The 2023 Taktiful/WhatTheyThink Specialty Ink and Toner Study

The Taktiful/WhatTheyThink 2023 Specialty Digital Ink and Toner Embellishment Study

The new 2023 Specialty Digital Ink and Toner Embellishment Study provides detailed analysis of how current users of digital ink and toner embellishment technologies are utilizing them, what the response from customers has been, how satisfied print providers have been with the sales and profitability of these jobs, where the challenges lie, and their general feelings about the future of digital ink and toner embellishment technologies.

This executive report features the results of an exhaustive survey of owners of digital ink and toner embellishment technologies using them in conjunction with digital printing equipment from Ricoh, HP Indigo, Xerox, Kodak, Oki, Heidelberg, Fujifilm, and Xeikon. The digital embellishment category is poised for dramatic growth, and there are ample opportunities for commercial printers, packagers, and other print service providers to utilize these new technologies to add value to customer communications, and develop a lucrative new profit center. How aware are print customers that these technologies exist? Do they see any value in using them for their communications? How are PSPs are their customers using these technologies? Are PSPs happy with the sales and profitability of these technologies? What are the barriers to achieving greater profitability? Where are the bottlenecks in actually producing jobs using digital embellishments?

Key Findings:

41% of survey respondents said that the main reason they added specialty ink and toner capabilities was to generate more profit.

75% of respondents said that clients are interested in specialty ink and toner capabilities.

More than one-half (55%) are satisfied with the profits they make off these jobs, but 40% are satisfied with the sales of these of these jobs.

27% said that specialty ink and toner jobs were “always” more profitable than regular CMYK jobs, while 36% said they “usually” are.


This report is ideal for…

Print service providers—to find out how their peers are using digital embellishments, the success they are having with them, the challenges they have experienced, and their overall view of the market.

Digital press manufacturers—to understand how users are using these technologies on their presses, and how press vendors can help their customers get the most out of digital embellishment technologies.

Designers—to understand how to help their own design clients take advantage of the opportunities to be had in adding digital embellishments to their printed communications.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
The Lay of the Land
An Embellishment Primer
Analog Embellishments
Digital Embellishments
Going Forward
How This Report is Organized
For More Information
Section I. Use and Value of Specialty Toner and Inkjet Capabilities
Main Reason for Acquiring
Frequency of Use
Average Run
Popular Colors
Popular Commercial Printing Applications
Popular Packaging Applications
Section II. The Business of Embellishments
Self-Promotion and Marketing
Business Plan
Customer Familiarity
Satisfaction with Quality
Value in Sales and Marketing
Customer Interest
Satisfaction with Profit and Sales
Overall Profitability
Section III. Challenges and Obstacles to Specialty Ink and Toner Jobs
Sales Training
Biggest Obstacles to Sales
Designing and Setting Up Embellishment Jobs
Set-Up Times
Ease of Design
Internal/External Design
Section IV. Looking Ahead
Increase Capacity
The Future of Specialty Inks and Toners
In Their Own Write…
Conclusions and Recommendations
For Print Businesses
For Vendors
Going Forward
Appendix A. Demographics
Appendix B. Methodology and Questionnaire