WhatTheyThink

Commentary & Analysis

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Before-and-After Shots Show Anti-Greenwashing Efforts Are Working

Two Sides North America has been on a campaign to remove greenwashing. Here’s visual evidence that it’s working.

BOBST Ups the Stakes with Next-Generation Hybrid Press and More

BOBST has been providing solutions to the printing and packaging industries for four generations, and more recently has added digital textile printing to the mix. Cary Sherburne talks with CEO Jean-Pascal Bobst.

Digital Print Output to Grow 65% over Next 10 Years, According to New Smithers Strategic Forecast

Digital print output is forecast to grow by 65% over the next 10 years to reach $230 billion by 2029. This dynamic growth rate will be driven by incursions into package printing, as well as books and other graphic printing areas, according to Smithers report The Future of Digital Print: Long-Term Strategic Forecasts to 2029.

Know the Signs: A Non-Print Signage Primer

Print businesses have been expanding into signage by leaps and bounds—but print signage is only the tip of the iceberg. “Signs” comprise a lot of different manufacturing products and materials.

Color Management: Gandhi, Pop Music, the Human Psyche, and Resolve

How are the players in the print production process like a group of musicians playing on stage? Idealliance CEO Tim Baechle offers advice for filtering out all the noise we are bombarded with and focusing on “playing in time” with others in the supply chain.

Buy a Sweater, Adopt a Sheep

As the textiles and apparel industry continues to take heat for its highly negative impact on the environment, some companies are taking creative approaches to not only creating sustainable garments, but pushing the industry to take more aggressive steps toward carbon-neutral operation. Sheep, Inc., is one of those companies.

October Jobs: Production Down, Managerial Up

In October, overall printing employment dropped -0.3% from September. On a year-over-year basis, though, it was down -2.4%. Production employment was down -0.7% from September to October, but year-over-year was down -4.8%. On the other hand, non-production employment was up +0.7% from September to October, and year-over-year was up +2.9%.

Around the Web: Publishers’ Peril? Gargantuan Gannett. Assessing AR. Female Pirate Printer. Festive Footwear. Shirt Supreme. Goofy Gravy.

What happens when a print publication goes all-digital? Has Apple News Plus cannibalized publications’ own digital efforts? Gannett and GateHouse to merge and create the biggest newspaper publisher in the US. What is in store for AR in 2020? Well, not Apple Glasses. Manhole cover-based art. Painting on Vans loafers. Hacking into pet dishes? A unique way to drug your Thanksgiving guests. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

The RMX Network: United They Grow

The RMX Network is an alliance of more than 100 independent North American wide-format print service providers. It’s not a franchise, but rather an affiliation of like-minded companies that band together to support each other and help solve problems. We spoke with President Rick Bosworth to learn more about their unique business model.

Reinventing Interiors—A Digital Transformation

Digital textile printing is being used for more than apparel. Interior design is a hot market as well! Textiles guru and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan explores the effect of digital printing on an industry with many similarities to that of fashion: the interiors sector, including wall coverings.

Who Went to the 2019 Digital Packaging Summit and Why?

The 2019 Digital Packaging Summit (November 11–13) makes keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry a little easier. The equipment and technology providers, packaging and label manufacturers, and analysts in attendance gathered together for a master's level educational experience. This article provides a brief overview of the event and its benefits to the industry.

Your Postal Strategy: Key Benefits of Postal Resources, Experience and Expanding Your Network

Does your organization have a postal strategy? Mailing may be considered an ancillary service offering for a professional printing company, or it may be your core offering as a mail service provider.

Survey: Consumers’ Willingness to Give Up Personal Data is Waning

In the past, surveys have shown that people are willing to provide their personal data in exchange for personalized experiences, but new research from the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) shows that this willingness is changing. What’s going on?

Selling Print vs. Selling Web-to-Print Software

Your print sales people need a different perspective when selling web-to-print solutions. They need to understand short vs long term benefits as well as how the customer’s convenience is driving loyalty.

Kodak Celebrates 20 Years of Prinergy in Berlin

Kodak Prinergy celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and European customers marked the occasion with a gala held in Berlin, Germany, last October. WhatTheyThink’s Pat McGrew attended the event.

