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Embellishments: What’s Old Is New Again and Still Adds Value!—Part 1 (Premium Content)

Embellishment has been a function of print production for as long as there has been printing. In fact, it almost goes back to the beginning of the writing of documents. There is no doubt that embellishment does add value to the printed product. Especially with the more recent introduction of digital embellishment technologies, designed to complement digital printing technologies. New developments in digital embellishment are happening all the time now that it has finally begun to capture market awareness. In part one of this two-part feature, David Zwang will look at the added value and long history of embellishments.


So Many Uses for Cotton! Who Knew? (Premium Content)

At TechTextil North America, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne stopped by the Cotton, Inc., booth to learn what’s new with this staple fiber (pardon the pun) and was amazed at all the uses cotton is being put to these days. It’s not just for T-shirts anymore!


CJK Group Opens Next Chapter with Loan-to-Own Strategy—March 2019 M&A Activity

Thomson-Shore under the Gavel, Salem One and Envision3 Acquire Mailing Services, and more…


Windigo Signs Takes Soft Signage to the Next Level (Premium Content)

Printed textiles are rapidly replacing vinyl and rigid materials for signage, and Tempe, Ariz.’s Next Level Signs has leapt into so-called “soft signage.” Founder Mark Baldwin has launched a sister company Windigo Signs to offer a robust, custom-made, and weather-resistant alternative for outdoor soft signage mounting.


Business Conditions: Up in 2018, Optimism High for 2019

In Winter 2018/2019, we conducted our annual Print Business Outlook Survey and found that business in 2018 was perceived by survey respondents as overall pretty good: 42% said that revenues had increased by six percent or more compared to 2017.


Around the Web: iPhone Airbags (no, not the users). April Fool’s Folly. In Praise of Jet Lag. 3D Color Matching. Screen Sharing Horror Stories. No eBooks for You. One Ruler to Rule Them All.

April Fool’s Day: some cautionary tales. Pantone’s color matching for 3D printing. Be careful when you share your screen. Repossessing eBooks. Gin and tonic toothpaste. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


On the Edge: DSCOOP Moves

DSCOOP is a mature show, so its organizers are continually seeking ways to innovate, educate, and inspire. This article provides some key highlights from this year’s event and the DSCOOP Edge agenda.


Secure Printing Is an Industry-Wide Challenge (Premium Content)

Security printing is no longer about just about foiling counterfeiters. From packaging to book printers to retail to businesses that serve the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, along with financial printers, protection of files and products must be considered. There is a need for a broader definition of what security printing means and for a greater number of print providers to think of themselves as “security printers.” Maybe instead it should be called “secure printing.”


“Alexa, Tell Me About Voice Technology”: A Conversation with Bradley Metrock of Score Publishing (Premium Content)

Voice technology is appearing in more and more places—and is starting to become relevant to printing and publishing. WhatTheyThink talks to Bradley Metrock, CEO of Score Publishing, producer of the VoiceFirst Events portfolio which includes The Alexa Conference, the Voice of the Car Summit, and Digital Book World, about the current and future state of voice technology.


ISA Sign Expo Heads Back to Vegas (Premium Content)

ISA Sign Expo 2019 heads to Las Vegas later this month, with four days of educational sessions and its continuously expanding exhibition floor. We spoke with Brandon Hensley, ISA’s Chief Operating Officer, and Iain Mackenzie, ISA’s VP of Meetings & Events, about what’s new this year.


Sustainability Initiatives to Impact Growing Functional and Barrier Coatings Market, According to Smithers Pira

Functional and barrier coatings are extremely important in the production of paper and board packaging as they provide a protective barrier against water and water vapor, oil and grease, and oxygen and aromas. The barrier coatings industry faces ongoing change in preferred material usage as governments and brands increasingly look for alternatives to plastic packaging for sustainability and recycling purposes. A new report from Smithers Pira details these new sustainability initiatives.


When Mayhem Calls: Part Three (Premium Content)

Business as usual is great...when business is usual. But what happens when disaster or some other disruption hits the shop? It can be a business killer if it prevents execution of contracted customer work. Do you have an emergency plan? In Part Three of this series, Pat McGrew offers tips on setting up contingency plans for when mayhem calls.


Early Express Rocks with Direct Mail Retargeting

Direct mail retargeting used to be a new and untested technique. Today, an increasing number of PSPs are offering it, and the results are pouring in. Here are two terrific examples from Early Express.


Unique.Fashion Provides Tools, Community for Designers (Premium Content)

The Fashion Institute of Technology and OnPoint Manufacturing yesterday announced a new development in fashion design that will enable more entrepreneurism to occur in this market. Unique.Fashion is a unique web portal for designers and buyers that is set to transform how fashion is marketed and produced. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with OnPoint Chairman Kirby Best to learn more.


PR Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 8,219 establishments classified as PR Agencies. By 2016, there had been a net gain of +3.2%.


Around the Web: Inside the NYT Printing Plant. Semantic Satiation. NYC’s LED Barge. The Infinite CVS Receipt. Rebuild Your Business. Are App Users Happy? “Harvesting Garfields.”

