Apparel, Objects, and Interiors, Oh My
Print is a term that has come to encompass far more than just “ink on paper.” That has never been more evident than when walking the show floor at PRINTING United, where vendors are demonstrating the ability to print on everything a printer can dream of. Textiles and apparel. Vinyl. Glass. Wood. Objects. And yes, even paper.
Functional printing is a term whose meaning can change depending on who you’re talking to, but at its heart it is printing onto objects, rather than flat surfaces. And Scott Einsig, sales engineer, Engineered Printing Solutions (Booth 2612), notes that at shows like PRINTING United, printers decorating some type of object are not uncommon, be it promotional products or consumer goods. And he sees a number of trends in this space that this year’s attendees should be paying attention to.
Einsig says, “We are seeing a lot of interest in the sports market, and in the industrial consumer goods space.” In particular, he notes that more and more brands, sports teams, and others are looking to produce regionalized, tailored production runs that are far smaller than the runs of the past. “They’re not personalized, but they are customized for a region, or a season,” he continues. “Large companies are looking for ways to get into smaller markets without having to outlay a lot of production up front, and then store it.”
Einsig is also seeing an uptick in appliance brands looking to offer late-stage customization options before finalizing a sale — think changing the color of panels to match trends in different regions or countries, or localizing the required disclaimers into various languages just before shipping from the warehouse.
The final niche in the functional space Einsig is watching the hardest will be in drinkware. “That started about three years ago, and is just starting to hit a peak. I think it will continue to be strong, and we are seeing more companies starting out from scratch, or adding drinkware lines to their portfolio.”