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Imageco Partners with HP Technology to Deliver Sustainable Printed Production for Retail Graphics and POS

At UK-based Imageco, sustainability is a key focus. When the current owner took over, he brought with him his passion for a more sustainable future and took steps to improve the company’s sustainability profile. Today, Imageco provides their customers with affordable, versatile products that are manufactured using a responsible production process, sustainable materials, and best practices wherever possible. Read the full story.

Achieving More with Priming and Coating

If priming and coating are each important to the success of inkjet in commercial printing, both are crucial for inkjet printing in the label and packaging segments. In this article, sponsored by Michelman, Inc., and based on a just-released white paper, European section editor Ralf Schlözer explains how folding carton and corrugated packaging markets are expanding for inkjet in large part due to the application of these fluids.

Annual Sign Franchise Review 2022

Like the print franchise networks, the sign franchises struggled, like many businesses, in 2020. They have bounced back almost to 2019 levels and are seeing good growth going into 2022. Managing editor Richard Romano provides our annual sign franchise review.

Seven Options for Filling Your Employee Pipeline

The Printing Industries Alliance has released a new report, “Recruitment, Retention, and Pathways to Employment in the Printing Industry” (April 2022), that looks at the realities of the hiring gap in the printing industry and practical solutions for addressing it. Here are seven takeaways from that report.

Align Your Goals: Pre-Call Prep Leads to Better Prospect Meetings

Most salespeople agree that advance prep for important prospect meetings is a precursor for successful call outcomes. Sellers can gain at least a 20% bump in productivity through consistent pre-call work. Contributor Lisa Magnuson offers some tips for effective pre-call prep.

Making a Commitment to Software Implementation

Commitments are hard. The sales process for print software is like dating. Everyone is full of positive hormones about potential. Then salespeople step away and the implementation begins. It gets hard. It doesn’t go back to the honeymoon phase—ever.

Online Print Symposium—Restarting Online Print

European section editor Ralf Schlözer reports from the Online Print Symposium, the largest dedicated conference on online printing that took place at the end of April 2022 in Munich. The event detailed the status of online print as it emerged from the pandemic year, and the trends taking the industry into 2022 and beyond.

Is Landa Finally Hitting Its Stride?

There has been a running joke amongst some analysts and media that it takes at least two drupas—or about 8–10 years—before an initially shown product is ready for production. Granted, some of what is “envisioned” as new product technologies may never make it, but many products do successfully make it to market, ready for reliable production.

Needed: Quick Turn Labels—A Trio of OEMs Share What to Expect in Label Printing Trends

Demand for fast-turn and short-run labels went up during and after the pandemic, but employment and consumables problems tempered what could have been a boon for label printers and label equipment vendors. Contributor Mark Vruno looks at where we stand today.

Are We Paying Too Much Attention to Transitory Trends?

There is so much hype around fashion trends—the more different trends that can be hyped, the more fashion that gets sold, I suppose. But it’s not only bad for our individual pocketbooks, it’s devastating for the environment! In this article, we cite two other must-read articles that point out why we should not be following every transitory TikTok trend that comes our way.

How Not to Sell Hardware at Trade Shows

Expos and exhibitions are interesting opportunities to sell, but the event alone is not enough to generate leads or close sales. Selling at trade shows takes a strategy and preparation. In part one of a two-part series, contributor Pat McGrew offers some do’s and don’ts for selling print hardware at trade shows.

Commercial Printing Annual Payroll—2010–2019

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, US establishments in NAICS 323111 had an annual payroll of $15.9 billion. Payrolls dipped during and in the aftermath of the Great Recession and then rose, at least on a current dollar basis, over the latter half of the decade before dropping in 2019, finishing out the decade at $16.3 billion in 2019. However adjusting for inflation, payrolls declined by -12% over the course of the decade. In macro news: inflation is starting to slow ever so slightly.

Around the Web: Sand Solution. Plastic Problems. Conquering Corrosion. Stapler Substitute. Drone Deluge. Fromage Finder. Cremation Cannon. Pod Parting.

