WhatTheyThink

Commentary & Analysis

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Around the Web: Apparel Manufacturing of the Future. Death by Selfie. Memory-Enhancing Font. Ditching Facebook. Fake News. Next-Gen WiFi.

Print advertising success stories. Sans Forgetica, a font designed for memory retention. Young people are deleting their Facebook app. Social media users expect news to be inaccurate. WiFi 6 is coming; this may not be good news. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Production Dashboards Can Help Keep You “Out of the Mess”

In the printing industry, production dashboards provide critical and timely information for owners, managers, and operators so they can control the production chaos. This article provides a brief overview of available production dashboards and explores how they can simplify the production process.

When Mail Disappears (and Gets Found Again)

Thinking about adding mail tracking to your roster of services? It takes extra cost and effort, so how would you pitch the value to your clients? Case studies from Pitney Bowes show that mail tracking can benefit more than just high-volume mailers looking to tweak in-home delivery dates. It can solve problems and save your clients from major marketing disasters.

Is Graphene Really a Miracle Material?

A great deal is being written about graphene, in textiles and other industries. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked to Vorbeck Materials Corp. President & CEO Dr. John Lettow to learn more about what many are characterizing as a miracle material.

Wide-Format and Specialty Graphics at PRINT 18

PRINT has not traditionally been a top venue for wide-format or specialty printing equipment announcements, but does showcase the latest technologies and the applications that can be produced on them, giving commercial printers concrete ideas for exploring new business opportunities.

Taking Stock of Industry Associations: Part Two

Last summer, we took a look at the state of industry associationswith the goal of reminding our members about the many resources available to them to help move their businesses forward. By popular demand, we are now presenting Part Two in order to cover additional organizations that were not included in Part One. I’m sure there are still more!

Marketing Guru Seth Godin Kicks Off PRINT 18

Seth Godin’s keynote encouraged print service providers to eschew commodity printing and focus on selling products that are “remarkable.” “You don’t sell paper and ink,” he said, “you sell a feeling.” It was a fitting theme with which to open PRINT 18.

Darwill’s Inkjet Journey

Hillside, Ill.’s Darwill, Inc., is a 57-year-old direct mail and multi-channel marketing agency. From humble beginnings, the company has grown to be at the forefront of the industry—and one of the early adopters of production inkjet printing technology.

Five Things to Do (Better) When Buying Inkjet

It’s not that an inkjet buyer shouldn’t do these things; it’s that they should do them better. Here are five things to do better so that you know that you made a truly strategic, long-term decision.

@PRINT18 Adds New Dimension to PRINT 18 Trade Show

PRINT18 offers the opportunity for attendees to get their own copy of a unique publication that will be distributed at the show. Not only does it feature stunning variable covers, but it contains a wealth of original thought leadership content that will benefit attendees during the show and long afterward. WhatTheyThink President Eric Vessels explains.

Book Printers—2016

In 2016, there were 421 total book printing establishments. The majority have under 10 employees. This is similar to what we find in general commercial printing—yet different.

Around the Web: Manipulating Buybacks. The Ugliest Color. New Words for Scrabble Fans. Lithophones. How Not to Catch a Plane. 3D Printed Dog Skulls.

Research has identified down to the Pantone number the least attractive color. Merriam-Webster adds 300 new words to the Official Scrabble Dictionary. A nine-year-old dachshund is helped by 3D printing. The pen is still mightier. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Digital Textile Printing: Recent Innovations and Environmental Impact

Ongoing research and forecast data from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends shows that the digital textile printing market continues to grow. As the industry develops new manufacturing methods to meet this continued growth in demand, it is important to consider the environmental impact of these developments. This analysis explores some recent innovations in digital textile printing and considers the effect that these innovations may have on the environment.

Trend Watch: The Rise of the Blockbuster Self-Promotional Piece

Trish talks with Scott Engle of Graphic Visual Solutions of Greensboro, NC, about the power—and the pressure—of making visually striking (and costly) print capabilities brochures to inspire, educate, and motivate today’s customers.

Labelexpo 2018: First Look

Labelexpo 2018 in Rosemont (Chicago area) was very busy for the first day. This is David Zwang’s initial report from that event and that day. More to come.

Print Ecommerce Data vs. Print MIS Financial Data

The ability to make data-driven decisions is critical to your business success. The various software systems (Print MIS, web-to-print) are your primary tools for managing this data. When you do integrations make sure you keep the control of right data in the right hands.

In The Mail: September 2018—What You Need to Know About Postal Issues 

The logjam on postal promotions and price increases may be broken with confirmation of two members to the USPS Board of Governors…Postal Service proposals could require more stringent requirements for hazardous liquids packaging and limits on marketing mail content...Deadline for new EPS accounts just days away.

Explaining Nonwovens

In this next in the series of articles about technical textiles, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Smithers Pira Associate Consultant for Nonwovens Phillip Mango to learn more about nonwovens—what are they, how is the market categorized, and what are some of their uses.

Web-to-Print Product Spotlight: printQ by CloudLab

Jennifer Matt reviews printQ by CloudLab and its modular approach to web-to-print.

Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech) Expands Membership to Print Service Providers

The Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech) is announcing a new print service provider membership category just in time for PRINT 18. If you are going to PRINT, you can get the first year of membership free! We spoke with APTech to find out more.

July 2018 Printing Shipments: We Have Some Good News and Some Bad News

Printing shipments for July 2018 came in at $6.31 billion—that’s down -3.4% from June, but it’s up +2.3% from July 2017. We’ll take whatever victories we can.

Digital Print, Expanding Horizons in Woodworking

The biannual International Woodworking Fair, which took place August 21-25 in Atlanta, Ga., held its inaugural Digital Printing Symposium. While this symposium is new, digital printing has actually been part of the woodworking industry for some time. That said, the need to short-run cost-effective decorative surfaces, as well as ongoing development in digital inkjet printing sector, is creating a perfect storm for the technology to meet woodworking’s market needs.

Around the Web: Odor Eating Fabric. Times Newer Roman. Rest in Personalization. Robot Rumpus. Modeling Movement. In Praise of Luddites. Pen Packaging Put-On.

New odor-capturing fabric finishes. Cheat on your homework with a variant of Times New Roman. New documentary on a prominent “coffin artist.” Turn any object into a robot. Turn 2D videos into 3D objects. The pen is mightier than the packaging. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Key Components of the Digital Textile Printing Industry

Consumer demand and technological innovations continue to drive growth within the apparel and home décor industries. This article outlines the key components of the digital textile printing industry and highlights how mass customization is fueling the adoption of various technologies.

Accurate Press Specifications in Your Print MIS

The process of getting your Print MIS into a “trusted state” can be difficult, but the effort is well worth it. Printers who 100% trust the data in their Print MIS move faster and are more profitable than those who are constantly questioning the data.

Inkjet Printing Builds Towards $100 Billion Market

Value in the world inkjet market will rise at 9.4% across the next five years according to the latest market report The Future of Inkjet Printing to 2023 from Smithers Pira. As the worldwide print market transforms, shifts in buyer demands—short runs, versioned and personalized products—and higher quality are aligning with the capabilities of inkjet. This is making it a key focus for technology developers. Smithers’ analysis shows that across the next five years inkjet will grow, both by deepening its penetration into existing markets, and exploiting new emergent market opportunities.

It’s Working! Anti-Greenwashing Education Is Making a Difference

It’s working! Our industry’s campaign against the false claims of greenwashing is having an impact. Consumers are starting to see claims like “Go Paperless! Go Green!” as false and misleading, and marketers are changing their tactics.

Functional Fabric Finishes: Advances Extend Fabric Utility

In recent years, significant advances have been made in both aesthetic and functional fabric finishes. While some finishes are produced mechanically, the focus of this article, the latest in our series on technical textiles, is on chemical treatments or coatings that add functionality to fabrics for comfort or for specialized uses.

