Data nerds rejoice: Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report is out. The Japanese art of kirie. Robotaxies to take flight. Barnes & Noble sold to a hedge fund. Fujifilm resumes making black-and-white film. Light up your brain, ostensibly. “The queen of eating shellfish online.” A Stephen Hawking-esque voice synthesizer performs “Ice Ice Baby.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
New technologies, new equipment, and new applications can play havoc with traditional pricing. In the third installment of his series on pricing, Robert Lindgren looks at how to price new capabilities such as digital printing and VDP, wide-format printing on unique substrates, and more.
As part of its coverage of the customer communications market, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends conducts annual research of enterprises and consumers. This article provides a brief overview of recent survey findings and also highlights the data points that will be uncovered in upcoming research.
In concert with Pebble Post, Murphy Research released a study that puts data to what we intuitively know but can’t always document: that direct mail drives purchase consideration and plays a central role in the path to purchase. These are good numbers to have!
Idealliance’s Ron Ellis and Tim Baechle provide an update on the Print Properties and Colorimetric Council (PPC), a global think tank in which the top color scientists, consultants, OEMs, brands, service providers, creatives, educators, and global innovators that develops standards, specifications, datasets, profiles, targets, research, and the globally leading practices in order to propel the industry forward.
Adobe, Datacolor, and Color Solutions International (CSI), have teamed up to continue the enhancement of Adobe Textile Designer for Photoshop by making it easier for designers to seamlessly capture inspiration colors, sending them directly into Photoshop. Adobe’s Mike Scrutton explains the details.
David Zwang reports from Interact 2019, Ricoh’s annual customer event comprising nearly 60 sessions which covered a wide range of topics, both high-level and highly detailed. It also provided an opportunity to meet some of the new Ricoh leadership team.
What does it take to be successful as the leader of a business? It’s not enough just to be qualified to do the job. Are you behaviorally suited? Do you have the strong key traits that distinguish high-performing CEOs from everyone else? Determining how you stack up against the “best and the brightest” can identify areas in which improving yourself can help improve your business. Wayne Lynn of Lynn Consulting explains how.
FESPA 2019 in Munich was, by all accounts, its most successful show yet. The WhatTheyThink team walked all six halls, attended lots of press events, and did video interviews with a number of exhibitors that will be running over the next few weeks. Here are our key takeaways from the show.
Quantifying fashion’s environmental footprint. Transforming the bookstore into a “cultural department store.” A profile of revolutionary designer Cipe Peneles. Buy your own Follows and Likes. Caution: Correlation vs. Causation. Using hyphens in academic paper titles adversely affects citations stats. Nuclear tests can help spot art forgeries. An AR-enabled book about the history of rocket launches. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
May 2019 saw a variety of important trade events on a global scale, including the National Postal Forum, the Fiserv Forum, Xeikon Café, and FESPA. This article provides a brief synopsis of the major trade events that occurred during the past month.
More than 200 in-plant “Frontrunners” raced to Louisville, Ky., this week for the In-Plant Printing & Mailing Association’s (IPMA) Annual Conference, four days of sessions, networking events, and technology exhibits.
Everyday, most of us choose the most important thing to work on. The employees in the carpeted area of your print business are making these decisions everyday. Do you know what they are prioritizing? Do you know how they are spending their time? You should measure time just like you measure revenues, profits, and costs.
Spunlace nonwovens have a compelling commercial future in expanding end-uses—including adult and infant wipes, home care, and industrial applications—according to the latest research from Smithers Pira.
FESPA Munich was an amazing show. If you didn’t attend this year, you should definitely consider attending next year in March in Madrid. There is something for everyone, regardless of which segment of the industry in which you play. Of particular note are the special features FESPA has organized to add to its educational value. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne reviews them here.
In our annual Print Business Outlook Survey, we found that the top opportunities for print businesses included some newer, proactive items, with some of the old chestnuts falling off the tree. As we saw with recent Business Challenges, could this reflect a “changing of the guard” of print business management?