“The craft, precision, and unexpected beauty of the newspaper printing process.” Rebirth of a paper mill. Keyless in New York. The 14th-Century Mappa Mundi. “Alien”: The Play. Garfield phones storm the beaches. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Is Your Print Production Lifted by a Platform?

The first platforms appeared over four years ago and have steadily increased their performance, functionality, and partnerships over time. This article explores the characteristics of true print workflow platforms and discusses how platforms can benefit print production.


Buying Web-to-Print Software Under Duress (Premium Content)

Your customers want convenience. Printers who prioritize around making it easy to do business with their customers will differentiate themselves. Don’t wait until your best customers demand online ordering and self-service access to the business they do with you—do it proactively and strategically instead of under duress.


Do You Practice This Art of Top Print Executives?

There is a trait that top executives of growing print companies share. It’s the art of being still and listening. Here are three examples of how top print executives do this in their own way...and why.


There Are Opportunities in Labels and Packaging—But Where Do You Start? (Premium Content)

Whether you are already a converter or are a print service provider looking at expanding your product and services portfolio, it is important to develop a long-term strategy in order to capture your share of the changing and developing market. In this new series, David Zwang takes a deep dive into the opportunities, changes, and challenges that you need to focus on in Labels and Packaging.


Graphene in Action: The Kyorene Story (Premium Content)

We recently wrote about graphene as a miracle product. At TechTextil 2019, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was able to see graphene in action, courtesy of Kyorene. In this story, she speaks with Matt Reid, the company’s director of sales, about current and future strategies of the business, and how he expects to see graphene impact the textiles market.


Printing Industry Profits: Urban Sprawl in the Tale of Two Cities

Overall, annualized printing industry profits for Q4 2018 were $3.66 billion—not a massive gain from Q3 but a gain nonetheless (we’ll take it). It also appears that the “tale of two cities” trend is—at least temporarily—on hold.


Around the Web: State Books. Speaking of Food. New Words in the OED. Gen Z and Sustainable Streetwear. “The Scream” Reconsidered. Lost in MySpace. In Praise of Newsletters.

Which book was the most popular in your state in 2018? Did early humans' dietary changes affect speech? What new words did the OED add to the English lexicon? How are Gen Zers’ sustainable buying preferences driving new apparel products? Is Munch’s “Scream” guy actually screaming? People still use MySpace? Have you heard Vienna’s Vegetable Orchestra? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


The Print Management Market: Where Is it Growing and How Big Can it Get?

Through consolidated purchasing, print management providers offer cost savings and upgraded efficiencies that in-plants struggle to match, as well as a wider array of products, applications, and expertise than a single print manufacturer can manage. This article provides an overview of the print management market and discusses key opportunities for growth.


Why Do You Need a Print MIS Administrator? (Premium Content)

Software is like a press; it needs to be staffed. Software is like a press; it needs to be maintained. Software is like your business; it needs to keep evolving. Your most important piece of software is your Print MIS—dedicate the tasks of your Print MIS to one individual.


Forget Passalongs—What If Print Is “Shared” Instead?

Traditionally, when people share a printed piece they have received with others, we use the term “pass-along.” But what if we want to think about print in a more current context? What if we started using the term “shared” instead?” In other words, what if we started thinking about print the same way we think about digital channels?


A Legal Alien in New York (Premium Content)

Our European correspondent reports from the US, and reminds us that small cultural differences can affect how we communicate with each other.


Is Personalization Important to Labels and Packaging? (Premium Content)

We have all seen the studies and even experienced first-hand the value of personalization in direct mail and other forms of communication. But what about the value of personalization in products and packaging? There are a lot of projections into what the market value “could” be, but how do you take advantage of that?


Retail Expert Shares Thoughts on Digital Transformation (Premium Content)

While the retail and apparel industries are moving to more digital technologies and processes, many observers still believe we are in the infancy of the analog-to-digital transformation the industry will ultimately need to undergo. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently spoke to a digital advocate to gain insight into the industry’s progress. Kelly Price, Director of Business Development for consulting firm ArcherGrey, made some interesting observations.


Around the Web: Tome Readers. Apple iArmor? Laptop Typewriter. Tiny Tomes. Sappy Sentiment. Me+Moo.

Print books remain more popular than digital formats. Save the date: WTIN’s digital textile webinar. The first laptop typewriter. Why did people stop wearing hats? An exhibition of really tiny books. Unlucky in love? Try writing to a tree. (No, not D. Eadward Tree.) All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Advertising Agency Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 13,248 establishments classified as Advertising Agencies. By 2016, there had been a net gain of +1.0%, the ups and downs reflecting the changing role of the ad agency.


What Hololens 2 Means for PSPs

Last month, Microsoft announced the introduction of its Hololens 2 mixed reality headset. This article explores what the upcoming product could mean to the print market, while grounding print service providers’ expectations.


Give Your Employees Better Tools (Premium Content)

New software tools are often rejected because the humans feel like their jobs are being replaced by computers. Software does math better, faster, and more accurately than humans—that is not debatable. But new tools augment brainpower—not replace it.


