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We review the year’s best and most innovative products and projects in print to celebrate the best innovations in print of 2018.

1# Embedding medical technologies into print advertising

Ikea has run some memorably creative print advertising campaigns – notably its paper recipes. This year’s campaign to promote its nursery furniture raised the bar again – asking expectant mothers to pee on the advert to see if it could change their life.

2# The impact of an image is undimmed

The striking imagery of the Moms Demand Action Kinder egg campaign demonstrated the power of print to have a real and lasting impact – powerfully illustrating a crazy anomaly in US law while also demonstrating the power a print campaign can have.

3# Embedding Near Field Communication Technologies

Incorporating Near Field Communication (NFC) technology into paper enables consumers to connect and engage with brands through their smartphones, as well as allowing brands to capture valuable streams of data.

By featuring NFC in their print marketing, brands can direct consumers to a designated web page when they hover their smart device over the graphic containing the NFC tag.

4# Improving sustainability

Materials science is evolving to create new, more sustainable printed packaging and finishes. One such innovation is Percol’s new compostable packaging for its coffee packs. Using bio-based materials, they have maintained essential oxygen, aroma and moisture barriers that extend the product life and maintain optimum flavour.

5# A return to paper

Sustainability is a huge driver for a return to paper packaging, as well as the growing awareness of the damage plastics are doing to our planet, especially our oceans.

This is creating new opportunities for printed paper materials.

The establishment of a new business specialising in the production and printing of paper straws with food-grade inks in Newport, South Wales, UK, during 2018 reflects a growing desire of brands to reduce their use of plastics in response to changing customer concerns.