Around the Web: Ancient Art. Avian Economists. Insect Imaging. Deterring Drivers. Planetary Palaver.

How to hurricane-proof your outdoor digital signage. The oldest human drawing. Do parrots know economics? New color from weevils. An optical illusion-based crosswalk thwarts speeders. New arguments for Pluto’s planethood. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Book Printers—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 536 book printing establishments. In the ensuing six years, the establishment count would drop -21%. So says our Commercial Printing Establishments tracker.

Continued Innovations Drive Growth in Digital Textile Printing

Consumer demand and technological innovations are driving growth in the apparel and home décor industries. This article explores some of the ongoing shifts that are occurring in the industry and considers how these shifts are affecting the digital textile market on a global basis.

Print Software Fit to Your Technology Stack

Print software is a powerful tool to create efficiencies in your business. Your success with print software is dependent upon how well you can make the various technologies work and play together in your overall technology stack.

"Burning Down the House"...and What You Might Learn

What would happen if you took the time to imagine what your shop might look like if you could start from scratch? If there were no financial or legacy constraints? What might you do differently from what you have now? What might you learn from walking through that exercise? 

Are Europeans Slower than Americans?

English has become a global language and the de facto language of business, and American culture and American companies have permeated throughout much of Europe. Our European correspondent Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV looks at the transatlantic difference in language and culture.

Chicago’s Graphic Alliance Makes a Meal Out of Restaurant Signage

Graphic Alliance, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, started as a commercial print shop but quickly adopted wide-format printing and has carved out a substantial niche in restaurant graphics and signage. The company has also expanded into vehicle wrapping and is currently developing residential interior décor services. Richard Romano spoke with founder and CEO Eric Grossman.

Getting Grounded in Geotextiles

This is the fourth installment of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne discusses geotextiles, an important but rarely discussed segment of technical textiles.

It’s Back to School Time—August 2018 M&A Activity

M&A activity in commercial printing, driven by pressure to consolidate, remains robust; packaging is still the hot topic, wide format falters (just a bit), and more…

Around the Web: 3D Printing and Disruption – New Piezo Printing Process – The New Corporate Font – High-Viscosity Printing – Truth in Stock Market Reporting – This Week in Printing History

A special fashion model inspires the design industry. A new font for brands encompasses all brands. A new printer technology can print very viscous liquids. An honest stock report. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Words of the Profits

Looking at the most recent industry profits data that came out earlier this week, we continue to tell the “tale of two cities.” Low profitability of large printers is dragging down average industry profitability. For the industry as a whole, cracking—or re-cracking—$4 billion in profits is proving to be an elusive goal.

IGAS 2018: The Latest Product News

IGAS 2018 may not get as much attention as some of the other international trade shows, but InfoTrends analysts still found several products that we believe will make an impact on the global print market.

Want to Keep Your Presses Busy? Market to Employees!

Marketing efforts are generally directed at customers and prospects, but there is another target audience that needs your clients’ attention, too—their employees. This is an area of growing attention that your presses will thank you for.

The Costs of Supporting Multiple Print Software Solutions

Buying more software isn’t always the best option. Duplicate solutions that solve the same set of challenges (e.g. multiple web-to-print solutions) have extra costs and require extra understanding by your sales team. Buying software should be at the same strategic level as buying presses is in your print business.

HYBRID Software’s Next-Generation Workflow Solution Deployed by SGK

HYBRID Software has been growing at a fairly good clip and this new $20 million software deployment by the SGK Brand Solutions subsidiary of Matthews International is going to give it an additional boost. More importantly, the new software, Shockwave, their development project name, is a great example of a next-generation workflow solution that was developed for the new market requirements.

Fiber Computing: The Next Industrial Revolution

The mission of Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) is to enable a manufacturing-based revolution—what we could call Industry 5.0—with the transformation of traditional fibers, yarns, and textiles into highly sophisticated integrated and networked devices and systems. In a recent conversation with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, the organization’s Chief Marketing Officer, Eric Spackey, explains.