Print Against War shows how the global printing industry is standing with Ukraine. Turning discarded glass containers back into sand to help combat coastal erosion. Devastating report finds that plastic recycling simply is not working. Graphene-based anti-corrosion paint for automotive applications. A “staple-less stapler.” A revised 3D-printed cap for the iconic Kikkoman soy sauce bottle. Now you can be chased through a forest by a drone swarm without fearing they’ll crash. A new app is Shazam for cheese. Hurl your dearly departed into the afterlife with the Loved one Launcher. RIP Apple iPod. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Saul Nash Receives The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design

The British Fashion Council announced that Saul Nash is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The Award was presented by the Duchess of Cambridge on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen in this Platinum Jubilee year. The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design was initiated in recognition of the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy and to spotlight young designers who are talented and making a difference to society through either sustainable practices or community engagement. 

FESPA Global Print Expo 2022 Comes to Berlin: A Conversation with Michael Ryan

The FESPA Global Print Expo 2022 will take place from May 31 to June 3, 2022, at the Messe Berlin in Germany. The event is Europe’s leading exhibition for screen, wide-format, and textile printing. WhatTheyThink spoke with Michael Ryan, Head of Global Development & FESPA GPE, FESPA, to preview the show and some prevailing trends and applications attendees can expect to see in Berlin.

You Can Market Like an Expert…Even if You’re an Amateur!

Nearly half of today’s small business owners handle their own marketing endeavors, and their frustration with this process is commonly voiced. This article highlights some simple steps you can take to improve your marketing strategy and offers tips on how to market like a pro, even if you’re only just getting started.

Study: Key Demographic Is Being Overlooked by Marketers

Older Americans, representing 100 million consumers and more than half of the nation’s wealth and annual spending, are being overlooked by marketers. Two reports from Alive Ventures, “Growing Older Better: Insights and Opportunities” and “State of the Market 2022,” challenge the stereotypes fueling this oversight and shine a spotlight on the opportunities that you can share with your customers.

Keeping the Pulse of Your Print Operation with Canon PRISMA Tools

Pat McGrew and Ryan McAbee take an in-depth look at Canon PRISMA Tools for data analysis and accounting, which monitor the operational pulse and direction of your a operation. These tools can help staff take quick and decisive actions to keep production running smoothly and make better print production decisions.

The Challenge of Expertise

Being good at one thing doesn’t make you an expert at everything. Expertise is limited because time is limited, and change is unlimited. Understand what you have expertise in and then respect the expertise of others as a way to optimize your business.

Press On & Rock On: RMGT’s “Commit to Print” World Tour Kicks Off

Celebrating sheetfed-offset printing, RMGT’s “Commit to Print” World Tour kicked off last week in St. Louis, Mo., at Advertisers Printing. Contributor Mark Vruno previews the rest of the tour, and documents Advertisers Printing’s investment in a 10-color RMGT 9 Series perfecting press.

ISA Sign Expo 2022: Welcome Back, My Friends…

After a three-year pandemic-induced hiatus, the ISA Sign Expo returned live in Atlanta last week—much to everyone’s delight. WhatTheyThink was at the event, which seemed less like a trade show and more like a family reunion.

Global Graphics Smart QI: New Platform for On-the-Fly Inspection

Press speeds, resolutions, and the use of variable data is growing, and with it the need to inspect the print for defects before it comes off the press and goes into finishing and converting is essential. Global Graphics Smart QI is a solution targeted at that increasing and demanding requirement.

Johnson’s World—The Cat and Mouse Game: A Marketing Lesson from Walter the Cat

The fur flies as Steve Johnson attempts to claw back a veterinary medicine rebate he was promised. Read on to see how customer loyalty programs can quickly become customer antagonism programs.  

Are You Looking at the Full Scope of Sustainability?

Sustainability seems to be the latest buzzword to grab hold of the business community, and I hate to even call it that due to its importance to the future of our world. But when companies talk about sustainability, are they truly looking at the whole picture, or just a part? And can they even affect the whole picture? Organizations such as the Responsible Sourcing Network and others are dedicated to giving brands and retailers broader insight into just exactly how sustainable they are.

The Target Report: When Does Customer Concentration Become an Advantage?—April 2022 M&A Activity

Pokémon Captures Millennium, Nahan acquires Intellus Mail Division, and more…

March Graphic Arts Employment—Print Production Drops from February, Non-Production Up a Bit

In March 2022, all printing employment was up +0.2% from February. Non-production printing employment was up +2.7%, but production employment was down -0.9%.

Around the Web: Plastic Problems. Library Love. Perilous Packaging. Glasses Galore. Fowl Fashion. Dear Deere. Scarce Sand. Butcher Bots.

Using recovered plastic to 3D print on-demand retail items. The Brooklyn Public Library is offering free digital library cards. “Wrap rage” is real. Three approaches to eyeglasses-based displays. “Chicken eyeglasses.” Graphene helps turn discarded facemasks into concrete. Bricking stolen farm equipment. The world’s impending sand crisis. New technology is coming to a restaurant near you. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Annual Print Shop Franchise Review 2022

Print franchise networks struggled, like many businesses, in 2020. But most of them have bounced back almost to 2019 levels and are seeing good growth going into 2022. Senior editor Cary Sherburne provides our annual print franchise review.

A Reason to Show Up

If you really want to grow your business over the next decade you will be required to solve the problem of recruiting talent in a brutally competitive talent marketplace. The solution, you are likely to discover, lies not in marketing so much as it does in a form of branding. We must answer the question that is top of mind for potential employees: “Why should I choose your company to work for instead of Amazon, Google, or some e-commerce company?” (And remember, our problem is not that we are printers. People are looking for something we can provide as well as anybody. They are looking for purpose, relevance, and a place where they feel good about belonging to.)

What Role Do Demographic Data Play in Targeting Anymore?

When a 50-something in Colorado making $100,000 per year starts to look more like a 30-something in Connecticut making $50,000 per year, it leads us to wonder: what role does demographic targeting play in today’s world of direct marketing?

A Fierce Attachment to the Status Quo

We all know our businesses have lots of room for improvement, yet when faced with change we often have an unreasonably fierce attachment to the status quo. This happens in every business and leadership is the only anecdote. In this time of tremendous change, it is critical to apply leadership to overcoming your employee’s fierce attachment to the status quo.

The Shroud Of Turin: EFI Reggiani Makes History Printing the Only Authorized Replicas

When you want to create an authentic replica of one of the most famous and treasured historic artifacts ever discovered, where do you turn? If you are the curators of the Shroud of Turin, you turn to EFI Reggiani. Heidi Tolliver-Walker looks at this unique printing project.

Xeikon Café: Lots of Education and New Products

Xeikon Café, held at the company’s headquarters, was full of great information, partners, and products, including some new ones. The takeaway was that Xeikon is positioned for good future growth with the confidence of their customers and a lot of new products.

Canon Launches the Canon imagePRESS V1000 at Make It ’22

European section editor Ralf Schlözer reports from Make It ’22, the return of live events for Canon EMEA. With about 500 customers in attendance, a considerable number of visitors had a chance to see production equipment live in operation. Canon also used the event to launch the imagePRESS V1000, the next generation of the imagePRESS platform.

FASTSIGNS/Wide Format & Signage Project of the Year: FASTSIGNS York (Pa.) Scores a Touchdown with Shippensburg University’s Football Facility

The winner of this year’s FASTSIGNS/Wide Format & Signage Project of the Year is FASTSIGNS York (Pa.), whose major rebranding of the Shippensburg University football team’s training facility caught the judges’ eyes.

CPG Brands Have Lost Control of the Final Moment of Truth

In the post-pandemic age of online grocery services like InstaCart, the shopper selecting consumer product goods off store shelves is not the final consumer. Colorkarma’s Shoshana Burgett explains what this means for brandowners and how approaches to packaging need to change.

Printing Annual Payroll—2010–2019

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, US establishments in NAICS 32311 had an annual payroll of $18.8 billion. Payrolls dipped during and in the aftermath of the Great Recession and then rose, at least on a current dollar basis, over the latter half of the decade, coming in at $19.6 billion in 2019. However adjusting for inflation, payrolls declined by -11% over the course of the decade. In macro news: GDP decreased by 1.4% in Q1 2022.

Around the Web: Tropicana Trouble. Problematic Packaging. Ceiling Selling. Time Transformation. Following Felines. Candy Commemoration. Soap Story. Cookie Conundrum.  

