27 . 05 . 22

Marco Aarnink ( wants to increase the use of print by simplifying the process

Words by: Print Power
The gap in print production knowledge within agencies and brands is stifling the use of print. But if those marketers had access to a tool that made the whole process easier, would that make the print channel much more attractive?’s Marco Aarnink and Juriaan van Beelen think so… (1)

At Print Power, our quest is to make people use print more. So what are the arguments against that are stopping advertisers from including print in their campaigns?  

Is it the paradox of choice that goes against it? That choosing print is too complicated due to deciding which printer, which technology (offset or digital), which creative options like paper quality, paper weight, finish, brightness, recycled content, and whether it’s four or six colours? Multiple options weren’t a bad thing when agencies had a dedicated internal print manager to rely on who understood the printing process. But if marketers want to include a print channel, it’s too complicated or impossible for them to do as many of the print managers who they traditionally turned to for their expertise have left the industry. There’s now a knowledge gap within agencies and brands, meaning  they either end up doing everything digitally, or they outsource the print to a production company who handles things like printer choice, paper quality, quantities and logistics. And even then, there’s a cloak of mystery around the decision-making process that means it’s still not transparent.

But what if you had a print tool that advised and guided you through the whole print process? Something that helped you make all of the above choices and took the complicated pain points out of the equation. Marco Aarnink is a well-known, successful and experienced entrepreneur in the printing industry. His new company is developing a tool that aims to simplify the whole operation, from choice right through to the final product. Print Power talked to founder Marco Aarnink and Chief of Co-Creation Juriaan van Beelen on how they’re setting the bar for the next level in online print…

Can you describe the journey that led you to buying the domain name and setting up your online printing platform?

Marco Aarnink

Until 2014 I had the printing web shop Drukwerkdeal, which I sold to Cimpress (parent company of Vistaprint). And I thought, I'm done with printing, because it's capital intensive, with so many barriers to entry. So when I bought the domain name in mid 2017, I didn’t have a plan to start in print all over again. It was more as a kind of real estate investment because many people forget how important it is to trade in domain names like you do with real estate.

I didn’t expect to still have a passion for print, but years later, I really missed the emotion and the creativity behind it. Meanwhile, out of the blue, the fact that Marco Aarnink bought the domain got a lot of attention online because I paid a lot of money for it, and at the end of 2017, beginning of 2018, I thought it might be interesting to start again.

We already had a few employees who were about to start work on a financial web application. So I asked them to make a simple website with an image of some paper art. People were drawn to it, so much so that we had almost 6,000 subscriptions, with around 25 per cent from the US market.

The next thing we did was call those subscribers and ask them what attracted them to We got so much information about what people were looking for in this market and why they were not able to buy their print needs online from the competition. It was this information that formed our business model in co-creation with customers on Valentine’s Day 2018. We immediately knew how important it was to start all over again in the print business, because there was still a huge demand for a new kid on the block. is going from strength to strength and is looking to expand from the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany to the US and beyond.


We want to replicate the situation that existed years ago between a client and a printer, or between a client and a print broker. A printer that supports and informs throughout the entire project
Marco Aarnink

How would you describe the uniqueness of What sets you apart?

Juriaan van Beelen

Our application is a closed environment for what we call ‘frequent flyers’ – those who order print frequently. So that would be local printing companies, in-house marketers, designers, resellers, printers etc. And if you’re ordering, say, postcards from, you can choose from 52 types of paper and 31 types of finishing. That's rather unique and our customers love the fact they have so many options.

What can the company like yours do to make marketers aware of the possibilities of print and make the whole process easier for them? 


Most importantly, we are not a web shop. We are the next print management tool, a web application. And our aim is to grow to a sales tool in the next 12 to 24 months. So what we're doing now is developing sales tools for our customers who are designers, in-house marketers, or professionals who are selling the prints to their own customers. We’re helping them to manage the print.

This sounds like an important tool for brands and agencies who often struggle with the entire print process. What will this tool include and how will it deliver on what you intend it should do?


We want to replicate the situation that existed years ago between a client and a printer, or between a client and a print broker. A printer that supports and informs the client throughout the entire project. The tool will help first to inspire you, then to select the best printer for the project, the best paper (including their brand names), help in establishing the correct files, make use of an order flow supervisor, fulfillment, and logistics. Services are becoming increasingly important, therefore we’re investing more in IT.

Print.com_Print-Power_target-audiences_use-of-print.jpg (1)

If we could sum-up the specifics of, then we would say that you offer: textbook preparation and a segmented market approach, you’re client centric (i.e. you place an importance on relationships for retention, co-creation etc), you deliver consistent quality of print products, a broad range (especially in finishing) and you’re multi-country. Did we miss-out something?


When we started the business, we immediately had two to three designers on board, because designs inspire, and beautiful things sell. Our Instagram account also shows inspiring examples of what can be printed (on any substrate). We want our clients to experience less hassle when producing print materials. Often there’s a long exchange of emails between various people involved in the decision-making process. We can integrate approvals and comments in our tool, making it faster and more transparent. It makes it easier for people to co-operate on our projects.

The Dutch were the early adaptors of our tool, they like to test new online products and services. Other countries like Belgium, France and Germany are also following now.


We’re aiming to become the outsourcing point of contact for everything print. Including all kinds of substrates, and fully servicing designers, brands, resellers, and other professional parties. Good old services, but all packed with substantial IT back-up. Making it easier and at the same time exclusive and behind a closed print management 2.0 portal.

You focus on high value/volume professional customers who are convinced about the use of print. To grow you will need to convince other high value/volume clients of other platforms (= churn). Will there be a moment that needs to invest in growing the market? As the general trend is that on the supply side a consolidation is taking place and on the demand side a decrease. Paper demand has dropped with 40-50% in the last decade. Can you further grow in the paper-substrate niche of clients without convincing current non-users of print?


Markets are in constant flux, and so is the printing market. Yes, the paper printing market is decreasing, but there remain huge opportunities in other markets with other substrates also using the printing process. Just think of the textile markets, vinyl, or solid materials such as mugs. And maybe after having worked on different substrates we might at some stage move to the non-physical work.

We can integrate approvals and comments in our tool, making it faster and more transparent. It makes it easier for people to co-operate on our projects
Marco Aarnink

On the demand side there are obvious improvements for clients dealing with online printers. Has there been a substitution of printers to online printers, or has the market grown as a result of the improved client service, logistics and transparency of the online printers? 


Online printers have made the market accessible and convenient. So yes, we expect the demand for print to have grown with this because the supply was there. However, in the beginning, online printers were of course not transparent, even anonymous. We have already brought about a change in the market there (back in the days with our former company), with permanent contacts that we showed alongside a name and telephone number online. With we go one step further - our process is designed to really enter into a relationship with the customer. From onboarding (registration) to co-creation. That contact pays off in a market of complex products and services, such as the complexity of submitting files. There you just have to help some customers personally. And that personal contact, that is internet printing 2.0. The next step will be to also inspire them in an early stage.