International Print Day: a successful celebration of all things print

Darren Perkins 
03 November, 2016

October 19th 2016 was International Print Day - a celebration of the variety and vivacity of print around the world that manifested itself in a surge of global sharing and engagement, with more than 30 million timeline impressions in 24 hours. From sole traders to multinationals, more than 6,500 tweets were sent by more than 1,000 participants. While #IPD16 trended for three hours in the United Kingdom, #PrintSmart – the theme of the day – was prominent as print professionals, commentators, artists, schools and public bodies found new and creative ways to celebrate this diverse industry.

The purpose of the day was to connect with the print community around the world, as well as stakeholders, students and potential buyers, on a mission of awareness and engagement about print, paper and associated products. Deborah Corn, the Principal of Print Media Centr and Founder of International Print Day, states: “It was amazing to see the print community fully embrace and subsequently utilize social media like true marketing professionals this year. There was an increased use of photos and videos to communicate about our sector’s unique abilities and even more imaginative ways of starting conversations about printing all over the world.”

International Print Day was vigorously received by the print community. Jim Hamilton, Group Director of world-respected analyst body InfoTrends, highlights the visceral attraction of print in his reflection: “I like the spirit behind International Print Day. It’s a passion for taking an idea and turning it into reality by applying inks, toners, coatings, and varnishes to any imaginable substrate and then cutting, creasing, folding, and gluing it all into a final piece. I participate because I love print and I want to share that passion with the world.” This sentiment was conveyed by participants in every continent, with individual countries playing particularly prominent roles.

In Indonesia, Suhendra Marzuki, Chief Editor and CEO of magazine PrintPack Indonesia and Vice-President of industry organization Kopigrafika, rallied the PPGI (Indonesia Print and Media Association), IPF (Indonesian Packaging Federation), key sponsor Astragraphia Xprint Indonesia (AXI) and three more associations to hold a key Hotspot in Jakarta. Representing IPD’s annual expansion, AXI’s CEO Sahat Sihombing gave a keynote presentation about the digitization of print, while attendees were encouraged to share their passion and thoughts on a Wall of Fame. “We hope to make the Indonesian print community better known around the world,” Marzuki explains. “Indonesia wants to be a part of global print [and] to share great ideas about printing and packaging from our country with the world. We were so happy to celebrate International Print Day.”

In the UK the event was supported by a number of parties, including industry editors Susan Wright and James Matthews-Paul. Wright, who is Editorial Director of Earth Island Publishing, reflects: “International Print Day is an exciting, positive and enlightening day, and so it was great to connect with people around the world who feel the same way about print on paper as we do. Every year we learn something new. We meet new people and companies. We see the heights of print innovation and creativity, and we genuinely feel the love of print globally.”

As printers, buyers and enthusiasts shared their love for print through social – not least through the enormously popular #PrintChat Twitter chat that closed the day – many from the global supply chain also used the day to demonstrate invention in print. “Participating in International Print Day gave HP the opportunity to showcase our customers’ smart, innovative work and demonstrate the tangible impact print has on individuals,” comments Jacob Shamis, Americas Market Development Manager for Indigo, PageWide Web Press and Scitex, HP Inc. “We enjoyed sharing in the print community’s passion for printing.”

International Print Day is the perfect example of how an industry can harness the power of social media collectively. Andy Rae, Senior Vice President at Heidelberg Americas, highlights this: “At Heidelberg, we consider social media to be an integral way to engage with our customers and build meaningful relationships by sharing valuable content and highlighting trends in the print industry.”

While according to Nevi Laketa, Communications Manager at Australian supplier KW Doggett Fine Paper: “This year was another social frenzy with posts going up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn throughout the day. IPD is fun. It’s easy. And it connects people from all around the world.” Laketa and her company joined local participants Fuji Xerox Australia, Whirlwind Print and Media Super, and contributors in New Zealand, in launching #IPD16 as it hit the dateline this year.

Much more than being a global conversation, however, IPD has tangible benefits to print and its customers. In honor of this year’s #PrintSmart theme, American software provider DaVinci Designer donated its award-winning online design tool and 3D proofer to a select number of design institutes across the USA. Valued at $100,000, the DaVinci software can show students the immediate impact of the folds and dielines on a package design to guide their knowledge and understanding of packaging science – all instrumental in helping future participants in our market become more invested. The South Africa Reserve Bank renewed its participation this year, becoming the latest high-profile institution to convey its interest in this growing event. Also in South Africa, Midrand-based Printing SA celebrated IPD by visiting Phomolong Secondary School, where it taught 40 pupils how to screen-print as part of a skills transfer initiative.

“International Print Day may be an annual, 24-hour event but every day we have the opportunity – and responsibility, as members of the printing community – to spread the good word about our industry,” concludes Corn. “Not only is IPD about all the amazing products, services and technologies print contributes to world but also a vision for an entire business sector that is also a community of people. The print industry is now realizing that ‘business-to-business’ really means ‘people-to-people’. IPD is a great enabler to make that reality more prominent and accessible for printers and their customers around the world.”

Next year’s International Print Day has been scheduled for 6.00PM ET October 17th to 6.00PM ET October 18th, with a theme and more details to be announced in due course.