When rebrands go wrong. The latest color ereaders from E Ink. Specialized tools to open troublesome packaging. The Sistine Chapel ceiling—1:1 scale and published in a massive, three-volume book. Graphene for automotive interiors. Scientists are working on a new, improved second. The Netflix opening animation…using yarn. Does sleeping where a cat sleeps improve human sleep? The gummy bear turns 100. What happens to used hotel soap? MIT researchers invent an Oreometer to study cookie physics. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

ISA Rocks! Sign Expo Returns in Person with Next Week’s Atlanta Show

It’s been a long three years since the International Sign Expo was last held in person. 2021’s virtual event was a success, but there’s nothing like in-person networking, demos, educational sessions, and parties. Here’s a preview of next week’s show.

Tilia Labs Enables Maximum Optimization for Wide Format Printers

The three biggest profit killers in wide format printing are waste, time, and labor. Minimizing these issues is key to running a successful printing operation. This article explores how Tilia Labs applies artificial intelligence programming to maximize optimization for wide format printers.

Discover How White Ink Technology Is Pushing the Boundaries of Interior Décor to Create New Applications for Print

Another sign of the growth in customized interior décor is the increased interest in using white ink in producing higher quality and more diverse interior décor products. This includes such applications and materials as signage and graphics, window displays, wallpapers, vinyl, glass, wood, aluminum, cork and even printed leather to name just a few options. Participants in a recent HP sponsored webinar discuss how the addition of white ink has helped them successfully expanded their businesses and product portfolios.

Up with Higher Education: Finding Signage Opportunities in Academic Applications

The higher-education market can be a lucrative one for sign and graphics providers, and there is no shortage of display graphics needs. Some are obvious, others less so, but finding them can provide many new opportunities. Here are some ideas.

How Enterprise AR Is Driving Marketing AR

Is augmented reality (AR) ready to explode onto the marketing scene? It’s already deeply embedded in enterprise applications, where it is being used to speed, simplify, and reduce errors in a wide variety of training, service, and maintenance operations. It’s important to be aware of these uses, since the more commonplace a crossover technology becomes in the workplace, the faster it will make its way into the consumer arena, and AR has become SOP for many enterprises.

Real Process Improvement vs. Automation “Buzzwordolgy”

Real change, real business value comes in the form of process improvement. It is incremental vs. revolutionary. Remember, change is often limited by the pace in which the people working in your organization can digest it. Incremental change often takes root, revolutionary change faces fierce resistance and often gets fully rejected by it.

Change Is Coming to the Textile Industry: How to Educate the Next Generation in Apparel

Many in the textiles and apparel industry struggle to find enough workers, as there is a lack of skilled workers in North America due to the outsourcing to Asia and other parts of the world that began in the 1970s. As brands have become interested in reshoring at least some of the production, how do they find those workers? Cary Sherburne talks to a few of the organizations that are working to grow the textiles and apparel presence in North America.

More Green Grass for Sales

Sales is a numbers game, but sometimes the focus on numbers derails thoughts of having creative conversations that can lead to higher-value sales. In Part 2 of her “Where is the Sales Grass Greener?” series, Pat McGrew explains how to go beyond the “Always Be Closing” mentality and develop deeper relationships with customers.

Agfa Acquires Inca: Lots of Synergies, Opportunities, and Focus

Agfa is in the process of acquiring two very synergistic operating units from SCREEN. These acquisitions could provide Agfa with the necessary technologies and strength to reinvigorate this distinguished company and provide the platform for future growth in packaging and industrial print.

Six Questions for eProductivity Software

eProductivity Software (ePS) may be a new name, but their software solutions for packaging and print have been driving the industry for more than 30 years. This article reintroduces ePS to the market.

Sign Design UX Do’s and Don’ts: Employ a Functional Graphic Approach for Positive Wayfinding User Experiences, Top Designers Advise

WhatTheyThink contributor Mark Vruno talks with designers about best practices for wayfinding and other types of signage design.

Graphene in Packaging

We’ve been writing a great deal lately about graphene, often referred to as a miracle material, but so far the focus has been on just about everything except packaging. Is there an application? Tetra Pak thinks so!

