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drupa 2024: Can You Really Afford to Miss It?

When many in print and converting production and technologies around the globe get together, one of the discussions usually goes something like this: “How many drupa events have you been to?” or, “what was your first drupa?” There must be a good reason for that! David Zwang talks with Sabine Geldermann, Director drupa, Portfolio Print Technologies, Messe Düsseldorf, to discuss the upcoming drupa 2024 itself and the various regional events leading up to it.

Trends in Online Print in Europe

Just as the whole printing industry had a rollercoaster ride during and after the pandemic, so did online print. 2023 should have seen somewhat steadier waters. European section editor Ralf Schlözer reports on Zipcon CEO Bernd Zipper’s experience and expectations.

January Graphic Arts Employment Generally Flat

Overall printing employment in January 2024 was unchanged from December, with production employment up 0.7%, while non-production employment was down -1.3%.

Around the Web: Type Tech. Guessing Game. Photo Filing. Dimensional Details. Bird Blower. Carrot Concerts. Rotation Reasoning. Escalator Exhibit. Breakfast Buddy.

Monotype’s new AI-powered font pairing tool. In the game TimeGuessr, determine where and when an old news photograph was taken. And how were old news photos transmitted back in the day? Some examples of 3D printing in action. AI-driven eyeglasses. Retired payphone plays bird calls. An Ohio funeral home will preserve the tattoos of the deceased. When in Austria, be sure to catch the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra. What would happen if the Earth suddenly stopped rotating? When in Vilnius, Lithuania, be sure to check out the Escalator Slide. The inventor of Pop-Tarts has passed away. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Embracing Digital Transformation in Fashion: The Path to Revolutionizing the Industry

The fashion industry’s hesitant embrace of Digital Product Creation (DPC) and 3D technologies is a paradox, given the clear advantages they offer. While large conglomerates may dive headfirst into this digital renaissance, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often linger at the starting line, bogged down by a complex web of concerns and challenges. This article, compliments of textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan, and written by Lui Larocheski, explains why there is a reluctance to change and how the barriers can be broken down to eliminate much of the harmful effect the fashion industry has on the environment.

Increasing Awareness About Specialty Print

Ongoing technological advancements have given rise to a new generation of printed products that are more interactive and engaging than ever before, but customers aren’t always thinking about what’s new in the print technology world. Even if PSPs announce that they’ve acquired a new device or technology, their prospects and customers will rarely consider what that acquisition might mean for their printing needs. This article explores ways to bring more awareness to the upsides of specialty printing.

A Process for Strengthening Problem Behavior

Wayne Lynn looks at how paradoxical imbalances cause self-defeating behaviors when stress builds beyond manageable levels, presenting problems for leaders in maintaining the trust and support of subordinates.

(Somewhat) Conflicting Views on Consumer Attitudes Toward Sustainable Packaging

Heidi Tolliver-Walker takes a look at a recent studies gauging consumers’ attitudes toward sustainable packaging. Spoiler alert: they are willing to pay more for it.

More Privacy Laws Mean More Disclaimers!

No one goes into the print business, or the eDelivery business, to become a lawyer, but it almost takes a law degree to keep up with the growing body of legislation impacting the industry. Here is a quick look at new legislation from Illinois! Remember, always consult your legal counsel before making decisions!

Atomyx Could Change the Way We Do Print

Imagine a cloud-based platform that could both streamline the print business and production processes, while also reducing the skills needed to implement a plant-wide automation integration. While still in the early stages of development, that is the goal of the Atomyx platform.

Fujifilm Goes Big

After previewing it at PRINTING United in 2023, Fujifilm has officially launched the Revoria Press GC12500, the first dry toner B2 press. European section editor Ralf Schlözer provides the details.

University of Toronto Research Offers Promising Solution for Microplastic Shedding

There has been much discussion about the damage caused by microplastic shedding during washing of synthetic fabrics. Much of the focus has been on trying to trap these microfibers prior to their entering our waterways. But now promising research out of the University of Toronto offers a potential alternative to prevent, or at least mitigate, shedding in the first place.

Johnson's World: Getting Real About Artificial Intelligence

Depending upon who you ask, AI means either the beginning of the end for the human race’s domination of the world, or the elimination of all our jobs…or the debut of a really amazing and useful tool with almost limitless possibilities. Steve Johnson looks at how, in fact, it might be all three.

