Anyone looking for individual posters, (large-format) wall decorations or iconic images on the internet will sooner or later end up at myposter or one of the brands belonging to the group. How the founders managed to make the myposter brand so successful – and keep it successful – is what the new episode of Zippers Insights is all about. René Ruhland, who launched myposter together with his brother Marc in 2011, was our guest.
Bernd Zipper: Myposter, that sounds like something very personal.
René Ruhland: It’s definitely something personal, yes.
Bernd Zipper: You started early on.
René Ruhland: Yes, exactly. We went live in 2011.
Bernd Zipper: …and as a family business.
René Ruhland: As a family business. I founded myposter together with my brother. And today my wife is still involved.
Bernd Zipper: Oh dear, that means you also have discussions about business at the dinner table at home?
René Ruhland: Yes, we call the company “Diva”. And the Diva always sits at the table.
Bernd Zipper: What about your brother? He’s still involved in myposter, isn’t he?
René Ruhland: He’s still there. But since I don’t see him in the evenings, it’s okay. And we also make sure that we have other topics together.
Bernd Zipper: You have always been image-affine…
René Ruhland: Yes, we have always had an affinity for pictures. Not that we made art ourselves, but we started importing pictures from Asia early on, the old masters, for example. That was as early as 2005, 2006.
Bernd Zipper: But you didn’t have an affinity for printing…
René Ruhland: More image, actually more digital, but not at all print-affine. I also always say we can print, we have a print shop or two, but it’s not our core business. At the core we are an online business, at the core we write software. That’s where my soul is, in product management. But in our business you also have to be able to print.
Bernd Zipper: Definitely. Now you have the most diverse product portfolio, photo books, posters of course, but also art and finished motifs.
René Ruhland: Exactly. We also have ready-made motifs in myposter itself. We play the whole repertoire of what you have in the end customer online sector, from calendars, photo books, photo prints, collages, the whole wall picture series from canvas to acrylic glass and all the framed things. And then we have other companies in the group where we curate and sell art, so to speak. We bought Junique last December.
Bernd Zipper: I find it funny that you say you come from the digital corner. So printing was something you didn’t like in the beginning?
René Ruhland: Because we used to import, we actually always had the problem that we had the wrong product in stock, the wrong motif. And that we also had cash flow problems as a result. In 2009, Marc and I decided to move away from retail. We actually wanted to become a purely digital, online company, but then realised quickly that if you build web-to-print applications, you actually have to print as well. Simply because of the batch size of one, it was the logical way to go. We then bought our first machine in 2010, a small Canon IPF. That’s how we started and grew into it. Today, I would say that we have a lot of fun printing and producing. In the end, printing in large format is only one part. You have to do a lot of finishing work on a canvas, a frame or acrylic glass. Some of it is still very much handicraft. With cards or calendars, of course, there is more printing involved. Or a photo book has to be printed, of course, but in large format there’s always a lot of finishing behind it and that’s super fun for us.
Bernd Zipper: Yes, it’s a huge effort, especially the logistics.
René Ruhland: When you think about how much turnover you get from one hall with cards, calendars, photo books and how many halls you need to get a few thousand canvases out, it is definitely a challenge.
Bernd Zipper: The group also includes a company from France, Art Photo Limited.
René Ruhland: Exactly, we bought that last year, for different reasons. On the one hand, we found the company exciting per se. We also found the area in which we work exciting. Our idea here is that we always have “the most epic” photo. That is, if you think of Queen, that’s the photo we have. The Freddy Mercury one, that photo, we have. That Romy Schneider photo, we have that. We have that iconic picture of Steve McQueen with the gun. It’s all a licensing business. We’re printers there, for example, for the whole Life archive from the US, all the Life covers, so we have these Romy Schneider, JFK photos and many other licences that only we have and they’re super high-priced. It’s niche, but it’s super fun.
