3 Critical Takeaways from drupa 2024 for Printing and Marketing Businesses

an image of a sign for messe dusseldorf

Greetings Citizens of the Printerverse! drupa 2024 is now in the rearview. As your Intergalactic Ambassador, I want to share a few things I learned that I believe will affect the success of print and marketing businesses moving forward. 

You may agree, you may not… but you can’t say you weren’t warned.

European Union Deforesting Regulation

The EU is not playing anymore when it comes to establishing, maintaining, and proving that the pulp used to make paper is from a sustainable supply chain and not from rainforests, for example.

This regulation starts on December 30, 2024. Printers who send materials into the market from that point on – even if they printed materials before December – are subject to following it.

There are a lot of moving parts. If you are in the EU, I hope you are already preparing. If you are out of the EU (hello UK!) but ship into the EU, this is now part of your world. If you are in other locations, especially the US, this is coming across the pond, count on it.

Here is my best call to action. Connect with CarbonQuota for information and guidance. Nathan Tiller presented a session at drupa DNA on this topic, and they are following it closely since it will disrupt the paper and printing market in many ways.

Data Privacy and Digital Bridges

On one of the last days of drupa 100+ students invaded Hall 7 and used our stage for an awards ceremony. They came early and I used the time to tell them about the #WeAreDrupa project and invite them to participate.

we are drupa project at drupa 2024

The process was simple. Scan a QR code, upload a photo, and enter your email to receive confirmation that the process was successful. The photo was turned into a die-cut sticker using Antigro Designer’s Sticker Builder platform. The participants received a sheet of stickers and were asked to place one on the #WeAreDrupa wall. More than 2500 sticker sheets were created – including stickers of pets, kids, and I got currywurst on there, too.

I thought it would be easy to get the students to participate. They got cool stickers to take home, and it was a fun engagement with print. However, no one moved. I decided there must be a language barrier and asked the faculty to interpret. They did, and no one moved. I then turned to my drupa DNA co-host, Frank Tueckmantel, to help me. He got on the mic, explained the process in German, and encouraged participation. NO ONE MOVED.

I could not understand what was going on. And then it was explained to me. These students cared more about their data privacy than creating stickers. They didn’t want to scan a QR code, they didn’t want to provide their email address, and they didn’t want their face on a sticker on a banner that could be shared on social media by others.

This was the most shocking and horrifying experience I had during 11 days of drupa. How can we promote print as part of a successful omni-channel marketing campaign if activating the digital bridge from print is deemed too data-dangerous?

We need to be mindful of how young people feel about this – especially in Europe. We need to secure that bridge and communicate clearly with customers and consumers how data is collected, stored, and deleted. We need to stop thinking of humans as data points for collection. It’s over… or rather the end is coming, soon.

drupa Delivered

The anticipation of drupa after an 8-year gap was palpable. As I wrote in this post, drupa is where we create the future, together. On that, drupa delivered!

The exhibitors brought their vision of the future of print to life through products and services, robotics, AI, and sustainable solutions that help reduce waste and impact on the environment.

The visitors came educated, with shopping lists and checkbooks. And they bought plenty of presses, platforms, and products that were not prearranged for PR moments. They spent quality time with exhibitors. From what I saw, booth sessions and demos were well attended. The Landa booth was just as packed on day 10 as on day 1, and Mr. Landa was still doing multiple shows in the Landa Theater.

(Listen to my interview with Mr. Landa at drupa)

Pat McGrew and I also recorded 4 podcasts live from Hall 7. These episodes of The Print Report provide a recap and overview of the event, products and services shown and launched, the companies collaborating across drupa and how their partnership manifested into production lines and printed samples, how the sustainability topic hit and missed, trends in finishing and book production, and how drupa 2024 may end up being known as the #FOMO drupa for exhibitors and visitors who didn’t make the journey to Düsseldorf.

There is plenty of post-drupa content and information available for you to review. If you missed pre-drupa or during drupa announcements, you can access that information and see 11 editions of the drupadaily on What They Think. I also have more Print Report podcasts coming with exhibitor guests. Everything you need to get up to speed and plan the direction and future of your business is available. Take advantage of this moment, it won’t happen again for four years.



See Deborah’s featured post: Creating the Future of Print Together at drupa 2024

See all posts by Deborah


Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to the Printerverse at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist, international industry speaker and blogger, and the cultivator of Print Production Professionals, the #1 print group on LinkedIn. She provides printspiration and resources to print and marketing professionals through education, events, Podcasts From The Printerverse, ProjectPeacock.TV, and an array of community-lifting initiatives including Girls Who Print and International Print Day, 

Deborah also helps companies create more meaningful and profitable customer relationships by utilizing 25+ years of experience as an agency, brand, and corporate print buyer who has assessed, hired, and worked with hundreds of printers and service providers.

Explore Podcasts From The Printerverse

ProjectPeacock.TV is streaming PRINTSPIRATION to brands, agencies, students, and printers!

Please subscribe to PMC’s News from The Printerverse for topical posts and information delivered to your inbox.

Calling all Girls Who Print!! Join us on LinkedIn and check out our revamped Mentoring Program – it’s free!