[Guest Article] Print Refining at PDC: Value of Value Added Printing

The trend of value-added solutions manifests itself throughout the graphic industry in the form of innovative strategies, through technical innovations and an authentic understanding of professional sustainability. As part of the PRINT & DIGITAL CONVENTION, the industry initiative Creatura, among others, shows sophisticated solutions and the latest methods.

The PRINT & DIGITAL CONVENTION (PDC) congress trade fair stands out from the environment of similar events with its concept. The organizers aim at the real economy and reflect our actual actions with their program. The PDC is in a stable orbit in this regard. As a result, the fair and the accompanying workshop program combine eight theme worlds. This brings with it ideas for holistic solutions.

This way, the congress fair succeeds in what we authors cannot achieve, at least if we do not write a textbook right away: to depict the big picture of the graphic industry plausibly and balanced.

Each visitor will put together his personal congress menu from the mentioned theme slots. Most speakers are also available at the trade fair with a guarantee to deepen special topics in personal conversations [at the exhibition stands].

Higher, faster, further? Or more effective?

The Creatura industry initiative is on site with a large stand. There, various companies show their solutions and exhibits on the subject of VAP and give many ideas and good opportunities for budget and marketing decision-makers. This stand “F28” in the foyer of the trade fair defines itself as a treasure trove for extraordinary solutions from the VAP department  exemplary of what is technically possible and state of the art in the VAP space.

How Creatura shaped the whole industry

Terms such as multisensory, the haptic effect or for example The Power of Print only became important terms through this industry initiative when we talk about print. The connection to brain research (neuromarketing) has never been interwoven so scientifically and at the same time comprehensively with the media genre print.

A scientifically sound basic knowledge that is now on every desk with agencies, marketers and many decision-makers through the Creatura initiative. Since then, we have known how exactly print has such an emotional effect on its recipients and why the medium repeatedly beats its own records, especially in the marketing response. In addition to business analyses, such as methods of measurement such as RoAS (Return on Advertising Spend) or RoMI (Return on Marketing Invest), we now understand much better what exactly happens in our brains when we “understand” print as a holistic medium.

The Creatura roadshow “The Power of Print” in Hamburg

We pet and touch specially formatted media and want to touch them: a booster for marketing, right?

Although Creatura focuses on special solutions and refinements in print, the work of the previous Creatura team paid and pays for:

Also to the accounts of almost all companies that belong to the graphics industry. No praise, because everyone who has visited the roadshows or explored the exhibits of the companies involved knows what we are talking about.

Janik Prasuhn, Founder, Neohype GmbH & Co. KG. The creative is new to the Creatura team and is working together with the other companies on an update of the Creatura initiative. Image source: Neohype.

New to the team is the creative Janik Prasuhn, founder of Neohype GmbH & Co. KG from Düsseldorf. The agency has designed this year’s Creatura stand and takes care of the setup on site. Neohype belongs to the inner circle for a Creatura update, now already the Creatura 4.0 version: Print Value Tomorrow. Prasuhn shows Best Practices from Dialogue Marketing on October 20 at 09:30 am in Slot 1 (Value Added Printing).

I have a feeling!

No matter how flat the smartphones become, the transmission rates to 7G plus X may rise and no matter how fascinating three-dimensional, digital holograms are, with digital media it will always mean:

“Looking yes, understanding no!”

Rüdiger Maaß justified or co-founded these and various other industry initiatives with this intention. He is a communication logistics company par excellence. At the Druck&Medien Awards 2019, the f:mp. CEO won the special prize for his services for understanding in the printing industry. According to the jury, he is literally: “An asset of the printing industry”. His commitment to education, sustainability and communication was also emphasized. As complex as the topics may be, Rüdiger Maaß succeeds in compressing the spectrum of media production like no other speaker and strategist. He communicates the status quo as a concentrate: compact, clear and understandable and obviously takes the time for brevity.

His listeners experience something like complex simplicity.