Tales from the Database: Looking at the Cloud from Both Sides

Drawing on eight years’ worth of Print Business Outlook surveys, our “Tales from the Database” series looks at historical data to see if we can glean any particular hardware, software, or business trends. This issue, we turn our attention to software—specifically, migration to the cloud.

Around the Web: Paper Paean. Dinero Dearth. Color Can. Dental Disaster? Road Recharging. Hovering Hose. Habitat Havoc. Beneficial Beavers. Pickle Paramour. Bowl Bonanza.

Author and paper maker Beth Kephart has written a love letter to paper. Are we seeing the end of cash? A “Graffiti Color Mixer” includes multiple colors in the same spray can. Were a fleet of electronic toothbrushes involved in a massive DDoS attack? Installing EV chargers in the roads themselves. A phone charger that only charges when your eyes are closed. Three words: flying fire hose. In Kenya, through a complex series of relationships, an invasive ant species is impacting lion hunting skills. The time beavers parachuted into Idaho. This Valentine’s Day, say it with pickles. DoorDash contest is giving away everything advertised during this Sunday’s Super Bowl. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Beyond the Press: Revolutionizing Workflow for Digital Print Embellishments

Workflow software has connected the islands of prepress, printing, and binding/finishing into a seamless continuum. But how does workflow software apply to digital embellishments. Taktiful’s Kevin Abergel and Carlo Ruas take look at the current lay of the land.

Glitter is Not Green: Why Petroleum-Based Glitter Should Be Banned Worldwide

Cary Sherburne looks at the environmental hazards of glitter, the movements afoot to ban it, and sustainable alternatives that offer all the fun of glitter without the environmental downsides. 

Rules Based Workflows: Connecting and Automating Processes to Fit Your Business Needs

Many of the current “off the shelf” workflow software and professional service offerings are being developed to support newer and disparate technologies and markets. Ultimately, solutions need to fit the specific needs of a PSP and their customer and partner relationships, and that’s where rules based workflows shine.

Potential Artificial Intelligence Use Cases for the Printing and Packaging Industry

It’s likely that in implementations by suppliers to the industry is where artificial intelligence (AI) will first show up in your business. Cary Sherburne spoke with a couple of industry executives from companies that are suppliers to the industry to understand what, if anything, they are doing or thinking about with respect to AI.

The Target Report: Paper-Based Journalism is Melting Away—January 2024 M&A Activity

Baltimore Sun Purchased, CherryRoad Media Acquires Page 1 Printers, and more…

The Key to Strategic Software Investments? Having a Process

Heidi Tolliver-Walker looks at how one particular print business—Atlanta’s Wise—got the most out of a print MIS implementation by developing a process for doing so and walks us through that process.

A Complete Reboot at Walker360 Results in Exponential Productivity Gains

Cary Sherburne explores how Walker360 completely restructured its production platform—and realized exponential productivity gains.

State of the Cloud: Leveraging Professional Services in 2024

Do you have tasks that are never completed? Is your tech stack out of date? Is software and hardware maintenance on the back burner because no one has time? Trying to get to the cloud, but struggling with your on-premise installations? Are you wondering if you are getting the best advice from your staff and vendor partners? Maybe you need professional services!

The Rise of AI in Marketing

Contributor Joanne Gore looks at the wide variety of uses for AI for marketers, and how AI can be integrated with traditional marketing channels.

State of the Cloud: Training Options in 2024

In days gone by, we had apprenticeships and vocational training to feed the print industry. Apprenticeships are a wonderful way to grow the talent of new employees and help them along a career path as they master the craftsmanship of print manufacturing. Vocational schools, state colleges, and vendor training also provide important educational resources. A growing option is cloud-based training to meet the needs of on-the-go trainees as they navigate the rigors of print in environments that increasingly rely on cloud services!

Software-Driven Workflows for Offset Production: Where From, and Where To

Many networked, automated production capabilities are now built into the operating systems of the latest digitally controlled offset presses, but there has been no universal movement toward adoption, and printers still need guidance about what workflow is, how to implement it, and how to make the best use of it. Contributor Patrick Henry looks at how building a software-based workflow for offset production starts with understanding how the idea of workflow originated and what functions and features it now consists of.

