These days, the talk is all about 100% digital on plain white stock. Eliminate inventory. Streamline processes. Improve workflow. Speed time to market. Today’s digital production capabilities provide production flexibility never before possible—and having all this flexibility is great.
But in light of the focus on eliminating overprint and moving to 100% digital workflows, what’s funny is that on a worldwide basis, digital overprint is forecast to be on the rise. According to Pira’s “Future of Variable Data Printing to 2017,” digital overprinting is forecast to rise 1.5% over the next five years. Surprise!
Granted, digital overprinting is forecast to decline slightly in more mature markets like the United States, but that decline is slowing from the 2007–2012 period. (Not all of that volume will be from variable overprint. There is still plenty of static overprinting being done, as well.)
Plain paper production does offer cost-efficiencies in certain markets, and it’s something that needs to be considered in an overall investment strategy. But in all the hype over new products, new technologies, new workflows at Graph Expo, let’s not forget that there are still great cost-efficiencies and value in traditional workflow, as well.
Plain paper may get all the hype right now, but there are still plenty of printers running mixed/hybrid workflows and taking them all the way to the bank. Digital overprinting is less sexy, but let’s not forget it’s where the volume is . . . at least for now.