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What Share of Shipments is Sold by “Marketing Service Providers”?

For about a decade, many print businesses have marketed themselves as “marketing services providers” with varying degrees of success. Our recent survey showed less than half of print businesses market themselves in this or a similar manner.


VistaPrint and the Upload-and-Print Market

Cimpress (parent company of VistaPrint) is expanding into the core of the print market; “upload-and-print”. They are buying demand generators and no doubt investing in user experiences that will enable self-service online purchasing of print for the largest segment of the print industry (manufacturing of the customer’s design/file).


Recovery Indicators Look More Like Recession Indicators – Are They?

Are the recovery indicators becoming recession indicators There's enough negative news of late to be wary about the state of the economy, and a lengthening list of geopolitical issues, for sure.


Eighteen Months of Industry Growth, Beating the Economy, Too

US commercial printing industry shipments are up for 18 consecutive months in current dollars compared to the corresponding month of the prior year.


Digital Applications Make Gains in Packaging, but Progress Is Hard Won

A special report ahead of drupa 2016 sees the event as the setting for a turning point in the adoption of digital printing for packaging production.


What’s New(s) in Roll-to-Roll Printers? (Premium Content)

Our annual rundown of the current rollfed wide-format printer landscape.


Cimpress CEO Robert Keane Shares Thoughts on Business Growth (Premium Content)

In December, Cimpress, the parent company of Vistaprint, announced plans to acquire German web-to-print company WIRmachenDRUCK. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks to CEO Robert Keane to find out more about the company’s strategies and growth plans.


Three Critical Trends for 2016 (Premium Content)

As the end of the year approaches, it becomes helpful to think about the trends that will likely impact our industry in the future. This article offers a top-level overview of three trends that are expected to impact commercial printers and in-plant printers in the coming year.


Printing Profits Dive as Large Printers Have Massive Writedowns (Premium Content)

The third quarter of 2015 marked a huge divergence in the performance of the industry, according to the Department of Commerce Quarterly Financial Report. Printers with more than $25 million in assets wrote down assets amounting to nearly -15% of revenues. This sent the quarterly moving total of inflation-adjusted profits before taxes to +$1.46 billion.


Wideformat 2016: The Road Ahead (Premium Content)

Last week, we took a wide-format look back at 2015. Now let’s switch directions. What can we expect in 2016? Before we answer that, though, what is 2016 likely to hold for the printing industry in general?


Happy to Be Content, But Not To Ship It (Premium Content)

We took a survey of printers and they told us they were really happy. We got data about ad agency revenues and their revenues is still heading up. A big consulting firm says digital content will be bigger than ever. The post office data tells us there's less and less of their work in our mailboxes. The world is full of contradictory trends, and Dr. Joe sorts them out.


2016 Printing Industry Business Conditions Report

These are the results of the Economics and Research Center’s (ERC) survey conducted in October and November 2015.


#SharePackage Puts Holiday Boxes to Compassionate Use

A promotional campaign for paper and packaging goes for the heartstrings with special boxes to be filled with gifts for kids spending the holidays in hospitals.


The Graphical Genius of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity is 100 years old, but his appeal as a creative inspiration for graphic illustrators is 100 years young.


Print Catalogs Are Back this Holiday Season… And for Good Reason! (Premium Content)

The print medium is returning as an important marketing and sales tool. This holiday season, firms like Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue are sending more targeted and specialized catalogs. This article cites InfoTrends’ recent research to explore how catalogs are cutting through the clutter in today’s digital world.


How the Business Structure of Commercial Printers Changed from 2008 to 2013

The recession started just before 2008 was beginning and the latest data from the County Business Patterns report shows how the business formats of the industry changed by 2013.


Get Comfortable with Change (Premium Content)

Last week I attended Singularity University’s Executive Program in Silicon Valley. The best way to describe what happened to me after a week of hearing some of the brightest people in tech talk about the future is that they dramatically changed my perspective. Come to find out, I had a very narrow lens through which I viewed the world; they replaced it with a wide angle lens that goes beyond our planet and looks far into the future.


Patent Troll Targeting Printing Companies that use Common Web-to-Print Functionality

A company called High Quality Printing Inventions, LLC, is using a patent initially granted to Moore (now R.R. Donnelley) to file patent infringement lawsuits in the U.S. District Courts in a litigation campaign against several printing companies using common web-to-print functionality.


Tech Trends for Labels and Packaging: the Year in Review

2015 was a chock-full-of-news year on the technology front—but only a curtain-raiser for what lies ahead in 2016.


