LCD screens, mobile devices, e-books, mapping… The way we read and communicate has made a 180-degree turnaround in recent years. While previously paper could hold just about everything, today it seems it is being pushed out by new technologies.
The graphic industry has had to adapt incredibly quickly to what they call the ‘technological tsunami’, immersing themselves in these revolutionary new materials and supports as Graphispag showed last week.
Some forecasts claim that 40% of everything printed in Europe by 2018 will NOT be on paper. So from printing only on paper the industry has moved to printing on everything else: walls, ceramics, floors, windows, canvases, furniture, domestic appliances, everyday objects, household textiles, clothing, cars, and much more. We’re entering the era of personalization.
At the same time, innovations are coming up with formulas for reinventing a business. Today, by combining traditional printing systems, functional inks and special materials, it is possible to manufacture solar panels, electronic circuits, self-illuminating packaging, alarm sensors and smart textiles. 3D printing is also making itself strongly felt in the creation of unique products.
Yet in the same way that previous revolutions incorrectly forecast the demise of newspapers, radio, film and TV, the relevance of paper is being championed more than ever. Indeed, according to a survey by CIS, nine out of every ten Spaniards cannot imagine their lives without paper, while eight out of ten think it is warmer and more accessible than other products and technologies. In addition, eight out of every ten Spaniards prefer reading a ‘real’ book and six out of every 10 newspaper readers opt for the hard-copy version. Meanwhile, experts have identified a return to paper and the printed product in the field of advertising thanks to its proven effectiveness compared to so much digital saturation.
Paper is more alive than ever and conveys a ‘poetry of sensations’ (smell, colour, texture, weight) – as designer Albert Isern liked to say – which computer screens or the internet have been unable to replace, at least until now.