Around the Web: Shopping for Preferences – Ancient Gripes – The Kids Are Offline – Chinese Typewriters – Earnings Reports: A Modest Proposal – The E-Horse – This Week in Printing History

The world’s oldest customer complaint was etched in clay. A modern twist on the old “spend a penny.” Today’s teens are not as wired as we thought. Twice-yearly earnings reports? The case for daily earnings reports. Researchers use 3D-printed boxes to help search for new antibiotics. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Mid-Size Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 6,725 10–19-employee commercial printing establishments. Among this demographic category, there was the most precipitous drop from 2010 to 2011—the fallout from the Great Recession which started to take its toll after 2009. By 2012, the bleeding had been largely stanched, and the year-to-year declines were more modest. So says our recently launched Commercial Printing Establishments tracker.

Delphax Rising—A "New" Delphax Continues Development of the elan Product Line

Delphax Technologies Inc. entered bankruptcy in 2017. The company's backer, Air T, created a new company called Delphax Solutions Inc. (DSI) to design, manufacture, and sell printing equipment starting with the existing elan product line. The company shared news of the new organization and strategic direction.

Memjet’s DuraLink, One Year Later

Unveiled in 2017, Memjet’s DuraLink technology appears to be catching on with OEMs. Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends believes this is due to its improvements in head life and other features, which will enable Memjet products to address high-volume applications. As DuraLink evolves, it looks poised to succeed in industrial print applications such as high-speed label and packaging printing.

Make Your Print Business Work Smarter

Working smarter is an evolution. Digital tools are providing us ways to work more efficiently, but it comes down to being able to work with other humans. Efficient communication is the key to working smarter and optimizing the digital tools at our disposal.

When Personalized Ads Aren’t Personal

Digital marketing claims to have the corner on truly personalized experiences, but does it really? How can print compete? Accuracy. 

Labelexpo Americas 2018 Is Not Just for Labels and Packaging

Labelexpo is coming to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 15 minutes from Chicago’s O’Hare airport, on September 25–27. This is the biggest Label and Print packaging event in the Americas. However, what will be seen there will also prove to be a harbinger for many of the new developments coming to other print production applications.

LED Lighting in Retail: What’s the Impact on Color?

As brick-and-mortar retail works to streamline costs by updating facilities with LED lighting, are they overlooking an important effect—how LED lighting will affect the way customers see the color of their products? Senior Editor Cary Sherburne looks into the pros and cons of LED lighting and how the retail industry is approaching this conversion.

Canadian Printing Shipments

Looking at the 12-month moving average of Canada’s printing shipments, it may look like Canada’s printing industry has been holding steady, but the inflation-adjusted figures show a slight decline from a recent peak at the end of 2013.

Around the Web: 3M Wraps Itself. Cool Caps. Trillions of Dollars. Fur-Ternity Leave. Tor Nada. This Week in Printing History.

3M wraps its own headquarters. UNITED CAPS develops bio-sourced plastics for its caps. How much paper would it take to print the Internet? Are library ebooks killing sales? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Who Buys Continuous Feed Inkjet?

Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends records publicly announced placements of continuous-feed inkjet printers, along with the types of PSPs that acquire these devices and the major applications they print. This article provides an overview of these placements in the past nine years by major application and vendor.

In The Mail: August 2018—What You Need to Know About Postal Issues

No vacation from mail-related activity this summer: Presidential USPS task force completes its report…package volume remains a Postal Service bright spot…Package Coalition formed by diverse industry group…USPS seeks ways to make mail more attractive to Millennials.

Collaborative Print Sales

When sales become more complicated, involving more people on both sides of the equation, you need a team player to facilitate collaboration. A winning sales team is a combination of subject matter expertise and relationship building.

Success with Specialty Printing: Changing the Mindset

As we all know by now, there are very few surfaces, substances, and objects that can't be printed, and thus there is no end to the print products that a shop can offer. From posters and banners, to signage, to garments and other textile products, to garage doors, to...name it. But when approaching the vast new market for specialty graphics printing, two questions usually come to mind: Where do I start, and How do I sell it? Here is some advice.