The clamor to keep print books in academic libraries. 10 reasons to get a New York Public Library card. NYC opens first poster museum. Fry your brain with this new optical illusion. $9500 for a dress that doesn’t actually exist. Meredith sells Sports Illustrated...but not the magazine. The mysterious origin of the dollar sign. Let us proclaim the mystery of tape. Hockey pucks for the blind. For sale: one Wienermobile. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Memjet’s second-generation technology, DuraLink, achieved its first commercial placements from a few OEMs, and is now expanding into industrial applications. This article provides an overview of DuraLink technology, explores how it compares to VersaPass, and considers how Memjet’s offering may compare to more established industrial jetting technologies.
Printers have become accustomed to incentivizing customers to use environmentally friendly consumables by minimizing the cost difference from non-green versions. But a new research study shows that this approach may be counter-productive. Would charging more for a “green marketing package” actually increase your customers’ green purchasing intent? This study suggests that the answer is yes.
Being strategic about print software is nearly impossible when you are in a crisis. Too many print software decisions are made under duress. When you have the discipline to plan before the crisis, you are being strategic.
Keypoint Intelligence – Infotrends’ Ralf Schlozer reports from last week’s open house at Germany’s Edelmann Group, where the company was demonstrating its Landa S10 for folding carton production. Landa aims to step up its press installations through the rest of 2019.
In Part 2 of “Rebirth of Flexo,” David Zwang looks at an example of a flexo solution and its components that provides a significant deterrent to the onslaught of production inkjet in packaging production.
in 2016, there were 37,875 establishments in NAICS 5418 (Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services). Two-thirds of these establishments (65%) have under four employees, 79% have under 10 employees, and 88% have under 20 employees. The largest agencies (100 or more employees) only account for 2% of all establishments.
Sex weasels of classical portraiture. Times Square billboard under fire. Fanatics becomes the Amazon of sports apparel. The West Wing Weekly podcast looks at campaign design and typography. Using QR codes to assist dementia patients. Is there money in art? The tragedy of AirPods. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Timothy Baechle of Idealliance identifies five steps that will help establish a process control culture in your print business. Creating an environment based on equipment measurement and monitoring, combined with continued investment in employee education, will lead to more satisfied and productive employees, better and more consistently performing equipment, and, ultimately, more satisfied customers.
In a recent survey, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends examined the behaviors of different types of print service providers (PSPs). We determined that the most successful PSPs possess unique qualities that separate them from their competitors. One such quality that enables this group to be successful is their use of data analytics to process and leverage the marketing information they obtain for self-promotion.
Doing good has become good business practice. We not only see it in action, but the research bears it out, too. Fortunately, we are seeing printers taking up the mantle and investing in various areas of social responsibility, cementing customer relationships and (hopefully) creating positive peer pressure to do the same.
During new printing technology introductions there has usually been displacement and realignment of the existing print technology roles. During those transformational times, there are many old and new options. Packaging production is now going through one of these periods, raising the question: what type of print technology is best? In packaging production, this decision is getting harder, as a result of the rebirth of flexo printing.
Kevin Karstedt reports from last week’s Xeikon Café, two days of forward-thinking presentations, nearly 40 solutions partners, and some new “killer apps” that are pushing far more than envelopes in today’s digital printing environment.
In the world of interior design, finding the exact fabric needed for a commercial or residential interior design project can be difficult. But why not have the exact fabrics you need, designed and printed on demand in the exact quantity you need? That’s the concept behind Design Pool.
Last week, the Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech) announced that it has joined forces with Tarsus Group, the owner and organizer of the Labelexpo and Brand Print Global trade shows, to launch a new show called Brand Print Americas. We spoke with APTech president Thayer Long about what the new alliance means for the future of APTech—and for the industry.