Executive Q&A: Baldwin Technology’s Patrick Keller

We spoke with Patrick Keller, Division President, Baldwin Technology Co., about the history of the company, its broad set of solutions for a vast array of industries, including many aspects of print, and how being part of the new BW Converting Group benefits the company and its customers.

Dealing with Dyes: Two Recent Developments Promise to Improve Textile Sustainability

Cary Sherburne looks at Mimaki’s Neo Chromato Process, a pilot project that removes ink dye-sublimated onto textiles, and a project underway in India that uses an aerogel adsorbent modified with graphene to remove trace pollutants from wastewater.

Kyocera Enters 2024 with Inkjet-Fueled Momentum

Kyocera has new presses, partnerships, and application segments helping to accelerate market penetration in 2024. However, the real story is the popularity and staying power of the first press they brought to market. In this article, sponsored by Kyocera Document Solutions America, Inc., Inkjet Insight’s Elizabeth Gooding looks at the market reaction to the TASKalfa Pro 15000c and previews the upcoming TASKalfa Pro 55000c.

Welcome to the Software Issue

This week, we are publishing the content from 2024's Issue 1, the Software Issue, with an emphasis on “the cloud” and so-called AI. In this article, a preview of the week’s content.

State of the Cloud: Looks Like Clear Skies Ahead!

As the cloud rapidly emerges as a key influencing technology, the integration of business and production management solutions into cloud-based platforms has become inevitable, and things are changing fast!

State of the Cloud: Zero Trust Workflows in 2024

It’s time to abandon your Trust but Verify approach to security. The changing legislative and technology landscapes demand a new approach to securing your shop, whether you print, e-deliver, or produce output across multiple channels. Zero Trust is the modern approach to your cloud-enabled workflow architecture.

How Your IT Infrastructure Affects the Value of Your Business

Contributor Jim Russell of New Direction Partners explains how a company’s technology infrastructure is an important consideration for a potential buyer.

Book Publishing Establishments—2010–2021

According to the latest edition of County Business Patterns, in 2021 there were 2,386 establishments in NAICS 51113 (Book Publishing). Although this represents a decrease of 20% since 2010, establishments ticked up by 29 establishments in 2021. In macro news, Q4 GDP grew 3.3%.

Around the Web: ’Hog History. Snowy Sobriquets. Acrobat Antics. Reading Realm. Cursive Comeback. Additive Aluminum. Desk Defacing. Funding Fest. Galaxies Galore. Pasta Pleasure.

Where did Groundhog Day come from? Taylor Drift conquers Minnesota. Is the maximum size of a PDF really “smaller than Germany”? Wales’ “Kingdom of Books.” Is E Ink finally ready for prime time? Cursive handwriting is starting to be taught again, for some reason. 3D printing using liquid metal. Casual vandalism is OK if you’re a Romantic poet. A round-up of some of the “good, bad, and weird stuff that was crowdfunded in 2023.” The James Webb Space Telescope captures 19 amazingly detailed spiral galaxies. “Eating pasta is scientifically proven to make you feel better.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

The Year Digital Fashion Went Out of Style—What’s Next and How Does the Future of Digital Fashion Look

Was 2023 the year that digital fashion went out of style? This guest article, written by Dani Loftus of This Outfit Does Not Exist, is provided compliments of textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan. Loftus notes that no matter how hard each player in our ecosystem worked, the past 12 months have seen the “hype” around Web3 fashion wane. And I myself have been wondering why the growth in digital fabric printing and other digital technologies in the world of textiles and apparel seem to have stalled when it seemed like there was so much potential, for the industry and the planet! Loftus provides a look at what went wrong.

AI Is What Really Drives Marketing: Now You Can Engage!

Marketing AI is the process of using AI capabilities like data collection, data-driven analysis, natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning (ML) to deliver customer insights and automate critical marketing decisions. In the past, this technology has been relegated to those who can afford to build it. Now Boostt.ai (formerly known as Geofactor.com), has developed a platform for bringing Marketing AI to the masses.

Global Ad Market: “I’m Back!”

