Published September 11, 2018
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.
Published August 21, 2018
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.
Full STEAM Ahead: Blue Ridge Fab Lab and 4-H Partner to Offer 21st-Century Learning—and Wide-Format Printing
Published July 30, 2018
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.
Published July 26, 2018
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.
Published July 10, 2018
Epson announced two new entry-level models in its SureColor T Series, designed for technical and AES (architecture, engineering, and construction) printing. These devices are targeted more to end users—architecture and design firms, SOHOs, etc.—than print service providers, which indicates the direction technical printing as market segment is going.
Published July 2, 2018
When Steve Moran-Cassese decided to launch a print business in the midst of the Great Recession, he knew it could only grow—and he was right. A mix of the right equipment and picking up on hot new application trends early on has helped SpeedPro Marin thrive. And, somewhat ironically, the Bay Area’s booming economy has created its own challenges.
Published June 27, 2018
Brittany Hodak co-founded The Superfan Company to make “cool collectible stuff for superfans”—coffee table books, deluxe packages for albums and DVDs, subscription magazines, fan boxes, metal commemorative tickets, limited edition tour books, and more, elaborate, print-centric items that help bring fans closer to a beloved musician or athlete. We spoke with Hodak about her own journey that started at a local radio station and led to The Superfan Company—and an appearance on Shark Tank.
Published June 18, 2018
The 54th annual IPMA Conference provided a look at the current state of the in-plant printing department, with more than two dozen sessions and a vendor fair focusing on new opportunities such as interactive print and wide format, and overcoming top challenges such as outsourcing.
Experiential Graphics Are a Growing Subset of Wide Format, But Can Require a Different Approach in Terms of Sales and Production
Published June 4, 2018
“Experiential graphics” are a form of interior décor that are becoming a fast-growing part of wide-format and signage. Pursuing that particular application requires a somewhat different strategy than traditional commercial printing—or even traditional wide-format printing.
Published May 21, 2018
Textiles and corrugated were the two major themes of this year’s FESPA Global Print Expo. Here are some quick hits from the show.
Published May 16, 2018
WhatTheyThink is live at FESPA Berlin 2018 on Day 2 of the show. Welcome to the concept of the microfactory.
Published May 15, 2018
The FESPA Global Print Expo 2018 kicked off in Berlin this morning. Here is a quick teaser of some early show highlights.
Published May 14, 2018
What do we talk about when we talk about “wide format”? How is the term definitionally changing—and what does it even mean anymore? And more importantly, how does whatever we define as “wide format” play nice with other kinds of printing such as industrial, packaging, and commercial? And how can we navigate the “convergence” of these different print silos? Read on for more.
Published May 7, 2018
A major theme of last week’s InPrint Industrial Inkjet Conference in Chicago was the emerging distinction between two specific kinds of industrial printing: printing as part of a larger manufacturing process and what we have often called specialty printing. The conference explored the differences between them, where the growth areas are, and what the drivers of that growth are. Read on for some reflections on the conference.
Published April 24, 2018
For about 15 years, Carbon Wraps Orlando has specialized in highly creative vehicle graphics. They took car wrapping to the next level when they worked with local artist Kurt Meister and Avery Dennison to wrap one of his paintings on a vehicle live at the ISA Sign Expo last March. Read on for more about the company and this unique project.
Published April 12, 2018
The Association for Print Technologies (APTech), through its PRIMIR Research Unit and Market Data programs, provides a wealth of woefully underutilized industry research that can be of great practical use to all the links in the print supply chain—not just suppliers and vendors but print service providers, as well. Read on to see how.
Published April 10, 2018
If you watch the RBC Heritage Golf Classic this week, pay attention to the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse. In a first-of-its-kind wrap project undertaken by Savannah, Ga.’s Kennickell Group, the 90-foot structure had its red stripes converted to plaid to commemorate the event’s 50th anniversary. Read on to find out more about the company’s dramatic growth in the wide-format market and how the unique project came about.
InPrint Industrial Inkjet Conference to Highlight the Intersection of Industrial and Commercial Printing
Published April 9, 2018
Inkjet technologies have been blurring, or completely eliminating, the lines between commercial and industrial printing. But understanding new print applications and new print markets involves more than technology. We talk with Frazer Chesterman, Director of FM Brooks, which is bringing the InPrint Industrial Print Conference to Chicago next month, about the dwindling distinction between industrial and commercial printing and the opportunities that are emerging.
Published April 3, 2018
The landmark 2015 Supreme Court case Reed v. Town of Gilbert turned a sign code issue into a First Amendment battle. Three years later, its effects are still being felt throughout the signage industry—for good or ill. Read on for some of the latest developments in signage regulations.
Published March 26, 2018
The International Sign Association (ISA) Sign Expo 2018 was held in Orlando, Fla., last week. Channel letters, magnetic signage, neon lighting, LED displays, digital displays, 3D printing, and wide-format and display graphics in all their various incarnations were being showcased. Read on for some highlights from the show.
Published March 16, 2018
Last Wednesday, Dr. Joe Webb presented his quarterly economic conditions webinar, which included a look at the overall macroeconomic environment as well as current printing industry business conditions. Read on for a brief summary of what Dr. Webb discussed.
Published March 12, 2018
Less than two years ago, Mark Simmons left the retail world and launched a SpeedPro Imaging franchise in Apex, N.C. A knack for networking, a talented in-house designer, and a vibrant local business environment have helped drive Simmons’ success.
The Shapes of Things to Come: Direct-to-Object Printing Bridges the Gap Between Industrial and Commercial
Published March 6, 2018
New systems are emerging that can print directly onto three-dimensional objects, especially cups, glasses, and bottles, to serve what is emerging as a lucrative promotional drinkware market. In this feature, Richard Romano looks at direct-to-object offerings from Xerox, Inkcups, and Engineered Printing Solutions.
Published March 2, 2018
At a “Taking Print Further” customer and media event this week in Rochester, N.Y., Kodak offered some forward-looking trend presentations, new product announcements for both cutting-edge and legacy systems, and customer panels. Read about Kodak’s commitment to the print industry.
Published February 20, 2018
ISA Sign Expo 2018 heads to Orlando next month, with four days of educational sessions and a packed exhibition floor. Richard Romano spoke with Brandon Hensley, ISA’s Chief Operating Officer, and Iain Mackenzie, ISA’s VP of Meetings & Events, about new show features and some returning favorites.