It is 2018 and Digital Print Needs to Smell the Coffee


This blog contains sweeping generalisations that I am sure will rattle some cages. But then, in my opinion, cages needed to be rattled. Recent research conducted by Pure Digital reveals that a failure of communication, collaboration and frankly leadership, is holding back growth for digital print. So as we head confidently and positively into 2018, we all need to wake up and smell a large vat of very strong coffee….

So, please imagine I am opening the lid of this large vat right now, and the following prose is the scent we need to collectively smell.

Here it is….

Why is it that the print industry roundly accepts that there is an unnecessary gap between the print and creative industries when they should be one and the same? But then generally, apart from a small tip of the iceberg, roundly fail to do anything cohesive about it?

Far be it for me alone to condemn an industry in one fell swoop. But the recent survey conducted by Pure Digital, resoundingly underlines that fact that the biggest problem holding back growth for the print industry is indeed the huge chasm that continues to grow between print and the creative sector. 

And the key reason, according to the research, is because the print industry is both poor at communicating its value and collaborating with other key players in the market to make a greater impact.

But this is not an excuse to point a finger only at print service providers. Print manufacturers and suppliers are also not inclined to either communicate to the creative industry or collaborate with others in the market to achieve something new. This competitive and defensive posture between suppliers is hindering growth according to the survey. This is an old-fashioned, over competitive attitude an indicative of a fearful industry that is terrified of giving something away that may actually help other people. This stance just holds all of us back.

Yes, we are all tired of the attention that digital media seems to get from the agency world, and yes we are alienated by the fact that the millennial generation lives their lives differently to us, largely defined by social media, and the online world which may seem separate from the print sector. 

But the fact is that print has generally not united together to do anything clear about it. There are pockets of work being done, but nothing that has made any real impact.

So I propose that this state of affairs is because – there is a failure of leadership and collaboration. And we need both to push forward digital prints unique power which is ever more relevant as the world continues to change at a pace.

If you would be interested to get involved in Pure Digital then do let me know we would welcome your participation - just email me at

If you would like a copy of the report, download here: