One of the key components of the digital textile printing ecosphere is inks—and increasingly, sustainable inks. In this article, textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan reviews the latest developments in ink technology for digital textile printing.
Savvy print providers are discovering that targeted—or better yet, personalized—print campaigns can enable market differentiation and provide a greater return on investment. This article explores how getting back to the basics with traditional direct mail can help businesses stand apart from their competitors.
Signage has almost always been one of the most essential means of communicating important messages, which was why wide-format and sign shops early on in the pandemic were considered “essential services.” Health and safety messaging was the killer app for display graphics in 2020, and that is going to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Here’s what to look for.
How are orders managed before they hit the press? In this third part of a five-part series, Jennifer Matt defines the complete order process from initial inquiry to invoice payment. This means a great deal of the process happens in the carpeted area of your print business.
Studies have shown that as many as 90% of well-formulated strategies fail due to poor execution. These are epic failure rates that, but for a plan to bridge strategy to tactical execution, could instead be sustainable successes. Why then do leadership teams continue to endure poor execution? Admitting that there is a problem is a good first step, followed by a decision to do something about it.
Customer product reviews are a powerful tool in e-commerce, and positive reviews often make the difference between someone making a purchase or not. Those reviews are in the public domain, so why not use them in print marketing, too? This company did.
Pat McGrew responds to feedback she received from a recent article on selling software, shares some ill-fated buyer stories, and draws up “three rules for software buyers” and “three rules for software sellers.”
There is no question that the pandemic had a deleterious—and immediate—impact on the printing industry and the economy as a whole. While both now look to be on the road to recovery, although slower than we ever could have anticipated, it’s interesting to look at how and when that might actually occur based on research largely conducted in the final quarter of 2020.
The print industry has been going through a major evolution since the introduction of digital technologies. Trying to identify and quantify this shift has been almost impossible since many of the definitions of print and printing technologies haven’t been properly updated in decades. An important new initiative is tasked with drafting an “open” standard taxonomy for the global printing industry to address the issues.
We kicked off 2021 inauspiciously with January printing shipments coming in at $6.61 billion, down from 2020’s $7.17 billion. It's the worst January in at least the last five years, but already things are boding well for the rest of 2021.
An octopus’ selfie—but, unfairly, not the octopus—won a photography award. Using X-ray microtomography to read secret letters. Videoconferencing is changing American Sign Language. A plastic surgeon joins a Zoom call—while in the middle of an operation. Fisher Price’s My First Home Office for preschoolers is perhaps a sign of the apocalypse. Holographic keypads for touchless devices. A face mask specifically designed to prevent fogging. A $400K television that folds down into the floor. Classic works of art rendered in fur. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s miscellany.
Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan says the biggest driver of change in the textile industry is its past history. Now exposed as the second largest polluter of our planet, the conventional textile industry needs to clean up its legacy production processes and evolve. Greendrop of Italy is doing just that.
Automation is the next step in a successful future. It enables print service providers to tackle a growing number of print orders with the greatest efficiency and accuracy. Beyond having financial and practical benefits, it can be yet another differentiator that helps organizations stand apart from their competitors. This article discusses the most common benefits of automation and offers insights into how to overcome the challenges associated with implementing it.
Is your finishing operation holding your business back? Or depressing your margins with labor-intensive processes or waste caused by bindery errors? Are finishers disconnected islands in your workflow automation? This article, the third in a series sponsored by EFI, explains how to integrate the printing operation with nearline finishers to complete automation from prepress to finishing.
Think about your front office in terms of what “objects'' you need to manage there. In part 2 of a five-part series, we discuss customers and prospects. This means tracking sales activities and inserting more valuable information (both quantitative and qualitative) into your Print MIS regarding your customers.
In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in the United Kingdom.
More and more printing companies are engaging with workflow automation solutions, which tend to bring better margins and often increase available capacity with current equipment. This is a path open to all companies—but walk carefully. In this feature, Pat McGrew explains how to evaluate your current software environment and what areas can offer the biggest returns.
COVID-19 has had a profound effect on thermal print equipment and consumable sales, but these will return to positive growth in 2021, according to the Smithers study The Future of Thermal Printing to 2025. This article summarizes some of the main trends identified in the study.