The value of printing shipments for March were up from February. However, at $6.66 billion, March 2019 shipments came in below March 2018’s $6.74 billion. That’s not a huge disappointment, but we were hoping for a better month.
Adding visual information to register receipts. 75 years of ISA. A recently discovered 500-year-old library catalog of lost books. Our dwindling helium supply. Does conference room air negatively affect decision-making? Plant-based lighting. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
In the second installment in his series on pricing, Robert Lindgren looks at the “hit ratio”—the percentage of quotes that turn into actual orders. Differentiating customers based on their respective hit ratios, and adjusting pricing accordingly, can lead to a substantial increase in the bottom line.
FESPA 2019 attracted attendees on a global scale under the theme of an “Explosion of Possibilities.” In partnership with Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends, the event’s organizers collected feedback from the 2018 Print Census research to determine key areas of focus for the 2019 event.
The toolset for solving business workflow challenges has completely changed in the last decade. If the only tool(s) you’re deploying are email, spreadsheets, and/or PDFs, you are using yesterday’s tools to solve today’s challenges.
We are seeing significant advancements in label and packaging production in both digital and analog production. However, one thing in common is rapid growth. Global Graphics released the Harlequin RIP v12 about a year ago with some of the new PDF 2.0 features. This new Harlequin RIP/Renderer v12.1 has added many additional features designed for print and further targeted at label and packaging production. David Zwang takes an in-depth look at this new release.
The printing industry is in the middle of a talent crisis. It’s getting harder and harder to find employees, let alone ones who work well on a team. In this article, Wayne Lynn looks at the three characteristics of good team players, and how print business leaders can help identify and improve these characteristics in their own employees.
As consumers look to ecommerce for more and more of their purchasing, the fashion industry has a growing issue with costly returns—largely because items don’t fit as expected. Dresslife works with fashion brands and retailers, enabling them to offer a better customer experience and has launched a mobile app. We spoke with Dresslife’s marketing manager, Yvonne Georgi, to learn more.
Overall printing employment dropped -0.7% from March to April 2019 and on a year-over-year basis is down -2.9%. Production employment dropped a tad from March to April, and is down -4.5% from April 2018. Non-production employment was up +0.6% from April 2018 to April 2019.
OnPoint named Alabama Manufacturer of the Year. New dress shirts. The origin of the word “dude.” A dark vision of the future of advertising. Will we ever be able to see more colors? The long lost Marx Brothers movie written by Salvador Dalí. Selling whisky with parrots. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Digital has become a viable method for printing a variety of fabric applications, and the technology is now extending its reach into the direct-to-garment (DTG) market. This article offers a brief discussion about the growth in DTG printing and discusses some key trends for the commercial and industrial printing sectors.
If today’s online storefronts and web-to-print workflows don’t look anything like they used to, there’s a reason. The software has advanced leaps and bounds from where it was even a few years ago. This interview with founder and CEO of Amazing Print Tech Slava Apel reflects how the technology is changing...and how it is changing those who use it.
Six months ago, we reported on Adobe’s Project Paras, a public beta of an addition to Photoshop CC that made it easier for textile and apparel designers to do their work. We checked in with Mike Scrutton, Director of Print Technology and Strategy for Adobe, to get an update.
All print business owners want more data about their businesses so they can make better decisions. It isn’t about reporting packages or business intelligence tools—it’s really about how your business generates data on a daily basis.
Last week, Fujifilm held a user event at its experience center outside Chicago to launch the J Press 750S, the company’s third-generation cut-sheet production inkjet press. The event included presentations from Fujifilm executives, a user panel, and a tour of the center featuring Fujifilm’s vast portfolio of inkjet technologies, both small- and wide-format.
In this age of digital print transformation, what is so exciting about the rebirth of a plate manufacturer? Well, first of all, it is a flexographic plate manufacturer, and second, it was formerly owned by Kodak. With this new life, how will Miraclon leverage their expertise to grow into a market leader?
