Emerging Print Trends: Post-Pandemic Adaptations & Evolutions in the Industry


Alexander Watson

Emerging Print Trends: Post-Pandemic Adaptations & Evolutions in the Industry

As we navigate the post-pandemic world, it’s clear that every industry has had to adapt and evolve. The print industry is no exception. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating shifts and changes that have taken place in print trends since the pandemic hit.

From a surge in digital printing to the rise of personalized print materials, there’s been a seismic shift in the way we think about and use print. But what’s driving these changes? And more importantly, what does it mean for the future of the print industry?

Stay tuned as we explore these questions, shedding light on the remarkable resilience and innovation of the print industry in these unprecedented times. Prepare to be amazed by the transformative power of crisis and the enduring relevance of print in our increasingly digital world.

The Impact of the Pandemic on the Printing Industry

Shift to Digital Platforms

In the wake of the pandemic, there’s a dramatic shift in the print industry. A surge in digital platforms usage has been observed. A significant number of print houses took advantage of this situation, increasing their existing digital operations. The reason behind such a shift lies in the restrictions imposed during the lockdown periods, prompting print shops to digitize their services. For instance, platforms like Adobe’s Digital Publishing Solution and HP’s MagCloud saw an increased number of users during the pandemic.

Changes in Consumer Behavior

Simultaneously, notable changes in consumer behavior were witnessed post-pandemic. Consumers, having been in lockdown, showed a newfound appreciation for tangible print materials. They recognized the unique escapist value found in printed goods like books, magazines, and beautifully crafted print pieces – a refreshing break from screen time. Additionally, the restrictions on social gatherings led individuals to invest more time in personalized print materials for occasions such as birthdays and holidays. Companies like Shutterfly and Vistaprint reported a significant increase in orders for personalized greeting cards and photo books.

Post-Pandemic Print Trends Emerging Stronger

In the post-pandemic environment, the print industry displays not only resilience, but distinct evolutions. Setting the tone for a stronger future, it manifests two key trends: a marked rise in personalized printing and an intensified focus on sustainability in print practices.

Rise in Personalized Printing

Personalized printing, already on the rise pre-pandemic, gains further momentum as lockdown restrictions lift. It’s the very tangible quality of printed materials that seems to strike a chord with consumers isolated during the lockdown. Observed this trend are companies like Shutterfly and Vistaprint, reporting increased orders for personalized greeting cards and photo books.

Amplified by the pandemic, the demand for personalized printed materials grows exponentially. A 2021 study by Smithers, a global leader in print market research, confirms this trend. Notably, they project the global market for personalized print will reach a whopping $31.6 billion by 2024, surging from an estimated $22.7 billion in 2019.

Sustainability in Print Practices

Print enterprises demonstrate a conscientious shift towards sustainable practices. Amid growing environmental concerns, the industry steers towards utilizing lesser resources, reducing waste, and exploring eco-friendly alternatives.

Printing companies now actively invest in greener technologies. Identifying a few among many: Heidelberg’s sustainability program spa focuses on energy-efficient printing, using resources responsibly while reducing emissions. Similarly, HP’s Indigo digital presses use up to 30% recycled plastic by weight, demonstrating their commitment to a circular and low carbon economy.

A clear trajectory towards sustainability in print practices emerges stronger post-pandemic. It is noticeable, for example, in the increased adoption of vegetable and soy-based inks, FSC-certified paper, and energy-efficient equipment, providing an optimistic outlook for the industry’s future. Large scale commercial printers, keen to do their part to mitigate climate change, also increasingly seek out ways to offset their carbon footprints.

Technological Innovations Shaping the Future of Printing

Moving forward, technological advancements account for significant changes in the print industry. Innovations in digital printing and the advent of 3D printing are taking the sector into an era of profound evolution.

Advanced Digital Printing Technologies

Within the realm of advanced digital printing technologies, future-forward strides have been made. Innovations such as high-speed inkjet printers exemplify this forward motion, allowing for faster, more efficient printing. Established brands such as HP and Canon have launched models that deliver high-quality prints at a much higher speed than traditional printers.

These devices harness the power of automation, with self-monitoring systems in place to avoid malfunction issues. This automation reduces downtimes, increasing overall productivity.

Another example of innovation in digital printing is the introduction of Variable Data Printing (VDP). As personalized materials gain popularity, this technology becomes invaluable. VDP allows for the printing of individualized products during a single print run, personalizing everything from barcodes to images and text based on collected data. It represents a major leap in scalability for the industry, with applications ranging from personalized marketing materials to product packaging.