After experiencing a steady decline in the global advertising market over the past several years, final numbers on global ad spending are projected to show growth for 2023—and not just growth, but significant growth. Heidi Tolliver-Walker digs into the numbers.

Three Projects to Start 2024

The life of a printer is a whirlwind of incoming jobs, production, and delivery. It’s hard to find time to look for new ways to conquer production demands. Here are three projects you can execute with your team to identify new options to set your business up. We know that 2024 will be a big print year. Get your share of the business!

The Secret to Inkjet Success Is in the Inks—and Primers

Inkjet is the main driver of the printing industry's transition from traditional printing processes to digital. The discussion often revolves around press architectures, print heads and technical aspects of the hardware, while inks and supporting fluids tend to be treated as secondary issues. This article, written and sponsored by Kodak, looks at how inks and primers have a significant impact on color quality, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of the jobs produced, as well as the variety of applications.

3 Critical Components of Inkjet Innovation

Is innovation just new technology or is there more to it? Inkjet Insight guest contributor Kelly Lawrence looks at how a true innovation requires a commercialized technology or capability, market desire, and market viability. Ask yourself, what percentage of your new products and services are truly innovations?

November Shipments: Tis the Season…

November 2023 shipments came in at $7.24 billion, down from the year’s high of $7.76 billion a month earlier.

Around the Web: Type Testing. Dramatic Displays. Migration Message. Balloon Ballyhoo. Glass Gloss. Sustainable Sabots. Snow Snacking. Fjord Facts. Piscine Prank. Unlikely Unguent.

A Monotype study aims to answer “questions about the cultural differences in perceiving meaning and emotion in type.” Chinese signmakers use infinity mirrors to create cool LED signage. A road sign in Canada wishes monarch butterflies a safe migration. “The golden age of ballooning” led to the first aerial maps. AR-based windows for tour buses. Auto-focusing eyeglasses! The graphene-based “Everything Proof Pants & Shirt.” 3D-printed compostable shoes. Torn from the headlines: is it safe to eat snow? Burning question: why does Norway have so many fjords? Puckish teenager tapes fish to ATMs, for some reason. Hidden Valley and Burt’s Bees collaborate on ranch-flavored lip balm, much to the bees’ dismay. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

The Evolving Roles and Responsibilities of the Textile Designer in a Changing Industry

In a world where business dynamics are changing in so many industries, textiles is certainly not immune. In this interview with Fulvio Alvisi, President of the Italian Textile Designers Association, provided compliments of textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan, he discusses both the opportunities and challenges for future textile designers.

Keypoint Intelligence Releases New Vertical Market Research

At the end of 2023, Keypoint Intelligence completed a comprehensive multi-client study of print demand in key vertical industries. This survey serves as an update to similar research that was conducted in 2020. Over 1,200 respondents from businesses with 200+ employees participated in this study. This article provides a top-level overview of the key findings from this research.

Paradoxical Competencies

In the latest installment of his Smart Leader Insights series, Wayne Lynn looks at “paradoxical competencies,” which are key to predicting the behavior of individuals and teams, as well as effective performance as a leader.

8 Hilarious Examples of “You Gotta See It to Believe It” Packaging Fails

As we head into 2024, we all have to admit—we could use a little levity right now. There’s nothing to create levity like a good packaging fail. Here are eight hilarious examples of when the right prototype could have (or should have) saved the day.

Inkjet Integrators: An Introduction

In part one of an Inkjet Insight series, Ralf Schlözer begins an extensive look at “inkjet integrators,” providers of custom solutions for applications for which there are few or no commercial inkjet press solutions available.

Clothing Returns Are Killing Us!

Did you know that most of what you buy online and ship back as a return ends up in the landfill? It’s too expensive for most companies or their reverse logistics operators to put them back up for sale, so they just ship them off to the landfill. In this space, we have written a great deal about the evil effects of Fast Fashion, and this is just another one. I hope after reading this article, you will take a serious look at your buying habits. The truth is, we as consumers hold the power. If we stop buying Fast Fashion, and if we discontinue the detrimental practice of bracketing shopping, we can make a huge difference. Don’t know what bracketing shopping is or if you are guilty of it? Read on!

Periodical Publishing Establishments—2010–2021

According to the latest edition of County Business Patterns, in 2021 there were 4,315 establishments in NAICS 51112 (Periodical Publishing). This represents a decrease of 40% since 2010. In macro news, December retail sales were up from November.

