The future of print depends on how upcoming generations value and use it, and on how well they manage its environmental impact.
Today with technology and internet easily available sharing and downloading data sheets, sharing information and interactions, plus providing print friendly pages available has become far more easy. Combined with this, the printing equipment manufacturers have made printing far more accessible with their innovative equipment. So now making a stunning hard copy print is very much possible with the least amount of effort.
The limitations that are there, is that firstly whether people know this, i.e. that print is so easily available. Secondly, even if some people know, they may not necessarily know where to get it done. With the advent of Cloud and technologies based on cloud like PrintMe, it is easier to share the print options. However, what is difficult is to make the choice automatic. With a lot of sharing of content happening over hand held devices, making mobile print models more acceptable requires the industries to be more proactive about it. Hence, print on demand has to be as easy making websites on demand.
The major consumer group of today i.e. people under the age of 25 know and understand only a multi-channel world. Their concern is not the multiple platforms, but that their end goal is achievable IMMEDIATELY. So, just like digital billboards, streamed movies, online TV print also is just another channel. What is important is – do they get their prints immediately or, do they have to hop around to get one thing printed.
One of the things that has helped the Print industry, and has taken the youth interest by storm is digital printing. This is available easily online and with the results delivered to your doorstep. Budding fashionistas, DIY moms or small to mid-size businesses are increasingly looking towards printing their own custom fabrics etc. Earlier this required them to get a designer to design, get it converted to printable format, take it to the printer, who would make the screen prints ready, which you would then have to go pick up. Today, sitting in the comfort of your bed, you can choose a design (from pre-existing designs) or Google search a design, upload it online, choose a fabric, and get it printed and delivered to your bed. What it means is that printing has become more accessible, and that too for EVERYONE (not just for people in the know-how)!
Youth are the future for the printing industry in all its guises, but they are also the future for ensuring sustainability and environmental impact management of all media. However, first there needs to be awareness, not just of print’s environmental impact, but also of its accessibility and worth. That conversation has begun, however it needs to gain more momentum to make an impact!