The Role of 3D Printing

3D printing, once a concept confined to science fiction, has emerged as an influential trend in the printing industry. This technology, capable of creating three-dimensional objects layer by layer, brings a new level of capability to the world of printing.

The implications of 3D printing are wide-ranging. In the construction industry, for instance, it allows for the creation of customized models, reducing the time and cost of building. Moreover, prototyping, product development, and customized manufacturing also benefit from 3D printing, with the technology accelerating processes and boosting efficiency.

In the medical field, 3D printing has shown promise in the creation of prosthetics and implants, custom-tailored to individual patients. With such diverse applications, 3D printing has truly opened up new avenues within the print industry, demonstrating its potent potential for future growth.

Business Adaptations to New Print Market Realities

In this post-pandemic era, businesses adapt accelerating changes, especially within the print industry. Firms have promptly identified and acted on these transformations, ushering a new age in the print market.

Transition to Online Ordering Systems

Companies quickly recognized a shift to online platforms and implemented online ordering systems. Shutterfly and Vistaprint, for instance, reported a significant uptick in orders for personalized materials made via their robust online platforms. As orders poured in, revenue projections for the personalized printed materials sector came in at an impressive $31.6 billion by 2024. My take? It’s a testament to the industry’s resilience, evolving with customer needs and technological trends.

Diversification of Print Services

Equally noteworthy is the diverse applications of 3D printing, as businesses use it to stand out from the crowd. It’s no longer just construction, prototyping, and product development – the medical field also sees potential for growth and innovation. Technological advancements such as high-speed inkjet printers and Variable Data Printing further amplify its efficiency, scalability, and potential for diversification.

As we tread through this transformational period, businesses remain poised to continue adapting and evolving, symbolizing a significant leap towards future-oriented models. The adaptation to online ordering systems and diversification of print services truly renders a captivating canvas of the industry’s future, post-pandemic. And while that seemed quite a leap, it demonstrated the industry’s adaptability and readiness for the changing times.

Evolution of Print Design Post-Pandemic

After absorbing the impacts of the pandemic, print designs have begun to evolve to meet the changing needs and demands of consumers. This evolution reflects two key trends: the emphasis on minimalism and functionality in design and the rising demand for custom packaging.

Minimalism and Functionality

In the face of the pandemic’s complexity and uncertainty, there’s been a significant shift towards minimalist and functional design in the print industry. The attractiveness of a minimalist design lies in its clarity and simplification, making it easier for consumers to connect with the message behind the design. For instance, Apple’s minimalist designs emphasize clean lines and a lack of clutter, leading consumers to perceive Apple products as sleek and user-friendly.

Furthermore, functional design has become paramount in the industry, focusing not just on aesthetics but on how design facilitates ease of use and enhances the user experience. For example, IKEA’s product assembly guides exploit functional design with clear, easy-to-interpret visuals eliminating unnecessary text. Therefore, the post-pandemic print landscape prefers minimalist and functional designs that provide clear messaging and enhance user interaction.

Increased Demand for Custom Packaging

Alongside the shift to minimalism and functionality, the pandemic period has observed an upsurge in the demand for custom packaging. As e-commerce gained momentum, the need for uniquely branded packaging increased. Custom packaging presents an opportunity for businesses to differentiate their products and enhance brand visibility.

Amazon, one of the e-commerce giants, utilizes custom packaging to ensure its distinctive logo is instantly recognizable. Likewise, subscription box service, Birchbox, leverages distinct, vibrantly designed boxes each month to maintain subscriber excitement and engagement.

To summarize, the post-pandemic period is driving significant evolution in print designs with strong trends towards minimalist, functional designs, and a heightened demand for custom packaging. The print industry continues to adapt to these trends, reflecting its resilience and relevance in today’s evolving market.


The print industry’s adaptability shines in the face of the pandemic’s challenges. We’ve seen a significant shift towards digital platforms and personalized printing, with the rise of high-speed inkjet printers and Variable Data Printing. The diversification of print services, particularly the growth of 3D printing applications, is another testament to the industry’s resilience. The evolution of print designs, leaning towards minimalism and functionality, has become more pronounced. E-commerce has fueled the demand for custom packaging, with companies like Apple and IKEA leading the way in clear messaging and user interaction. It’s evident that the print industry isn’t just surviving post-pandemic; it’s evolving and thriving, maintaining its relevance in our ever-changing market.

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