Brilliant minds


At the Power of Print 2016 seminar in the history-steeped setting of Stationers’ Hall close to St. Paul’s Cathedral in the City of London, an eclectic and fiercely provocative set of heavy-hitting speakers together created a fascinating picture of print and its value – present and future.

Welcoming a highest ever audience, BPIF CEO Charles Jarrold introduced the seminar in the context of this year of great change, including the evolution of print’s role in the multichannel media mix.

The science

The scientific foundation came from Baroness Susan Greenfield, CBE, member of the House of Lords, scientist, writer and broadcaster. The extraordinary Baroness explained the fundamental differences in the way our brains process information via a screen versus the printed page. Engagement, understanding and recall are all significantly higher from print.

The case for print

The case for print was reinforced by Tiffanie Darke, Founder of Method, News UK’s creative agency.  She reminded us that print carries an authority that nothing else can replicate, and secondly, if you want luxury, digital just doesn’t offer an alternative. She also praised print because it’s a proven “platform multiplier”. In other words, it is great when used in conjunction with other channels to enhance Return on Investment.

British advertising legend Dave Trott described creativity as one of the few remaining legal sources of competitive advantage. Dave’s short but very sharp presentation made it crystal clear that when it comes to creativity, simple is smart and complicated is stupid. And the way to succeed in advertising (print or otherwise) is to break established patterns. Stand out from the common herd, repositioning your competition at the same time.

His assertion that much of the messages we see are not even noticed, let alone forgotten, should be a wake-up call to all of us – the simple diagram below sums up his feelings about the process perfectly.


Combining creativity with astute use of data is maybe the key to a bright future for print. Rachel Aldighieri, Managing Director of the British Direct Marketing Association, showed how powerful the partnership can be. And talked about one-to-one-to millions to express the mass use of personalised and relevant messaging.

Not all plain sailing

There are though powerful tides that can hold print back. Kim Willis, Strategy Director of Cedar Communications, reminded us that marketing directors demand to know how effective their campaigns are. And for print, more than digital media, it is expensive to measure results. Further, there is increasing competition for marketing budgets, including from a growing array of “shiny new things” such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.

The Keep Me Posted campaign to protect the rights of consumers to continue receiving printed communications was shared by The Royal Mail’s David Gold – including its reach beyond the UK into the EU and other countries.

The future is bright

So, what conclusions can we draw about the prospects for print? I have a lot of faith in Jonathon Porritt, the acclaimed environmentalist and writer, and co-founder of the Forum for the Future. Jonathon highlighted the print and pulp industry’s drive towards decarbonisation and the relatively small environmental footprint of print. In this era of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity), it was good to hear that print can play a part in reducing the risks of runaway climate change and the disruption it would bring.

Back to Kim Willis of Cedar, and her parting thought, which was that in response to growing consumer immunity to the relentless surge of online marketing, brands are turning to the communications techniques that are more meaningful and cut through. This includes experiential marketing with for example live events. In this quest for impact and authenticity, Kim concluded, print surely has a major role to play.

Last word to Wayne Hemingway, MBE, founder of Red or Dead fashion brand. At the end of the breathless, captivating tale of his rise from “club kid” to design guru, he reflected on the central role of print in all our lives. From clothes to flooring to wallpaper. “Print is never going” he declared. And that I think is a fitting way to sum up a truly inspiring day.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

Thank you Print Power, Two Sides, sponsors, participants and speakers – we all left feeling positive and energised.

Inspiring Print Transformation with Ricoh’s Pro C7100X

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

Since the launch of Ricoh’s  Ricoh Pro C™ 7100X digital press   we have found that many Print Service Providers (PSPs) have been able to offer a  new level of value added capabilities to their clients.

The key to this is the highly accessible and cost effective fifth colour on the cut sheet digital press.

PSPs are discovering just how the fifth colour can produce an amazing array of eye-catching effects, particularly in combination with speciality media. By using the 5th colour station they can enhance their print offerings by printing on a variety of speciality media such as black or coloured sheets, transparency or metallic media.


