InPrint Show and Print on Demand OpportunitiesKristen Dettoni
If you are interested in getting involved in the print on demand business and are in need of printing equipment and inks, InPrint is the place to go! This unique show is highly focused and very well organized. Admission includes access to all the presentations and the chance to network with a wide range of people from different industries.
I attended InPrint for the first time as a keynote speaker, presenting on “print on demand” capabilities and customization for commercial and residential interiors.
Walking through the show, it was so inspiring to see how far print technology has come. With such a wide variety of machine types and companies to choose from, your equipment and ink purchases will most likely be dependent upon your printing requirements. If there is a product in your head, chances are someone has a machine that can make it a reality.
There are machines that print directly on ready-made apparel such as T-shirts or onesies, machines for printing directly on plastic and glass, as well as machines to print on a variety of soft substrates such as wovens and knit fabrics. Additional factors have also made customization more accessible, such as the increase in flexible automation, additive manufacturing, crowd funding, pricing algorithms, and open design software.
What these “direct to product” printers provide is complete creative freedom, as well as freedom from inventory. Gone are the days of high minimums, long lead times and high up-charges for a custom design.
As Generation Z (those born after 1996) enters the work force, we will see even more of a demand for customization. This is the first generation born with phones and tablets in their hands, and not only are they used to getting things the way they want them and when they want them, they expect it.
Companies who can make that happen, will be the ones getting their business. Companies in the DIY market were quick to discover the endless business opportunities with customization. Spoonflower, Zazzle, and Vans do an amazing job of offering custom products with unique customizing options, enabling the customer to create truly one-of-a-kind products.
Other markets such as interior design are just beginning to emerge with print on demand products. Residential and commercial interiors have more stringent specifications for abrasion, light-fastness and cleanability, which has made it more challenging for the inks and printers. Companies such as Enviroleather, VividBoard, Vistamatic and Kwickscreen have risen to the challenge and created unique products that limit interior designers only to their imaginations. When upholstery or curtains need to be updated within an existing color scheme, customization of an item can be the solution.
I am very excited about all the possibilities and opportunities this new technology has to offer! Of course, if you need any designs for all these customizable products, check out Design Pool’s licensable library.
Here is a list of some of the great companies I met at InPrint:
Direct Color Systems – Rocky Hill, CT
Engineered Printing Solution – East Dorset, VT
INX International Ink Co. – Schaumburg, IL
ITNH – Manchester, NH
Marabu – North Charleston, SC
Roland DGA Corporation – Irvine, CA
Standard Machine, Inc – Newburyport, MA
Tritron – Chester, VA