Around the Web: Folio Fest. Cat Crates. Device Dilemma. Winter Wear. Hovering Haven. Breed Brief. Lavish Lego. Chicken Chatting. Winning Wings.

The Folger Library will be publicly exhibiting its collection of Shakespeare First Folios. A new, high-concept typeface based on meteorology. Why do cats love cardboard boxes (and should converters be targeting them)? Trying to figure out what the highly touted Rabbit R1 is actually used for. A wealthy Frenchwoman stipulated in her will that her money go to providing clothes for snowmen. A prototype for a floating umbrella that can follow you around and we want one. how did the dog breeds get their names? An artist whose chosen medium is black Lego. How to detect a chicken’s emotions, should you ever want to. Tito’s Vodka’s new “Spokescart.” Popeyes is offering free wings if a “winged” team—or the Bills—win the Super Bowl. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Market Shifts and Emerging Trends Driving Change for the Print and Textile Community 

In her latest article, textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan points out that global events and shifting consumer behaviors continue to upend traditional business models across the supply chain. Whether technical or strategic—the textile industry must adapt and invest to minimize risk and reap the commercial benefits of technology. Only then can it strategically meet market demands and adapt at speed to address shifting consumer behaviors. Sustainability, supply chain volatility, consumer preferences, artificial intelligence and localized economic instability are all factors she discusses here.

Survey Says! Signage and Display Graphics in 2024

It’s that time again, time to sift through the data from our annual Business Outlook Survey for the forthcoming Printing Outlook report. As has become an annual tradition, we break out some display graphics-specific data to see what trends we can quantitatively gauge.

BookTok Driving Book Sales and Book Design

European section editor Ralf Schlözer looks at how BookTok, a Tiktok community where readers discuss, praise, rank, or showcase books via short video clips, has been driving book sales—and even book design.

Planning for Change, Succession Style

If you have watched the TV show Succession, or you have a vague understanding of it, you know that it is a tragedy. It is the story of a family trying to figure out how to move forward as the aging patriarch’s health fails and there is no clear path forward for the family business. If you own and operate a family business, even if you aren’t part of the family, succession planning should be reviewed every year. Things change. Here are some things to consider!

Turnover and Employment in Print in Europe—Croatia

This bi-weekly series of short articles aims to shed a spotlight on the size of the printing industry in Europe per country and how revenues and employment developed in 2020, when the pandemic impacted businesses. In this final installment, we look at Croatia, which ranks at number 19 among the printing industries by turnover in Europe.

First COP28, Now Davos

You are probably hearing a great deal about Davos in the media these days. This follows last year’s COP28 session, another gathering of world leaders and influencers discussing topics critical to pretty much everyone on the planet. In this article, we explain what “Davos” is and why it’s important. Full Disclosure: Google Bard helped me write this article.

Industry Notes Passing of Peter Crean, Digital Printing Pioneer

Patrick Henry looks back at the life of Xerox’s Peter Crean, one of the graphic communications industry’s most groundbreaking technologists, who passed away last month.

If You Buy Inkjet, New Customers Will Find You

Contributor Lois Ritarossi talks with three Screen customers about how inkjet has transformed their companies, why they continue to invest in new technology, and the impact on their customers.

October Shipments: Peak Performance

October 2023 printing shipments came in at $7.84 billion, up from September’s $7.37 billion.

Around the Web: Clever Collage. Cover Creation. Letter Lovers. Punctuation People. Tech Table. New Nostalgia. Air App. Phantom Fight. Dog Drivers. Gum Gone.

A Sgt. Pepper-esque tribute to the celebrities who passed away in 2023. Behind some book cover redesigns from hardcover to paperback. A Minneapolis store where you can buy vintage, discarded channel letters. A fun 1824 primer on punctuation. A coffee table that is also a touchscreen display. “What was life like before the Internet?” A start-up is developing an app that lets a smartphone evaluate air quality. Graphene-based batteries now for pre-sale! The economics of time travel. Protesting Pontianak, Indonesia’s proposed “ghost statue.” Oscar Mayer is hiring Wienermobile drivers. Fruit Stripe gum has been discontinued. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Artificial Intelligence and What It Means for Marketers

The thought of artificial intelligence swooping in to someday make all of our jobs redundant might seem like quite a stretch, but there’s no question that AI has arrived and it is encroaching on many areas of business. The technology has created quite a shakeup, as evidenced by the vast amount of column inches that are currently devoted to the rise of ChatGPT. This article explores the impact of AI and what it might mean for marketers in the future.

