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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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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...? (Premium Content)

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 (Premium Content)

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? (Premium Content)

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.


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