In a recent TexProcess/TechTextil webinar, panelists discussed what is happening with respect to the textiles and apparel supply chain, especially what has been accelerated by the pandemic. Has there been a sourcing shift? Is there a balance shift between Western and Asian sources? What key elements do brands and suppliers need to address to bring about needed systemic change? How many are even capable of driving systemic change? These were some of the questions and issues discussed in this very interesting session.
The musical British family who wittily chronicle lockdown life. Marking the bicentenary of John Keats’ death. Adidas seeks to ditch its acquired Reebok brand. “Hot typewriter action” scenes from top movies. The booming market for “nonfungible tokens”—digital art, ephemera, and media. An oil painter who specializes in lenticular art. The “spy pixels” in email messages that track you. A promotional film for 1964’s pre-Zoom Picturephone, a commercial dud. Why “Zoom fatigue” is a real thing. The aptly named DangerousThings lets you inject chips and sensors into your body, for some reason. A “rescue beaver” is compelled to dam up open spaces—indoors. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s Martian miscellany.
In 2010, there were 57,674 employees working in US screen printing establishments (NAICS 323113). By 2018, that number had increased +12.4% to 64,840. In macro news, seven “recovery indicators” for parts of the economy most acutely impacted by the pandemic.
Concerns about data security have escalated in the COVID era, making some people wary of digital engagements. As a result, traditional print-based communications remain effective and can sometimes enable businesses to stand apart from their competitors. This article explores how print service providers can use high-speed inkjet equipment to their advantage
Cary Sherburne speaks with three printing industry veterans who have chosen to make a new beginning: Marc Olin, former COO at EFI; Michael Makin, former CEO of PIA and EVP at PRINTING United Alliance; and Ken Garner, former SVP for Content Creation at the Association for Print Technologies. As they start the new year with new adventures, we wanted to give them special recognition for all of their contributions and years of service to the industry.
Imageco is on a mission to greater sustainability, driven by their own sustainability concerns and customer demand. In this article, textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan explains how the company is pursuing these goals with the latest HP Latex technology.
A new focus on mass customization and a growing demand for sustainability are causing digital printing to become more vital in one area of industrial printing: woodworking. We expect to see continued growth in the woodworking industry as a whole, including categories like furniture. This article will focus on two key areas where industrial printing has a significant impact: digital décor paper for laminates and direct printing in the woodworking industry. Ron Gilboa explores the opportunity and technology that is driving this innovation to be adopted.
This article, the first of a five-part series on the modernization of your print business front office, starts with some guiding principles and then discuss the various “objects” that are managed by the carpeted area of your plant.
NIXKA may be the new kid on the block, or are they? They actually have 30 years of expertise in developing ink and material jetting solutions, with an impressive track record. More importantly, they have the right philosophy.
Connecting brands to consumers is incredibly important, and in the print and sign industry, it’s all about making consumers feel a part of something larger than themselves. In this article, guest contributor Larry Oberly, President & CEO of SpeedPro, explains the advantages of SpeedPro’s InfoLnkX NFC application for creating interactive, touchless, smart signage.
Environmental considerations are becoming more and more important factors in buying decisions of consumers and businesses, and this is supported by environmental legislation. This article by European section editor Ralf Schlözer looks at the latest developments in environmental legislation for print in Europe.
A push toward a more sustainable textiles and apparel industry is underway, largely driven by consumer demand, and, to some extent, by brands who are working to restructure their supply chains post-pandemic. Key considerations include not only the adoption of more digital technologies, about which we have written extensively, but also the further development of fabrics created from bio-based materials, and a significant change in consumer behavior with respect to their wardrobes. Learn more about the pros and cons of bio-based materials, some of the emerging developments, and behavior changes that can reduce your personal textiles-based environmental impact.
If you want to make more money—and minimize the risk of making less—you should do more prospecting. Contributor Dave Fellman looks at the prospecting process and how to arrive at the ultimate goal of prospecting: a first meeting with a potential new customer.
A new monolith appears—briefly—in Congo. A guy replaces his bicycle wheels with giant sawmill blades. The latest in “mask tech”: the egg mask. First, they came for the silkworms—and now…the sheep? Sheep Inc. says one key to carbon sequestration is…wait for it…sheep. Some other potential solutions for dealing with carbon and carbon dioxide. Textile and apparel imports are on the decline. A website lets you simulate the ambiance of your favorite bar. RIP Rupert Neve: the inventor of the mixing console. A housecat joins “Godzilla vs. Kong” and the related carnage. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s carbon-heavy miscellany.