The Moving Canvas: Wrapping “Kings” Turn Vehicle Graphics Into Art

Last Fall, Avery Dennison held its Wrap Like a King (WLAK) competition, which honored some of the best and most creative vehicle graphics projects. We spoke with one of the judges and some of the regional winners to get some insight into the vehicle graphics design process.

Transformation Is Not Always What You Plan…

David Zwang details the recent merger/acquisition dance going on between Xerox and HP, and the forces that are impelling both companies to transform—one way or another.

OnPoint Manufacturing to Add Digital Textile Printing for a Complete On-Demand Microfactory Implementation

OnPoint Manufacturing has been looking for a digital textile printing solution that could keep up with the rest of its manufacturing process for some time. The company has determined that the new Kornit Presto digital textile printer fits the bill. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Chairman Kirby Best to learn why.

Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2016

In 2016, there were 1,971 establishments in NAICS 32221 (Paperboard Container Manufacturing). One-half of these establishments have 50 or more employees, and three-fourths have 20 or more employees.

Around the Web: Looming Automation. Tough Lung Love. Fantasy Fabric. Sea Silk. Tangled Tapes. Cochlear Craziness. Olivetti Oddity. Missing Millennials. Canine Conversation.

An automated digital weaving loom. Hemp cigarettes are apparently a thing. A hat made of silk from mollusks goes up for auction. The Zagat Guide is back in print. Cassette tapes are coming back into fashion, for some reason. Send your ear data to Sony, for some reason. The bizarre tale behind the first desktop computer. Is online advertising the new dot-com bubble? There’s no such thing as a Millennial—or even a Boomer. Salvador Dalí’s Tarot deck. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Beer Giant AB InBev Launches Trial “Direct Object Printing” for UK Market

This month, AB InBev will launch a campaign for its Beck’s brand in the UK using glass bottles that were printed via “direct object printing” inkjet technology. ABI has partnered with Dekron to develop its first UV printing line for high-speed inkjet digital printing of glass bottles. Ths article provides a brief overview of the campaign.

Are You an Entrepreneur or Just a Business Owner? And Why Does It Matter for Your Business?

What separates small businesses that grow and thrive and those that don’t? A large part of it is whether the business owner has an entrepreneurial spirit. In this article, Wayne Lynn looks at the behavioral traits that make an entrepreneur, and the difference between being a CEO or a business owner and an entrepreneur.

Do Consumers Love QR Codes and Just Don’t Know It?

What happens when you show people they can save time by holding their phones up to a black-and-white graphic and connecting directly to a website? I’m having the opportunity to watch it happen in real time.

Print Industry M&A and Print Software

The merger of software technology stacks and strategy is a key component to any two businesses coming together. It takes time, effort, and patience as technology is uniquely embedded in a business. Be strategic about what you address and when you address it. Not everything should change right away.

Transformation Affects Everyone—Time Is Not on Your Side!

The most important thing to realize is that as technologies and markets change, the speed at which a company addresses business transformation can position them as a leader or laggard going forward. Examples of this can be seen in these two formerly leading companies, both with roots in Rochester N.Y., grappling with their own transformations while their customers are hav ing to do the same.

Where Marketing and Sales Overlap—Evaluate Marketing Activities

In Part 2 of Pat McGrew’s two-part series on sales and marketing for print businesses, she looks at how to evaluate marketing activities so they more closely align with sales efforts.

Neenah Packaging Jumps on the CBD Bandwagon with New Hemp Fiber Folding Board

Neenah Packaging recently introduced a new line of hemp fiber folding board to address unique packaging needs in the exploding CBD market. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke to Neenah’s Brand Manager, Michelle Turner, to learn more.

No Fall for Printing Shipments

Heading into Fall 2019, the value of printing shipments for September 2019 was $7.14 billion—up from August’s $7.10 billion. It’s not a huge rise, but given that for the last few years September shipments declined from August’s, we’ll take it.

Around the Web: Talking Twistronics. Smartphone Subscriptions. Magenta Monopoly. Sadistic Stacks. Elusive Ebooks. Sumerian Stew. Banishing Blind Spots. No Mo’ Mona. Dean of the Dead.