Why Additive 3D Manufacturing Offers Fashion a New Future for Printed Apparel

Direct -to-Textile 3D empowers the creator economy and unleashes new commercial opportunities for customization and personalization, according to textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan, as she explains in this article, first published on Pixel to Parcel and featuring fashion designer Yanky & Nataf.

Putting Things in Perspective

In the latest installment of his Smart Leader Insights series, Wayne Lynn ties together some of the behavioral aspects of leadership and identifies areas for future investigation.

Two Types of Augmented Reality Explored

With augmented reality hitting the mainstream, there are two primary types of AR being used in the world of marketing: app-based using image recognition and web-based (or browser-based), or WebAR. What’s the difference between the two? Is one better than another?

Agfa Speedset 1060: A Significant Step in the Evolution of Digital Folding Carton Print

Agfa’s first foray into production inkjet was with the introduction of Dotrix in 2004, a product that was ahead of its time and ultimately abandoned. Their new production inkjet folding carton press seems to check all the boxes for today’s and tomorrow’s growing and evolving market.

Slick New Desktop Printer from Epson Offers a Classy Entry-Level Direct-to-Garment, Direct-to-Film Solution

Direct-to-Garment and Direct-to-Film printing have become hot topics for businesses of all sizes. But to get the necessary quality and productivity for a successful small business, these printers were often out of reach from a cost perspective. The new Epson SureColor F1070 promises to change that—featuring CMYK+W, ease of use, and a sub-$10K price point.

Has Your Best Promotion Failed You?

Have you ever seen a promotion that is so intriguing that you fall for it? We’re all professionals, so it is a bit harder to draw us into a campaign and convince us to participate. But it does happen. We go along with the story and often we are enriched for it. And we get ideas that we can apply. Websites are built and supported with QR codes and triggers. But what happens to those digital assets after the campaign? Let’s talk.

Sustainability 2024: A Look Ahead

A look ahead to 2024 likely includes an even hotter year than 2023, which was a record breaker. Sustainability goals and efforts will increasingly be in the crosshairs—government agencies, industry watchdogs, brand owners, and consumers all are looking to drive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, plastic waste and more, supporting companies that have sustainability as a key business driver. Printing and packaging companies who aggressively pursue reduction in their own environmental footprint, and work closely with customers to help them calculate theirs, will have a competitive advantage in 2024 and beyond.

The Target Report: Climb Another Peak?—December 2023 M&A Activity

Looking Back at the M&A Trends of 2023, and more…

Tales from the Database: Prints Charming

Drawing on six years’ worth of Print Business Outlook surveys, our “Tales from the Database” series looks at historical data to see if we can spot any particular hardware, software or business trends. In this installment, we turn our attention to printing technologies.

Johnson’s World: This Christmas, Get A Clue

The grandkids, at grandpa’s house, with a board game. Steve Johnson introduces some digital natives to the board game Clue.

Around the Web: Tradition Travel. Myrrh Mystery. Window Wonders. Baffling Blizzard. Desk Documents. Wood Wonder. Pseudo Sports. Dead Dialogue. Drinking Doritos.

Exploring some of the odder Christmas traditions around the world. What exactly are frankincense and myrrh, anyway? Intricate and beautiful window graphics created with “snow spray.” The etymology of the word “blizzard.” The case of the missing ISS tomato has been solved! Medieval ergonomic scriptorium desks. Advances in transparent wood, stronger than plastics and tougher than glass. Graphene-based corrugated board. Sports Illustrated “writers” were AI-generated personas. Using AI to talk to the dead. Doritos-flavored booze. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Here Come the Robots: There Are a Multitude of Robotic Solutions for our Staffing Shortage

“Automation” typically refers to some kind of software that automatically processes files for production, generates estimates on-the-fly, or otherwise adds efficiencies to the production process. But automation can also refer to hardware—and we’re starting to see robots and robotics move into print production.