The writers and publishers who chronicle the world of business have been a buzzword factory for the last four decades. There’s no need to list them here, but probably the most frequently mentioned topic in the last few years has been how to change an organization into something that has a better chance of surviving and thriving. In this article, Wayne Lynn discusses the importance of becoming self-aware. Knowing what your strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots are provides the best starting point for successful change. Read on…
Over the centuries, fine art and textile design have always been close companions. Today's textile designers can take advantage of a number of outstanding archives of vintage designs that can act as inspiration, or be licensed for use. Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan highlights a few.
The increase in digitally driven on-demand printing, combined with the flexibility of online ordering, has greatly increased the number of print orders—often at lower print volumes—that a print service provider must manage and produce. This article explores how PSPs that increase their levels of automation now may be able to reap disproportionate rewards in the future.
If you have taken the first steps to automating your workflow, you will have seen significant benefits from software you had likely already invested in. In this article, sponsored by EFI and the second in a series, explores how to take your workflow automation to the next level by examining your prepress operation to uncover bottlenecks that require extra labor and slow the production process.
WhatTheyThink’s Fall 2020 Business Outlook Survey asked print business executives and owners about their 2020 business conditions, business challenges, biggest perceived opportunities, and investment plans, as well as opinions of virtual events and their 2020 hiring plans. The results of this survey are included in WhatTheyThink’s Printing Outlook 2021 special report. Here are some of the top-level findings from that report.
If you run a print manufacturing business, chances are you should invest in a print-specific MIS/ERP solution. However, proceed carefully if you insist on adopting a generic MIS/ERP software solution. Don’t get caught up in paying for customizations that are expected features for a print business.
In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in Germany.
The successful curation of the data springing from your business operating systems has the potential to unearth rich clues for improved growth and performance. However, it can be a daunting task to know where to start and where to stop. Preston Herrin offers a balanced approach to metrics and analytics and understanding how to apply them in your business to advance a data-driven culture and galvanize a new agility.
From life-saving medical devices and rapid COVID-19 tests, to dashboards and musical instruments, printed electronics are a high-value opportunity. To exploit the opportunity requires high-touch engineering and customer support. Contributor Pete Basiliere details the challenges.
A Texas attorney tries to prove he is not a cat. A brand-new shade of blue is now available for painting. A new business makes sustainable laundry detergent. A handy visual aid to help you determine which appliance is best for which use. A water treatment plant gets hacked—with almost disastrous results. 3D-printed steaks. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s kitten filter miscellany.
In 2010, there were 380,107 employees working in US establishments in NAICS 323111 (Commercial Printing–Except Screen and Books). By 2018, that number had declined -13.5% to 328,845. In macro news, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.3% in January, or 1.4% over the last 12 months.
Some of the digital processes that were implemented out of necessity when the pandemic hit will likely persist even once the pandemic has subsided. This article discusses the implications of business process digitization and cites recent research from Keypoint Intelligence to explore considerations for the future.
Even if printers are not in the market for a new marketing automation system, tracking the new and updated features of available platforms provides insight into where marketing is going and what they (and their customers) need to watch, both now and in the future. One such change is the increased use of AI to speed and simplify the identification and understanding of customer journeys. As COVID-19 ramps up and consumers tighten their belts (again), the timing couldn’t be better.
Every motion you make in your business sets the tone for the ultimate performance of the supply chain. Whether you are a manufacturer/service provider shepherding the genesis of the supply chain or a reseller/distributor working bi-directionally within the supply chain, success hinges on advanced collaboration in order to deliver on customer expectations. Preston Herrin takes our annual look at trade brokering and distributing.
Technical skills are important in every functional area of your print business and sales is no exception. Every salesperson needs to be able to calmly and strategically uncover business challenges and communicate these challenges to your technical resources without limiting potential solutions or setting unreasonable expectations with the customer.
Why would a printing business want to be an early adopter and take a risk on unproven technology? Inkjet Insight’s Elizabeth Gooding spoke with five technology leaders using inkjet in quality-sensitive operations about their experiences as pre-release adopters of production inkjet presses.