Adding a fresh dimension

PSPs can choose the fifth colour to add a fresh dimension to all elements of print, from books and brochures to business cards, invitations, posters and packaging.

The ability to print additional colours, other than CMYK, such as clear gloss and white toner provides added value. So does offering spot gloss, flood, and watermarks along with printing on coloured and clear media inline, with no need for separate costly and time consuming processes.

We have seen customers develop some very special applications around the fifth colour supported by an ever growing choice of substrates and value added software products such as Color-Logic.

A number of examples have really stood out for me are as follows.

  • white toner used in combination with metallic board to create a hot-foil effect on the HarperCollins childrens book covers we demonstrated at drupa
  • Black envelopes such as those from Blake Envelopes which we used to create impact as part of our own drupa marketing campaign.

Here’s how the 5th colour station is helping some Ricoh customers to strengthen relationships with their clients.

Pushing the boundaries with some amazing results

It is the flexibility of the Pro C7100X that appealed to Dutch operation Benda Drukkers. They  use a lot of unusual paper types for their portfolio of services ranging from business stationery to brochures and books. With the white toner Benda Drukkers also now produces a high image quality on coloured media.

Loesje Benda, owner of Benda Drukkers,  says the operation can now offer existing customers a broader portfolio. It can print on all kinds of special paper stocks, as well as envelopes and even plastics. This versatility has also attracted a new audience of, for example, graphic designers.

The business has been able to bring in new clients as a result of its Pro C7100X. And, by inspiring people to use the new possibilities in creative ways, its print volume is on the rise as well.

He says that adding white and clear enables it to produce all kinds of special effects that no regional competitors can match. It allows them to get ahead of the game and create new applications and opportunities.

More about Benda Drukkers

Another fan is family owned printer Offsetpaino L.Tuovinen Ky, Finland. It printed its own business cards on 0.3mm birch veneer using white and CMYK.

More about Offsetpaino L.Tuovinen Ky
To learn more about the fifth colour please watch

For application ideas please visit ..


Industrial Zone at drupa

Here Ricoh will focus on factory automation, the smart factory, track and trace, integrated industrial innovations and specific industrial verticals, especially automotive and healthcare. 

Not to be missed

  • Demonstrations of a wide  of live applications in packaging , robotics and manufacturing
  • Solutions for Additive Manufacturing, Optics, Electronics, IMS, Industrial Inkjet
  • The Rapid Fab Lab will be running Live Master Classes for key clients on demand.

Key Technologies

Technologies on display will include Additive Manufacturing and robotics as well as a number of other Ricoh innovations including in the field of inkjet head development.





Commercial Printing Zone at drupa

Ricoh’s Commercial Printing Zone at drupa is intended to show the broad range of solutions that Ricoh can now offer Commercial printers – from high productivity cutsheet to banners and signage.

Not to be missed

  • Ricoh’s latest cutsheet devices Pro C9110 and Pro C7110 along with versatile feeding and finishing options
  • live end-to-end production on lean manufacturing principles for efficient production of high quality print samples and a diverse variety of show and visitor collateral.
  • see our Commercial Print workflow in action

 Key Applications

These are just some of the samples we are planning to show. Look out for more surprises at the show itself !

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Ricoh’s commercial printing workflow integrates offset and digital environments for
a more productive hybrid print operation

Commercial Printing Workflow

Ricoh at drupa button

Open New Worlds photoshoot – Rock Band



The location

These shots were taken at Blueprint recording and rehearsal studios in Manchester. Loved by many leading artists, Blueprint has played host to Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, Duran Duran, Moby and it is where Elbow recorded their massively successful album – The Seldom Seen Kid.

The idea

Use a Rock Band to illustrate how Ricoh’s variable printing helps you
respond to the most variable of needs.