Fast Tracking Fashion: Inspiring Stories from the World of On-Demand Textiles and Apparel

On-demand production has transformed many industries, although it has been slower to gain traction in textiles and apparel. Today, though, there are fewer barriers, the biggest being the mindsets and business models of brands and retailers. Cary Sherburne looks at some companies who are on the cutting-edge of on-demand textile production.

Enhancing Customer Engagement: From CCM to Mainstream Direct Mail  

The lines between production print and customer communications are becoming increasingly blurred. Joanne Gore looks at how customer communication is now about crafting a holistic customer journey experience.

Watch Your Step: Does Our Industry Have a Carbon Footprint Problem?

How much impact do printing businesses, and the process of printing itself, impact the planet? How much collective responsibility do we bear? Heidi Tolliver-Walker takes a look at how we’re doing.

A Tangled Web: Successful Print Production Requires a Web of Workflows

There is no doubt that industry understanding of the power of workflow is growing. As machines get faster, the processes that feed them must be as efficient as possible. To attain efficiency requires a series of integrations to ensure that workflows connect and share data. Here is why that is important for your business growth.

Thinking Outside the Box: RR Donnelley Boosts Digital Capacity in Packaging and Display Graphics with an EFI Nozomi Digital Press

Senior editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Brian Techter, Senior Vice President of RR Donnelly's Packaging and Labeling Solutions Group, who has recently added an EFI Nozomi single-pass digital direct to corrugated press in the company’s Milwaukee plant. He talks about the reasons Nozomi was chosen, what he sees as the value of digital, and where he sees it going in the future.

Shining Bright: Electrophotography Is Still a Star

With so much attention focused on inkjet, we tend to expect little news and progress from electrophotography (EP) technologies. However, the reality is quite different. Ralf Schlözer reviews the last 12 months of news and launches in EP technology.

Offset News: Vendor Publicity Sheds Light on What Offset Printers Want to Invest in

Taken together, trade media announcements about the sale and installation of offset presses have a lot to say about trends and preferences in the market for this equipment. Patrick Henry rounds up some recent press placements.

What’s New in Inks & Coatings Materials

Contributor Terry Clayton takes a deep dive into current trends in inks and coatings, highlighting some exciting new products hitting the market.

Welcome to the Production Print Issue

This week, we are publishing the content from Issue 6, the Production Print Issue. In this article, a preview of the week’s content.

The Production Inkjet Puzzle: We Introduce You to the Latest Production Inkjet Models Serving the Document-Oriented, Production Inkjet Segment

This features the latest production inkjet models serving the document-oriented, production inkjet segment. Elizabeth Gooding covers 2023 press introductions and products announced previously that became commercially available this year. 

Executive Q&A: Canon USA’s Robert Barbera

We sat down with Robert Barbera, Director of Production Solutions Marketing in Canon USA’s Business Information Communications Group Division, and talked about Canon’s commitment to production print—in all its forms.

Newspaper Publishing Establishments—2010–2021

According to the latest, recently released edition of County Business Patterns, in 2021 there were 6,260 establishments in NAICS 51111 (Newspaper Publishing). This represents a decrease of 20% since 2010. In macro news, what is going on with GDP?

Around the Web: Dictionary Delusions. Peachy Pantone. General Journalism. Gotham Graphics. Card Creativity. Petrol Pilgrimages. Pseudo Simmons/Stanley. Potato Poser.

The major dictionaries have announced their “words of the year”—believe it or not. Pantone announces its Color of the Year. A new book tells the long-lost story of the American military’s World War II troop newspapers. A new poster series celebrates NYC’s design community. St. Pancras train station’s Christmas tree display is a tower of hand-painted books. A new card game uses creativity to help generate good ideas. The USPS is releasing a series of Dungeons & Dragons stamps. A selection of “America’s grandest gas stations.” KISS plan to stay on tour forever…as digital avatars. Why are french fries called chips, and chips called crisps, in the UK? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly hallucinatory miscellany.