Stocking Stuffers: “The 12 Days of Packaging”

Santa Claus, who knows a thing or two about packaging, has a sackful of innovations for fans of the art form this year.


That Was the Year That Was: A Wide-Format Look Back at 2015 (Premium Content)

What were the top growth areas for wide-format in 2015? What applications are ascendant? What technologies are emerging and evolving?


Another Exciting Chapter for SG360?

Integrated direct marketing solutions provider SG360° made an exciting announcement the other day, and I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it.


Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ - November 2015 M&A Activity

Saugatuck Capital bolts Plymouth Printing onto Pharmaceutic Litho & Label, Rondo-Pak adds Contemporary Graphics to US pharma printing platform, Firespring evolves into MSP, Circle Graphics corrals grand format printer Imagic, the Mittera Group continues traditional printing rollup.


Print Business Leadership – Give Yourself a Promotion

Rather than face the reality that all print businesses need to evolve, many print owners default to staying “busy” running the business the way it’s been run for years. Don’t be tempted to “numb yourself” by keeping busy, the market conditions are indisputable, the past performance of your print business is not indicative of future results. We are operating in a different reality with very compelling digital alternatives to print communication.


Holiday Retailing Season Is Shaping Up Nicely - with a Few New Twists

For the holidays, “shop early and shop often” is still good advice—assuming that you know what “early” now is starting to mean in the retailing world.


Commercial Printing is Closing 2015 with Historic High in Key Metric (Premium Content)

Last week's unemployment report did it again, it was all wrapped up in a pretty package but it seemed empty when you looked inside. Contents must have settled during shipping. Speaking of content, employment in agencies and designers are up strongly compared to last year. The content creation business is doing well. Commercial printers are reconfiguring their businesses and produced an historic high in shipments per employee. Dr. Joe has the details.


Aiming at Packaging, HP and KBA Introduce the Widest Inkjet Web Press Yet Developed (Premium Content)

Two technology leaders want to take digital printing for packaging to the next level—and to several levels after that—with a 110-inch-wide web inkjet press specifically for the corrugated market.


Wide Format: Evolving Applications and the Supply Chain (Premium Content)

Digital wide-format printing is one of the most significant growth areas in the entire print industry. InfoTrends offers some of its data on the top-growing wide-format printing applications, and takes a look at how the supply chain for equipment, supplies, and consumables is changing.


HP 3D: Changing the Future with Additive Manufacturing

After doing a multi-year stint managing the established imaging and printing businesses for HP, Steve Nigro is back doing what he loves – running a start-up business. His current role is President, 3D Printing, at HP, Inc., with worldwide responsibility for creating and scaling HP’s 3D business.


Recovery Indicators Cause Concern

The recovery indicators turned in a mixed performance that warrants some caution, concern but not worry, yet. Some outside economic analysts starting to raise concerns about the economy in 2016. Citibank analysts peg the chances of recession in 2016 at 65%, the first such prognostication of a major investment firm that we have seen.


US Commercial Printing Shipments Have a Strong October, +$204 Million

For 17 consecutive months the US commercial printing industry has scored increased shipments compared to the same month of the prior year. In current dollars, the Commerce Department reported that shipments were $7.729 billion. That meant that October 2016's shipments were +$204 million compared to 2015, a +2.7% performance. For the year through October, shipments are +3.3% on a current dollar basis.


Mobile Plays Big Role in Black Friday

The rise of mobile marketing has been long expected, and it looks like Black Friday 2015 is key milestone: mobile was more than half of web site traffic for e-commerce sites. Black Friday “brick-and-mortar” traffic was disappointing, but retailers were aggressively pushing sales online because it reduces the risks of riot-like runs for bargains as stores open. Target Stores had so much online traffic for CyberMonday its servers could not handle the volume. It wasn't the first time that Target misforecast demand for online sales. Some of Black Friday shopping may have been “window shopping” for mobile ordering. IBM, which still has a big business in systems for retailers issued a free download report about what was learned on Black Friday. In that report is the chart we highlight this week. If you sell to retailers or to businesses that sell to retailers, the report is worth reading.


B2C And Web-to-Print: What It Takes To Build A Successful Online Business (Premium Content)

Most printers are business to business (B2B), they do business with other businesses that they have a working relationship with. Business-to-consumer (B2C) is the term used for online businesses that serve anyone who shows up on the website (not necessarily just consumers). As printers consider B2C, they need to understand what it takes to build a successful online business.


Gelato: It Could Sweeten Your Business and Make You Mobile!