February Shipments: OK, About What We Expected

February 2022 shipments came in at $6.53 billion, down from January’s $6.67 billion. As we remarked last month we’re starting the year better than we did 2021 and reverting back to our normal seasonality trends.

Around the Web: Mug Mania. Chip Change. Ad Archive. Fantasy Food. Sound Storehouse. Deadline Diner. Galactic Graphene. Cool Colander. Charged Chopsticks.

Reusable glass packaging. Subcutaneous chip payments. An archive of newspaper ads from the 1980s. Two juxtaposed front page stories accidentally help nab a thief. Using AI to generate pictures of food that doesn’t exist. The Museum of Endangered Sounds preserves the noises of old technologies. A café for writers that won’t let them leave until they’ve met their deadlines. Graphene goes into space! Produce stickers are the bane of composters. Two words: “electric chopsticks.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

British Fashion Just Took a Leap Forward Towards Sustainable Manufacturing with the Fashtech Innovation Centre

When we talk of nearshore or close proximity production, there is always an unspoken truth: sewn manufacturing (or CMT to those within the industry) and its local availability. Once printed, textiles are almost always cut and sewn into a final product. Supply chain challenges of the last two years have exposed a sewn skills gap, and further highlighted a significant lack of manufacturing knowledge readily available in the UK (and other developed countries), making the reshoring of sewn goods in any volume a difficult proposition. This initiative is designed not only to incorporate more digital printing into apparel production but also to harness existing sewing skills in the UK and train sewists on the latest technology. There also lessons here for US apparel production. It’s a good example for other regions, such as North America, to follow.

The Home Learning Effect and the Benefits of Print in Education

At the end of March 2022, students in Sri Lanka were unable to take their all-important term tests. Due to an acute paper shortage, authorities across the country have postponed these tests indefinitely—impacting nearly 4.5 million students. Would Sri Lanka’s students be put at a disadvantage if they were able to take their exams digitally? Research indicates that they would. This article explores print’s role in ensuring deep learning and comprehension among students.

A Post-Pandemic Focus on Sustainability: A Conversation with Marci Kinter

Post-pandemic, the industry has been seeing a renewed interest in sustainability issues. In part 1 of two-part interview, I talk with Marci Kinter, Vice President of Government & Regulatory Affairs at PRINTING United Alliance and Secretary & Vice Chair Technical for the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), about the current state of sustainability, the new criteria for SGP certification, and how SGP certification can attract not just print buyers, but print employees, as well.  

Are You Meeting Digital Experience Benchmarks?

With 70–80% of a buyer’s journey already complete before they hit your website, how does your site stack up against others? Contentsquare’s 2022 Digital Experience Benchmark Report provides important benchmarks for buyer experiences. While focused on B2C websites, the lessons translate to all industries, including ours.

The Buy-a-Different-Print-Software Solution

Inflexibility is what causes most of the headaches with print software. When your business doesn’t flex, you are at the mercy of software vendors and their commercial print software solutions.

Executive Q&A—Houston Independent School District: An Education In-Plant Success Story

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talks to Chuck Werninger, Senior Manager of IT Administrative Services for the Houston Independent School District, on in-plant operations, how he has driven change within the Houston ISD, and on the value of print in general.

HP Indigo: A Homecoming

HP Indigo held a VIP event at their facilities in Israel, the first one since February 2019. While a lot has changed for everyone since that last event, both the company and their customers have been knowingly or unknowingly preparing themselves and the market for these changes since 1993.

Privacy Legislation—It’s Changing Again!

Pat McGrew and Linda Fried summarize some of the recent changes to European data and privacy protection laws and their impact on US print businesses that have overseas customers. They also offer a sneak peak of what new legislative developments may be afoot in the US.

Core Publishing Solutions: A Dramatic Shift in Application Mix Enables Ongoing Business Growth

Senior editor Cary Sherburne profiles Core Publishing Solutions, which offers publishers the convenience of seamlessly switching titles between offset and digital runs. The company has installed two sheetfed inkjet presses and three wide-format web-fed inkjet presses, having nearly four billion pages on its digital presses.

Price Hikes in Online Print

It feels like there is an incessant stream of price increases for plates, inks, energy, and paper, but what impact have these had on print prices? European section editor Ralf Schlözer looks at print pricing trends among the European online printing companies.

