NAPCO Research

Think things have slowed down for the commercial print industry amid digital acceleration? Not so, say the hundreds of print service providers who responded to a survey in February 2023. The global commercial print industry was valued at a whopping $471.8 billion in 2022 and is expected to continue to grow.

That doesn’t mean leaders in the print industry can let their feet off the proverbial gas pedal. Right now, economic uncertainty, global instability, and a volatile labor market mean that every industry is looking for ways to achieve optimal results with as much efficiency as possible. The global print industry is no exception.

The commercial print industry is highly competitive. The more efficient you can be, the better. In this industry, efficiency stems from reducing waste to curb resource expenses; ensuring accuracy (nobody wants to have to redo a print run!); and moving quickly without sacrificing the quality of the final product.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite and NAPCO Research partnered to gauge the state of the print industry and find out which strategies were most effective at improving efficiency and paving the way for success. Respondents represented a diverse array of print segments, ranging from traditional commercial applications to wide-format graphics and apparel decoration. Despite the range of specialties reflected in the responses, respondents were aligned when it came to this: investing in graphic design software is the key to improving efficiency.

Why the right graphic design software makes all the difference

Every print workflow starts with a graphic design file. Heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”? It applies here. The quality of that design file sets the stage for the quality of the final product.

Survey respondents who upgraded their graphic design software were 45% more likely to report high efficiency compared to those who delayed upgrading or used outdated software. That’s a big difference. Plus, 83% of respondents reported that their use of graphic design software increases efficiency in prepress. That’s why nearly 6 in 10 (59%) of respondents said they’d already invested in upgrading their software solutions with the purpose of improving production efficiency.

Upgrading graphic design software impacts several areas that contribute to overall efficiency. Here’s a snapshot:

  • Waste reduction: Upgrading software enables printers to optimize workflows, minimize errors, and reduce material waste. This improves profitability by lowering production costs. And–bonus! It’s better for the environment, too.

  • Color management: Effective color management is vital in the print industry. Upgrading graphic design software allows printers to enhance color accuracy, consistency, and overall quality, resulting in visually stunning prints. That means fewer reprints, and better client retention.

  • Providing standout design services to customers: Customer acquisition is costly and time-consuming. Print companies that invest in modern graphic design software can offer innovative and eye-catching designs to their customers, setting them apart from competitors and attracting more business.

What about hardware?

The survey also compared investments in hardware versus graphic design software and revealed compelling insights. While 76% of respondents made capital investments in printing and/or finishing hardware to boost efficiency, a staggering 93% acknowledged the effectiveness of graphic design software upgrades. Among them, 52% rated the graphic design software upgrades as “highly effective” in improving their operations. Given the capital expense of investing in hardware upgrades, these results put another big mark in the “win” column for keeping graphic design software updated.

These statistics highlight the value of investing in graphic design software as a powerful strategy to optimize efficiency and productivity in commercial print workflows, while driving competitive advantage and superior results.

The full survey report is packed with insights: What percentage of print service providers upgrade automatically? What might cause others to hesitate? What are the consequences of not upgrading graphic design software? To access the full report,click here.