Results and Overall key findings
Print is not dead
Print and paper is not dead, but the market is moving towards more precise targeting and segments. Print will never again achieve its original default status in communication. Some product types will likely disappear, typically those that are “cheap” and fast changing. Paper, however, provides stimuli to four of the five senses: touch, sight, smell and hearing. This creates an opportunity for paper to be part of a product to a greater extent. Print is becoming a premium delivery channel. Paper and print has many advantages compared to digital. It is something real and constant. Another perceived advantage is push vs. pull. The printed material often seeks the consumer out while the digital is searched for by the consumer.
A passive industry
All players within the paper industry from paper manufacturers and merchants to printers are too invisible on the market. Future lab participants are looking for the industry to help them make the connection between characteristics and quality linked to product segments and target groups. In general the knowledge of which paper to use has gone down among ad agencies and graphic designers in the last years and a lot of choices are made by purchasing departments, by routine or by habit. This is mainly perceived due to a passive industry that has stopped educating customers.
Fit for purpose – a key factor
The market is very fragmented and what is right for some is totally wrong for others. It’s all about the end product. Selecting paper is nowadays more of an active choice – which entices higher demands – what is the message that the paper needs to convey? Is it a luxury product? Free? For men/women? Picture intensive? Does the paper match the message? In all markets, versatility comes up as a wish for the ultimate paper. A paper that can adapt to many contexts and support the message or product sold in the best way.
Haptics – the “hot paper” property
The five most important characteristics when choosing a paper are according to the Future Lab participants: the look, the sound, the smell and the feel of the paper. All these factors are haptic perceptions – a form of nonverbal communication. Where you to ask professional paper purchasers the same question you would normally get a rather different set of answers; printing characteristics and runability in printing machines would be on top of their list of priorities.
Communicate the sustainability
Environmental aspects are important, often as an alibi, something that you can “check”. But also since it gives paper overall a bad name, undeservedly according to many. More comparison with the negative impacts of digital media is desired. Many expressed that the graphical industry must deal with the common view that paper based communication always is bad for the environment.