Do We Need to Be Careful About How We Discuss the Environmental Benefits of Flexible Packaging?

When it comes to the environmental benefits of flexible packaging, the laundry list is long. On the surface, flexible packaging offers a vast number of benefits over other forms of packaging. The challenge to these comparisons, however, is that flexible packaging isn’t doing a one-to-one replacement. How does this impact the accuracy of the discussion?

Unraveling the Mystery of Modern Knitting

This is the third in a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne visits with Fabdesigns, an innovator in knitted technical textiles. The company helped Nike bring the FlyKnit shoe to market and much more.

Around the Web: Small Business Optimism – Action Towels – What’s an Ad Worth? – Dumbing Phones – Cheese of the Pharaohs – This Week in Printing History

The latest NFIB Small Business Optimism Index. Towels made of recycled bottles. Stopping “stalking ads.” Making phones just a little less smart. The world’s oldest cheese. Modern American prints from 1920-1948. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Consolidation Among Large Print Businesses: 2010–2016

In 2010, there were 2,124 establishments having 50 or more employees. By 2016, they had dropped to 1,851 (down -13%). So says our new Commercial Printing Establishments tracker, based on data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns, which presents—in spreadsheet form—U.S. commercial printing establishments from 2010 to 2016, broken down by six different print business classifications and nine employee-size breakdowns.

B2 Digital Saves the Day for Cut-Sheet Color

Every year, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends publishes its digital printing forecast to identify placements of digital devices, installed base, print volumes, and revenues achieved. This article provides an overview of some recent top-level forecast data and also explores how new developments in a long-established market can create new opportunities while also driving print volumes.

Embracing Bindery Automation—It’s Time to Take the Leap

If the bindery is the final frontier of total workflow automation, and the technology has been in existence for over a decade, why are so many companies still passing on the opportunity to gain efficiency and save money? Trish will explore the challenges and benefits of taking the leap into bindery automation.

The Impact on the Printer of Software Acquisitions

A disruptive market creates the conditions for acquisitions. This has been happening with printers for years and print software vendors are experiencing the same conditions. As a customer of these products, you must understand the conditions of the acquisition in order to prepare for how it will impact you as a customer of the software.

They’re Coming: Are You Ready for Psychographics?

Just when printers and MSPs are becoming more comfortable with more detailed demographic targeting, the use of psychographic targeting is growing. Are you ready?

Food Packaging Printing Set to Evolve From 2018–2023

New research from Smithers Pira highlights the future growth potential and technical challenges for printing food packaging, and how these will be realized against a backdrop of tighter focus on safety and environmental performance.

Sir Speedy Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

In August, Sir Speedy, franchise operation in the Franchise Services family, celebrates its 50th year in business. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Don and Richard Lowe to get an update on the business, and to take a little trip down memory lane.

Labels and Packaging: Predicting and Achieving Consistent Color Across Disparate Press Platforms and Media

Color management standards and process controls have helped raise the bar on defining and meeting client expectations in color reproduction. However, as we see more cross-platform and cross-media packaging and marketing campaigns, how can we accurately predict, prepare, and communicate expected results?

Inside Technical Textiles: The Glen Raven Story

This is the second of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne shares the Glen Raven story, a 138-year-old company that has almost completely reinvented itself.

Printing Shipments Head Into the Dog Days of Summer

The inflation-adjusted value of printing shipments for June 2018 were down from $6.9 billion in May to $6.5 billion in June. On the plus side, it’s not appreciably below the $6.6 billion reported in June 2017.

Around the Web: A Book of Wood – A Felt Supermarket – Amish Uber – Robot Coworkers – Cookie War – This Week in Printing History

A book consisting entirely of pieces of wood. How to foil a car thief: drive a stick. The gig economy is surging...but only in Amish country. Survey says: workers are cool with robot coworkers. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

OpenText Enterprise World 2018: Defined by Real-Time Communications

The OpenText team held the 2018 Enterprise World meeting in Toronto, Canada, from July 10 to 12. During the opening keynote address, Mark Barrenechea explained to more than 4,000 delegates that competing and conflicting macro-trends are converging to pose unprecedented challenges for today’s businesses. Today’s enterprises must navigate a range of priorities to succeed, and OpenText has released several offerings that can assist in their journey.