Bernd Zipper: You now have 350 employees, five locations and nine markets that you serve. That’s a real success story for a company that operates in the “red ocean”, where many others are active.
René Ruhland: I think we were there at the right time. If you think about it, in 2010/2011 the world still looked a bit different, at least as far as the whole online sector was concerned. We didn’t have a small amount of trade turnover at the time, so we were able to scale production via trade and slowly establish myposter. Myposter was still super small at the time, and few orders came in. One or two or three, as it is at the beginning. But this allowed us to scale production and actually grow quite well with myposter in the years ’11, ’12, ’13, ’14. Although when I look back today, I think to myself that ’14, ’15, ’16 were almost more difficult than today, because a lot of players entered the market back then. I think that many “offline printers” noticed that there was a lot going on in terms of online sales and then they opened web-to-print shops, certainly also thanks to you. That was quite an exciting time. But now the pure online players are united again.
Bernd Zipper: I can reassure you: The ones we looked after, then and now, are still there.
René Ruhland: I’m quite sure of that.
Bernd Zipper: But that’s not the point. It’s not about how glorious that past was, but for me it’s about, given the Red Ocean, what makes you so special in this game? Because there are others who reproduce actor photos. There are others who also do deco and also print pictures and posters. So of course I ask myself: What makes myposter so special? We’re talking about a turnover of almost 100 million.
René Ruhland: Yes, that’s what we wanted to achieve this year, but we won’t quite manage it because we already had a considerable slump with the start of the Ukraine war. Now we are seeing excellent figures, but we also had a few difficult months. But we are scratching the mark.
If I had to say today what the secret of our success was? From the beginning, we only ever paid attention to our digital product. We are totally conversion-driven. We write the configurators ourselves for the whole range of products, from photo books to calendars. Everything is written ourselves. We have always made sure that we have excellent user journeys and that we start at the very beginning with the customer experience. It was always clear to us: you have a brand, you have repeat sales, but we are still operating in a search-driven market. That means you also have customers who search anew every time. But that also means that you have relatively high marketing spends. It was clear to us that it has to convert. And I think we are really good at this conversion game. So, in the end, we are very product-driven in the digital product.
Bernd Zipper: How many people are active in marketing and e-commerce?
René Ruhland: In the whole group or just at myposter? I’m sure we have 50, 60, 65 in marketing, product and software development, but most of them are developers, product managers and marketing.
Bernd Zipper: Many people are certainly asking themselves now, what do they print so that they can earn money? But with you, the approach is really to make the customer feel “hyggelig” and good right from the start.
René Ruhland: That he feels good and then goes through the ordering steps in the shop very quickly […through the ordering steps in the shop]. I think we have also mastered the shift from desktop to mobile very well, even if we look at the conversion today for the topic of photo books in the mobile area, not in the app area at all, but actually web mobile. That also works really well for us. Also the whole uploading, we are browser-based. We have also written a download software, but actually we want to drive the customer online, because he can then switch back and forth everywhere. And we see very good conversion rates for us. That works really well.
Bernd Zipper: What does a good conversion rate mean to you?
René Ruhland: Double-digit.
Bernd Zipper: Significantly?
René Ruhland: Significantly.
Bernd Zipper: Red Ocean, that means many people buy via the price, the lowest price. I have looked at your prices and one could say that there are also cheaper ones.
René Ruhland: We are not the cheapest.
Bernd Zipper: So why do people buy from you then?
René Ruhland: As I said, we do a lot for our brand. We make sure that we have a good brand and in the end we deliver an excellent product. We are extremely quality-driven in terms of what we expect from the product. We use the best machines, we have a lot of colour know-how, we make sure that the file, so to speak, comes perfectly from the web to our productions or to the printers. We make sure that the post-processing fits. We have many frames where the mitre has to fit at the end. There is a lot of manual work involved, also a lot with the stretcher frames or with photo books, which is a bit more standardised in the end. But we make sure that this emotional product – we don’t have a brochure like a Flyeralarm – fits 100 per cent when it goes out to the customer. I believe that the second the customer opens the package and has this “aha” experience and it fits him, he will come back, even if he has paid 10 euros more. In the end, they entrust us with a piece of their most intimate situations.
