The Fusion of Digital and Print trends in 2018

If your business is still printing in large quantities may be a little more than you thought, do not be surprised or concerned. Commercial print sales are still on the rise.  Industry average statistics show them to have risen by 9.1% since 2011 with a spread of market analysts predicting anywhere between 1.5-3% by the end of 2018.

The continuing surge and popularity in print is creating offline brand awareness competition too. Here we look at printing trends your business should know about to ensure you are ahead with delivering fast, effective visual communication to your customers to expand to outreach, so time to get inspired by fusion and take it to print!

The Fusion of Digital and Print Moves on at Rapid Pace

A significant impact on the resurgence of the printing industry is that for a sector that was seen as stuffy and stuck in its old ways, with little transformation over decades, embraced the digital media age so well. The result of this is alongside the emergence of 3D printing has led to economists calling this ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’. This decade has seen the line between physical and digital products become blurred, but by the end of it, the future will be clear.

1. Fusion of Digital and Print for Marketing

The latest digital marketing campaigns illustrate an increasingly common fusion between the two, highlighting how print is morphing into a hybrid communication platform. Production designers are now tasked to set up design templates using private online portals built for large corporations, and the word on the street is larger companies are turning to print to get themselves noticed above the noise of the social media world.

A significant upsurge in the older generation of company executives turning towards hashtags to get trending and people sharing their information online is now in full flow. Business cards carry Instagram, and Twitter accounts looking for followers, a decade ago not many would envisage a 50 + year old executive Tweeting away after hours for his business, would they?

Colour Print

It wasn’t so long ago that a printer like the the Brother mfc-9330cdw complete with the latest Brother toner cartridges were seen as a major breakthrough in technology in the industry, things are changing in print at lightning speed.

Action: Use Print to Garner Viewers to Your Digital Channels.

2. Companies Vociferation for Recognition with Bold, Bright, Minimalistic Tactics

With the clamor for distinction, this year has seen a massive trend across the industry in Bold, bright colours and minimalistic texture. Now with the search engines full of free software, tools and apps, it is now easier than ever for companies and even individuals starting from the ground up, to make professional looking graphics. However, this is having a saturation effect on some audiences as some are very unsuccessful, so your brand message can’t take off on design alone.

As I just mentioned companies have gone bolder, brighter and used minimalistic tactics to gain attention due to the rise of advertising mediums such as digital signage there is so much visual stimulation it’s hard to make yourself seen amongst it all, so we have seen solid colours being used this year to stand out from the pack.

Always bear in mind that it is a bad idea to assume anything in the marketing world or to follow trends blindly if your customer base demographic is more traditional, so use another approach, your audience should take priority.

Related: Guide to using online logo generators | Pros & Cons

3. Business Cards Get a Make-Over

On the way out are plain old business cards, now being replaced with new designs that enhance the appearance and feel, such modern techniques such as:

  • Embossed Print
  • Metallic Finish
  • Material Use (linen)

All these add texture to the finished card and makes it stand out. It’s not just visual recognition it’s touch recognition also, something that looks and feels different resonates with today’s audience.

Action: Still look to connect with your audience but aim for originality to engage more of their senses.

4. Repurposing and Promotional Products

This year we have seen a focus in using printed products outside of their normal parameters. Business cards have now turned into loyalty cards and even used in a coupon capacity displaying promotional codes. Promotional products are also booming, with apparel like T-shirts and baseball caps, custom printed and now used as staff uniforms to co-inside with the traditional giveaways.  Using digital imprinting of logos is a cost-effective way of branding compared with other advertising mediums right now.

Action: Repurposing paper present many cost-effective options alongside promotional products. It enables you to increase your outreach but save marketing money at the same time.

5. Online Procurement is Taking Over Print

Manufacturing advancements are the driving force behind print rapidly moving towards online procurement.  What was once handled offline such as complex print or promotional product orders are now created and ordered through the use of online portals. With an increase of nearly 60% through 2014-2017. By using a procurement method such as an online portal, it enables traditional promotional product items such as banners, or mugs and signs to be ordered in a time slot the same as creating a Facebook post or the like. In many cases with a better quality standard than your local print shop.  With ordering and shipping simplified it’s the printing industries version of e-commerce, and this trend is set to continue.

Action: Take time to look at what products you can consider ordering online

Related: How To Find Your Signature Brand Style

6. Print’s Future will be Automated

Automation creates an increase in efficiency and saves businesses money.  We have seen massive re-investment by the large printing corporations into new software and technology developments in automation to keep up with the pace of consumer demand. This has resulted in web-to-print.

Commercial Printing

Pre-designed templates are set up so that online portals can execute regular print orders. So business cards and brochures are in a ready-to-print mode on demand. So when business cards need information changing such as a new employee, only the fields requiring text need adjustment and are automatically created. This goes for other items such as postcards and flyers.

Cutting down time issues that result in less manual labour satisfies the increase in demand, so large quantity orders are sped up. Now with a single .csv file batch uploads are simple and can be executed for multiple people off the same upload, reducing the processes down while keeping the quality at a premium.

Action: Look at investing more into creative assets and less time ordering them


Traditional Print and the digital world are becoming more entwined by the day as to the surprise of many the conventional print corporations have moved with the times and invested heavily in research & development in new staff to take the challenge head-on. It’s an exciting sector with an exciting future and who knows where we’ll be by the end of the following decade.

Author Bio: David Blakey is a seasoned tech writer. He likes writing about computer gadgets, printers and other electronic devices. He is associated with Hottoner a supplier of premium toner cartridges and hp deskjet 3630.