Henrik Müller-Hansen, Gelato’s Founder and CEO, had a vision for democratizing the world of printing. This article provides an overview of the Gelato Group’s offerings and explores how these solutions can make a difference in today’s mobile world.


Delphax elan Set for 1Q2016 Commercial Availability

As the production inkjet market continues to gain traction, more choices are coming to market, many of which were first shown at drupa 2012. As we approach drupa 2016, there is no doubt that a growing number of production inkjet solutions will be making their way to commercial availability. Delphax elan is one of those.


Are You Talking to Brand Owners?

As printing companies continue to transform their businesses by offering marketing and related services, establishing direct communication with the brand owner at client or prospect companies – the person who ultimately has responsibility for driving brand initiatives – can pay big dividends. Learn more about what these new services might look like.


Show Your Work: A Plethora of On- and Offline Channels Lets Specialty Printers Strut Their Stuff

From your own physical location—and website—to social media, to local business media, there is no shortage of options for showing off and promoting cool, creative projects you have completed.


The Economy Stays Positive But Weak (Premium Content)

The US economy was reported to be stronger in the third quarter than originally thought, but much of it was a rise in inventories. If retailers were stocking up for Black Friday, that might have been a mistake based on early reports. What's happened to the relationship of commercial printing and department stores? Dr. Joe has the history of that and also previews what's coming in this week's economic data.


Expect New Looks and New Roles for Corrugated

Take another look at the tried-and-true stuff that shipping cartons are made of. Some top developers of packaging printing technology are.


Off the Wall at Comic-Con

If you been to Comic-Con in the last five years, you have seen Las Vegas based Off the Wall Signs & Graphics’ work. Its updated fleet of grand format printers have enabled bigger projects with shorter cycle times and are the basis for the company’s growth. Learn more in this story sponsored by HP.


Kodak CTO Terry Taber: Commercialization and Monetization of Technology (Premium Content)

Five years ago, Kodak CTO Terry Taber began building a technology pipeline that he hoped would lead the company into new businesses, including a key focus area for CEO Jeff Clarke, Functional Printing. He speaks with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne about the current state of the organization from a technology perspective.


“We Say Yes Where Others Say No”: At Island Pro Digital, Words to Live and Work by (Premium Content)

Packaging isn’t everything at Island Pro Digital, a printing company with a highly diversified product base. But, it represents some of the most interesting work that the firm fabricates for its clients.


Canon Supports Literary and Print Production with “Future Authors Project”

The scale of the program is modest, but when the young writers who take part in it see their words in print, its achievement seems far-reaching.


For SpeedPro of Central New York, Display Graphics Are Not Purely Academic (Premium Content)

Four-and-a-half years ago, Bob Kelleher of East Syracuse’s SpeedPro Imaging of Central New York made the transition from software sales to wide-format printing and has never looked back.


Printing's Birth-Death Data Show Improving Industry Health (Premium Content)

Even the usual industry dynamics are dynamic. The latest commercial printing industry birth-death data comparing 2012 to 2011 show a rising birth rate and a declining death rate. The +1608 births and -2262 deaths in 2012 were recent lows, as was the net change of only -654 establishments.


Thermochromic Imaging: the Color Shift That’s Supposed to Happen

That old hippie mood ring you’d die of embarrassment to be seen wearing now? It was the cutting edge of an important decorative technology for labels and packaging.


Former Wunderman Exec Joins Tukaiz

The news story reporting that James Eby, a 25-year veteran of Wunderman, joined Tukaiz as Chief Creative Office caught my eye. Tukaiz, which recently started an in-house agency, agenz, has long been an innovator and thought leader in the industry. Now they have taken that to a whole new level with Eby leading agenz.


Key Questions to Ask When Investing in Print Software Integration (Premium Content)

Integration projects span a wide spectrum, from cheap and easy to complex and very expensive. Focus all your attention about print software integration from one place – your business objectives.


Allison Payment Systems: More than 120 Years of Innovation

Allison Payment Systems was founded in 1888 by Noah Allison, who is credited with the invention of the coupon payment book. The focal point for Allison Payment Systems is personalized customer communications through electronic delivery and first class mail … and lots of it.


So you’re buying a new digital press. What about the DFE? (Premium Content)

The choice of a digital front end (DFE) is perhaps one of the most overlooked decisions in the purchasing process. In some cases, there is only one choice. But for a wide range of toner-based digital presses, two (or even more) options are available. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with a number of printing professionals to better understand how they are approaching this decision and what criteria they use. Read more for advice from the front lines.


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