Freedom Leverages the Power of Digital for More Effective, Profitable Direct Marketing

In this feature, sponsored by HP, we explore how HP PageWide production inkjet printing systems have benefited leading direct marketing firm Freedom, based in Milton, Wisconsin. The company was an early adopter of production inkjet printing and now has three HP PageWide production inkjet presses installed.

Is Graphene a Key to Reaching Net Carbon Zero? This Panel Thinks So

I recently watched a very interesting panel discussion about graphene, its many uses, some of the challenges and barriers to market adoption, and the great work that a number of companies are doing to accelerate market adoption across a variety of industries. Why is this important? Graphene Council Executive Director Terrance Barkan sums it up: “The whole world is looking at how do we get to net carbon zero, and it is clear that legacy materials will not get us there. We need much better performance out of all of our materials, and graphene is so versatile across so many different application areas that it really is an important element of getting us to that net zero goal.”

Printing Industry Annual Payroll—2010–2019

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, US establishments in NAICS 323 had an annual payroll of $20.2 billion. Payrolls dipped during and in the aftermath of the Great Recession. They rose, at least on a current dollar basis, over the latter half of the decade, coming in at $20.7 billion in 2019. However adjusting for inflation, payrolls declined by -13% over the course of the decade. In macro news: forecasters are not expecting a happy Q1 GDP report.

Around the Web: Caption Cursing. DALL-E Drawing. Dash Delight. Poem Pageant. Shape Shifting. Disease Detective. Dull Day. Speaking Spores.

Automatic speech recognition systems add age-inappropriate captions to children’s YouTube videos. An AI technology that will let you create digital images by describing what you want to see. In praise of the em dash. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” Improving the recyclability of flexible plastic packaging. Graphene may save lives. Required reading: “The Price of Nails Since 1695.” What was statistically the most boring day in history? Mushrooms speak! A mobile phone umbrella, for some reason. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s dead serious weekly miscellany.

Cardiff School of Art and Design Invests in the HP Stitch S300 to Expand Their Textile Department

A critical factor in the future of textiles and apparel is the education of new talent in the world’s fashion and design schools. Increasingly, these schools are bringing in digital technologies, including digital textile printing, to prepare their students for the changing world they will be entering. Cardiff School of Art and Design is one of the schools that is doing just that, as explained in this article compliments of textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan.

How Seriously Do You View Yourself As a Leader?

In a talent market where demand exceeds supply and our industry is learning to compete for new people, leadership has never been more important. Does your ability to be an effective leader help or hinder your success in attracting new, young talent? Wayne Lynn looks at this issue from the perspective of a potential new hire. You may want to read this…

Canon Acquires edale to Bridge the Digital-Analog Divide

This week, Canon announced the acquisition of 100% of the shares of edale, a manufacturer and OEM of narrow web printing presses and finishing equipment, including flexo carton web presses, label and packaging flexo presses, and web finishing equipment. European section editor Ralf Schlözer looks at how the acquisition will help bolster Canon’s presence in the label and packaging market.

Print Business Constraints

Constraints have always been present in our print businesses. Today, new ones seem to be getting introduced at what can feel like an alarming rate. Understanding how you can put you and your business in a position to respond to new constraints is the differentiator.

Looking for a Sustainable Printer That Walks the Walk

Ambika Anand Prokop is the author of Greenfeet Guides, a growing series of travel guides for parents who want to help their children more deeply and emotionally engage with cultures and landscapes around the world. She has also been on a sustainability journey that has led her to understand the value of evaluating printers based not just on their website claims, but on in-person conversations.

The Target Report: Label Roll-Ups are Red Hot; Are Folding Cartons Next?—March 2022 M&A Activity

Lewisburg Printing Acquires, H.I.G. Rebrands Flexible Packaging Platform as DazPak, and more…

Where is the Sales Grass Greener?

No matter how deeply you believe they rely on your services or how perfect your solutions may be, the road to successful sales begins with a relationship. Pat McGrew explains how to create an environment where the sales team operates at the highest levels.

Where Did All the Paper Go? The European Paper Crisis by the Numbers

European section editor Ralf Schlözer looks at paper price and production data to try to get at the root cause(s) of the paper shortages faced by European printing companies.  

