment? 

So what exactly is CSR? The International  Organization for Standardization (ISO) explains it as - “a balanced

Digital signage entering an exciting phase


There is a distinct trend of increased interest towards digital signage. The endless possibilities and flexibility offered by the electronic media is amazing.  However, for the medium to translate into an additional revenue steam, it has to be implemented and executed correctly.
It’s evident from the potential costs involved that digital signage is not suitable for everyone. The projected migration levels from printed to digital signs over the next five or so years suggest that this is going

Legislate to promote use of recycled paper

Have we consigned recycling, reusing and  restoring to the shadows of our mind? Or do we actively pursue environment friendly practices as doing  our bit towards reducing the damage on this planet we call home?  How often do we take a conscious decision to buy a book, magazine or any publication that has been printed on partly or fully recycled paper?  How often do we notice whether the print or packaging that we consume is from a sustainable source let alone recycled matter? Lip service

Heartening response to the Munich event

From the visitor turnout, exhibitor numbers, new technology and machinery launched in the market, Fespa Digital 2014 proved that print is as vibrant now as it was a few years ago.  A host of manufacturers introduced new printers adapted to perform on varied and complex media, new inks with improved functions, and new technology that unveiled future trends.  With visitors from 120 countries flocking the show, exhibitors expressed satisfaction with the expo and organizers, with eyes now focusing

Is technology the only differentiator?

Those were the days, when printing was ink on paper, when compositors put type together by hand, and a skilled compositor could assemble 2,000 characters or letters in an hour.  Today, a computer can arrange the same number of characters in about two seconds.  Then all customers ever wanted is right price, timely deliveries and an acceptable quality.  While now with technology growing by leaps and bounds, expectations are sky high - lowest prices, jobs delivered yesterday, technology and

Award nights, exhibitions herald renewed activity

Dubai International Print Awards in their eighth year hosted a glittering (and somewhat hurried) award night at Madinat Jumeirah.  All eyes are now on the new team elected for a period of two years.

Jointly organised by Expo Centre Sharjah and the Indian Printing, Packaging and Allied Machinery Manufacturers’ Association (IPAMA), the first edition of Print Pack Arabia held in Sharjah got off  with a tentative start though participants expressed satsifaction with the ‘quality’ of visitors at

The message sent out via Gulf Print & Pack 2015

As the curtains fall on Gulf Print and Pack 2015, its time to take stock of the work already done and what could be done differently or better.  On the technology front, location, i.e., Dubai World Trade Center, timing of the show - once every two years, duration, it looks like the event planners have got it right.

However, from the feedback received, one point that comes to mind is that exhibitions, expos and events are part of the industry and will need to support the fraternity during

Provide solutions rather than just technology

Merely walking on the tried and tested path will not be sufficient if print is to experience another crest. The need of the hour is value addition.   Just treating a job as offset or digital printing does not amount to anything, but every client’s need should be tailor made according to his requirements, budgetary constraints and delivery schedules.  A printshop in current times should be able to walk the extra mile and provide comprehensive solutions.

On another front, this year’s ‘inkjet’

Resilient segments bring relief to printshops

As the investment climate starts to improve, and printers search for options to expand into new areas, there arises definite segments that have been consistently showing promise - namely wide-format digital, outdoor, signage and the unsurprisingly resilient packaging, with certain new areas showing potential like textile printing, wall coverings and interior decor that bring in profits and stability.

While opportunities abound and markets start seeing an upswing, the ball now remains in the

New challenge:managing human resources

Investments, expansion, new technology, recruitment,  entering diverse market segments seems to be the norm these days rather that exception.  A new optimism seems to  be pervading the printing industry and most dynamic printers are racing for their slice of the cake.

Many manufacturers of printing equipments and consumables  too, are looking at the needs and requirements of the Middle East, as a potential money spinner for their lagging fortunes.  They are hopeful that demand from this region

Quality versus Price : the eternal struggle

Any business, anywhere in the world is always juggling with one moot question: which way to go? - raise quality and raise price of job orders, or compromise on quality to compete on price?  So though print is a very powerful medium of communication, it still needs to be sold.