Bernd Zipper: Besides Junique and Art Photo Limited, you also have Kartenliebe in the group, a producer for cards. But here, too, there are some who already offer that. So Red Ocean again.
René Ruhland: No, not so red.
Bernd Zipper: Not?
René Ruhland: Not quite as red, no. Actually quite good. There were quite different reasons for the card love. For one thing, of course, we were always after the event at myposter. When you order from myposter, the photo is usually taken at an event that’s already over. So you have a little less money because the event was expensive. That’s why you have, I think, a relatively large amount of Red Ocean. But we wanted to give our customers the whole journey. That means we also wanted to place ourselves before the event. And before an event there are often cards involved, invitation cards. That’s how we came to love cards. We had written a photobook configurator in 2017, ’18 and decided to rewrite the configurators to fit the product. With the photo book configurator, we were already relatively close to the card configurator. Therefore, the step from photo book to our own card configurator was not that far for us. And then we thought about whether we could map that on myposter? In the end, we decided to create our own brand just for cards in order to get a higher credibility from the customer. That’s how we did it and we are very satisfied.
Bernd Zipper: I know many large online printers who say to others, “you don’t even need to start, the market is taken”. I don’t see it quite like that. And you? Do you expect more competitors in the market? Or do you see a concentration?
René Ruhland: That’s a good question. I actually expect less competition. If we look at how we are positioned today and also at our competitors, it’s already crazy professional. You underestimate how much software you have to write to display a myposter, or even a card love. It’s also easy to underestimate the complexity of production – all the formats, the finishes, you have to reflect all that somehow in the configurators. That’s why I believe that not so many people are getting involved. As you can see, what’s coming are the big print networks. You definitely have to see what develops from that. Good players can also emerge. But I expect the ones that are there to become stronger and better.
Bernd Zipper: Does that also have to do with slowly understanding the customer better? I think the customer always exists twice: analogue and digital. And what they do in analogue is far from being done in digital, and vice versa. Or is it?
René Ruhland: Absolutely. I believe that the customer group alone is getting younger, that we are also getting younger, so to speak, in the photo sector or in the photo print sector, we definitely have to understand them differently. Also, if you do an image analysis, for example, photos are printed nowadays that we wouldn’t print in our generation because we wouldn’t find them print-worthy. In any case, the customer is changing and you have to respond to that.
Bernd Zipper: Do you notice that more young people are ordering? People always say that young people have nothing to do with print.
René Ruhland: We can’t confirm that.
Bernd Zipper: Okay. Does that mean that something is really happening?
René Ruhland: Something is definitely happening in the app sector. Young people print out the same photo with their best friends, or that selfie at their first concert. That is printed out exactly.
Bernd Zipper: I wouldn’t have thought that young people would get into it like that. Is the app the driver for that?
René Ruhland: To be honest, I can’t answer what the driver is. I believe that in the end the driver is still “the wall” and I believe that the driver is still this children’s room or the youth room or the shared room. I believe that people continue to like to look at a memory. And when they see that memory, it’s longing somewhere, whether that was the party or whether that was the holiday. I believe that nothing has changed in people per se, even though they spend the whole day digitally. When they see something printed out, they can still get excited about it.
Bernd Zipper: You’re a career changer, you’re actually a business graduate, so you don’t come from the printing industry at all, but you’ve been part of it since 2011. What is your view of the printing industry? Have we missed something or what is going on? Why are you successful in a “red market”?