Xeikon Update: New Developments in Labels and Packaging

Xeikon recently held a press briefing where it announced it will be holding a special Xeikon Café around developments in labels in light of the cancellation of Labelexpo Europe. Senior editor Cary Sherburne some highlights from that briefing.

Fossil Fashion: A License to Greenwash?

In this space, we have written about the damage Fast Fashion—the creation of inexpensive garments that are often worn once or twice and then tossed—does to the environment. Now let’s take it a step further and expand the concept to Fossil Fashion—clothing made with petroleum-based feedstocks, estimated at more than 60% of today’s production—and how the fashion industry is hiding behind so-called sustainability initiatives that are actually not sustainable at all.

Using Augmented Reality (AR) to Generate Revenue

Augmented reality is no longer a niche technology used for entertainment and brand-building. It has evolved into a true revenue-generating tool. For printers looking for opportunities to build new revenue streams, AR has arrived.

Around the Web: Linedock Lamp. Circular Storybooks. Cornea Cleverness. Creative Cancelling. Brain Boosting. Poster Panoply. Coin Cuisine. Block Battle.

A Ukrainian designed lamp to benefit Ukraine. CAD-designed 360-degree pop-up books. A contact lens-based display. Delivering medications via (different) contact lenses. Using carbon monoxide to synthesize high-quality graphene. Dyson introduces combination noise-cancelling headphones/particulate-cancelling air purifier. Turns out no one really wants IQ-enhancing brain implants. However, a brain implant helps a “locked in” ALS patient communicate. A special exhibition of Krautrock concert posters. A new documentary featuring Mel Brooks pays tribute to the automat. A vacuum that sucks and sorts LEGOs. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s dead serious weekly miscellany.

Now it Can be Told: Why Printing Shipments Declined! (April Fools 2022 Edition)

In this exclusive report, we found a modest positive relationship between the decline in average consumption of margarine and the value of printing shipments.

Discover How White Ink Technology from HP Is Pushing the Boundaries of Interior Decor to Create New Applications for Print

In this article, textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan shares a summary of a recent webinar with a panel discussion about how the business of interior decor has changed, the influence of digital textile printing, and the value of a printing system that includes white ink.

Workflow Automation Product Spotlight: EFI Fiery JobFlow—Job Prep and Prepress Automation Made Easy

Automated workflows are discussed a lot, yet the vast majority of print service providers still don’t have a comprehensive job preparation and prepress automation workflow in their operation. Fiery JobFlow is an easy to install and easy to use solution.

Times of Uncertainty: What Does the Future Hold for the Printing Industry?

Shifts during uncertain times can bring challenges, but they can also create new opportunities. This article explores some printing trends which, while not new themselves, are accelerating at an unprecedented pace and poised to change our industry forever.

Paper Shortages: What’s Behind the Problem and What Can We Do?

PIASC President Lou Caron takes an in-depth look at the paper shortage the printing industry is currently facing, tracing its origins in pre-pandemic trends, and looking ahead to the possible end game.

Could a “Workation” Policy Help You Retain Employees?

As the printing industry struggles to maintain a pipeline of new talent, keeping the talent we have becomes all the more important. A new survey on the value of “workations” illustrates one simple way that print providers can retain the talent they have.

Gutenberg One: The Book-of-One Produced On-Site

European section editor Ralf Schlözer looks at the Gutenberg One, a compact and fully self-contained printing and binding unit for books, small and affordable enough to be placed in a wide range of locations.

Print MIS Product Spotlight: PressWise

Jennifer Matt takes an in-depth look at PressWise by SmartSoft, a print MIS built simply as a system to remove touchpoints in a digital printing workflow.

Hybrid Presses: Bobst and the Next Wave

At Labelexpo in 2019, there was a smattering of hybrid presses, but since then the market for hybrid presses has grown with a proliferation of hybrid presses from many manufacturers. At that event, Bobst showed the Master DM5, their first take at a digital/flexo hybrid, which they identified as an “All in One” press. Over the years, they have enhanced the design and interface based on early customer feedback. The result is the just-released updated Digital Master 340 and Digital Master 510.