Researchers turn graphene into a superconductor. Are subscriptions next for the iPhone? Deutsche Telekom claims to own the color magenta. An old sewing machine repair shop accidentally became a New York museum. Queens’ new library is all but inaccessible if you’re not an elite athlete. Culinary archaeologists recreate ancient recipes. A 14-year-old inventor solves the problem of cars’ blind spots. “Take down the Mona Lisa!” James Dean to star in a new movie, for some reason. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Market for Label Printing Catches Fire—October 2019 M&A Activity

ProMach, Fort Dearborn, Inovar, and PPC Packaging light up M&A activity, Transcontinental acquires, H.I.G. Capital goes outdoor in a big way, and more…

The Future of Digital Textile Printing Is Bright: Read the Stats

As ink and machine prices tumble, with print speeds and quality increasing at an astonishing rate, there’s a huge opportunity for the digital print community to take advantage of new business opportunities, according to textiles guru and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan. Read the stats!

Innovations from PRINT 19 Acknowledge Consumers’ Changing Preferences

The ways in which we communicate have changed with each new discovery or innovation, and the need to share information has only increased throughout history. Citing recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends and news from PRINT 19, this article explores the ongoing shifts in customer communications.

3D Printing: Taking It to the People

A 3D print shop displaying at a local art fair? Why not? Isn’t that where many of its customers are?  

Waiting for Software to Change to Fit Your Business

Software feels malleable. New features come out. Trade shows are packed full of vendors showing the bright new thing that might lure you into the sales process. Complex software (Print MIS) does not change fast (because it shouldn’t), and the sooner you realize that changing your business is a better strategy, the faster you’ll get to the ROI and business differentiation that a Print MIS can deliver.

Five Alive: 5G Technology Will Transform Sign & Display

What is 5G and what is its impact on sign and display graphics likely to be? Richard Romano spoke with Dexter Johnson, author of a recent ISA white paper called “5G in Signage Technology” about the technology and the advantages of 5G and its potential applications in sign and display.

Where Marketing and Sales Overlap

In Part 1 of Pat McGrew’s two-part series on sales and marketing for print businesses, she looks at the difference between sales professionals and marketing professionals and where the two processes overlap.

SPESA Executive Conference Looks at the State of the Sewn Products Industry

Last week, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne had the pleasure of attending the Executive Conference sponsored by the Sewn Products Equipment and Suppliers of the Americas (SPESA) in New Orleans. This was the first major event planned by the new staff, led by Michael McDonald, President, and by all accounts, it was a huge success.

Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 825 establishments in NAICS 32222 (Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing). By 2016, that number had declined for a net loss of -12% to 730.

Around the Web: Terrifying Typeface. Edgy Analytics. Green Garments. Techy Teens. Expensive Eagles. Grotty Gifts. Candy Crushes.

Hellvetica unleashed. The edge will transform sporting events—and perhaps everything else. Apps for recycling used clothing. A study of mobile technology use by today’s tweens and tweens. Where eagles dare, roaming charges follow. Gift recipients may like poorly wrapped presents better. A hierarchy of candy. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Accessibility in an Increasingly UI-Focused World

Like many other businesses, manufacturers of office printers and multifunctional peripherals (MFPs) are focused on improving the usability of their products. This article explores the efforts that printer and MFP manufacturers are making to improve the accessibility of their devices, including features that help workers with visual, hearing, mobility, and other physical limitations.

Training vs. Learning with Print Software

The number one thing we hear when we engage with a printer who is having trouble with their print software (Print MIS, Web-to-Print, or Pre-Press automation) is “we didn’t get trained.” Ironically, more training is rarely the solution to this common complaint.

Survey Looks at Adoption of Augmented Reality

Will augmented reality finally gain widespread adoption in print and digital marketing communications? When will it move beyond enterprise applications, gaming, and social media? To find out, ARtillry Intelligence worked with Thrive to survey 2000+ U.S. adults.

The Continued Evolution of Wide Format at PRINTING United

What was new at PRINTING United on the wide-format front? In this feature, Richard Romano runs down a handful of announcements and other items that caught his interest.

Mile High Labs Seeks New Heights in Manufacturing Quality, Productivity for CBD Products

As we continue to look into the cannabis-related market, including how cannabis-related products are being used in apparel—more specifically, activewear—and the special packaging requirements the market has, we took time out to speak to Christopher Lackner of Mile High Labs in Colorado to gain an understanding of how the hemp plant is processed to deliver CBD-based materials for the market.

