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.
Security printing is no longer about just about foiling counterfeiters. From packaging to book printers to retail to businesses that serve the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, along with financial printers, protection of files and products must be considered. There is a need for a broader definition of what security printing means and for a greater number of print providers to think of themselves as “security printers.” Maybe instead it should be called “secure printing.”
Voice technology is appearing in more and more places—and is starting to become relevant to printing and publishing. WhatTheyThink talks to Bradley Metrock, CEO of Score Publishing, producer of the VoiceFirst Events portfolio which includes The Alexa Conference, the Voice of the Car Summit, and Digital Book World, about the current and future state of voice technology.
ISA Sign Expo 2019 heads to Las Vegas later this month, with four days of educational sessions and its continuously expanding exhibition floor. We spoke with Brandon Hensley, ISA’s Chief Operating Officer, and Iain Mackenzie, ISA’s VP of Meetings & Events, about what’s new this year.
Functional and barrier coatings are extremely important in the production of paper and board packaging as they provide a protective barrier against water and water vapor, oil and grease, and oxygen and aromas. The barrier coatings industry faces ongoing change in preferred material usage as governments and brands increasingly look for alternatives to plastic packaging for sustainability and recycling purposes. A new report from Smithers Pira details these new sustainability initiatives.
Business as usual is great...when business is usual. But what happens when disaster or some other disruption hits the shop? It can be a business killer if it prevents execution of contracted customer work. Do you have an emergency plan? In Part Three of this series, Pat McGrew offers tips on setting up contingency plans for when mayhem calls.
The Fashion Institute of Technology and OnPoint Manufacturing yesterday announced a new development in fashion design that will enable more entrepreneurism to occur in this market. Unique.Fashion is a unique web portal for designers and buyers that is set to transform how fashion is marketed and produced. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with OnPoint Chairman Kirby Best to learn more.
“The craft, precision, and unexpected beauty of the newspaper printing process.” Rebirth of a paper mill. Keyless in New York. The 14th-Century Mappa Mundi. “Alien”: The Play. Garfield phones storm the beaches. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
The first platforms appeared over four years ago and have steadily increased their performance, functionality, and partnerships over time. This article explores the characteristics of true print workflow platforms and discusses how platforms can benefit print production.
Your customers want convenience. Printers who prioritize around making it easy to do business with their customers will differentiate themselves. Don’t wait until your best customers demand online ordering and self-service access to the business they do with you—do it proactively and strategically instead of under duress.
There is a trait that top executives of growing print companies share. It’s the art of being still and listening. Here are three examples of how top print executives do this in their own way...and why.
Whether you are already a converter or are a print service provider looking at expanding your product and services portfolio, it is important to develop a long-term strategy in order to capture your share of the changing and developing market. In this new series, David Zwang takes a deep dive into the opportunities, changes, and challenges that you need to focus on in Labels and Packaging.
We recently wrote about graphene as a miracle product. At TechTextil 2019, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was able to see graphene in action, courtesy of Kyorene. In this story, she speaks with Matt Reid, the company’s director of sales, about current and future strategies of the business, and how he expects to see graphene impact the textiles market.
Overall, annualized printing industry profits for Q4 2018 were $3.66 billion—not a massive gain from Q3 but a gain nonetheless (we’ll take it). It also appears that the “tale of two cities” trend is—at least temporarily—on hold.
Which book was the most popular in your state in 2018? Did early humans' dietary changes affect speech? What new words did the OED add to the English lexicon? How are Gen Zers’ sustainable buying preferences driving new apparel products? Is Munch’s “Scream” guy actually screaming? People still use MySpace? Have you heard Vienna’s Vegetable Orchestra? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Through consolidated purchasing, print management providers offer cost savings and upgraded efficiencies that in-plants struggle to match, as well as a wider array of products, applications, and expertise than a single print manufacturer can manage. This article provides an overview of the print management market and discusses key opportunities for growth.
Software is like a press; it needs to be staffed. Software is like a press; it needs to be maintained. Software is like your business; it needs to keep evolving. Your most important piece of software is your Print MIS—dedicate the tasks of your Print MIS to one individual.
Traditionally, when people share a printed piece they have received with others, we use the term “pass-along.” But what if we want to think about print in a more current context? What if we started using the term “shared” instead?” In other words, what if we started thinking about print the same way we think about digital channels?
We have all seen the studies and even experienced first-hand the value of personalization in direct mail and other forms of communication. But what about the value of personalization in products and packaging? There are a lot of projections into what the market value “could” be, but how do you take advantage of that?
While the retail and apparel industries are moving to more digital technologies and processes, many observers still believe we are in the infancy of the analog-to-digital transformation the industry will ultimately need to undergo. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently spoke to a digital advocate to gain insight into the industry’s progress. Kelly Price, Director of Business Development for consulting firm ArcherGrey, made some interesting observations.
Print books remain more popular than digital formats. Save the date: WTIN’s digital textile webinar. The first laptop typewriter. Why did people stop wearing hats? An exhibition of really tiny books. Unlucky in love? Try writing to a tree. (No, not D. Eadward Tree.) All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Last month, Microsoft announced the introduction of its Hololens 2 mixed reality headset. This article explores what the upcoming product could mean to the print market, while grounding print service providers’ expectations.
New software tools are often rejected because the humans feel like their jobs are being replaced by computers. Software does math better, faster, and more accurately than humans—that is not debatable. But new tools augment brainpower—not replace it.
Part of being a marketing services provider is helping your clients with their marketing, and this goes beyond integrating marketing channels and improving databases. It includes selecting and tweaking the right offers, too. Studies on this topic provide fascinating insight into the psychology of discounts and deals.
Business as usual is great...when business is usual. But what happens when disaster or some other disruption hits the shop? It can be a business killer if it prevents execution of contracted customer work. Do you have an emergency plan? In part two of this new series, Pat McGrew offers tips on planning for the worst and how to manage customer expectations.
Techtextil North America was a success by any measure. The show, which moved from Chicago to Raleigh N.C., drew more than 3,000 textile and apparel professionals and included an impressive symposium program. Cary Sherburne provides a quick summary.
WhatTheyThink’s annual printing industry outlook report, including the results of our Winter 2018–2019 Business Outlook survey, is now available in our Report Store. This article offers some of the top-level results from that survey.
Forensic garment analysts. Fast fashion and the environment. A toast matching system. John Steinbeck sends Marilyn Monroe a fan letter...sort of. Death of a robot. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
InPrint USA heads to Louisville, Ky., to showcase the latest opportunities for commercial printers in the fast-growing area(s) of industrial printing. Richard Romano offers a preview, and talks with InPrint co-founder Frazer Chesterman about the show and industrial printing.
Last month, Pantone entered into an agreement with FiberForce Italy to bring Pantone colors into the world of 3D printing. Although color has been available in 3D printing filaments and powders for some time, there has been no standard way to ensure users achieve the color they are truly looking for. All of that changes with this partnership. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with both Pantone and FiberForce to learn more.
During odd-numbered years, the Hunkeler-sponsored Innovationdays event in Luzern, Switzerland, features finishing solutions for the transactional, commercial graphic arts, and book industries. This article provides a brief overview of the announcements that brought the theme of automation to the forefront at this year’s event.
To move the needle on direct mail responses, your customers may change up their copy, their images, or their list. But what about their offers? A new Bed Bath & Beyond mailer raises an interesting question.
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.