Remember how bad things were in the 2008-2009 time period? Many industries have completely changed the way they do business. For the printing industry, it was either adapt or die.

Here are 9 trends we've experienced:

Trend # 1 - Less Printing

Remember the days when the storage closet was full of firm brochures? Do you also remember throwing away the unused brochures when they become obsolete?

Those days are long gone. Today, there's no need to print excessive amounts of printed materials. Many prefer to download information on an as needed basis and new print technologies allow you to economically print smaller jobs.

Trend #2 - Quality over Quantity

Although there is less printing being done, you will find very high quality pieces still in demand. There was time when every law firm seemed to use an ivory color paper with black thermography (raised) lettering. Or every brochure or marketing piece was black and a regal-looking second color.

Today, there is a great need for firms to differentiate themselves and the quality of printed materials given to their clients or prospects is one way to do that.

Trend #3 - More Color

Back in the day, you would never see a respectable attorney use any color in their logo or on a business card. It was always black or black. Flat or raised. On white paper or ivory. Linen or laid.

Today, many prestigious firms use multi-color logos or full-color logos. This gives firms the opportunity to show their personality, even attitude, in the printed materials.

Trend #4 - Highly Customized and Personal

When you had those boxes of 10,000 brochures in the closet, they all said exactly the same thing. Each and every prospect got the same brochure. If you added a new practice area or partner, the brochures became obsolete.

Now you only need to print 100 high-quality pieces for each practice area. Why not print a little more of the more general "evergreen" brochure and supplement with highly specific marketing collateral customized for each target market? Or even each prospect?

Trend #5 - Print on Demand

Orders used to take weeks to process and deliver. You had to do a bit of pre-planning in order to make sure your supplies did not run out before you received your order.

Now, many specialty printers like us offer the ability to place an order 24/7 via custom online ordering portals. You choose what to print, when to print, and how fast you want it. You maximize storage space since you don't have to store the 1000's of materials like letterhead, envelopes, brochures, etc. You order only what you need and it's delivered according to a pre-arranged time schedule, sometimes within 24 hours or less.

Trend #6 - E-commerce

Have you ever remembered you needed to place an order and it was 5:30 pm? Too late to call now.

Today, firms are provided a custom online portal with access to a secure document library to conveniently place an order at anytime. Firm documents can be viewed, proofed, approved and ordered in a matter of seconds.

Trend #7 - Branding Consistency

There was a time when each local office would print their stationary or marketing materials at the corner printer. Marketing and branding wasn't taken as seriously back then.

Now image is critical. And consistency in image maintains branding integrity. The way to control branding integrity is with centralized control over printing of the firm's branded materials. With one printer, the colors and images presented can be controlled and consistent.

Trend #8 - Interactive Print

Until recently, we viewed the print and digital worlds as separate and competing avenues of communication.

Using currently technology like QR codes, Purls (personalized URLs) and even AR (augmented reality), you can make static printed pieces interactive. Use the printed piece to drive your prospective clients online to the more specific information they are seeking.

Trend #9 - More Creativity

The basic printed items of a law practice have remained relatively unchanged for a hundred years. Conservative and noble...yes. Boring...yes.

With the increased focus in legal marketing and most of the marketing directors coming from non-legal fields, we are seeing the creativity. New ideas and new ways of impacting prospective clients with creative marketing is changing the way print and promotional products are delivered and used.

Put these trends to work in your law practice to more effectively engage prospects and clients and better control how marketing dollars are spent.