The View from the Other Side: Print Buyers’ Revenues

Publishing and advertising are among the biggest print-buying markets. Last month, the Census Bureau released its Quarterly Services Survey, which reported revenues for these markets. Publishers’ revenues continue their long decline, while the up-and-down of advertising revenues indicate the extent to which the nature of advertising is changing.

Around the Web: Graphene Has its Own Conference. Grin and Bear It. Write About Happiness. Where Have All the English Majors Gone? The Internet in 2030. Epic Flight. IKEA Tarot Cards.

The 14th Graphene Conference meets in Silicon Valley. Bear Naked and Sustainable Pouches. Using digitized books to gauge happiness. English majors are down 25%. What will the Internet look like in 10 years? What does 19 hours on a plane do to the human body? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

New Business Models for the Eco-Conscious Consumer

Textiles guru and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan shares her thoughts about fashion on subscription—a new business model for the eco-conscious consumer. Today’s new shopping generation of digital nomads is quite comfortable ordering fashion online, and they idea of renting fashion holds a lot of appeal. Learn more.

How Are You Selling Web-to-Print?

Years ago, most businesses only had one shop and/or one channel in a single town. Now, they will typically have a web presence and hundreds or even thousands of shops in different locations as they work to increase sales productivity. This article discusses how to successfully sell W2P solutions to marketers in today’s changing environment.

A New Age of Trade Shows Dawns in Dallas

The inaugural PRINTING United kicked off on Wednesday, heralding a new era for industry trade events.

Promotional Products May Offer More Luxury Than You Think

When you think of promotional products, what comes to mind? Branded hats and pens? Tote bags? Many printers may not see these items going with their clients’ high-end image, so they may not give these complementary offerings a fair shot. But promotional items can also include high-end luxury items used for C-level executives, influencers, and corporate events. Some, like this company’s products, even offer the trendy element of sustainability.

Solving Software Challenges With Tin Foil

You have a bias for what solutions work; that bias is based on what has worked for you in the past. If you’re a print business owner, buying new stuff feels like a solid way to solve challenges of hiring new employees. Solving print software challenges requires expertise in print software.

Executive Q&A: Gavin Jordan-Smith

Gavin Jordan-Smith has had a very interesting journey on his way to his current position as Senior Vice President of Commercial and Industrial Printing Business, Ricoh Americas.

Smithers Identifies Major Shifts in Security Print Sectors

Smithers shares its latest research on the security printing industry, forecasting the market to reach $29.8 billion in 2019 and rise to a total value of around $37.7 billion in 2024, as well as some of the trends and changes in such printed materials as banknotes, personal identification, brand protection packaging, and tax stamps.

Enabling Sales with the Right Story—The Wrap Up

Pat McGrew wraps up her 12-part series on selling in today’s print environment with some tips for how to tap into the do-it-yourself market, specifically, the variety of businesses that cater to DIYers who are happy to rebuild their lawnmower, re-roof a shed, or add features to kitchen.

Hippo Packaging Capitalizes on CBD Craze

In case you haven’t been following it, the market for products containing CBD—or cannabinoid derived from the hemp plant—is growing rapidly. It’s really only taken off in the U.S. since the approval of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized CBD extracted from industrial hemp with less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Hippo Packaging in San Diego is focused on meeting the unique packaging needs for this emerging market segment.

Aligning the Supply Chain: Understanding the TC1617x (IT8.7/5) Characterization Target

Idealliance’s Tim Baechle introduces the new TC1617x (IT8.7/5) printer characterization target, explains how it differs from its predecessors, details its benefits, and describes how printers can use the new target to improve the characterization accuracy of a printing system.

Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing Establishments—2016

In 2016, there were 730 establishments in NAICS 32222 (Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing). Nearly four out of 10 (39%) have 50 or more employees, and 59% have 20 or more employees.

Around the Web: Nano Novels. Ultra Ubik. Definitive Dracula. Arcade Arcana. Feline Festivity. Spotify Style. Tooth Tech.