Therefore we created a made-up band, called – appropriately – the Fake Dolls.
Each member of the band was holding a different piece of Ricoh print collateral, in the form of the covers of their latest album, all printed using Ricoh technology. And so highlighting the quality and possibilities offered by Ricoh’s digital print solutions.

The Results

A suite of images for the Direct Marketing route, to be used throughout the campaign.



Open New Worlds photoshoot – pixelstick


The location

These photos were shot on London’s iconic South Bank, alongside the River Thames, on a wet evening in late December This location allowed us a panoramic view view of many of London’s most famous landmarks as well as the graffiti walls of the South Bank, the backdrop to London’s most well known skateboarding scene.

The idea

Using the latest technology  in light painting – the ‘light stick’ – and overlong camera exposure, we created a unique piece of actual art painted in light.  We commissioned the artist Ben Hughes and used a Pixelstick – a new technology that consists of 200 full colour RGB LEDs inside a lightweight aluminum housing.

The Results

The art of the new...

The art of the new…

The finished piece was composed of patterns of colourful light dancing against the city backdrop.


Insights from Ricoh’s first European Commercial Print Council

User groups … I’ve done a few in the last 30 years.

Big ones and small ones, graphic arts ones and other ones, national and international ones.

So I was pleased to organise Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Council.Which took place in the Ricoh offices in Staines on Thames (near Heathrow) UK, last month, when 15 clients gathered, representing eight companies from six countries.

2015-11-RCPC_Group Picture

Attendees of the first Ricoh Commercial Print Council Nov 2015

Not only was there close interaction with Ricoh on the technical product level, but there were also three external speakers, each with their own specific topics.

Ralf Schlözer from Infotrends, the analyst company, looked into his famous crystal ball to give insights into opportunities for digital print in the commercial print market.

Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer.

His conclusions were:

  • Printing is very much alive
  • Digital colour print remains on the growth path with inkjet leading the charge
  • But one should consider the whole print production chain; including the impact of the Cloud on software solutions
  • Media integration is progressing: prepare for an omni channel view rather than simply a cross channel view
  • Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer. Meaning that new businesses will emerge and they’ll use ‘print’ as a way to manufacture things (3D, textiles, etc…)
  • Number one priority for marketeers is increasing the customer experience, lowering costs is only second

Enrique Parilla from digital publishing company Lantia gave a privileged view on how he established his company as a publisher-printer-software developer, handling the publishing business in a completely different way from how traditional publishing companies do.

That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication!

He used the following interesting analogy: in 19th century America, companies selling ice for refrigeration were big business. But … they didn’t realise in which business they were in. They thought they were in the business of selling ice … when it was actually refrigeration they were selling.  So when the electrical refrigerator was invented, it wiped away the ice business. That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication! In trade book publishing for instance, publishers are not selling books but stories!

Next time you drink your G&T on the rocks, do ask yourself: ‘in which business you really are’?

Ulbe Jelluma works for Frysk, a B2B advertising agency, specialising in serving international clients (in the graphics, industrial, financial, pharmaceutical, telecom and automotive industries). He started with an attention grabbing statement: ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder … And it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye!’

…agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix

Ulbe explained how agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix. He highlighted some new print applications all driven by the generation of emotions in using print. He also showed some examples of ‘different devices, same content’ or how the advertising industry is using an omnichannel approach to push its message.

Another example was of ‘existing content, different application’ with books that are printed in Brazil for the public transport authorities, serving as a ticket and a planner at the same time as being a reading book. Or what to think about a plasticised newspaper that can act as an umbrella, in a country such as Ecuador ‘where it rains a lot’?

All creative examples of how print is being used in many new and different ways.

So Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Customer Council featured a series of diverse speakers with a broad spectrum of experiences, insights and predictions to share. For me, though, there was a common thread.

It was the sheer resilience of print as many different players in different markets explore its unique characteristics to keep it as relevant now as ever.