Buying Print Software is a Marriage

When you invest in software for your print business, it’s like a marriage because you want to have a healthy long-term relationship with the vendor. Changing software is painful and expensive (like divorces).

If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Join ’Em – July 2018 M&A Activity

LSC Communications jettisons major European printing asset, acquires digital content logistics firm MAZ, label segment is very active, and more…

Inside Technical Textiles: The Basics

This is the first of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this first installment in the series, Sherburne defines technical textiles and provides examples of how they are purpose-built for specific applications.

How Different the EU Is When It Comes to the Costs of Doing Business

Looking to establish a presence in the European Union? Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV looks at some of the typical costs of doing business—taxes and labor—and how they differ from those in the U.S.

Volaris Group Makes First Foray into Print Automation Software

The recent acquisition of print automation software provider Aleyant by Canada’s Volaris Group raised some eyebrows in the industry. Who is the Volaris Group? What strategy are they pursuing relative to the printing industry? And what does this acquisition mean for Aleyant? These were questions Senior Editor Cary Sherburne investigated.

How Printing Industry CX Is Like Eating at Panera’s

Improving customer experience (CX) is becoming an increasingly important part of any company’s marketing plan. That goes as much for the printing industry as it does for everyone else. So are you a Panera? Or [the other guy]?

Around the Web: PPI Executive Director Jules VanSant Steps Down – Ambigrams and Lipograms – Customized Cars – Mad Men No More – This Week in Printing History

After 12 years of leadership, Jules VanSant is stepping down as PPI Executive Director. Unusual typography. Automakers look to digitally printed auto parts. Don Draper—and even Darrin Stephens—are ad men of the past. The semaphore origin of the peace symbol. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

WhatTheyThink Launches New Industry Establishment Data Series

Our new Commercial Printing Establishments tracker, based on data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns, presents—in spreadsheet form—U.S. commercial printing establishments from 2010 to 2016, broken down by six different print business classifications and nine employee-size breakdowns.

Print E-Commerce Marches On, Consumes More of Total Shipments

E-commerce activities continue to ramp up in the printing industry. Thanks to the proliferation of digital printing technologies, the number of products within consumers’ reach is simply remarkable. This article explores how print service providers can take advantage of online print growth.

Case Studies for Inspiring Direct Mail: Demand Generation Well Done

A look at one of the demand-generation efforts from the United States Post Office. The effort uses variety and specificity to communicate a broader message that transcends market vertical.

Software Tools for Teamwork in Your Print Business

You work with a team. It’s time to upgrade the tools you use to foster more efficient teamwork and better management of the artifacts that are created in projects. Email with attached files doesn’t cut it anymore. We are creating an isolated mess of artifacts that cannot be effectively found or used in the next project.

Is Informed Delivery Changing Consumer Behavior?

As the number of USPS Informed Delivery accounts continues to grow, will it change the way marketers design their mail? Will it change consumers’ behavior and how they interact with the mail? I know that it has already changed mine.

Coloro Markets New Color System for Fashion, Lifestyle, and Interiors

Do we need another color system? Coloro thinks so. The company launched its color system last year, based on the 100-year-old Munsell system, and claims it to be the easiest to use and most logical system on the market. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Coloro Managing Director Thorsten Traugott to learn more.

Full STEAM Ahead: Blue Ridge Fab Lab and 4-H Partner to Offer 21st-Century Learning—and Wide-Format Printing

The Blue Ridge/UA 4-H Fab Lab, based in Pinetop-Lakeside, Ariz., offers student-directed, project-centric STEM training for K-12 students. Thanks to a partnership with 4-H, the facility is available to students across the state. Part of student projects involves designing and printing informational flyers, posters, and other materials on wide-format printers provided by Roland DGA, a sponsor of the Fab Lab. We spoke with Kevin Woolridge, Co-Director of the Fab Lab.