2020 was a remarkable year for labels and packaging, particularly digitally printed pressure-sensitive labels, sleeves, flexible packaging, and other high-demand applications for the health, pharma, household, and food industries. The demand for digitally printed labels and packaging has grown significantly during the pandemic and customers are investing more in workflow and automation to manage the load. In this article, sponsored by HP, we spoke with HP Indigo’s Maya Poleg, Head of Products and Solutions, and Esko’s Chuck Ravetto, VP & General Manager, Supplier Solutions, to hear their perspectives on their long-standing relationship, and where they believe the industry is heading.
This is the sixth part of a series of articles on the size of and trends in the printing industry in key countries in Europe. The Nordic countries in Europe include Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Together, they account for €4.7 billion in revenues in the graphic arts industry and more than 25,000 employees. Combined, the Nordic region would constitute the sixth largest printing industry in Europe, closely followed by Spain. There are additional print segments, as well, adding to a total print market of close to €7.5 billion
Spinach can now send emails. A novel only uses the words spoken by Ophelia in Hamlet. More graphene news! Recycling potato chip bags into sleeping bags for the homeless. Colgate introduces new aluminum toothbrush with replaceable heads. The origin of gargoyles. 100 years of the “sawing a woman in half” trick. “A Lego white noise” playlist. A “smart toilet seat” for measuring vital signs. A teen, in a coma since March 1, 2020, is about to wake up to a strange new world. Attaching buggy wheels to a Dodge Challenger, for some reason. Texas issues an Amber Alert for Chucky from “Child’s Play.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s emailing vegetable miscellany.
Print’s days of channel dominance are most certainly over, but it remains a powerful means of communication. Digital is here to stay, so it is more important than ever for printed communications to be fresh and innovative. This article explores how data can be leveraged to create personalized print campaigns that encourage engagement and increase revenues.
Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan recently attended a very interesting session on the possibilities digital print offers for home décor. Presenters included a variety of industry experts with excellent insight. The piece also includes links to replays in case the reader wants to hear directly from the experts.
HP updates its Latex roll-to-roll portfolio with four new units that bring white ink printing, new inks and printheads, and a renewed commitment to sustainability. Additionally, HP has launched a new Latex Print and Cut line and refreshed its PageWide XL units for the technical printing markets.
Print businesses large and small need to start automating processes to save time and money and increase throughput. But for many smaller print businesses, automating their printing workflow can seem like a daunting—and expensive—challenge. This article, sponsored by EFI, show how that’s a misconception that is holding businesses back from greater profitability, and that getting started with workflow automation is much easier than you might think.
Direct mail retargeting is starting to go mainstream. In this post, we look at some key supporting data for growth in the direct mail retargeting market and the approaches used by three printers offering these services.
If you’re a commercial mailer of flats and periodicals, brace yourself. Customers are facing an unexpected and steep increase in USPS mailing rates sometime this summer — even while service standards remain miserably low.
Since the emergence of the original European Data Protection Act and the follow-on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), building a privacy protocol has been a topic in companies around the world. The codification of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), however, changed the trajectory of the conversation. It is far-reaching and touches all of us. Pat McGrew interviews University of Colorado Professor Linda Fried to provide background and guidance.
Color Management is the critical part of any reproduction process, especially as it relates to brand identity. We have good tools today, but as print applications expand beyond conventional media—for example, to packaging and industrial applications—we are starting to outgrow them.
In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in Lithuania and the Baltic states.
2020 and a good part of 2021 will be seen as the time of virtual events. It was either that or put everything on hold, which clearly was not an option. There was great hope that we would be back to in-person events by spring of 2021, but one by one, scheduled events such as drupa and Interpack, FESPA, TechTextil/TexProcess, and more were either cancelled, converted to virtual events, or postponed until late summer or fall. We spoke to a number of folks—organizers, sponsors and attendees—to get their views about the value of these events. We also included some virtual event questions in a broader survey.
In search of the original “Apple Beige.” The USPS launches Star Wars stamps to promote STEM learning. How COVID made QR codes cool. A Chinese railroad was derailed when Adobe killed Flash. A man quantifies his wardrobe. Beautiful tea bag art. First Night Effect: why it’s hard to sleep in a strange place. “Chinese Knife Massage.” Gender-neural playing cards. “Everything bagel-flavored ice cream.” Perfect for Valentine’s day: pink, candy-flavored mac and cheese. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s stock shorting miscellany.