Read classic books on the NYPL’s Instagram. Deluxe edition of a classic Philip K. Dick novel. A compendium of classic arcade typography. An immersive edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. An Advent calendar for cats. Custom T-shirts based on Spotify data. The current science of CBD. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Hiring and Compensating Sales Personnel: Strategies for Success

The hiring process is more important today than it has ever been in the past. Establishing a successful organization involves developing a great sales team and retaining those employees. Print Service Providers can set their businesses up for success by hiring the right sales personnel and fostering employee loyalty with a more sophisticated compensation model.

Looking for Leaders: Planning for Talent Development

You probably have a sales plan, a profit plan, and a capital and cash management plan. But what about a talent development plan? Do you know how to grow your human assets, improve the culture, and develop both current and future leaders? In this article, Wayne Lynn explores the need to develop your company’s next leaders.

What Are the Ethics Behind Direct Mail Trickery?

If you want to grab immediate attention with direct mail, make the mailer look like something other than a traditional letter. Mailers often use envelopes designed to look like USPS Priority Mail, Air Mail, or UPS or FedEx packages. But do some efforts cross the line?

A Cloud-Based Software Mindset

We live in a connected world. The artifacts (documents, spreadsheets, etc.) we create for business should be stored centrally with controlled access in the cloud. Isolated artifacts on employees’ computers slow projects down and make research into past projects nearly impossible.

Label and Packaging Trends for 2019 and Beyond

The trends in labels and packaging have become pretty well-defined in 2019 and will remain a significant focus going forward. The four primary trends are; increased quality, short and on-demand production runs, an increase in personalization, and a focus on sustainability. These trends along with the corresponding messaging will continue to evolve and resonate throughout 2020 and beyond.

Wide Receivers: A Flatbed Applications Photo Gallery

In this pictorial feature, we round up some unique and creative products and applications created on UV flatbed wide-format printers.

Dynamic Data in Direct Mail

The world has become very “data rich” and companies are using this data in ways that just two decades ago were unheard of. It boggles the mind how much information is available and the ways in which organizations are utilizing it!

First North American HP Stitch S1000 to Serve Professional Photographers

When you think about digital textile printers and where they might be installed, your first thought isn’t a photo lab. But that’s exactly where the first North American HP Stitch S1000 production model went. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Mark Lane, co-owner of American Color Imaging (ACI), to learn how this printer will fit into its overall business model.

Around the Web: Paper Back. Mechanical Paper. Graphene—Again! Gambling on RFID. Water Warning. Dog Talk. Real Robocop.

Mechanical paper sculptures. A book about Graphene. Did RFID playing cards help a poker champ cheat? LED-based art helps gauge NYC’s water quality. Tech is helping animals communicate better. Real-life Robocop is no hero. Scotch pods?! All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Printing Shipments: The Dog Days of Summer Didn’t Bite

The value of printing shipments for August 2019 was $7.1 billion—up from July’s $6.8 billion. As we head into the autumn, 2019 is shaping up to be the best year for the industry in three years.

Developing a Focused Strategy for Sales Growth

Following a focused sales strategy involves targeting offerings toward customers that need and want those services while setting aside the customers that do not fit that profile. This article provides a brief overview on how PSPs can leverage a focused sales growth strategy to position themselves for future success.

Ten Years at the Top for the Queen of Digital Print

Fashion Designer Mary Katrantzou embraced digital textile printing in 2008 and has already become known as the Queen of Digital Print. Textiles guru and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan shares the story of her meteoric rise.

Hey, There’s a Real Person Behind Those “Love Mail” Numbers

Sometimes we forget that there are real people behind the direct mail data. Last summer, I got to put a face to a data point. It made me wonder, “Now what?”

Behind the Scenes in Photobooks—September 2019 M&A Activity

RPI Enters Consumer Market, Transcontinental Transforms, Colortree Forced into Bankruptcy and more…

Print Software ROI

Getting the return on investment for print software takes a lot more work by the people at the printer than you are led to believe in the software sales process.

Goodbye, Chicago…Hello, New Normal

Last week we saw the last of the big Chicago printing events. Over the years we have seen many printing and technology events disappear only to be replaced by others that, at least for a time, provide more relevance and timeliness. However, even with the excitement of new events on the horizon, in speaking with many of the exhibitors and attendees last week, there was still a shared sadness. Our new normalcy is taking away a certain comfort and, sadly, Chicago.

