Which trends in the printing industry are popular this year?
We have noticed some trending patterns when printing products for various customers. Recently, earthy tones, design solutions that do not overcrowd publications with detail, and materials that give them a more natural look have become popular. After consulting with our colleagues, we have summarised our insights into the design trends that currently prevail in Lithuania.
The most popular are natural elements
This year, it is very popular to choose natural motifs, green and brown shades, as well as non-glossy and natural-looking paper for both covers and pages. Although it can be quite difficult to notice design trends because the nature of publications and suitable solutions frequently differ, there is a clear need for printing solutions that look more natural in terms of materials and colours.
We have also noticed that more modest designs are receiving more attention. This year, graphic designers are opting for softer tones and minimalistic design solutions, as well as experimenting with fonts more boldly. Bright, metallic and fluorescent colours and combinations of their geometric shapes and lines were more popular last year; however, moderation is back in style this year; as such, folklore-inspired colour combinations are being chosen more frequently.
Trends in the press sector often last several years, so current design trends and the materials chosen for printing may remain popular in the coming years. Colour palettes, on the other hand, change more frequently, but it is difficult to predict their trends because they often depend on the type of project.
Paper is regarded as a design detail
There are many different types of paper on the market today that can be used successfully as a design detail. We have noticed that customers increasingly prefer offset paper with a rougher surface and visible natural wood fibres. Such paper visually reflects the ideology of being “green” or sustainable, both in texture and colour, and can also be recycled more easily. Customers previously avoided using offset paper for printing projects due to its excessive ink absorbency. This meant that uncoated paper fibres absorbed ink quickly, resulting in paler colours. As technology advanced, this problem was solved by the introduction of UV-curable ink for offset printing, the majority of which is not absorbed, but rather cured on the surface of the paper, resulting in bright colours and a smooth background coating on any type of paper.
Some publications, however, continued to use coated paper. Because it is coated with a layer of chalk, this type of paper has a smoother, more slippery, glossy and durable surface. Basically, paper for printing projects is chosen based on both the design concept and the purpose of the publication. Coated paper is more resistant to environmental factors and does not wear out quickly, so it is mostly used for magazines, catalogues and albums, as well as publications with a lot of photographs and illustrations. In terms of design, illustrations play a very important role both in social media and in the press. Recently, special attention has been paid to high-quality photographs, small details and high resolution. We have noticed that companies use high-quality lifestyle photographs to sell their products even in corporate publications.
Using all the senses adds extra value to the design
Foil printing, UV coating, stamping, embossing, debossing, cutting, laminating, edge painting and other similar paper finishing techniques are timeless. These design solutions are still very popular for a very simple reason –everything changes both in design and in the press, including the need to emphasise certain details of the publication. We have noticed that the successful design of a publication incorporates the four main human senses: sight, hearing, touch and smell. The easiest way to stimulate the tactile sense is to use paper texture an embossed surface, cuttings or a specific type of laminate. Customers prefer soft-touch laminate because it’s more comfortable to hold such publications in their hands. Depending on the nature of the publication or the design created, customers also select standard glossy, matte, scratch-resistant or textured laminates imitating linen, leather or sand, as well as silver or gold laminates. Triggering the senses of vision and hearing is a little more difficult. However, the rustling of coarser paper is successfully used for auditory stimulation, and UV varnish and glossy or colourful laminates are used for visual stimulation.
Design meets function
We would also pay attention to such timeless solutions as perfect bound books. The perfect binding of books has been chosen for photography projects for quite some time. This solution is timeless for two reasons: the modern image created by the book’s seemingly unfinished design and the possibility to open it fully. It is worth paying attention to a publication’s lay-flat binding when considering design options. Customers are often fascinated by case binding; however, it should be noted that such publications do not always lie flat, making them unsuitable, for example, for photo albums where photographs are spread across two pages or for product catalogues where all the information must be visible.
Active communication between the designer, printing house and technologists, who can advise and share technological nuances, is critical at this stage. The situation is more complicated with foreign customers because they are more geographically distant and they have their own design solutions or popular trends in their country; however, it is easier to advise or assist Lithuanian customers in finding more interesting solutions.