Do You Know the Psychology of Discounts and Deals?

Part of being a marketing services provider is helping your clients with their marketing, and this goes beyond integrating marketing channels and improving databases. It includes selecting and tweaking the right offers, too. Studies on this topic provide fascinating insight into the psychology of discounts and deals.  


When Mayhem Calls: Part Two (Premium Content)

Business as usual is great...when business is usual. But what happens when disaster or some other disruption hits the shop? It can be a business killer if it prevents execution of contracted customer work. Do you have an emergency plan? In part two of this new series, Pat McGrew offers tips on planning for the worst and how to manage customer expectations.


TechTextil 2019 Generates Inspiration, Excitement (Premium Content)

Techtextil North America was a success by any measure. The show, which moved from Chicago to Raleigh N.C., drew more than 3,000 textile and apparel professionals and included an impressive symposium program. Cary Sherburne provides a quick summary.


Printing Outlook 2019—Has the Industry Turned a Corner? (Premium Content)

WhatTheyThink’s annual printing industry outlook report, including the results of our Winter 2018–2019 Business Outlook survey, is now available in our Report Store. This article offers some of the top-level results from that survey.


December 2018 Printing Shipments: Ending 2018 on a High(ish) Note

Printing shipments for December 2018 came in at $6.40 billion. In keeping with the industry’s new seasonality, that’s down from November, but higher than December 2017—but just barely.


Around the Web: Forensic Fashion. Grayscale iPhone Display. 3D-Printed Orthotics. Hypnotic Password Retrieval. Independent Bookstore Owners Help Out One of Their Own.

Forensic garment analysts. Fast fashion and the environment. A toast matching system. John Steinbeck sends Marilyn Monroe a fan letter...sort of. Death of a robot. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


Platinum Equity Likes Print—February 2019 M&A Activity

Multi-Color Corporation taken private, McCormick Armstrong joins list of defunct web offset printers, trade-only printers trade hands, and more…


InPrint USA to Showcase the Latest Industrial Printing Opportunities

InPrint USA heads to Louisville, Ky., to showcase the latest opportunities for commercial printers in the fast-growing area(s) of industrial printing. Richard Romano offers a preview, and talks with InPrint co-founder Frazer Chesterman about the show and industrial printing.


FiberForce Partners with Pantone to Bring Professional Color to 3D Printing Filaments (Premium Content)

Last month, Pantone entered into an agreement with FiberForce Italy to bring Pantone colors into the world of 3D printing. Although color has been available in 3D printing filaments and powders for some time, there has been no standard way to ensure users achieve the color they are truly looking for. All of that changes with this partnership. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with both Pantone and FiberForce to learn more.


Automation on Display at Hunkeler Innovationdays: Watch Out for the Robot!

During odd-numbered years, the Hunkeler-sponsored Innovationdays event in Luzern, Switzerland, features finishing solutions for the transactional, commercial graphic arts, and book industries. This article provides a brief overview of the announcements that brought the theme of automation to the forefront at this year’s event.


Is the Offer One of Your Database Variables?

To move the needle on direct mail responses, your customers may change up their copy, their images, or their list. But what about their offers? A new Bed Bath & Beyond mailer raises an interesting question.


The Importance of Uninterrupted Time in a Print Business (Premium Content)

Your print business is being invaded by software tools. These tools require a level of thinking/concentration that requires blocks of uninterrupted time for your employees. Without this uninterrupted time, your software will remain grossly underutilized and lacking measurable ROI.


When Mayhem Calls: Part One (Premium Content)

Business as usual is great...when business is usual. But what happens when disaster or some other disruption hits the shop? It can be a business killer if it prevents execution of contracted customer work. Do you have an emergency plan? In part one of this new series, Pat McGrew offers tips on planning for the worst.


World on the Windows: The Changing Face of Window Graphics (Premium Content)

Window graphics are a growing subset of wide-format printing, and are popping up in more and more locations, both public and private, and new films and materials are making window graphics more versatile and eye-catching than ever. Printing is the easy part; it’s installation that can cause problems, and eat into your profitability. Here are some dos and don’t for working with window graphics.


Roland DGA Enters Direct to Garment Market (Premium Content)

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Roland DGA President Andrew Oransky about the company’s entry into the direct-to-garment (DTG) market as well as its overall go-to-market strategy and its future plans relative to direct-to-textile printing.


Advertising and Related Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 38,335 establishments classified as Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services. By 2016, there had been a net loss of -1.2%. This is a very broad industry classification, comprising a disparate bunch of business types, each of which has its own unique dynamics.


Around the Web: Traveling Texts. Fit to Be Untied. Kodak Film Is Da Bomb. Uber Economics. Office Space Turns 20. Paper Fold-Away Bed. Lunar Library. Bridge of Size.

Getting a text from sender to receiver. The Internet of shoes. Nuclear testing and Kodak film. An oral history of “Office Space.” In praise of standards. Retrieving DNA from old books. Digitize yourself for the perfect fit. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.


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