René Ruhland: I believe that this market is not decided in printing. It is decided up front. It is decided in software. It is decided by the customer, it is decided by marketing. Just between us: buying an Indigo and one or two cutting machines and binding machines to make a good photo book. That is feasible. But at the end of the day, it’s important to have the specialists or to have a vision of what a digital product should look like, to clearly set a digital focus and to say: software first. That, I believe, is how you can be successful in a red market. No question, everything has to fit with batch size one. If the photo book costs 30 euros, you still have to be profitable. But if you buy too expensive in front of the customer, then you simply won’t make it; no matter how cheaply you produce. Then all the economies of scale in production won’t help you any more.
In other words, for me it is still a very clear digital game in which you have to play. That’s why printers who actually come from a printing background and want to go online have a harder time than those of us who started digitally and realised that someone has to show us how to print. It’s not enough just to buy a machine.
Bernd Zipper: Why do you print yourselves? Why don’t you have it printed somewhere?
René Ruhland: When we look at what we sell in the long tail, for example in large format, it is extremely versatile. For example, we produce an insane number of frames. I think we have 80 frames at the moment, whether wood, aluminium or plastic. We produce all that ourselves. Even if you look at aluminium and acrylic glass, finer, glossy, matt. Then the papers, Hahnemühle and the like, and all that in batch sizes of one. We have different customers, families, who in the end only want this beach photo printed on canvas, but also photographers who order their products framed in Fine Art Hahnemühle. That’s what we want to offer at myposter, a broad product range. You won’t find any manufacturer who produces everything in a batch size of one and that, we must not forget, also during the peaks of the Christmas business. I don’t think you could scale up like that in the Christmas business for a long time if you didn’t have your own production. It is perhaps different in the calendar sector. There are the big ones of this world, you can dock on with an API and then they print calendars for you. It’s the same with photo books and photo prints – but it’s not the same with cards, because the variety simply brings a certain complexity with it. It’s not like that in large format either, no one scales up aluminium dibond fine art prints for you.
Bernd Zipper: Many of the motifs you have are licensed. Do you have image scouts or something like that who look out for cool images?
René Ruhland: Yes, exactly. At Unique, we are actually an art supplier for decorative art at the moment. But we are changing that now. We will become a marketplace there. That means that in the future you as a creative can simply register and upload your own designs. Before that, there will be a kind of “bouncer” to make sure that everything is of the right quality, but then you will be able to upload the things yourself. And Junique’s brand is such that we get a lot of requests per day, per month, from artists who want to sell with us. We don’t have to worry about content at all.
That’s also one of the reasons why we bought it, because we didn’t have such creative veins in terms of artists at myposter and the other companies. And also from influencer marketing we weren’t quite as strong and we found that with Junique. This creative vein and the whole influencer area, we felt that was a super fit. For one thing, we were then able to produce all the products and we always wanted to build a marketplace. This is now our start for the marketplace. If it goes well, it will become March.
Bernd Zipper: What interests me when you talk about marketplace, influencers and conversion rate. What does a customer cost you until he is with you? Because Google costs money. The click costs money, social media costs money. Influencers cost money.
René Ruhland: That’s really “from to”. It may be that you buy the customers for 20 euros once. But then they have a decent shopping basket, which means you are already profitable. You can certainly buy them cheaper again with very precise influencer campaigns, if you have exactly the right product that fits this target group perfectly. From there, it’s really from, I’ll say, two euros to 25 euros.
Bernd Zipper: What is more worthwhile? More social media or more Google? Because if I type in posters on Google, for example, I have 50 myriads of providers who want to print a poster for me.
René Ruhland: But not from the customer’s point of view, from the customer’s point of view you have a maximum of eight. Maybe even less, maybe only six or seven that are actually relevant for you in the second.
Bernd Zipper: So, which is more successful? Google or social media?
René Ruhland: That is also totally different, depending on the product. There are various items that simply sell super well on Google, such as a poster. The customer is looking for that, which means you know that they are relatively likely to convert. With social media, especially at the time of Christmas, when you go in with calendars and cards, or with photo books – if you know exactly that photo books are coming, then it’s more favourable. It depends totally on the product and the season, you can’t say that.
In the end, you always have the advantage with Google that the customer has entered his search intention. You know that their “willingness to convert” is relatively high. And you don’t have that with social media. If you have a good influencer, he has a quite loyal community, but in the end you don’t know whether the community will be willing to buy this photo book, calendar or whatever in a second or in a week. Therefore, the probability that you will get the conversion with Google is definitely higher.
Bernd Zipper: In 2020 it started with Corona and everyone did Home Interior. And still a little bit in 2021. Was there a hole for you during the Corona crisis?
René Ruhland: No. No, I think, like all online printers, we benefited from it. We had a very small hole, that was about two or three weeks. That was back in March, when we realised that something was not normal. The internet was in a state of shock. But then it exploded (in a good way), as it did for everyone, I think.
Bernd Zipper: What was that moment like where you thought, shock?
René Ruhland: Well. There are three of us on the management board and we also have managing directors at the other companies. We sat down together and said okay, if this continues, what are our options? It then became clear relatively quickly that the short-time work regulation would be redone. In other words, it was dealt with immediately. They said we would look at it for another five, six, seven, eight days and then we would have to make decisions. I think the most important thing is to make decisions. Because it wasn’t home-made, we were able to deal with it quite well. For us it was clear that we did not manage badly. It wasn’t our fault why nothing worked, but it was from outside. Nevertheless, that doesn’t help you, you have to somehow see that you get through it.
But then everything went super fast, and I think two weeks later we suddenly had an extreme buzz. I remember that. It was a Sunday, and we were all in lockdown. We get figures every hour via bots, actual figures from all countries and also forecast figures. I looked in at 12:00 and there was already a crazy number in there. I thought: either the figure is wrong or something has happened to people. There was no summer slump either, it just went full throttle.
Bernd Zipper: And now the war in Ukraine and the associated consumer fears. Do you notice that?
René Ruhland: We actually noticed it, when the Ukraine war started, we were suddenly under fire compared to the previous year. Still strong, even double-digit. But it was a total surprise for us because we didn’t make the connection directly. It then also lasted for two or three months and then it picked up again at the start of the summer holidays. We have been at a very high level since then and have seen extremely good growth. We are now hoping that the Christmas business will go through like that. The only problems that have made it worse are all the supply chains, which were already broken at Corona.
Bernd Zipper: Is there any decision you would say we have really done wrong in this time?
René Ruhland: When I look back today, I think maybe we should have produced masks. When I look at other companies and read the annual reports, I say okay, something could definitely have been done. Otherwise? No.
Bernd Zipper: Let’s hope that things won’t be quite so bad in the next few months, key words being rising costs and customer restraint.
René Ruhland: In the end, I hope that our product continues to be so emotional that we are relevant under the Christmas tree and in the Christmas business. And that when savings are made, savings are made on electrical things and these emotional products are bought from us. I can imagine that maybe the Christmas shopping basket will go down five, six, seven, eight euros, that maybe not two calendars will be bought, or not one calendar plus a photo book, but two cheaper calendars or something. I can imagine that. But of course I hope that things continue to go well for us. But I don’t know what will happen in Q1.
Bernd Zipper: Now you are active in different countries. Was there a different behaviour? So already during the crisis?
René Ruhland: No, not for us. Actually, all our markets exploded. Strangely enough, even in Italy, and at the time when really catastrophic pictures were being seen from there, our Italian figures were very good. That amazed us. But there was just so much volume in the market, so many people wanted to distract themselves and renovate or decorate at home. Therefore, all countries actually performed very well.
Bernd Zipper: But you serve the customers in the countries from Germany?
René Ruhland: Yes. We have two productions, one near Munich, in Dachau in Neukirchen and one in Saxony-Anhalt, in Thalheim.
Bernd Zipper: What I find fascinating is that myposter has become a real brand in a relatively short time, just like Flyeralarm. How important is the work into the brand? Well, you have to invest in brand awareness…
René Ruhland: Invest, yes.
Bernd Zipper: And also make sure that you get noticed. How do you do that?
René Ruhland: We think that is extremely important, even if we are looking to the future. Data protection and most recently the cookie things show again that in the end we will know less and less about the customer. Google will probably not get weaker. Amazon will also become stronger. That means the concentration on two to three really big search volume players will become stronger rather than weaker. That means that for us it is very clear: we are making brand. We have already decided to do this in 2019/2020 and we invest a relatively large amount per year, be it in films, be it in really good campaigns, where we say “okay, it’s not directly the return on investment that counts, but we simply look at how big our reach is.” And then we also do brand surveys before and after.
Bernd Zipper: You also do television, don’t you?
René Ruhland: We have also done television. That’s right. We did a lot in 2021, last year. This year we haven’t done any television yet. We noticed that we already have a relatively strong reach on television, via digital channels like YouTube or something. But still, we will definitely do television again.
Bernd Zipper: If we look at different countries and consider the development potential, how do you see things developing in the future?
René Ruhland: We are concentrating strongly on foreign markets. In France we are, I would say, okay – unfortunately only. If you look at the number of inhabitants and our turnover, we should actually be doing more if you look at Germany in comparison. I do believe that the countries will continue to grow well. I believe that Germany has already reached the end of the line. People are always surprised that it keeps growing. But I believe that it is no longer market growth in the large format. There is still a bit of market growth in the photo book sector, a bit in the photo print sector, because people are moving away from the drugstores. But in large format, the other countries are definitely more exciting.
Bernd Zipper: What is the share? So how many per cent Germany and how many abroad?
René Ruhland: Just under 50 per cent is still Germany, the rest is already abroad.
Bernd Zipper: That’s neat, but it also has logistical challenges again.
René Ruhland: It has logistical challenges, yes. It becomes more expensive per package. And sometimes you don’t get the price in the countries either. You also have to remember that Germany is still an affluent country. That means the canvas still costs money and you don’t quite get that in the other countries.
Bernd Zipper: Wallpapers are a big topic right now. Is that not something for you?
René Ruhland: Yes, indeed. We also sell wallpapers on myposter. On a totally small scale. If you look at the wallpaper volume from the search volume, it’s enormously high – we do far too little for that. I think it’s similar to maps. It’s a very special market and if you want to attack it properly, you have to concentrate fully and do something of your own. Because especially with photo wallpapers, you are also in competition with the producers who serve the trade. The quality of the wallpaper is different from what you and I imagine. I believe that a lot of search volume goes into it. That’s why you have to be very determined. For us, this is a totally marginal area. We also print wallpapers to measure, everything is automated online in the configurator and it’s also okay, but I couldn’t even tell you the exact turnover. But it will be something in the six figures. Not seven figures.
Bernd Zippper: If you look ten years into the future, where do you see yourselves? Do you have a dream or a vision?
Rene Ruhland: There is no dream. There is certainly a vision in my head, which is always changing. Or also in Anna’s head, in Marc’s head. I think that the market is developing strongly to include the template theme. We also have a lot of potential in the photo book sector. And also in the photo print sector, I think that quite a lot is leaving the drugstore market. At least we notice that we are growing strongly in this area. And as far as the marketplace dynamics are concerned, I believe that there is still a lot to be gained. Also if you look at the internationalisation, if you look at the big print networks.
Bernd Zipper: Personally, I believe less in this template issue, to be honest. Instant Design has customers, no question, and it will continue to have customers. But I don’t really believe that it is a boom growth market. I believe that the growth market will be the one that enables customers to curate their data more easily, i.e. to put together a photo book.
René Ruhland: Totally. If you look purely at photo books now …
Bernd Zipper: … cards in the same way.
