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Three ways inkjet has evolved

 

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” — Alan Kay, American computer scientist. 

This is a great time to be a brand owner or a publisher. The latest innovations in digital print technology have created new opportunities to re-evaluate the role of print in customer communications, marketing and publishing.

Once focused on forms replacement for transactional documents, production inkjet has blossomed into a versatile and powerful tool that companies are using to take advantage of cutting-edge applications — and even create new ones. The marketing landscape’s shift to digital is spurring new demands from brand owners, making it imperative for the industry to shape the future of print, rather than simply responding to the status quo. Here are three ways that production inkjet — and the printers who use it — are innovating print applications and technologies: 
 

​The marketing landscape’s shift to digital is spurring new demands from brand owners, making it imperative for the industry to shape the future of print, rather than simply responding to the status quo.

1. White paper in, full color out

In today’s world of immediacy, companies are expecting what they want, when they want it, no questions asked. For a print shop, this requires digital technologies that are nimble enough to deliver a transactional production run just before one for direct mail, with minimal downtime.

Throughout the past ten years, production inkjet has evolved into an affordable and effective route to white paper in, full color out applications. Whether it’s a full color transactional document, glossy direct mail piece or graphics book, inkjet technology can meet the needs of each demand with precision and high quality. 
 

2. Short runs

Being able to produce short runs of varied output is also a key advantage of inkjet. In the case of books for example, while offset is still the go-to technology for producing high quantity runs of books, inkjet is enabling book printers and publishers to produce shorter runs that are just the right amount for a given purpose. Review copies used during the editing process and marketing copies distributed during the promotional phase of a book launch are two such applications where low quantities are needed. What’s more, inkjet is enabling books to never truly go “out of print” by making it easier for printers and publishers to meet one-off demands for old and rare books from consumers. In the educational market, class-customized booklets that might be used only by one or a handful of professors, as well as versioned textbooks, offer even more opportunities to put inkjet’s short run capabilities to use. 

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3. Personalization and variable data

The opportunity to customize direct marketing output has never been greater. As more transactional communications transition online to email and mobile apps, the value of printed communications is actually increasing. Businesses are demanding high-quality output that grabs attention with relevant content and interactive elements such as QR codes and interactive print solutions. Deeper demographic and psychographic information can be incorporated to reference the recipient’s recent purchases, buying habits, and other information — ensuring the direct marketing content is being received at the right time, by the right people and with the right message. Inkjet’s heritage in variable data, coupled with its continued evolution as a graphic communications tool that rivals the colors and print quality of offset, further empowers marketing agencies and brand owners to take advantage of this opportunity.