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

Direct Mail is Competing in a Digital World


You might be forgiven for thinking that direct mail is old hat and that with social media, SMS and email it can’t compete effectively. Well think again – in the same way that television and Kindles haven’t killed the book, email and SMS for marketing it doesn’t mean that direct mail is destined to be the poor relation. Granted technology is constantly changing and it’s easy to think that the more traditional communication methods have become unfashionable amongst the wealth of new apps and tools available.

Direct Mail delivers significant ROI

In 2013 Central Mailing Services statistics showed that 48% of the UK population responded to direct mail over the past year. It also showed that 62% of people like to receive offers via mail and 56% of people welcome mail that provides useful information. So we all still respond well to direct mail when it is made relevant and targeted to us.

Although the prognosis for direct mail is better than most people would imagine email direct marketing is still a significant force. According to a panel of 128 senior B2B and B2C client-side email marketers interviewed for the British Direct Mail Association’s annual national client email report, 56% expect to see increased marketing budget allocation to email in 2014. Optimism for the channel’s outlook this year has been underpinned by a 16% leap in average ROI from £21.48 in 2012 to nearly £25 (£24.93) in 2013 for every £1 spent on email campaigns. This rises to an average of £30.52 for B2C campaigns.

This rise in ROI has been attributed to a heightened focus on better-targeted campaigns. There has been a strong emphasis on list segmentation as the percentage of marketers segmenting campaigns for six+ audiences rose from 29% in 2011 to 38% in 2013. Segmented emails accounted for 60% of all email revenue in 2013, compared to 55% in 2012. Increased social media activity has also made a big impact on email ROI as it has increased levels of brand engagement with consumers and helped to drive a rise in the acquisition of new email addresses.

We currently live in a world of time-starved people and most of us suffer from email overload and many messages are not opened and are condemned directly to the rubbish bin. With 300 billion messages sent each day, and a constant bombardment of marketing email after email, it makes a welcome change to receive a creative and relevant piece of direct mail when you get home. In fact, if it has some novelty value, it may well be kept and shared and it will certainly stand out from the mass of boring emails. With digital printing becoming more attractive in terms of cost effective volumes and personalised messaging, it is possible to send out something a little different from your competitors without blowing the over stretched marketing budget. Printed direct mail is now becoming so effective that its ROI has increased every year in the last decade.

The future is Omnichannel

A Direct Marketing Association study in 2013 showed that the response rate for direct mail to an existing customer averages 3.4% compared to 0.12% for email. So the next big thing for print providers is hybrid direct mail or Omnichannel – a combination of printed direct mail and online interaction through email, SMS, social media –  and all relevant channels.

Printed direct mail is now a good way to drive digital interaction and as a result digital marketing is now creating innovative solutions for printed DM. It appears that the future may well be a mutually beneficial alliance as opposed to a fight to the death.

Source: InfoTrends

Source: InfoTrends

Research from InfoTrends supports this theory that, when print is successfully combined with other communication channels into a campaign,  response rates are significantly higher.

Being creative with direct mail design and format can easily drive much improved results. The use of structural dimensional mail pieces has become very popular, making it much more eye catching and appealing than a flat piece of paper. Research has shown that dimensional mail:

  • Can have 20 times the penetrating power of flat direct mail
  • Can boost response rates by as much as 75%
  • Scores 80% or better in generating positive opinions among recipients.

Challenges for SME businesses

The biggest challenge in this area for most SME businesses is having the internal resource and expertise available to effectively manage hybrid mail campaigns. With around 75% of email marketing still being run by in-house teams, the obvious solution is for print providers to offer a combined solution of print and email to their customers. The customers would then benefit by freeing up internal resources and also having a partner with the expertise to run hybrid mail campaigns.

When print providers start dealing with hybrid direct mail it creates the opportunity to develop and expand their data management capabilities. Currently the bottleneck for the growth of Big Data management is growing the skills fast enough; a McKinsey Global Institute report projected that the United States needs 140,000 to 190,000 more workers with “deep analytical” expertise and 1.5 million more data-literate managers. So if there ever was an opportunity for growth staring you in the face, there it is.

