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Industry Roundtable: The Wide-Format Forecast

(October 2010) posted on Thu Oct 14, 2010

Taking stock of 2010, and preparing your business for 2011 and beyond.

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Question: Which is a good segue to the topic of green/sustainable printing – is that still a strong revenue producer among print providers?


Mayhew: Yes and no. Awareness of environmentally improved products has increased dramatically. However, in these budget-constrained times, financial considerations are often displacing the best of intentions.

Marx: While the current economic uncertainty has slowed somewhat the drive for sustainability – or at least efforts that point in that direction – I think the sustainability movement has changed our industry on some level. Printers, print buyers, and end customers are now much more aware that there are environmentally favorable options for printed graphics, and our suppliers and manufacturers have made available a wide variety of products that improve upon the status quo. The move toward sustainability can and should be a business decision, because it makes strong business sense.

Greene: There’s no doubt that the focus has shifted somewhat off of green/sustainable printing in some areas because the economy has had so many companies simply struggling to survive. But still it is important and some companies have used it successfully to differentiate themselves and grow their business.

Boer: Sustainability is one of the industry’s greatest challenges, in part because so much revolves around economic benefits and challenges. Many consider print to not be a green product, and for short-turn advertising/communication, print is not green, given the enormous amount of energy and resources used to create something that lasts just a few days, at best. Electronic display signage is far more cost effective, and, frankly, consumers are becoming “instant informationavours” – a self-descriptive word we claim invention credit for, by the way – and won’t react to printed signs the way some still do today.

But for longer-term signage, print is likely to be far more cost effective, because no energy is needed to display the sign. As an industry, we need to help focus the message where wide-format print is sustainable, and what is being done to minimize the impact of the raw materials that are used.