The Target Report: The One-Two Punch Platform—November 2023 M&A Activity

Core Industrial Acquires Century Box, and more…

At the Eden Project, Falmouth University Students Deliver a Sustainable Fashion Show in Collaboration with WRAP for Anthropy 2023 

Falmouth University’s Fashion & Textiles Institute teamed up with British charity and NGO WRAP to highlight the need to transform fashion industry practices. The event highlighted how future fashion industry designers, manufacturers, and producers can all play a role in accelerating the urgent changes needed in the fashion industry.  Learn more in this interesting story provided compliments of textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan.

KODAK Plates Made in the USA Improve Reliability and Sustainability for Printers Throughout North America

Recent supply chain issues and geopolitical developments, along with the increasing focus on sustainability, have created challenges for printers seeking a reliable supply of plates from suppliers focused on minimizing their carbon footprint. In this article, written and sponsored by Kodak, see how, in light of these challenges, KODAK SONORA XTRA Process Free Plates, manufactured at Kodak’s Columbus, Georgia, facility are a smart choice for any printer.

Digital Printing and Its Transformation of the Corrugated Packaging Industry

The ever-expanding corrugated packaging industry offers much that can be investigated and analyzed. As part of Keypoint Intelligence’s State of the Industry series of reports on the labels and packaging market, we have completed a deep dive into the transformation of corrugated packaging. This article provides a brief overview of the findings from our corrugated packaging report.

Müller Martini and Hunkeler: Two Families Join Forces

Consolidations are done for many reasons including, cost reduction, wider distribution, etc. However, this merger really does take two strong companies that are leaders in their respective fields and brings them together to feed off their synergies and prepare and build for those market and production shifts

Origins of Your Behavior: How You Became You

In the latest installment of his Smart Leader Insights series, Wayne Lynn looks at how understanding how our behavior has led to the development of certain positive and negative traits can help us to look for and capitalize on our potential for growth.

Wise CEO Bill Prettyman Heads NonProfit for Disabled Adults

When most people think about giving to charity, they think about the nation’s largest charities, such as the Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, and Save the Children. Yet we should not overlook some of the lesser known nonprofits doing outstanding work on a smaller scale. Heidi Tolliver-Walker looks at one charity right here in the printing industry.

Turnover and Employment in Print in Europe—Norway

This bi-weekly series of short articles aims to shed a spotlight on the size of the printing industry in Europe per country and how revenues and employment developed in 2020, when the pandemic impacted businesses. This time we look at Norway, which ranks at number 18 among the printing industries by turnover in Europe.

An Inside Look at Fiery Command WorkStation 7

Last month, Fiery® unveiled Fiery Command WorkStation® 7, a centralized job management solution that helps unify the digital print room. In this Q&A, sponsored by Fiery, we sat down with the Fiery product team to discuss what’s new in Command WorkStation and how printers can use it to gain operational efficiencies and elevate color performance to meet customer expectations.

COP28 Highlights: What’s on the Agenda

COP28—the United Nations’ annual meeting on climate change—is currently underway in Dubai as this is being written, and many world leaders and climate activists are in attendance. The annual meeting, taking place from November 30 to December 12, has a heavy agenda. In this article, we cover some of the early highlights of the event, topics to be discussed, and comments from some of the leading attendees.

September Shipments: Heading into the Fall

September 2023 printing shipments came in at $7.42 billion, down from August’s $7.47 billion.

Around the Web: Perishing PopSci. New Nylon. Dictionary Dump. Newspaper Noel. Punctuation Pedantry. Dead Dye. Decapod Doom. Mascot Mastication.

The venerable Popular Science will no longer be available as a magazine, p- or e-. But Nylon magazine will. An artist who specializes in turning the detritus generated by “fast fashion” into art. A dictionary hoarder spawned a museum. The 100th anniversary of the publication of “A Visit from St. Nick” in a Troy, N.Y. newspaper.  Meet the Apostrophe Protection Society, perhaps against your will. Trying to recreate the lost Tyrian purple. A space-saving alternative to a nightstand. A space-saving coat hanger. This year’s Pop-Tart Bowl will feature an edible mascot. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Kongsberg Ultimate: Designed for Current and Future Needs

Kongsberg has released their latest precision digital cutting platform with a new drive and a newly designed custom carbon fiber beam. This new, innovative drive technology has an impressive acceleration rate of up to 2.74G and a remarkable and productive cutting speed of 168 meters per minute.