Do Young People think Print has a Future?

As part of the IPIA’s #Punchbackprint virtual event, we heard three of our Print Futures Awards winners discuss what they think about the future of print.


George Rumball, Hamza Loonat, and Jessie Sullivan, joined Richard Pepper, founder of Funky Pigeon and Lucy Swanston, Managing Director of Nutshell Creative to give their first hand thoughts on what it’s like to be working in the industry, and why young people should be considering the sector for their careers.

Jessie Sullivan, Head of Marketing at publishers Head of Zeus, opened the conversation outlining her path into the world of publishing and how print in the industry isn’t just ‘physical books but also printed communications’. 

Highlighting the trend for beautifully designed book covers and limited edition prints, she says “There will always be a demand for good storytelling, whatever format this is in and I think that print does serve its purpose there, and always will…It’s our job as people within the industry to recognise that need and serve it”.

George got into the industry with help from his aunt at age 16, and was ‘instantly hooked’. He hasn’t looked back since and has now bought into the corporate franchise, Kall Kwik, in the city of London. 

His advice to young people entering the industry? “There are so many different types of roles you can do in the sector. On the production side there are roles in estimating, production to sales – all of those skills can be transferable to different areas.”

Jessie believes it’s up to the industry to educate young people about the diversity of careers available in the print sector, “There is a lot more that we could be doing to teach people what the print industry is, how you can get into it, what it involves. There’s so many different areas of it, production, sales, marketing, editorial and for me it’s about educating on that.”

Hamza puts starting his career in print down to luck. He was looking at alternatives to University after his A Levels and took on an apprenticeship at Paragon Customer Communications

He was lucky enough to spend his apprenticeship rotating around the industry and gaining insight from people who’d been in the industry for 10 years plus. This experience allowed him to see first hand the breadth of opportunities in the sector.

Hamza knows what it feels like to be on the receiving end of good print communications. “You’ve all heard ‘print is a dying industry’ which I don’t agree with at all,” says Hamza. “The market might change and fluctuate but the demand for print will always be there. I think the physical aspect is more appealing to most people… purely for the physical experience of touching the pages, the texture, and how it engages the senses.

Hamza continues, “people are still investing in technology and new finishing machines, which shows that the industry isn’t going anywhere”. 

George agrees that print is here to stay. “Technology is always moving. There’s always new machinery coming out, new stuff to learn. That’s what excites me the most about it.”

If you’re aged between 18 and 30 and want to develop your career in the print, publishing, packaging, paper or graphic arts, you may be eligible for a Print Futures Awards. Find out about the 2021 awards by signing up to our newsletter.  

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