Rüdiger Maß receives a Print & Media Award, which was also awarded for the special communicative achievements of the Fachverband Medienproduktion e. V. and various industry initiatives. Maaß  emphasized teamwork in the industry as a whole. “This award also goes to many participants!” Image source: f:mp.

The Added Value? Added Value!

Value Added Printing stands for printing with added value. Apart from many added values that print has to offer in general, including digital media, special refinements are meant by this. Print plus X. And the “X” is elementary for the advertising industry, which is screaming in the face of sobering marketing returns of almost all digital channels. You know the price of everything, but not the value of anything. But only both together form the price value! Also in marketing.

Many companies have saved their money during the corona pandemic, especially in advertising. Probably in the areas of special concepts and/or refinements. Yet, saving here is as illogical as summed up by a motorist:

We’re already on reserve anyway, don’t refuel now!

A painful irrationality is short-sightedness. Marketers who only crawl cannot stumble, but are also not noticed lying on the ground. Nevertheless, there is this bargain reflex. A lot saved! Nothing achieved. Some decision-makers want to force the business success of a campaign simply by buying cheap advertising material even before the campaign has even been distributed.

Due to lean harvests, an awareness of more targeted, individual, personal and refined designed media is created little by little, also thanks to many new production possibilities and materials.

Print? Or rather Solutions and Effects?

Do you advertise or die? Adapt or die? There is hardly any way around the specialization of print products. Class instead of mass. Print is in demand again.

At the same time, commodity prices are rising worldwide not only at the gas station or gas, but also in pulp.

Advertisers who switch completely or partially back to print from the tired digital channels have had two options so far:

  • Firstly, to force the return by means of low-return standard prints by sheer mass or
  • secondly: to produce high-end media in significantly lower circulation and thus rely on excellent marketing returns.

What remains is “secondly”, because

refining has never been as economical in relation as it is today!

This trend is intensifying together with rising paper prices. In fact, it can be deduced from the fact that agencies or marketers, namely experts who act contrary to it, either act intentionally grossly negligently and/or are incompetent. A different factual explanation is out of the question here.

Back to the PDC congress trade fair, the Creatura industry initiative and its stand there. At first glance, it sounds strange when CEO Holger Vogt says he offers haptic effects or effects. Or even more specifically: solutions. For the trade fair, the company rolls out its entire, actually fascinating product range.

Value Added Printing is a very wide range. Effect refinements for mailings, image prints, advertising or advertising material increase the response rate. Illustrations: Folding card with silver foil and effect varnish. Mailing with blue liquid, with an enclosed air bubble in a hose (frame). Image source: Vogt Spezialdruck GmbH.

Vogt Spezialdruck GmbH

Effects and actions sound more like strategies or concepts, less like tangible things: “Both are true,” says the expert. Vogt’s world are printed and sometimes incredibly complex solutions that often did not even exist yesterday. His company is doing pioneering work here. In Düsseldorf, visitors will be able to touch, stroke, tilt, turn, unfold, pull, rub or otherwise probe sophisticated exhibits with their hands.

“Watch how long the viewers dealt with the individual exhibits”,

says Holger Vogt. “Whether seeing, hearing, smelling or feeling: everyone can convince themselves at the trade fair that the effect refinement significantly increases the attention of the recipients  – and, for example, lenticular effects inevitably captivate the eyes of the viewers”

Holger Vogt, CEO of Vogt Spezialdruck GmbH. His services are often individual solutions, not infrequently those that did not exist in the market before. Image source: Vogt Spezialdruck GmbH.

We stimulate the play instinct and curiosity.”

Hardly anyone will be able to resist.” A message that marketing and budget decision-makers should know, because in marketing, even with regard to the entire graphic industry, everything revolves around attention without exception  – it is the central currency of an entire industry.

