From the designer’s drawing table to the printer’s finishing touches – creating the Lumi Sample Book is a demanding effort on all fronts. Mikko Ilomäki, CEO of Markprint, gives a printer’s perspective on the project and explains why sample books are still as relevant as ever. In the interview, he also describes the latest and greatest in printing technology and shares his insights on the future of printing.
Mikko, what is the benefit of sample books from a printer’s perspective?
A sample book is a useful tool in choosing the right paper type for the right project, particularly when working with demanding clients and high-end print jobs. For example, in our printing house it’s a no-brainer that when customers wish to use coated paper, we offer them either LumiSilk or LumiArt. With a quality sample book, we don’t have to justify why it’s the best choice – the customer can experience it firsthand!
Sample books are also helpful in determining the right grammage for the job. Often, with more complex works such as illustrated catalogues or art books, the grammage of the paper is up for debate. On the one hand, the finished print shouldn’t be too see-through, but it shouldn’t be too heavy or too costly, either. With a sample book, we can compare different paper types with different finishes and find the right match for even the most demanding jobs.
Furthermore, sample books are a perfect medium for illustrating the range of special effects and finishes available. The right finish is crucial in determining how impressive and how effective the end result is. With added finishes and effects, customers get more bang for their buck and we improve our margins, too. A real win-win!
What do you find most interesting in working with complex print jobs such as the new Lumi Sample Book?
At Markprint, we’ve worked for over ten years to position ourselves among the top printing houses in Finland and Northern Europe. Being able to carry out complex jobs, such as the new Lumi Sample Book, demands both the highest quality machinery and the highest quality products. The Sample Book allows us to really showcase what we can do both in terms of technical capacity and project management.
In our view, LumiSilk is, without a doubt, the number one paper on the market. Working with such high-end, quality material is always a pleasure.
Tell us the latest and greatest in printing technology! What can we print today that we couldn’t dream of five years ago?
I don’t think anyone has reinvented the wheel in recent years, but there have been major developments in established effects, technologies and finishing techniques.
For example, while the base technology for UV printing has been around for decades, we’ve recently built some very appealing effects on top of it. One such effect is the ability to print iridescent, metallic surfaces, which vary in color depending on how the light hits them.
Furthermore, with special lacquering we can now create more tactile textures and add structure and contrast to the print. These finishes are often used in marketing prints and book covers, but recently they’ve been making their way into packaging prints as well.
Huge developments have also been made in digital printing, which has advanced in leaps and bounds. With the emergence of cost-effective four-color brochures and books, we are seeing completely new demand in the market. Still, digital printers remain sensitive to their operating environment and are prone to malfunctions. Paper dust is a huge issue for many paper types when working with digital print jobs. LumiSilk generates very little dust throughout the printing process, and thus makes for a great digital printing choice, too!
The world is becoming more digital. However, as you’ve just told us, we’re seeing some very interesting development in new printing techniques. How do you view the future of print? Is print making a comeback?
Clearly, diminishing demand has induced a huge structural change in the last ten-or-so years. In my view, there is always room for expertise and efficiency. I see it like this: printing houses focused on product development, finding new techniques and realizing new innovations will continue to prosper. Those providing base products for their clients with factory-like speed and efficiency will also have their place.
For us, it’s more about the former. We will continue to invest in product development and sustainability. Our future is built on providing our clients with the greenest, highest quality printing services on the market.