Enabling Sales with the Right Story—The Gig Economy

The individuals and small businesses who cut lawns, build gardens, and trim trees, as well as independent carpenters, painters, drywall professionals, plumbers, and electricians are all potential print customers. In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she provides some tips for approaching “gig” workers and identifies some of the unique printed product requirements these folks have. 

Textiles & Apparel: What to Expect at PRINTING United

As PRINTING United approaches, we checked in with SGIA’s Ray Weiss, Director of Digital Print Programs, to better understand what textiles and apparel solutions will be at this expanded show, and to get his advice on how commercial printers, display graphics companies, or other attendees interested in gaining a foothold in this dynamic market can most effectively get the information they need at the show.

Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 491 establishments in NAICS 322212 (Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing). By 2016, that number had declined for a net loss of -8% to 451.

Around the Web: Unmade Made. Bawdy Billboard. Brilliant Bins. Some Summoning. Autonomous Vehicle Repellent. “Spocking” Fivers. Escalator Etiquette. Scented Scissors?

Dennis Amorosano launches Dendog Strategy Insights. Avery Dennison and Unmade partner for apparel manufacturing. Hackers have an electronic billboard play porn. Getting a smart jacket to work properly. A smart trash bin takes itself to the curb. Tesla’s Smart Summon and the chaos that is the modern parking lot. Keeping robot cars away from bicyclists. The Bank of Canada finds “spocking” $5 bills to be highly illogical. Escalator etiquette is wrong. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Digital Print in Packaging at Labelexpo: Print-for-Pay and Print-for-Use

There are many ways to segment digital print technologies at Labelexpo 2019, with electrophotography and inkjet being the most obvious. This article explores a different split—digital printers designed for print-for-pay service providers vs. those dedicated to print-for-use end-users. It also considers how technological changes will affect the flexible packaging market.

Fresh Data on the Adoption of Personalization in Direct Mail

NAPCO Research has released a new report on the use of personalization in direct mail. The report finds that marketers are evenly splitting their campaigns between personalized, segmented, and mass mailing approaches and that highly personalized campaigns are seeing increases in response rates up to 17% in certain market verticals.

Prioritizing Online Tools for Existing Customers

The dream of an online business that delivers profitable revenue from strangers is a good dream to have. It simply takes a lot of work to be successful at it. I have seen too many printers spend too much time focusing on the software and forgetting that internet traffic is not free or easy to get.

World Industrial Packaging to Be Worth $66 Billion by 2024, Smithers Pira Research Shows

In 2018, the world produced about $36 trillion worth of manufactured goods, almost all of which was packaged, protected, and shipped in some form of industrial packaging. This article provides some top-level results from Smithers Pira’s new study of this sector, The Future of Industrial Packaging to 2024. According to the study, the value of these formats will reach nearly $66 billion in 2024, growing from an estimated $56.1 billion in 2019.

Labelexpo 2019: Hybrid or...?

Labelexpo 2019 was an interesting event. There were a lot of hybrid presses being shown: flexo presses with inkjet or toner digital integrated imaging; digital presses with flexo imaging in order to get the great opaque white needed for many labels and flexible packaging or precoating for plastics, etc.; a variety of presses with inline enhancement capabilities, etc. But, perhaps the whole hybrid evolution is really just a part of the industry digital transformation and transition to the real end game: purpose-built or bespoke solutions.

Acabada Launches CBD-Infused Activewear

As a proponent of the various benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was intrigued to learn about Acabada’s CBD-infused activewear. She spoke with co-founder and CEO of Acabada, Seth Baum, to learn more. Watch for the March 2020 issue of Printing News for more information on all things cannabis, from definitions to sourcing CBD to unique packaging requirements and more.

Printing Shipments: Summer Surprise

The value of printing shipments for July 2019 was $6.8 billion—up from June’s $6.6 billion. Breaking with seasonality, what has typically been one of the lowest months of the year for printing shipments actually came in pretty good.

Around the Web: Go to Noto. Post-Modern English. Meddling Milton. More Moore. Dart DRM. All Over Alexa. Fancy Feast. Celery Salves. Robot Tuna. Minnow Message.

