As reported by Richard Romano, Wide Format Editor/Senior Analyst on WhatTheyThink.com, while wide-format and specialty printing products will show gains across most all application segments this year, three particular areas are poised for dramatic growth.

Signage

Romano is bullish about signage, calling it a “basic human need.” Signage covers a wide area of uses already, including wayfinding, advertising, promotional and decorative purposes. Like its packaging printing cousin, the range of signage applications is exploding as new printing technologies, substrates and even non-print components are introduced into the wide format printing category.

Other advancements spurring signage application growth are in the area of sign versioning. The ability to customize and regionalize messaging to reach specific customer groups remains an effective tactic by brand managers, especially in the retail channel, where boosting brick and mortar store sales is a daily battle. The advent of new, lighter media will continue to push additional technological breakthroughs in signage as PSP customers seek relief from higher shipping and installation costs.

“At Fujifilm, we believe supplying print service providers with new technologies to differentiate their signage portfolios is what spurs the continual advancements in what’s possible in signage applications.” — Becky McConnell, Product Manager, Fujifilm

Textiles

Romano highlights how soft signage offers a unique overlap between signage and textile printing, but also highlights that other textile printing applications will continue to show aggressive growth. McConnell agrees. “Just like so many other markets, we see textile printers pressured by their clients to provide shorter print runs and faster turnaround times,” said McConnell. “Continued advancements in inks, equipment and handling systems will stimulate new technology creation to meet these demands for greater application diversification.”

Specialty Graphics

Custom printed promotional and gift items that are dimensional continue to be hot sellers for wide format printers. New wide format UV presses, like the SpyderX, Inca Onset X and Acuity series at Fujifilm, are ideally suited for facilitating the inkjet printing of pretty much anything you can imagine — from smaller items like golf balls, pens, smartphone cases to bigger-than-life thermoform 3-D shapes and even the front door of a house or business!

Romano closes the article by reinforcing the importance of printers to not just sit and wait for brand customers to come in the door to investigate what is possible with applications like these. Instead, he suggests taking a proactive role in sharing printing samples and then brainstorming specific creative solutions matching the brand voice. Share the dream and get the work!