In these tough times, it is often difficult to persuade customers to part with cash, resulting in the onus falling on the suppliers, read printer’s shoulders to improve his purchase policy, manage his overheads, improve

Opportunities offered by associations, exhibitions

And finally, all eyes on Ipex 2014.  After much discussion and rumours flying thick and fast, whether the show would be ‘hosted at all’,  Ipex is on course for the 24th-29th March event with approximately 450 print, publishing and media suppliers as exhibitors, minus some big names.
Closer home, Printing and Publishing Group (PPG) has revealed that the annual print awards ceremony will be hosted on 28th April this year. At a press conference announcing details about the function, PPG committee

SGI meets expectations of regional print industry


As expected Sign and Graphics Imaging 2015 was a successful event with new technologies, product launches and sales ruling the day.  While most exhibitors expressed satisfaction at the visitor turnout, there were however a few disgruntled voices that echoed,  “the footfall was below expectation”, “the show should have been better timed, this being the first weekend after the year end holidays”, “SGI needs to be  merged with Fespa to create a wider reach” and so on.  

It is always

Successful SGI 2014 lives upto expectations

As the curtains fall on the most awaited show for the signage and large format industry - Sign and Graphics 2014, exhibitors expressed ‘satisfaction’ with the event, quality of visitors, display of technology and inclusive participation. One point which the organizers need to take note of though, was the timing of the expo.  First week of the new year, according to many exhibitors was too early a date and 3rd-4th week of January would have been more conducive.  
Reflecting the changing times

The old order changeth, giving place to new


Just as King Arthur said, the ‘old order changeth, giving place to new’; here we are entering 2015, with fresh hopes, with greater ambitions to scale new heights, new resolutions and new ideas to do things in a better, more novel way. The first half of the year is usually full of new hopes, while in the latter half people start sobering up and evaluating the bygone months and coming to terms with reality.

Going lean is one strategy one can never go wrong with - whether times are good or

Increased focus on high tech packaging

Increasingly manufacturers, distributors and print buyers are shifting focus to packaging, with the new mantra of introducing technology as a way of value addition and creating a niche among a swarm of competing products.  Manufacturers are researching the commercial viability of interactive packaging - whether in the form of QR codes,  augumented reality, or even wearable technology!  The vastly untapped market and seemingly huge possibilities from digital technology has enthused the print

Expanding geographical boundaries: road ahead?

Naturally, every businessman wants to increase profits.  The moot question here is - which way to go? Among the available options are increasing capacity and getting more entrenched in your own market, or backward and forward integration or expanding geographical boundaries with exports.

While many printers are eager to go the export way, its not always necessary that the grass is greener on the other side. Before printshops start budgeting and investing in creating infrastructure overseas

An evolving industry should take a hard look

As the print industry continues to evolve, all segments  need to take a hard look within. Changing dynamics as a result of  developments in technology and increasing presence of online communication is giving rise to many questions about long term stability.  Suppliers, print buyers and even organisers of events will need to adapt to an evolving industry.
Organisers of exhibitions too, should take a hard look at their business model, at  market trends and most importantly listen to what their

Starting a new printshop? Is it a viable proposition?

With print having received a rejuvenation injection through the declaration of Expo 2020, the question that arises now is - Is it viable to establish a new printing business in the current financial environment?  How long would it be before new printing houses can reach the black and start getting fair returns on their investment?

Pundits would have us believe that due to the rising costs of warehouse rent, manpower recruitment and training, increased prices of consumables and machinery, it

Technology brings with it interesting options

Mass communication these days is not merely restricted to presenting facts and giving information.  Newspapers and advertising industries have moved a step forward and are using technology to effectively engage the audience in a positive way.
A new application - Augumented Reality - is being used by many newpapers in different countries.  The app aims to enhance advertising revenues and editorial experience of readers by complementing interactive media with static content.
A progressive print

Print suppliers concerned about rising prices

The dreaded price hikes in the most important components of print - ink and paper - are causing many a sleepless nights. Added to that increased competition, over capacity in a satiated market, higher cost of human resources and a plateauing market are another set of challenges, nay roadblocks, that printers are facing.

While manufacturers of consumables are defending their decision to increase prices due to price hikes in raw materials including resins, solvents, intermediates and pigments

Print firmly placed on the road to recovery

Crossing the half way mark of the year predicted to pull the industry out of the slowdown, one can safely surmise that we are well on track for a full blown recovery, and the possibility of Dubai hosting Expo 2020 is the added icing on the cake.
Looking back, a successful Sign and Graphics Imaging (SGI) show  and Gulf Print & Pack exhibition mirrored increasing confidence of the print fraternity in market forces, backed by enhanced investment in machinery and technology, with many printers

The endless possibilities with personalization

Imagine having your own personal ‘Complete works of Shakespeare’ printed as you sip your coffee, or having your home decor being changed as often as you buy a new mobile phone?  Neither is the idea alien nor extravagant.  The endless possibilities of variable printing or personalization are only limited by ideas coming from the human brain. New developments on the 3D printing front and adding of metallic effects is further enhancing the scope of print. Also, printers can reap higher profit