Josie shares insights from FESPA Global Print Expo 2023 – exploring what we can expect from the speciality print, signage and visual communications sectors in the coming years.

Author: Josie Fellows

FESPA 2023: The key trends

At the end of May, the AD team headed to Munich for FESPA Global Print Expo 2023. From the moment the event opened until the doors closed on the final day, the halls were filled with international visitors eager to explore the latest innovations in speciality print.

A personal highlight for me was seeing our clients in person and meeting new contacts, as well as reuniting with journalists and editors from across the world. But the event also offered a great insight into what to expect from the speciality print, signage and visual communications sectors in the coming years.

The following trends were very much taking centre stage this year…

Expansion into vertical markets

Many businesses learned from the pandemic that adaptability is the key to remaining competitive and seeing continued growth. Part of this is taking on new opportunities in vertical markets and expanding customer offerings.

Some of these new verticals are interior décor, packaging, textiles and many more!

Embracing this trend, a lot of exhibitors focussed on displaying highly creative applications. And even though I see inspiring print applications on a daily basis, I was still taken aback by the stunning prints I saw around the show – many that I never even considered possible.

From magnetic ink applications, to vibrant packaging with 3D design effects, to fine art prints, to neon and metallic finishes, the possibilities seemed endless.


A survey by McKinsey found that only 15% of CMOs believe their company is on the right track with personalisation.[1] So it’s clear that there’s a distinct need for educational opportunities and advice to capitalise on this trend.

There’s a lot of research proving that personalisation can deliver value. If I learnt anything from the personalisation offering at FESPA, it’s the importance of going beyond adding a name to a product. Personalised items should enhance the customer’s experience and make them feel recognised and understood. Studies have found that 71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal and 36% of consumers say retailers need to do more to offer personalised experiences.[2]

When personalisation is done right, its capacity to add value by creating a product unique to the consumer is enormous. Not only does this provide the customer with something tailored to them, but brands also benefit from the advocacy and loyalty of their customers.

Smart usage of data and software will play a big part in the shift to creating a more personalised offering for consumers, and we managed to explore some interesting software solutions at FESPA.


Besides software, we also spotted a lot more robotics around FESPA compared with previous years. The scale of the robotics taking over entire stands, fulfilling and stacking orders at an incredible speed, gave me an interesting glimpse into the future of print production.

The focus was also on reduced waste and paper and ink usage through workflow management and it will be interesting to see how this develops.


Demand among print customers for eco-friendly products only continues to grow, but only 41% of consumers are currently willing to pay more for a product they believe to be sustainable.[3] This puts added pressure on PSPs to deliver more sustainable products, using eco-friendly substrates and reducing energy usage and carbon emissions, while managing costs.

I spotted some interesting substrate options, such as leather and textile alternatives and even packaging made from mushrooms!

Generally, there’s a lot of interesting change happening in these sectors and I’m looking forward to learning more about how these trends will impact the future of speciality print and visual communications.

Speaking to clients and colleagues after FESPA, we’ve all been reminded of the true value of live events. There’s nothing quite like the lively exchange of ideas, experiences and creativity with people from all over the world together. I can’t wait to see live events go from strength to strength in the next few years.

  1. ‘The future of personalization – and how to get ready for it’. McKinsey & Company, 2019
  2. ‘50 Stats Showing The Power Of Personalization’. Forbes, 2020
  3. ‘What matters to today’s consumer 2023, Capgemini Research Institute, 2023
Share This: