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Full-Time Employment, Sets New Record, Up +904,000, But Does It Really Feel that Good?

The May employment report was regarded as good, but when you dig past the top-level numbers, it was better than it looked. However, while the 3.8% unemployment rate looks good on the surface, it really can’t be compared to when it was last attained nearly 20 years ago. So many workers left the workforce that this figure implies a tighter labor than it really is. We will really know we have a strong economy when the active labor force starts increasing.


Around the Web: GDPR as Sleep Therapy – Vintage NSA Workplace Posters – “Smart Hemp” – New iOS AR Features – Mary Meeker Slide Roulette – Mermaids for Hire – This Week in Printing History

Government Attic discovered a load of NSA workplace posters from the 50s, 60s, and 70s—you can even get them on a T shirt. A 3D printer outputs custom-designed pancakes. Don’t call it “dope”: hemp used for intelligent textiles. A random slide from Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends Report.” What happened this week in printing and publishing history. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.


Corrugated Gets Glam—May 2018 M&A Activity

DS Smith builds out US platform in corrugated, Traxium acquires two, LSC buys and sells, Deluxe automates soft skill, and more.


Pricing for Digital Part 2: Hurdles in Demonstrating Value through Services (Premium Content)

As digital delivery proliferates within the customer communications market, service providers with a legacy in print have been challenged to devise pricing models that position their operations for long-term sustainability. As part of its recently published research study entitled Pricing for Digital: Exploring New Models for Transactional Communications Delivery, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends conducted more than a dozen in-depth interviews with print service providers in North America to gain a deeper understanding of the primary pricing obstacles that stakeholders face in today’s changing market. The second in a three-part series, this article examines the hurdles that providers encounter in the market as they attempt to demonstrate value through their services.


The Selling Power of a Successful Client Event (Premium Content)

A successful client event can drive a lot of business your way, and deepen relationships with your customers. This week, Trish will share the secrets of successful events, along with some of the biggest mistakes that can trip up even the most well-intentioned host.


Coloreel Tackles Thread Waste (Premium Content)

What if you could cost-effectively color thread on demand? You know exactly how much of each color you need and in what order. You produce what you need, and you can do even very complex embroidery designs using a single head. That’s a dream that’s rapidly becoming a reality. Coloreel is another example of thread on demand in action. We spoke to CEO Mattias Nordin to take a deeper look.


Are You Sending Personalization that Isn’t Personal?

This morning, I received a personalized email that was anything but personal. While this was an email, the mistake could easily have ended up in print, and it offers object lessons for all of us. Before we send out anything data-driven, let’s make sure it reads as if it was written by a human being.


Canon Launches Océ LabelStream 4000 5-Color UV Inkjet and Flexo Hybrid Press (Premium Content)

Canon is not just entering the label and packaging press market, but challenging the current label press market with the new Océ LabelStream 4000, a 5-color inkjet hybrid UV press that continues to show their strengths in production inkjet.


Experiential Graphics Are a Growing Subset of Wide Format, But Can Require a Different Approach in Terms of Sales and Production (Premium Content)

“Experiential graphics” are a form of interior décor that are becoming a fast-growing part of wide-format and signage. Pursuing that particular application requires a somewhat different strategy than traditional commercial printing—or even traditional wide-format printing.


Gerber Technology: Advancing Automation in Fashion and Apparel (Premium Content)

For 50 years, Gerber Technology has been providing solutions for the fashion and apparel industry, from planning through sourcing and production. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Karsten Newbury, Senior Vice President and General Manager, and Mary McFadden, Executive Director, CAD Product Management, to learn about the company’s latest offerings and how they help the industry in the analog-to-digital transformation.


Around the Web: E License Plates – Direct-to-Egg Printing – Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report – 36 Days of Type – This Week in Printing History

California experiments with E Ink-based license plates. Mary Meeker’s hotly anticipated annual Internet trends presentation has arrived. The first “cyberattack” took place nearly 200 years ago. A beautiful and brilliant collection of crowdsourced letter and number designs. ANA Acquires DMA. What happened this week in printing and publishing history. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.


USPS Challenge: “Mr. Scratch-Off” Digital Variable Scratch and Reveal Technology (Premium Content)

In the ongoing search for new print techniques and technologies for mail, Trish highlights an exciting digital variable scratch-off collaboration between Mohawk, HP and Lawton Connect in Orlando.


Pricing for Digital Part 1: Overcoming Obstacles on the Path to Profitable Pricing (Premium Content)

As digital delivery proliferates within the customer communications market, service providers with a legacy in print have been challenged to devise pricing models that position their operations for long-term sustainability. As part of its recently published research study entitled Pricing for Digital: Exploring New Models for Transactional Communications Delivery, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends conducted more than a dozen in-depth interviews with print service providers in North America to gain a deeper understanding of the primary pricing obstacles that stakeholders face in today’s changing market. The first in a three-part series, this article explores the hurdles that providers encounter in the market and considers the approaches they have developed as they attempt to establish profitable pricing models.


Learn from Print Sales Losses (Premium Content)

When you lose a sales deal, how does your company react? Do you have a culture of learning from losses or do you have a culture of blaming? A sales loss is a treasure trove of learning—successful companies evaluate and adjust for their next pitch.


Looking for Cool Leggings? Check Out Bombsheller and Its On-Demand Manufacturing Model (Premium Content)

Pablos Holman is a serial entrepreneur whose latest venture is Bombsheller, an online source for leggings manufactured on demand. Customers can select from more than a thousand designs, or upload their own, and each pair of leggings, which are available in 10 sizes, is digitally printed, cut, and sewn, with shipment in 24 hours in most cases.


What Do These 5 “Mail Trends” Tell Us?

These five mail trends from DirectMail 2.0 raise interesting questions about how we are (or are not) proving the value of print and the opportunities that are lost when we don’t.


Breaking Into the “European” Print Market: Understand Geographies and Cultures (Premium Content)

Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV kicks off a new series of editorials offering advice for U.S. companies seeking to enter the European print market. In this first installment, Reitoft stresses that “Europe” is not a single, monolithic market.


Kudos to Canon Solutions Americas on Great QR Code Implementation

Canon Solutions America’s use of QR Codes in a recent white paper is a great example of everything done right. This is a model of how to do QR Codes well.


Around the Web: Investing in the Swamp – The Quest for Red Pigment – Scented Postage – The Retail Apocalypse Deferred – Blockchain and Digital Signage – Towel Day

Investing in companies by how much they spend on lobbying. Searching for a safe, bright red pigment. Making your mail smell like popsicles. Exaggerating the death of retail. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.


Highlights from the 2018 National Postal Forum (Premium Content)

Earlier this month, the National Postal Forum (NPF) celebrated its 50th anniversary in San Antonio, Tex., with more than 4,000 professionals from the mailing and shipping industry. In addition to the five primary educational tracks over the four-day event, NPF had nearly 130 exhibitors in the exhibitor hall. This analysis provides highlights from the NPF’s Opening General Session, as well as an overview of the USPS’s latest innovations.


Microfactories and Automation the Stars at TechTextil/TexProcess (Premium Content)

WhatTheyThink attended TechTextil/TexProcess in Atlanta, and one of the key messages that came out of the show was the fact that apparel microfactories are a reality. This brings many advantages to the apparel industry, especially in North America and Europe where there is a move to re-shore some part of apparel manufacturing.


Lumii: A Unique New Solution for Label and Packaging Security (Premium Content)

At RADTECH, David Zwang saw an interesting solution from a young startup company, LUMII, for label and packaging security. Imagine a high-tech moiré that can provide visually 3D security printing inline without the need for external embellishments or to apply post print.


Web-to-Print is a Tool for Your Customers (Premium Content)

Prepress automation, streamlining your customer service department, and reducing the time between inquiry and jobs getting on press – these are common feature requests for web-to-print systems. They are all about you (the printer) – web-to-print isn’t about you! Web-to-print is for your customers!


In The Mail: May 2018 - What You Need to Know About Postal Issues (Premium Content)

NPF Report: USPS puts the spotlight on Informed Delivery & Informed Visibility; PMG Brennan speaks of “shared purpose”…BOG nominees advance…Taskforce gets August deadline…Senator proposes postal banks.


Good News Could Be a Full-Time Job, but for Most Economists It’s Only Part-Time (Premium Content)

Some people say that the news is always bad, and they wish someone would report good news now and then. There is good news but no one seems to report it. You’d think that would be a full time job for someone. The economy has set a record for full time employment, and all we hear are crickets. The economy has been doing better lately in some key measures of employment, but the Fed is scaring markets by preparing to raise rates. TINA, meet TAMA, the result of the Fed’s actions; don’t worry, we’ll explain it. The statisticians at the Commerce Department revised printing shipments data. Revising data seems to be a full time job in the Beltway. Dr. Joe clarifies it all for one nearly last time.


Textiles and Corrugated Take the Spotlight at FESPA Berlin (Premium Content)

Textiles and corrugated were the two major themes of this year’s FESPA Global Print Expo. Here are some quick hits from the show.


Consumer Durable Goods Orders Moving at Almost 2X GDP Rate

Durable goods orders for consumers (less transportation) are growing at a rate almost two times faster than Real GDP. This data series remains -14% below where it was at the start of the recession in December 2017, and is a critical one to monitor for indications of an improved economy.


Around the Web: Digital ad Revenue - Digitally Colored Embroidery - Media Consumption Habits

Digital ad revenue, digitally colored embroidery, and curbing your media consumption. All that and more this week in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.


Throwback Thursday, Bindery Edition: Trish Asks Trade Binderies About Their Most Useful Vintage Machines (Premium Content)

In this special Throwback Thursday feature, Trish reaches out to trade binderies to hunt for funky vintage machines that are still useful in today’s modern workflow. This first edition features fascinating finds from four well-known US binderies.


Quad/Graphics Accelerated Insights: A Digital Revolution in Direct Mail Testing

Quad/Graphics has launched Accelerated Insights, a cloud-based software tool to enhance—and some might even say revolutionize—direct mail testing. This article explores the features of Accelerated Insights and describes its effects on direct mailing.


Flies on the Wall: On Sale Now

Psychographic targeting is easier than ever. But can it be trusted? If it can, why aren’t more printers using it? A look inside psychographic targeting and its benefits.


Delegate the Right Jobs to Software (Premium Content)

Every industry is being transformed by a new staffing option for the “jobs to be done” and that staffing option is software. Your business needs to get stuff done—some of that stuff needs to be done by humans and a lot of that stuff needs to be done by software.


FESPA Day 2: Whetting the Palate...

WhatTheyThink is live at FESPA Berlin 2018 on Day 2 of the show. Welcome to the concept of the microfactory.


Intelligent Packaging Creates New Markets for Print Industry (Premium Content)

In 2018, the combined active and intelligent packaging market value is projected to reach $5.68 billion and will continue to present new value-adding options in the future according to the latest market analysis from Smithers Pira. Read on for more highlights of Smithers Pira’s latest report.


FESPA 2018 Opens in Berlin

The FESPA Global Print Expo 2018 kicked off in Berlin this morning. Here is a quick teaser of some early show highlights.


Where Are Marketers Getting Their Data?

According to new research, marketers are increasingly investing in second- and third-party data to create 360-degree views of their customers. Are your customers doing the same? Are they prepared to compete? Read more. 


Wide Format: Now and Venn (Premium Content)

What do we talk about when we talk about “wide format”? How is the term definitionally changing—and what does it even mean anymore? And more importantly, how does whatever we define as “wide format” play nice with other kinds of printing such as industrial, packaging, and commercial? And how can we navigate the “convergence” of these different print silos? Read on for more.


Q1-2018 Rises +2.3%, Slower Rate than Q4-2017

The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ advance report estimated that Q1-2018 real gross domestic product was up at an annual rate of +2.3%, which was slower than the +2.9% for Q4-2017. Because companies and individuals, especially corporations, shifted expenses into 2017 and delayed revenue recognition to 2018 to take advantage of the rates in the new tax law, many key economic data series—such as this one—will be subject to larger than usual revision.


Around the Web - Recommended Reading from the WhatTheyThink Team

Blockchain, Buffett, and blurring boundaries. Silk and sneakers. One space or two? WhatTheyThink’s new regular Friday feature, Around the Web, presents a miscellany of random news items that caught the attention of our contributors this week. Read on for more.


Marketing and Publishing Guru Seth Godin to Keynote PRINT 18

Seth Godin, world-renowned entrepreneur and marketing and publishing guru, will be keynoting this September’s PRINT 18. Cary Sherburne spoke to him about the changing role of print in today’s marketing and publishing landscape. Read on for some insights from one of today’s thought leaders.


New Trends in Color Management (Premium Content)

Managing color in today’s ever-changing environment has long been a challenge for printers. No two scanners, monitors, or printers will reproduce colors identically, making it necessary to implement specialized color management systems to achieve an exact match across devices. This article explores some of the options that are available for printers.


Xerox: Innovation and/or Investment (Premium Content)

Xerox has just introduced the very interesting Xerox® IridesseTM Production Press into the global market, the latest electrophotographic machine in its product lineup. With all of the media hype surrounding the Xerox Fujifilm merger, this new press shows how well Xerox and Fuji Xerox can work together to create technology that brings innovation and value to the market and the company, something you may not be hearing in the distracting news streams. Read on for more.


The Pre-Mortem to a Print MIS Transition (Premium Content)

If you’re on your way to embarking on a Print MIS transition, then you need to sit down and pretend the whole thing was a spectacular failure. Once you’re in that uncomfortable place—work backwards and build a plan to prevent its untimely death.


How MakerBot Is Shaping a 3D Future in Industry and Education (Premium Content)

For a dozen years, Forrest Leighton held marketing roles at Canon USA, and then spent four years with Marcomm Central. Today, he is Vice President of Marketing at MakerBot, a Stratasys company and a global leader in desktop 3D printing solutions. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with him recently to learn more about MakerBot and how 3D printing might be a relevant opportunity for commercial, sign & display graphics, packaging and textile printers.


Getting Flexible in Your Middle Years – April 2018 M&A Activity

Transcontinental TC closes transformative transactions, ProAmpac buys, commercial printers actively acquire; Herbie finally retires, and more.


Standfast & Barracks: Naught to 50% Digital Textile Printing in Five Years (Premium Content)

Changing market dynamics, including the increasing proliferation of digital printing technologies for textiles and apparel, are boosting reshoring efforts in many countries. UK-based Standfast & Barracks has worked closely with digital textile printer manufacturer Durst to help accelerate this trend using its Durst Alpha Series digital textile printers. Read more.


InPrint Reflections: Moving the (Digitally Printed) Goalposts

A major theme of last week’s InPrint Industrial Inkjet Conference in Chicago was the emerging distinction between two specific kinds of industrial printing: printing as part of a larger manufacturing process and what we have often called specialty printing. The conference explored the differences between them, where the growth areas are, and what the drivers of that growth are. Read on for some reflections on the conference.


A Big Focus on Small Print Shops (Premium Content)

Smaller print shops face many of the same challenges as larger shops, so the need for a single system of record to manage the business is just as critical. Until recently, the only solution was purchasing an expensive print MIS with integration capabilities and pay for professional services to set up the connectivity to the other software solutions. This article explores how things are beginning to change for the better for small print shops.


Faces of Finishing: Julie Watson of Ultimate TechnoGraphics on Building Software for Prepress-to-Finishing Automation (Premium Content)

In the latest installment of this interview series, Trish Witkowski talks with Julie Watson, CEO of Ultimate Technographics, about developing software that drives value by eliminating touchpoints in the bindery.


Stunning 3D Printed Garments a Revolutionary Idea (Premium Content)

Tel Aviv-based fashion designer Danit Peleg creates custom garments and accessories using desktop 3D printers. Today, Peleg is also in the process of creating and uploading to her site designs that can be downloaded and printed. Read on for more on her unique projects.


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