IKEA changes its typeface. An op-ed from the future comments on 23rd-century English. A scholar discovers a John Milton-annotated volume of Shakespeare. Animation compares Moore’s Law to actual CPU speeds. DRM for Nerf darts. “Highlights” from Amazon’s hardware announcements. Nestlé introduces $17 “luxury KitKat” bars. Celery juice: a magic cure-all? Sherwood Schwartz sticks it to Newton Minow. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

What if We Could Switch to Recycled Polyester by 2030?

Join us in welcoming textiles guru Debbie McKeegan as a WhatTheyThink contributor! In this article, she weighs in on a hot topic in apparel—can we re-fashion fashion to use recycled polyester by 2030, and should we? She provides good insight into what polyester is and how it can be efficiently recycled—even polyester blends!

How Game Mechanics Can Grow the Print Business

Game mechanics may seem alien to some print service providers, but other industries have been using these principles to promote user engagement and drive revenues for decades. With augmented reality emerging as a natural upgrade for static print, now is the time to critically evaluate the potential of a well-designed application—one that incorporates gaming elements—to drive brand interaction and generate new revenue potential.

Marketing Lessons from Top Retailers vs. Fastest Growing Ones

Study by Iterable looking at the marketing strategies of “top retailers” vs. “fastest growing retailers” during the two-week period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The results? The fastest growing retailers were more focused on “near sales,” less likely to send promotional emails, more likely to re-engage abandoned cart shoppers, and less likely to use multiple channels to do it.

Why Software is Challenging and Expensive

Building good software requires a very desirable skill set in our current economy. Virtually every single company on the planet needs to utilize software in order to increase their efficiency and reach more customers.

Labelexpo 2019 Kicks Off In Brussels

Labelexpo 2019, celebrating its 40th anniversary, launched in Brussels to a huge group of more than 600 exhibitors and a very large global audience of attendees. In this first article, David Zwang looks at general trends at the event.

Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Landa Helps Change the Tides

Considering only about 3% of the total global print production in the market is digital, including all digital technologies, capturing a larger share will depend on production speeds and cost. Landa and their global customer base are now ramping up for a global presence, high demand, and are ready to participate in the Inkjet Revolution. The tides are changing…

Latest Sign Code Court Decision May Have Serious Implications for Billboard and Sign Industry

Two weeks ago, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision in the case of Thomas v. Bright that the government cannot distinguish between on-premise and off-premise signage because it is an unconstitutional content-based distinction. We spoke to David Hickey, VP Advocacy, for the International Sign Association (ISA) about the decision and some of the potential ramifications.

Looking for Fun and Profit? Try Heat Transfer Sublimation!

Twenty-seven years ago, David Gross identified heat transfer sublimation as an interesting market opportunity with good potential for future growth. Today, at Condé Systems, he has made that vision a reality. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Gross to find out how others can benefit from what he has learned.

Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 1,356 establishments in NAICS 322211 (Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing). By 2016, that number had declined -12% to 1,200.

Around the Web: Surf’s Up. Sonar Gloves. Wearable Chair. Cardiac Keister. Earthquake Bed. Self-Repairing Robots. Inadvisable Burger.

Graphene: is there anything it can’t do? Inside the University of Minnesota’s Wearable Technology Lab. Lose all shred of dignity with a wearable chair. Monitor your heart health with a smart toilet seat. The grueling, physically demanding world of...chess. “Hope you enjoy your stinking phones.” KFC’s Chicken and Donuts Sandwich. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

PrintEx 19: The Biggest Thing in Australian Print!

From the 13th to the 16th of August, over 8,000 print professionals converged on the Sydney Olympic Park to experience the latest in hardware and software in document production, commercial print, labels, and packaging at PrintEx 19. This article explores the factors that made this year’s event a standout.

The Real Source of Competitive Advantage

Technology is easy to acquire—both for you and for your competitors—but for most companies, it’s your employees who provide a real competitive advantage. High-performing companies are winning the competitive battlefield by figuring out how to match their best talent with their best opportunities. Wayne Lynn offers some tips for getting the most out of your most productive employees.

Gimmicks or No Gimmicks? The Challenge of Email

Are “magic” subject lines really magic? Or are they only magic for certain people? Are you tracking who is responding to which? If you know which customers respond to which tactics, you’re way ahead of the game.

Perspectives from Outside Your Print Business

Getting outside perspectives into your print business is important, especially when implementing a Print MIS or other print software. You want people who see a wide variety of print businesses to weigh in on best practices.