A major part of managing Big Data projects is asking the right questions: How do you define the problem? What data do you need? Where does it come from? What are the assumptions behind the model that the data is fed into? How is the model different from reality? Listening to the data is important, but so is experience, intuition and a much deeper understanding of destination markets and consumer behaviour. After all, what is intuition and gut feel? It is the human brain analysing large amounts of data to draw conclusions rather than using a maths model.

Digital print technologies have advanced to engage target audiences through data driven personalisation in a very similar way to how email and other online capabilities have progressed. Variable data printing utilises triggers based on consumer data and segmentation to determine the messages and creative assets. Combine all these elements with timely delivery services and you have the most compelling and effective marketing channel there is.


Neil Falconer -Print Industry Strategy Consultant and MD of

Neil Falconer -Print Industry Strategy Consultant and MD of

So direct mail may be changing into hybrid mail and undergoing something of a renaissance, but let’s be clear the printed part of a direct mail campaign is the most important and adds the most value. As print providers we all need to spread the word that direct mail is alive and well and competing very successfully in a digital world.

This article was commissioned by Ricoh to bring you independent opinions from industry experts. We hope you find our guest speaker’s views interesting and stimulating. We would appreciate your feedback. 

For more information about Ricoh’s Packaging solutions and initiatives see:

Achieving a carbon neutral drupa

Environmental zone at drupa

Trade shows like drupa can generate unavoidable waste and energy usage. With a stand as large as a football pitch (2000m²), and over 14 print engines , a 100m² LED wall, and 100 staff, reducing the environmental footprint of Ricoh’s presence was never going to be easy.

As a worldwide leader in Sustainability, Ricoh was determined  to minimise the impact on the environment by analysing ways to reduce carbon emissions throughout the 14 day show.  


Our approach

We decided from the outset that:

  • We would use 100% recycled media with a low carbon footprint wherever possible
  • We would also showcase other media including a non-tree based paper from Favini that has been qualified on our colour printers
  • All Ricoh’s printing activity would be analysed and the carbon emission calculated based on the number of sheets run through the printers
  • All electrical  energy usage for non printing activity would be tracked 
  • We would offset the carbon generated from unavoidable carbon emissions on the stand
  • Any paper waste generated at the show would be sent directly to a pulp and paper mill for immediate recycling after the event


Carbon Neutral Printing

Throughout the show we generated almost 300,000 pages of printed material.  This was mainly recycled media from ArjoWiggins Graphic, including the Cocoon and Cyclus brands, both of which have been tested and qualified on our systems, have recognised low carbon emissions and offer the type of qualities that our customers demand for their paper.

As well as using recycled paper, all Ricoh’s waste was transported to ArjoWiggins Graphic Greenfield Mill in France where it was turned into pulp and recycled.

In alignment with its focus on the environment, Ricoh also announced recently that its cut sheet digital colour press portfolio recently obtained certification by the International Association of the Deinking Industry (INGEDE) for the safe removal of toner from recovered paper during the paper recycling process.   This gives our customers the confidence that all output from their Ricoh colour printers can be safely recycled without the risk of contamination. 

The Results

When we calculated the total amount of C0₂generated from our own printing activity and energy usage on the stand, we found that we were 2.5% over our original estimate.

The final stage was to offset the unavoidable emissions with the acquisition of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) or carbon credits.  These credits are generated by Ricoh’s investment in wind energy projects authorised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

This whole process of analysing, calculating and offsetting unavoidable emissions are all part of the BSI-approved Carbon Balanced Printing Programme, which is offered to customers through Ricoh’s Business Driver Programme™.  The Carbon Balanced Printing Programme, which was launched earlier this year and featured at drupa in our popular Environmental zone,  allows users of Ricoh production printers to offer a carbon-neutral  print service to their clients.

Lessons learned

With the experience we have gained from drupa 2012 we expect to be able to improve our sustainability performance still further at future events. 

For more information go to