Thu, Jan

Contacts worth having

Did you know that media substrates supplier Antalis has an in-house innovation and creative consultants team? And did you know that its head, Claire White, and others like her, can help you have more profitable conversations with customers and creatives to make the most of new and trending print opportunities?

We all know the potential for wide-format print - new markets continue to open up and grow as print technologies and consumables offer creatives ever more mind-boggling possibilities. For example, according to ‘Business Leader Magazine’, the UK’s pop-up industry is currently worth over £2.3bn a year with almost 30% of British businesses beginning their entrepreneurial journey in this way. That’s a great opportunity for large-format print. So how can everyone in the print chain cater for - and make money from – emerging/trending print applications? 

For Antalis innovation and creative consultant Claire White it is all about communication and education - working collaboratively together at an early stage to help bridge any gaps between the designer’s concept and specification of the right materials to get the end user the best result. 

Antalis’ in-house team of innovation and creative consultants is a relatively new concept, but they are well positioned to engage with professionals across a number of sectors including the design community, retailers and brands, print management, manufacture and the printer - helping to create strong working relationships and find the best print solutions.

White - who heads up the Antalis innovation and creative consultants team - stresses that early engagement is essential. “The key is to involve the substrate supplier, such as Antalis’ consultancy team from an early stage of design so they can understand the requirements before advising on a media specification to achieve the best end result. All too often specification is an afterthought, meaning production isn’t the best it could have been, sometimes at the expense of the end result. It makes total sense to consider the specification at the briefing stage, to look at the best and most ‘fit for purpose’ materials and those that offer the best ‘total-cost’ option. Conversations around substrate cost are important, but also discussing minimising waste, ease of conversion, expected life-span and cost-effective disposal after use - after all the right choice can make or break a project in so many ways.

“Knowledge is key. If you’re going to grow your business into more creative areas you really need to be able to speak their language know how to approach creatives with profitable print solutions. 

White has spent over 20 years in creative roles within the retail sector and says: “With my background as a creative in retail, I knew how hard it was to find specification support and as a result often the quality of the production was disappointing. Projects occasionally had to be reprinted because the materials suggested weren’t suitable to the purpose of the design or the length of time it was required. Specification was decided somewhere else down the chain by people I hadn’t even spoken too! 

“We need to consider how as an industry we are speaking to creatives and how we could better work together to provide knowledge, advice and understanding of materials so they can confidently specify what materials are to be used. We are also here to support the printer with bridging any design gap there may be between themselves and their clients. We can joint call with PSPs and try to stimulate more print with our combined knowledge.”

White adds: “There are so many fantastic printable materials available on the market offering solutions across all sectors, yet the decision makers are sometimes kept in the dark. Together, we need to demonstrate what is available and what can be achieved in a market that is constantly looking for innovation and expert advice. Going back to pop-up’s for example, here is a growing market and there are many considerations for the selection of substrates such as light weighting, safety, ease of application, removability and particularly cost effectiveness. We all need to improve our communication skills and knowledge in vertical markets such as this. It is not going to be easy but we want to stimulate more profitable print for these exciting markets.

“Antalis can help. We don’t have all the answers but we recognise that things need to change and communication needs be improved - questions need to be asked. What we can do is work with together with large-format printers to better help them to engage and to understand the needs of the creatives. Our role should be to spread the message about digital print and what it can achieve. Our consultants are here to raise awareness of the materials in our portfolio and how they can increase print possibilities, coming from a creative background certainly helps visualise and truly understand the many challenges the market faces today.”


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