Did We Learn Anything? When It Comes to Human Resources, It’s All About Quality, Not Quantity

It can be difficult to hire great people right now, especially if you’re not willing to view your human resources as an investment rather than a cost. But that mindset does make it easier. Contributor David Fellman encourages an attitude change.

The Best Color Management Training Options

Alder Color Solutions’ Dan Gillespie details the resources available for print businesses to become more knowledgeable about color and color management. 

PGSF Gears Up for More Expansive Role: An Exclusive Update

There are certain people who give selflessly back to the printing industry, and are often involved in a wide variety of activities to support us all, a lot of it on a volunteer basis. Sometimes we wonder how they do it. No question, Jules Van Sant is one of those people! We caught up with her between meetings and flights to learn more about one of her activities, the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation.

Outdoor Advertising Employees—2010–2019

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 24,534 employees in NAICS 541850 (Outdoor Advertising). This NAICS actually grew post-Great Recession, with a slight decline mid-decade before climbing back up to 27,620 establishments in 2017. 2018 and 2019 saw a drop in employees. In macro news: AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) indicates that demand for design services continues to grow, boding well for commercial real estate construction and thus signage projects.

Around the Web: Meme Memorial. Clever Cup. Ballpoint Brilliance. Vest Value. Ring Wrangling. Light Longevity. Bone Benefits. Playing Portably.

RIP Stephen Wilhite, father of the GIF. A recyclable, reusable, lidless, strawless beverage cup. Stunning ballpoint pen art. A special deal on USB graphene heated vests. A map showing the latest sunrise times if DST were made permanent. How to fold plastic shopping bags for easy storage. A two-piece engagement/wedding ring that is assembled during the wedding. The longest-burning lightbulb is in Livermore, Calif. Bones are more complex than we thought. A portable, rollable AI-driven chessboard, and a set of playing cards than can turn into a chess board. A glowing ceramic tardigrade night light. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Image360 Plymouth Brings Art and Experience to Health Care Facilities

Image360 Plymouth unique niche—art-based experiential graphics for health care facilities—has opened the door to some unique projects, and the center is always looking to push the boundaries. 

Educating the Next Generation: The Creatives in Residence Final Showcase

A little over six months ago, four young graduates joined the “Creatives in Residence” project based at the CMYUK demonstration facility in Shrewsbury. After a difficult two years with little access to their university facilities from 2020-2021 the CIRL initiative presented a unique opportunity to explore digital manufacturing technologies and build their commercial knowledge. In this article, textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan summarizes the results of the initiative.

The Mariano Rivera Foundation: The Bridge Between Under-Served Students and the Printing Industry Workforce

In the United States, more than one in five children live in poverty. In the printing industry, finding qualified employees and maintaining the pipeline of new talent into the workforce remains one of the top challenges. A bridge between the two is the Mariano Rivera Foundation. Heidi Tolliver-Walker explains the benefits of this foundation, and what it can mean for finding the next generation of industry employees.

Branding for the Future: How to Engage and Educate Tomorrow’s Print and Packaging Workforce

David Zwang takes a look at the personnel shortage in the printing industry, and some ways of overcoming it. Market outreach and education is an important requirement, and it is the shared responsibility of the manufacturers, print service providers, suppliers, and industry associations.

When IT Drives Operational Decisions

When I think about operations in a print business, I think about the end-to-end business process “order entry to invoice.” The operations of getting jobs out the door and cash in the bank as another way to put it. This business process encompasses a lot of different functional areas of your business, many people, and a handful of software technologies.

Does Shopping in the Metaverse Affect You?

Sixty percent of Gen Zers want to shop in the metaverse. What on earth does that mean? How does it apply to printers?

What D’Ya Know About Your Software Investments?

Software is the hidden infrastructure in every business. Without a common understanding in both the business and production teams that installed software tools are to be used and not circumvented, the business cannot have a clear understanding of inbound orders, scheduling, work-in-progress, bottlenecks, shipments, and invoicing. Pat McGrew explains how to get everyone on board.

The State of Print in Academic Libraries

A new Library Journal report on the state of academic libraries finds that COVID accelerated the downsizing of print collections as budgets were reallocated to expanding electronic resources.