Commercial Printing Finds New Growth Opportunities
Short-run products with pop make up a large percentage of the current demand.
Things keep getting brighter for commercial printing. A little more than 10 years since the first high-speed digital color presses were launched, commercial printing has managed to cross over a major hump.
No longer is digital color an immature technology viable only in controlled market niches; it is now a robust, economical process qualified for the production of many different products. As a result, everyone is ordering commercial printing products—from mom-and-pop pizza shops looking for a new menu to major universities looking to distribute a high-quality course catalog.
These days, "short-run" is the industry buzzword, and Chris Green, vice president of Midwest Color Graphics, Columbus, Kan., knows this very well. "We've been in the business of commercial printing for approximately 15 years, and short-run, four-color process printing has become our specialty," he said. "We typically do brochures, fliers, catalogs, posters and postcards in quantities of 25,000 or fewer down to a minimum of 500. On occasion, we will do an order of 50,000 to 100,000 pieces."
Green believes that the reason that short-run printing is in such great demand—and that traditional forms and long-run printing are not—is because smaller businesses are more aware of the advertising potential of four-color pieces. "It is more affordable and more attractive. There is nice growth in this area, which is good for us," he added.
Andrea Pesci-Jones, executive vice president of Stylecraft Business Forms & Systems, Canton, Mich., agreed. She, too, sees the demand for short-run continually rising and touched on the fact that marketing pieces are now being targeted to more specific, smaller groups, "allowing clients the likelihood of a higher response rate."
At Stylecraft, newer commercial printing products coming through the line include multi-part, large-format NCR hospital flow sheets, and unique and complicated die-cut configurations to enhance four-color process marketing pieces. High-end commercial covers for booked multi-part business forms are also new. Said Pesci-Jones, "Instead of a conventional manila tag, we increased the use of white C1S stock with PMS or even four-color process inks. It's great for brand identification, or just dressing up functional printed products." She added that with commercial printing comes the availability of an extremely wide range of substrates, thus making the product more popular.