GRÄFE Druckveredelung GmbH

The crucial question is how much more exactly “more Value Added Printing” may or should cost if this can increase the efficiency of a campaign in which relation? Frank Denninghoff is also available to interested parties at the congress trade fair at the Creatura stand. “You can certainly believe me that this is the Gretchen question in our segment”, emphasizes the refining expert. In any case, he can’t help it if campaigns purchased from the marketing pole vaporize in nirvana ineffectively, because his business is the effect.

Frank Denninghoff (in the picture) and his brother Christian have carried out countless refinements of printed products. There is actually nothing that is possible in our trade that we have not already realized ourselves for our customers.

Whether it is cold foil transfer or metal effects, embossing foil printing, blind and relief embossing, hologram application, punching, foil lamination or special coatings: the machine fleet of the Bielefeld specialist makes many things possible. The combinations of different refinements enable grandiose effects, which are certainly still on the shelves of many hundreds of visitors to the Creatura Roadshows. GRÄFE also rolls out a wide selection of its exhibits at the PDC  – no image, however sharp, can mimic this special fascination when touching such printing units.

Poster with relief embossing. GRÄFE has also won a print & media award “Best Refiner” with this refined print product. Image source: GRÄFE Druckveredelung.

As already mentioned, the topic of sustainability is an integral part of many lectures, even more than in 2019. And a lot has also happened in terms of sustainability in terms of print refining.


Environmental and climate protection are a central topic in the entire Value Added Printing segment: Christophe Dujardin, Global Business Development Manager Sustainability at Leonhard KURZ Stiftung & Co. KG will give a lecture on 21. October at 4:15 pm about the

symbiosis of sustainability and refining in packaging.

GRÄFE itself was one of the first print refining companies to participate in Leonhard Kurz’s PET recycling program, which is still running. PET carrier films of embossing transfer products are returned to the recycling cycle. The remaining PET residue during processing is collected and converted into high-quality injection molding material in a recycling plant developed by Kurz.

We want to further strengthen our commitment to sustainable refining”,

says Frank Denninghoff. GRÄFE and Vogt exemplify an industry that uses every opportunity for sustainable action strategically and production-related and advises its customers with extraordinary expertise. Frank Denninghoff: “We not only want to offer our customers breathtaking refining effects and print products, but also convincing sustainability: this contributes to the brand image of our customers. We can now achieve this even better with Kurz’s PET recycling concept.” Roland Seidl, Head of Sales Germany at Kurz, says: “Brilliant print refining and sustainable action along the entire process chain GRÄFE pursues these.

At the moment, the effects gained, but not the avoided, are first and foremost taken into account in the sustainability balance sheet. Which quantities could be reduced by the expected better effects can hardly be quantified, although prevention is the top priority of sustainable oath:

Avoid, reduce, compensate.

This effect of less prints due to more sophistication is significant for the carbon footprint. 10,000 printing units with seven percent return, instead of 30,000 with two percent: here, a large lever for sustainability is allocated including personalization and individualization for all printing units that have a special effect on this.

Information and Facts

How to get there:

Entry CCD Stadthalle, Rotterdamerstraße 141, 40474 Düsseldorf, PKW – parking space P5

Opening Hours:

  • Wednesday, October 20, 2021: 9.00 AM until 6.00 PM (Evening event afterwards)
  • Thursday, October 21, 2021: 9.00 AM until 5.00 PM


Ticket shop: https://tdm.f-mp.de/details/eintrittspreise


  • Visitation of the trade fair on one of both days, without congress ticket: 28,00 Euro
  • Visitation of the trade fair plus participation at all the lectures of the congress per day: 155,00 Euro
  • Participation at the web sessions per day: 99,00 Euro



This article was previously published as part of a series of contributions to the PDC on umdex.de. Further parts can be found here:

About the Author:

Jürgen Zietlow, management consultant for sustainable communication, specialist journalist, environmental lobbyist | 2005 to 2017 editor-in-chief of MEDIEN magazine | since 2010 analyst for sustainable communication, social monitoring/media | developer of LineCore-Method® (research/editing system).

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