“Fabric as a medium will gain popularity”

Mumbai’s Avenue Graphics’ 2017 investment plan


Mumbai-based Avenue Graphics is western India’s leading player offering complete solutions for brand communication, merchandising displays such as POP and POS, indoor and outdoor printing, signage, product development, business gifting and various other solutions. This year the company plans to further add to its technological capabilities after its last round of investment a couple of years ago.

“This year we will be adding at least two to three more high technology printers. We are focusing on UV and Latex technologies and by May this year, our management will deliberate on the brands and models to opt for. We need to figure out what technology will fit us and the team with which our team would be most comfortable,” says Ashwin Maheshwari of Avenue Graphics. A couple of years ago, Avenue made a heavy investment in EFI VUTEk GS 3250 Pro, a printer designed to deliver high-quality graphics for specialty applications. The 3.2 m EFI VUTEk GS 3250 is a flatbed and rollto-roll UV printer with 8-color, white, Fast-5, roll-to-roll, rigid substrate and dual roll capabilities. It also offers advanced three-layer capabilities for high impact POS graphics.

Currently, in addition to the EFI VUTEk GS 3250 Pro, Avenue Graphics has two HP Latex printers as well Epson eco-solvent printers.

Challenges in the signage industry 

Avenue Graphics may be a technologically savvy company which keeps up with the developments in the industry but, according to Maheshwari, the Indian signage industry is facing many challenges. The top most one is that a large chunk of service providers indulges in mindless imitation when it comes to technology. “Ideally, printers should carve out their own niche and space. Unfortunately, in our industry that is not the case. If one successful printer adopts a technology, others mindlessly follow thinking they too will be successful. This only messes up the market in terms of price and services,” he argues. Other pressing issues that the industry is facing are that of widespread usage of thirdparty inks, low quality printers and poor quality of substrates.

Maheshwari prescribes that these challenges can be tackled by greater cooperation in the industry, of both printers and manufacturers. “These problems need to be gradually phased out for the greater health of the industry.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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