On Friday, EFI announced yet another acquisition, this time Turkish company BDR Boya Kimya, a leading manufacturer of reactive inkjet inks for industrial digital textile printing. We spoke with Adele Genoni, EFI Reggiani’s Vice President and General Manager, to get the inside scoop on this acquisition. While we had her on the line, we also asked for an update on EFI BOLT, the world’s fastest digital textile printer.
A new history of writing exhibition. Towels that tell you when to wash them. Why the Red Cross loves Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” Send a physical letter...by email. Making ink from oak galls. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
In Winter 2018/2019, we conducted our annual Print Business Outlook Survey and found that the top challenges for print businesses included some new cares and concerns with some of the old challenges falling by the wayside. Could this reflect a “changing of the guard” of print business management?
In WhatTheyThink/Printing News’ Annual Sign and Display Franchise Review, Cary Sherburne takes a look at the major franchises—Alliance Franchise Brands, FASTSIGNS, Signarama, and SpeedPro—as well as the non-franchise Sign Biz network. She analyzes how they fared in the past year, as well as where they see growth opportunities in the future. Franchise center growth across all the networks has been strong, and will likely remain so. What is driving it?
Held every four years since 2007, Print China alternates with China Print and offers a unique focus on Southern China’s printing industry for local and international visitors. This article provides a brief overview of the most recent iteration of the event, which was held in April at the Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center.
Even as the technology and implementation of augmented reality races forward at blazing speed, many marketers are still stuck in the past. As a result, and as illustrated by my recent experience with the prize in a Cracker Jack box, it hurts the entire industry.
I wish all customers’ top priority was purchasing high-quality print; it isn’t. Your customer’s have upstream problems. The printers who go upstream and solve these problems will be rewarded as manufacturers downstream.
Pat McGrew launches a new series on selling in today’s print environment. In this introductory installment, she identifies some of the “prerequisites” that today’s print sales people need to take with them on any sales call—regardless of what kind of sales method they use.
In 2016, there were 5,650 Sign Manufacturing establishments (NAICS 33995). The decline and rise of sign manufacturing over the course of the 2010s reflects the impact of the Great Recession, as well as the recovery and the growth of digital printing into traditional signmaking.
10% of Americans do not use the Internet. The Comma Queen” tours Greece. The rise of the Post Office—and the decline of dueling. A new app measures the loudness of restaurants. The Presidential candidates’ typography. A requiem for the old Penn Station. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Old and new sign production technologies were on display this week in Las Vegas at the 75th Annual ISA Sign Expo and, as an additional indication of how the disparate pars of the printing industry are concverging, ISA announced that as of next year the Sign Expo will colocate with Impressions Expo, formerly the Imprinted Sportswear Show.
High-value applications and the digital devices that are required to produce them are becoming increasingly prevalent. These solutions are now moving downstream and have become accessible to medium-sized and even small print service providers. This article explores how high-value applications are coming to represent the fast track to the digital transformation.
Back in early 2018, we spoke with Mike Horsten, then Business Manager for Large Format Professional EMEA at HP, about HP’s potential plans for entering the digital textile printing market. Now, more than a year later, HP has made its first announcements, launching the HP Stitch series of textile printers. The company held a media briefing to discuss its strategy.
Learning is the experience of trying to do something without parental supervision. It is not watching a trainer do something and shaking your head that you understand. Holding your people accountable for learning activities is the most important part of improving user adoption of new tools in your print business.
Heidi Tolliver-Walker summarizes Eddy Hagen’s recent study on the impact of product packaging damage and color variation on consumer purchases. Hagen’s surveys always challenge our assumptions, and this one is no different. The conclusion? Color variation isn’t as important to consumers as it is to the rest of us.
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. Now that embellishments have finally begun to capture market awareness, new developments are happening all the time. In part 2 of this series, David Zwang will look at new mainstream technologies that add embellishments and value to print and packaging production.
