The next generation: drupa and young talents present the future of the print industry

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Print has a future – the about 8,700* young people who in 2022 finished their vocational training in digital and print media design, media technology or print processing are not alone in this opinion. The German print and media industry, currently with 110,000** employees in almost 7,000 companies, is one of the more valuable assets on the labour market.

This is also evident at drupa, held from 28 May to 7 June as the world’s leading professional trade fair for print technologies in Düsseldorf. The trade fair supports numerous projects for young talents. Sabine Geldermann, Director drupa, Portfolio Print Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf, adds: “Especially in the digital age and with the change within job profiles, this industry opens a lot of doors to young people. We are very happy to be able to show this development at drupa and to present many fascinating works by the ‘next generation of print’.”

drupa initiatives for young talents

Together with drupa, different cooperations with partners, vocational colleges, institutes of higher education and academies were established at the start of the trade fair to pique young people’s interest for the industry, give them a stage on which to present their projects and a platform for growing their career networks.

Product and packaging solutions by the “next generation”

Innovative packaging concepts, excellent omni-channel solutions and finishings, digital applications and high-quality design papers are all on show at the drupa “touchpoint packaging”. This includes the winning designs from the “epda Future Packaging Awards” by the European Brand and Packaging Design Association under the motto Fair Pack. The awards ceremony will be held during drupa.

Also on show will be the works of young designer talents, created in cooperation with exhibiting partners Koenig & Bauer, Landa and mondi. Students of the renowned international school of design NABA, Nuova Accademia delle Belle Arti, based in Milan and Rome, the Zuyd University Maastricht and the Academy of Fine Arts Warsaw have studied modern print technologies and materials, and developed innovative product and packaging solutions through sparring with their partners. The best projects will be presented to a broad audience at the touchpoint packaging, together with short making-of films. Exhibiting partner Esko Graphics BV has provided the universities with software for their projects and mapped the work results so that they can now be experienced with the help of 3D goggles in a virtual store right at the booth.

Luca Giulio Ferreccio, teacher at NABA Milan, emphasises how important it is for the students to present their work at drupa: “Presenting your work at a leading trade fair like drupa means direct communication with experts. Young designer talents are asked to find solutions that combine the logic of production, the visibility and communication needs of brands with basic issues of ecological sustainability and social inclusion. This is the way to create intelligent, visionary packaging solutions.”

drupa touchpoint packaging: Hall 3/Booth B31

Young talents in textile design and production

“touchpoint textile” is the drupa forum for innovative, wholly connected production chains in the textile sector and for the first time presents works in print and textile design by young, talented designers and students. This event was preceded by the design competition “drupa – textile design talents” initiated by Mitwill Textiles. Aspiring textile designers submitted their designs for a sports shirt and were given the chance to present and produce their designs at the world’s leading trade fair drupa. The prize is a sought-after internship at Mitwill Textiles. Students of Sigmaringen University are also present in the textile micro-factory at “touchpoint textile” with their industry and research project. The micro-factory makes it possible to manufacture even small batch sizes of only a single bespoke piece according to customer requirements without forgoing the benefits of mass volume production. On site, the students will explain and demonstrate how much potential there is in production in a micro-factory, especially in times of growing individualism and increased logistic challenges in the textile industry. 

drupa touchpoint textile: Hall 4/Booth B30

Interactive paper artwork at the South Entrance

Students enrolled in brand and communication design at AMD Akademie Mode & Design, the Düsseldorf-based academy for fashion and design, have worked on a fascinating paper artwork for drupa 2024, representing “anamorphosis”. A competition of eight teams headed by Prof. Martin Breuer yielded a design object consisting of 102 individual square surfaces (pixels), and a total size of 11 x 8 meters. The interactive hotspot at which visitors and exhibitors can be photographed and have their image projected onto the artwork, is set in scene and presented at the South Entrance. “For us, this installation is a unique opportunity to reach people and offer them an experience which they probably haven’t enjoyed before”, says communication designer Theresa Meier about her design. Together with communication designer Elodie König, she is one of the winners of the competition. “The anamorphosis installation ANALOGE DIGITALISIERUNG, which means ‘analogous digitalisation’, is supposed to fuse the worlds of the analogue and the digital together. Paper becomes a screen, people become part of the installation and the drupa claim – we create the future – is thus made visible.”

Competition: The future of the print industry

With a poster competition under the motto “The future of the print industry”, drupa and the Fritz-Henßler vocational college Dortmund (FHBK) appealed to trainees in media design and technical design assistants. The task: creating posters visualising the future of the print industry and the importance of sustainability in this sector. For example, Michelina Martinez Izquierdo, student and participant in the competition, submitted a design in the Futuristic Aesthetics category, which addresses young target groups: “The poster is supposed to motivate people to go beyond borders, to say farewell to old ideas and to approach the future of print with curiosity and enthusiasm.” The winners of the competition will be chosen at drupa. Already before the ceremony, the works by the students will be presented at several institutes of higher education throughout Germany.

Competition: The future of packaging

They will be announced at drupa on 1 and 2 June 2024: the winners of the Cloud Sinapse Packaging Productivity Contest. The aim of the competition is to promote the role of print technology training and to promote printing technology in the World Skills professions. Young talents from educational institutions and companies were invited to invited to take part in the international WorldSkills competition competition via a cloud with printing simulators. The task: to develop a folding carton and flexible packaging for a virtual brand a virtual brand. With the help of simulated production on cloud

Sinapse simulators for offset sheetfed printing and CI flexo printing the participants were able to deepen their knowledge of printing technologies and their skills to carry out print jobs and submit their designs. submit their designs. The two finalists and their coaches won a trip to drupe 2024, where they will print their designs live. They will also receive a one-year subscription to the simulator of their choice. The competition was organised with the support of drupa by numerous renowned international associations such as DFTA, INTERGRAF, IC International Circle, Engineers Europe and global printing press manufacturers and packaging groups.

Meet-up “drupa next age”

The special forum “drupa next age” focuses on the genetic code of the industry – the “drupa dna”. The forum is a point of contact for start-ups and innovative young enterprises as well as established companies. The media university Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart offers a point of contact to alumni, students and trainees together with the International Circle of Educational Institutes for Graphic Media Technology and Management. Potential future experts and students are given the opportunity to exchange ideas with future employers and to get to know concept designs and best cases.

drupa next age: Hall 7.0

drupa 2024 is open for visiting professionals from Tuesday, 28 May to Friday, 07 June 2024, Mon–Thurs from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sat + Sun from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A 1-day ticket costs 60 euros, a 3-day ticket 165 euros, and a 5-day ticket 255 euros. Information about parking tickets and tickets for public transport is also available at the ticket shop: www.drupa.de/2130.