René Ruhland: We also see that with myposter. We also have an app that actually works very well and also a very good team, so we are already able to simplify the design. So with a photo book you can just select your date and say you were there from the first of December to the twelfth of December and then we push that into a micro service like this, then we create your photo book for you, we also pull out the doubles and the triples, quadruples, see if you shot them or not and then we knock out a perfectly finished photo book for you. It’s used very often and it’s very fast.
Bernd Zipper: I call it interactive curation.
René Ruhland: Exactly, we already have that. That works super well, too. Then we have the other curation, which we call Rocket Mode. You go there, take your 200 pictures and then we also create a photo book. Then we ask you what you want it sorted by, by time or whatever? You just have to choose your cover. Exactly, those are the ways. If you don’t have that in mind or if you don’t have it under control, then you’re going to have a problem anyway.
Bernd Zipper: That’s right.
René Ruhland: That’s what I mean, clearly thinking online and that will definitely be the future in the photo book sector. The whole thing about sharing pictures or joint books. All people work on it, and in the end something is created. All this interactivity that has to take place. Definitely.
Bernd Zipper: How do you see interactivity, i.e. the linking of digital and the printed book, i.e. the photo book? Are there any other services that you can offer, that you can save your pictures and then you only have to print a photo book once a year, or that you can invite people with a QR code? Do you have any ideas?
René Ruhland: We do, so we have the QR code theme, which is called scrapbooks in our app, for example. You can either hold out the QR code, then you are linked, so to speak, and then the other person can add pictures to your picture pool. But you can also simply share this QR code via WhatsApp and then the whole family or whoever you invite can select pictures on their device and then they have them immediately in their photo book. We have features like that, it all runs in the app for us, and it works pretty well. Will a photo book like this develop further digitally? Do you think you can get more interactivity into it?
Bernd Zipper: For example.
René Ruhland: That videos are played or something?
Bernd Zipper: So far, the attempts I’ve seen are ambitious. But I didn’t think it was that cool.
René Ruhland: I think it’s always like that at the beginning. Someone has to take the first step, and it’s not that great, and the second one gets better and the third iteration is also better. I believe that a lot is happening, but even there: yes, you can build all that, all the technology and all the software, in the end it’s about where do you get the customer? And do you have the right moment and what do you pay for it? Because it’s no use, no matter how good your app is, in the end someone has to download it and trust you, your brand, that you have a decent product. So, I always say, it always starts with that download and that first contact. And sometimes it doesn’t matter how good your technology is.
Bernd Zipper: Okay. What does the photo book of the future look like to you?
René Ruhland: The same as now.
Bernd Zipper: Okay… You know what I wish? Do you know Harry Potter? When you open a book, you have the page and you see that “still pictures” become moving pictures for a few seconds. That’s what I wish for.
René Ruhland: I was recently at the Bits and Pretzels, someone came up to me, two young guys. And they developed a photo book with a small screen inside.
Bernd Zipper: I did that myself a few years ago. In that case it was for a big German trade fair and also for a car manufacturer. But I find the monitor boring. No, I want to have paper, just that something moves. So I really hope that this will happen at some point.
René Ruhland: You would need hologram images…
Bernd Zipper: No, that’s too boring. Holograms are nice, but at least it would be a start.
René Ruhland: That didn’t work. There was this French company. But unfortunately it closed down.
Bernd Zipper: I also think that the problem is again creating the content. But nevertheless, I still dream of other things.
René Ruhland: About what?
Bernd Zipper: Of interactive packaging, for example. I have so many thoughts and ideas about this – and even more questions.
But I look at the clock and have to say that was the first strike. We need to talk again. I was thinking during this podcast that I should get you together with someone else and we’ll do a three-way podcast and talk about this linking analogue, digital, print.
René Ruhland: I’d be happy to do that.
Bernd Zipper: And with that I already have a suspense curve for everyone listening out there. Also for Anna and Marc, whom I would like to greet again at this point, and René, thank you for being with us at Zipper’s Insights.
René Ruhland: Thank you very much.