June Printing Employment Down Y/Y

Overall, printing employment ticked up from May to June 2018, but on a year-over-year basis is down -1.8% from June 2017. Among the creative markets, PR is the place to be.

Around the Web: Amazon to Replace Libraries? – Book Fore-Edge Painting – The Truth About Recycled Clothing – Japan’s Looming “Y2K”-Like Problem – This Week in Printing History

Forbes columnist suggests replacing public libraries with Amazon stores, for some reason. The economic costs of comma misuse. Built-in sun protection for garments. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Graphic Arts Companies Feel the Pinch of Aluminum Tariffs

Last month, the Trump Administration levied a 10% tariff on imported aluminum and a 25% tariff on imported steel. At present, the tariffs are having the biggest impact on manufacturers of aluminum lithographic plates—although that may be just the beginning. Plate manufacturers are deciding how best to respond, while industry associations are helping to fight back.

Identifying Successful Sales Practices for Print Providers

Every company has a sales process. Although these processes are sometimes well-established and well-documented, this is not always the case. If you’re struggling with your sales process, this article provides a quick-start guide on performing a sales audit.

Faces of Finishing: Mark Nixon of Scodix on the Triumphs and Challenges of Bringing Disruptive Technology to Market

In the latest installment of this interview series, Trish Witkowski talks with Mark Nixon, GM and VP Sales for Scodix NA, about creating a market and elevating print with disruptive technology.

In The Mail: July 2018 — What You Need to Know About Postal Issues

July brings a mixed bag of postal/mailing news, from The White House supporting the idea of privatizing the USPS to the Postal Service gaining approval for internal performance audits, CAPS yielding to EPS, STOP on its way to becoming law, and both ID and IV adding features.

Adobe PDF Print Engine 5: PDF 2.0 Coming Soon to a DFE Near You

Adobe announced Adobe PDF Print Engine 5, their core technology used by many Digital Front Ends driving print production equipment. This release makes PDF 2.0 print-related features available for OEM implementation.

Taking Stock of Industry Associations

It’s been some time since we have taken a look at the state of our industry associations. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne conducted 17 interviews in late Spring 2018 with key industry players to get an update on status and strategies. We don’t cover every organization in the industry—there are simply too many—but it gives a good overview on the organizations and resources available to help printing businesses be more successful.

Purissimo from Devan Chemicals: A Textile Treatment Bringing Hope to Pet Allergy Sufferers

Do you have a cat or a dog? Or would you like to, if only you or someone in your household weren’t sensitive to allergens shed by cats and dogs? Devan Chemicals has an answer that may help. The company recently launched a technology to make textiles free from allergens shed by cats and dogs. Purissimo™ is a probiotic-based solution and is completely natural. We spoke to the company to learn more.

Around the Web: The Virtual Dressing Room – Cool Threads – Underwear Knife – Biobased Car – This Week in Printing History

Try on clothes virtually. As bad as flying is, it used to be worse. World’s first biobased, circular car has been successfully designed and built. Men’s boxer shorts turned into a knife. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Get Ready for Change…Make Digitally Printed Packaging a Part of Your Future

Although digitally printed corrugated packages serve to enclose products, develop displays, and create shipping containers, they can also be used as billboards for savvy brands to advertise and increase consumer engagement. This article explores how brands can take advantage of printed packaging to differentiate their marketing messages.

When Color Memory Fails, Do Brand Standards Matter?

We are in a color-obsessed industry. Brand colors, in particular, are critical. When it comes to specific shades of color, however, studies show that consumers’ color memories are really poor. Considering this, along with the inability to maintain brand color standards in a digital world, where does the value in maintaining brand standards really lie?

Succeeding in Spite of Print Software’s Weaknesses

A culture of finding ways to optimize software in your business is something you can control. The successful printers will be the ones who are getting the most of their print software tools—mostly by being open to evolving their own workflows to fit the how the software works best.