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Why encapsulation hit the headlines this year - and other changes in 2021!

Anti-bacterial pens, floor stickers and encapsulated menus might not have been essential choices for businesses two years ago but fast forward to 2021 and they have become important tools for businesses becoming Covid secure.

Now more than ever customers are demanding it all – looking for that perfect mixture of durability and design – in a bid to get the most out of their branded, stationery and printed materials.

So, what are the key changes we have seen in the industry in 2021?

1. Encapsulation

Encapsulation has actually been around for a long time and is often used to protect printed items in anything from signs to menus. However, in 2021 for many it became a necessity.

Often referred to as lamination, it is actually slightly different providing a completely sealed, scratch resistant and durable protective coating to print.

As one of only a handful of printers in the Midlands to offer the service we have certainly seen demand for it increase as businesses look for ever innovative ways to keep printed materials Covid secure – especially in touch point areas.

Whereas simple paper finishes would have been popular before, antibacterial and plastic coating options are now becoming more popular with encapsulation becoming a must have choice for materials used in high touch point areas.

2. Floor stickers

The popularity of vinyl floor stickers has also drastically grown over the past year. Where they may have been saved for intricate designs and unusual floor features before, these hard-wearing stickers have now become common place in venues looking to mark out social distancing guidelines and rules for navigating around.

Brightly coloured, easy to apply and resistant to water and cleaning products they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

With the right branding and design they can be used very creatively to increase the customer experience rather than just providing a functional sign.

3. Anti-bacterial stationery

From pens and scissors to notepad covers and rulers, these clever stationery products use antibacterial substances added during the manufacturing process to inhibit the growth of bacteria.

The technology has actually been around for 20 years and is common place in the food manufacturing industry. However, over recent months there has been an increased interest in their use following the Covid-19 pandemic with more people becoming aware of the role of hygiene in spreading and catching flu and viruses.

4. Direct Mail

As the world went digital overnight and business cards practically became extinct with networking turning to Zoom, printed materials saw a brief drop in popularity. However, many businesses are now rediscovering the benefits of printed materials and in particular direct mail campaigns as a way of reaching new audiences and reconnecting with customers who may have had limited face to face contact.

Innovatively designed printed mail campaigns can be personalised and offer a great way to cut through digital noise with better conversion rates than most email campaigns.

The Direct Marketing Association states that direct mail conversion rates can range anywhere from 10 to 30 times higher than digital.

5. Hand sanitiser stations

Look around most venues, offices, cafes and retail spaces and you will be hard pushed to walk 50m without seeing a hand sanitiser station. Just one of the many measures being implemented to keep areas Covid secure they are a new necessity for most businesses. From built in refillable wall units to single use plastic bottles, the antibacterial lotion which was first patented in 1966 is now a popular choice.

Not the first time that hand sanitiser has been used to control the spread of bacteria, it has previously successfully limited the spread of Norovirus in Japan and is effective against millions of germs and bacteria meaning its recent surge in popularity might not be short term.

6. Branded face masks

From funny faces to company logos, businesses have been getting innovative to come up with new ways of showcasing their business on everyday PPE wear.

As face masks continue to be mandatory in shops and certain public areas they have become the perfect advertising boards for businesses with many choosing to personalise the designs.

As 2022 is soon upon us, it will be interesting to see how many more new trends will appear next year and whether these popular items of 2021 will continue to thrive or slowly phase out.

If you’re interested in learning more about any of the products mentioned in this blog, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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