drupa Essentials of Print: Knud Wassermann

With our recurring drupa Essentials of Print series, we deliver a series of articles, from designers, brand owners, printers, converters, journalists and influencers, providing them with a platform to share their opinions on the latest developments of the print industry.

„Profound changes in the media landscape had a significant impact on print for advertising and publishing. A large slice of the “advertising cake” is taken by online and socialmedia channels […] Economic upturns of recent years have not been mirrored and any growth of individual players has happened due to cutthroat competition.


courage is what is needed to tackle the changes demanded by digital transformation and to prepare a company for the challenges that are still to come. In such a market environment, printing companies must reposition their offer and change their sales strategy. This involves focusing firmly on benefits for costumers while understanding market requirements.


Besides, customers themselves have also changed considerably. Decision makers are more and more digitally affine and it is key to be able to convey the benefits of print to young people – of which there are certainly enough. We need passionate employees in sales who appreciate the added value of print in a multimedia world and who can impress customers with print.


The print industry is still too focused on the technology and is not thinking in business models. No question: technology is undoubtedly important, above all networked technology. But it is still only a means to an end. There are enough successful business models and they have one thing in common: with the help of the internet and social media channels they enable individualised print products which offer more customer value. This is why online retailers are turning more to print.


It’s fascinating to see how fully complete first editions of books, brochures and catalogues can be produced in an industrial digital print environment. Each product can look completely different in terms of content, size or format. The production line is completely integrated and networked so that even despite the level of individualisation, a required level of efficiency is reached. Thanks to today’s already achievable levels of automation, “mass customisation” is no longer a future dream.

Despite the huge changes going on, we now have tools at hand that for multimedia communications with print, can set the right accents. This means personalisation and individualisation captured on paper. To get there requires courage, tenacity and a good dose of stamina. A visit to drupa 2021 can provide valuable inspiration. Don’t forget: today the business model decides over technology and not the other way around.”


In our drupa Essentials of Print series, Knud Wassermann asks the question, what role the commercial and publishing printing will play in the future, in his article „less print is more“. To a great extent the future of commercial and publishing printing lies in ‘individualisation’ – the data driving this is online and forms the basis for print 4.0.


Knud Wassermann, Editor in chief Graphische Revue

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