Digital Dish: December 2019

By: Rick Williams

Dec 31, 2019

Throughout 2019, I've fed you various tips, tricks, and considerations when printing digitally, and in this final dish of the year, it's bittersweet to announce that it will be my final one! After 31 years with International Paper, I am retiring at the end of this month. 

With that, I wanted to share what I have learned over the past 8 years as the Digital Printing Expert and also stare into my crystal ball to impart final nuggets of wisdom on the future of digital printing. Thank you for engaging with the Digital Dish each month. I will truly miss creating content for you, but have no fear because the Digital Dish will continue in 2020 with new content and hosts, so stay connected with us!



When I began this role as IP's Digital Printing Expert, high-speed inkjet printing was in its infancy stage, but we saw the growth and potential in this market. I am extremely proud to have been a part of the development of our treated digital papers for inkjet presses. As we created the ImageLok® and ColorPRO Technology stocks, high-speed inkjet printing was starting slowly, so we worked with the Original Equipment Manufacturers to test and highlight our products and gain traction in this growing market. The growth in digital printing overall, not just high-speed inkjet, has really expanded what commercial printers, creatives and in-plants can do with their collateral and direct mail pieces, such as personalization and color quality that rivals offset printing.



As I stare into my crystal ball, I believe the digital printing market will continue to grow and will be used for many new applications going forward. One of these growth areas is packaging. Inkjet presses are able to print the liner, which is then taken to a corrugator. I believe we will see heavier weights being run through digital presses that will meet the needs of the packaging industry. Additionally, I believe flexible packaging is another development area in digital print. As e-commerce continues to grow, packaging is not only the means to product protection but is becoming a crucial component to brand identity, especially when you're able to add personalization with gifts purchased online. This is why I see digital printing growing particularly in the packaging sector.



To close my final Digital Dish, I want to wish you all much success in your digital journeys. It has been a pleasure to create this monthly newsletter for you, and I appreciate all the positive feedback you've sent me. I've enjoyed working with you over the years, and although I'm retiring, remember that International Paper will always be here to help as you continue to grow in the area of digital printing. Good luck to you all and keep printing relevant!



Don't forget that whenever you need a dose of digital, you can continue to find the library of Master Class digital printing videos on Accent Opaque's website or YouTube channel, hosted by Rick Williams himself. Thank you again for all your support and Happy Holidays!