The latest research from Smithers Pira identifies five key trends underpinning the shifting dynamics of demand and profitability in the market for printed signage: increasing automation, soft signage, the changing retail landscape, the evolution of Asian retail, and competition from digital signage.
Up until about 25 years ago, knitwear manufacturing was a big deal in Brooklyn. But since then, much of it has moved offshore. Tailored Industry is looking to revitalize knitwear manufacturing in Brooklyn using proprietary on-demand software and 3D full-garment knitting technology.
The first Heavy Metal Knitting World Championships. Running shoes that can be recycled. A 3D-printed human heart. Danger! Facebook is launching a voice assistant! Run! Cursive handwriting is coming back. Netflix is producing a magazine. “Balloon-related incidents.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Although today’s printers understand that they must automate their print operations, a bias seems to exist between the potential benefits of investing in equipment vs. software. This article cites recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends to highlight the importance of controlling waste. By implementing processes, procedures, and software, printers can accurately measure waste and improve their quality control.
The key to effective pricing (aka profitability) is not just understanding costs, but understanding the market for print and what customers are willing to pay. Tailoring estimating and quoting to individual customers, or groups of customers, can help maximize the contribution from current customers, and potentially win customers who may have been hesitant to do business with you.
Your print business is rich with patterns. By looking at patterns we can find ways to codify those patterns into processes that make us more efficient. You need real human processing for your business—free this up by taking the recurring stuff off their plates.
I got four Millennials and one Gen Z in a room and peppered them with questions about QR Codes. Did they use them? Why or why not? If they didn’t, what was holding them back? What I discovered is that, in the mind of these generations, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Planning for a catastrophe is something that every business owner knows they should do. At some point there is usually some effort applied, a plan developed, filed away, and the box checked that there is a business continuity/disaster recovery plan on file. It makes the auditors happy! But, when mayhem actually calls, will your plan actuallywork? In part four of this series, Pat McGrew offers tips on how to design and execute a continuity plan.
A press release from EFI Monday morning caught the industry by surprise. The company announced a definitive agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Siris Capital Group LLC. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with CEO Bill Muir and CFO Marc Olin to get some background on the announcement.
Are you a supplier to the sewn products industry? If so, are you a member of SPESA? And if you are not, this article from Senior Editor Cary Sherburne lays out why you should be. SPESA’s President Michael McDonald shares his thoughts on the association’s role in promoting and supporting the sewn products industry from the supplier’s perspective.
In 2016, there were 2,556 establishments classified as Outdoor Advertising (NAICS 54185). In 2010, NAICS 54185 comprised 2,378 establishments—but note that the Census Bureau changed the name of this category in 2012.
The current state of the US textile industry. Ironic commemorative stamps. Making a giant paper dragon. Photographing a black hole. A font of typography news. An encyclopedia of unknowns. Robot-penned books. A screenwriter toys with a Facebook Messenger scammer. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
The 2019 Xeikon Café event, which took place in late March, attracted 1,000+ visitors from about 250 companies. This article provides a brief overview of Xeikon’s recent progress while also discussing the effects of its annual event.
Canon Solutions America President Peter Kowalczuk and Production Print Solutions Executive Vice President Francis McMahon talk to WhatTheyThink/Printing News about the company’s new emphasis on the services part of the organization and how today’s production inkjet vendors are tasked with not just offering top-of-the-line technology, but playing a more consultative role in helping customers with business development.
Automation starts with an understanding of the business process and how it’s done “manually.” Documenting this business process is called a “standard operating procedure” which is where you can begin your journey to some level of automation.
In WhatTheyThink/Printing News’ Annual Franchise Review, Cary Sherburne takes a look at how the five major print franchises fared in the past year—and looks back at the last decade to see how franchises were tracking compared to commercial print and draws some conclusions about the value of franchise networks vs. an independent small commercial printing firm operating on its own.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.