13 June 2023

The latest edition of the Print Matters for the Future conference brought together an impressive gathering of about 100 industry professionals from 22 countries. The event, co-organised by Intergraf and NOPA, took place on 9 June 2023 in Riga, Latvia.

As the printing industry faces significant challenges, this annual event served as a platform for industry leaders to unite and discuss the latest developments and future prospects. National printing associations, printers, suppliers, and high-level speakers from Europe and North America gathered to share their insights and strategies.

The event fostered collaborative discussions on pressing industry issues with a special focus on sustainability, highlighted emerging trends and technologies, and showcased the industry's resilience. Delegates and speakers demonstrated a commitment to innovation and collaboration, driving the printing industry forward.

The conference was moderated by Ulrich Stetter, President of Intergraf and Managing Director of Druckhaus Mainfranken GmbH, and Håvard Grjotheim, President of NOPA and Working Chairman of Scandbook Holding AB.

Sean Smyth from Smithers kicked off the conference with updates on the latest print market data stating that the growth of inkjet technology in the printing industry is anticipated, but offset printing will maintain its resilience, especially when it comes to handling large volumes.

Boris Kochan from KOCHAN & PARTNER, speaking of printed communication, explained that “a complex product demands a sophisticated form of communication: the harmonious interplay of text and image, the power of colour and material, and the fusion of sound and moving image.”

Christof Walter from EuPIA shared his expertise on the challenges related to the upcoming EU packaging legislation and pressure from the French legislation on the restriction of mineral oil in printing inks.

Bertelsmann’s Mark Fabisch highlighted that the digital sector is set to achieve decarbonization through the utilization of renewable energy, supported by substantial public subsidies. Mr Fabisch specified that the printing industry must prioritize investments in decarbonization initiatives to align with other industries. He also stated that Bertelsmann supports the Intergraf approach on measuring and reducing carbon footprint.

Manon Lassaigne, the 2023 Young Talent Award Winner, in her presentation on the place of print in a digital world, pointed out that "paper serves as a tangible testament to the enduring significance of ideas, instilling trust and fostering deeper connections through its tactile experience, which resonates with authenticity."

Johannes Helmberger from Niedermayr stated that today’s web printing industry is shaped by external factors that demand strategic adaptation, including high environmental regulations and labour law requirements, anti-print campaigns, and new emerging digital competitors.

Aksell’s Morten Gunnarshaug walked the delegates through the journey from a family business to becoming a part of Norway's most prominent printing group.

According to Ivs Zenne, a Docent from the Art Academy of Latvia, the graphic industry is undergoing a revolutionary transformation as AI introduces automated processes and enhances functionality. However, this advancement also raises concerns about the future of jobs traditionally filled by human manpower.

Ford Bowers, CEO of PRINTING United Alliance, gave an excellent overview of the industry in the US and specified, that “sustainability is not among the concerns of surveyed printers in the US as it is in Europe.”

And finally, Morten Reitoft, the Editor-in-Chief of INKISH, highlighted that it is time for Print Service Providers to embrace reinvention and transform their business models to stay relevant.

Sessions & speakers

• Developments in different print market segments. Sean Smyth, Print & Packaging Consultant, Smithers, UK.
• Case Study: Studiosus: Premium communication for a premium brand with premium customers. Challenges and opportunities of print and communication (from a customer's point of view). Boris Kochan, KOCHAN & PARTNER GmbH & Deutscher Designtag, DE.
• Packaging & Packaging Waste and national initiatives regarding mineral oil. Christof Walter, Food Contact Manager, EuPIA, DE.
• Case Study: The Bertelsmann approach to the carbon footprint. Mark Fabisch, Senior Director Environment, Bertelsmann, DE.
• What is print’s place in a digital world? Manon Lassaigne, winner of the 2023 Intergraf Young Talent Award, FR.
• Web printing in challenging times. Johannes Helmberger, Managing Director, Niedermayr, DE.
• The transformation from a family business to part of the most important printing group in Norway, Morten Gunnarshaug, CPO, Aksell AS, NO.
• AI and how it can affect the graphic industry. Ivs Zenne, Docent, Art Academy of Latvia, LV.
• An overview of current and prospective conditions in the U.S. print market, Ford Bowers, CEO. PRINTING United Alliance, USA.
• What if innovation isn't part of tomorrow? Morten Reitoft, Editor, INKISH, DK.

The next Print Matters for the Future will take place on June 14, 2024, in Bucharest, Romania.

A media kit containing selected images of the event can be requested.

Download the press release in pdf here.