3 min read

Printing projects have long been a giant mark of progress across many sectors but as the digital world has grown, the printing industry has shrunk. Newspaper sales have been on the decline for years as people are now able to access information for free from their digital devices, while printing leaflets is no longer the de-facto way of advertising a product.

As more people take up reading on E-readers and via audiobooks, physical book sales ‘fell from £3.11bn in 2017 to £2.95bn last year, according to the latest figures from the Publishers Association’ via The Guardian.

Huge numbers of magazines have also finished publishing over recent years, with household names such as Marie Claire ending operations in September 2019. However, that does not mean that the printing world is on its way to a slow death, it simply means that it is changing.

Like every industry operating in the UK right now, consumer behaviour and technology are causing big business headaches as both are developing and changing so quickly. It means that predicting what people want and how they want it delivered is incredibly difficult to do.

To highlight that the industry remains a force in 2019 within the UK, here are some of the biggest printing projects of the year.

Getting ready for Brexit

It’s unlikely that anyone wants to spend more time reading about Brexit but don’t worry, we’re steering well clear of politics.

Instead, we’ll focus on one of the biggest printing projects in recent years, which is being organised by the government in order to provide information on getting ready for Brexit.

Every single household is being targeted with printed materials that contain key information on how to prepare for the day that the UK leaves the EU. Over £10 million is being spent on leaflets, making this particular campaign one of the biggest in recent print history as over 27 million households are being targeted.

Adoption of technology

The printing industry needs to face up to the challenge of attempting to operate more sustainably, and it’s no easy task considering the entire sector is based around using natural resources to produce goods. However, that doesn’t mean that big changes aren’t being made to reduce the environmental impact that large scale printing has.

Collectively, this is one of the biggest projects that the industry has, as the development of new tech is being prioritised by many of the biggest names in the sector.

For example, St. Austell Printing Company has recently opened a brand new printing factory which has been designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible, with features including:

  • One of Cornwall’s largest roof-based solar panel arrays, presenting a carbon-saving of at least 45 tonnes per year
  • Rainwater harvesting for flushing toilets
  • Grass-topped roofs
  • Natural ventilation and daylight optimisation to limit heat loss through insulation
  • Passive and natural ventilation
  • Air conditioning units that are limited to 3 small areas of the business where machinery requires cool temperatures (these rooms also have heat air circulation/ventilation systems in place)
  • Tight energy controls and management
  • Movement sensors which automatically switch lights on and off, as well as light sensors to automatically switch lights on and off at dusk/dawn

This kind of change is being adopted throughout the industry and can be likened to the change being seen in the automotive sector, where EV technology is being pursued aggressively.

A multitude of other technologies is being developed in the UK print industry, which you can learn more about by reading additional posts from our printing insights.