In 2010, there were 499,622 employees working in US establishments in NAICS 323. By 2018, that number had declined -12.2% to 438,516. In macro news, real GDP increased at an annual rate of 4.0% in Q4 2020.
Sustainability is moving to the top of the to-do list in textiles and apparel as we as we enter a new decade and beyond. Sometimes it seems like not much has changed, but in this informative article, textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan lists many of the sustainability achievements we saw in 2020.
Even with vaccines being distributed, it will likely be quite some time before the coronavirus becomes part of our history rather than our daily reality. Much like the virus, though, PSPs are proving themselves to be quite resilient. This article explores the actions that various printing companies are exploring so they can maintain—or even accelerate—growth as we emerge from the pandemic.
Understanding your customer segmentation and even more importantly the “jobs” the printed products do for your customers can help you better target your sales efforts. Diversity is a hedge against catastrophic market segment collapse (another lesson of COVID-19).
Gone are the days of evaluating campaigns largely in terms of response rate, conversion rate, and dollars per sale. When we read case studies, listen to webinars, and browse industry coverage, we see a wider range of marketing metrics being used than ever before. It’s no wonder that 90% marketers now see measurable results from their personalization efforts.
Digital printing has transformed the print world. For a long time, it was restricted to printed documents and photocopying, then inkjet went after the label market first, followed by the narrow-width packaging market or "small" format. At the same time, in the world of large and very large format, inkjet pushed the screen printing and even the offset process out of the most common jobs. This article looks at the potential for diversifying into a wide variety of print applications.
Smithers latest analysis shows that 2020, and the global coronavirus pandemic, have profoundly disrupted the global printing industry. Total value fell from $814.7 billion in 2019, to reach a projected $743.4 billion in 2020. This article explores the major industry trends to emerge in the wake of the pandemic.
In December 2020, all printing employment was up +0.7% from November, production employment up +0.1%, and non-production printing employment up +1.9%. So, basically, a holding pattern—although it’s nice that there are no negative numbers…for almost everyone.
Ben Franklin introduced tofu to the US. A new font designed to facilitate proofreading. Comic Sans…Monospaced! Inside the blackest room. Inventors develop a quieter Velcro. Journey inside an amazingly high-res scan of a classic painting. Fisher Price’s “new” retro gadget toys. A van-based office pod for the work-from-anywhere crowd. Holographic chocolate. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s winter miscellany.
As Industry 4.0 takes greater hold on the textiles and apparel industry, it is estimated that more than 25% of all work activities will be displaced by automation by 2030. But what does this mean for textile designers? Surely a robot can’t replace a designer! Designers have already moved from paintbrush to pixel, and while they won’t be replaced by robots, their roles will surely change. Read what textiles expert and WhatTheyThink Contributor Debbie McKeegan has to say on the topic!
Finishing is an important step for nearly every printed document. Ongoing advancements in digital printing capabilities have the potential to elevate finishing to a value-added service. This article explores how print service providers can maximize the effectiveness and profitability of print with today’s finishing capabilities.
The way B2B buyers make purchases is changing, and PSPs and their customers must change along with them. But it provides opportunity, as well. Results from the latest DemandGen “B2B Buyer Behavior Study.”
Feature requests are popular. The default response to new software to ask for it to be changed to fit the way you specifically think it should fit into your specific environment. “Change your processes to optimize your use of the software” is the one statement that would save the print industry millions of dollars.
Founded more than 30 years ago as a business forms printer, Vancouver’s Still Creek Press has adapted and evolved over the years, adding wide-format printing capabilities and other products and services. A recent project saw the company come to the rescue when the University of British Columbia Opera decided to stage a virtual production.
Poshmark (ticker: POSH) shares entered the public market last week, with shares soaring nearly 142%, opening at $97.50 and hitting a high of $104.98, with a Thursday close at $101.50, making it up 141.7%. This kind of feels like the 90s dot-com boom. Will it lead to a bust? The Poshmark CEO thinks not.
In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This year kicks off with a look at the printing industry in Hungary.
In 2010, there were 6,026 establishments in NAICS 561439 (Business Service Centers [Including Copy Shops]). By 2018, that number had declined to 5,305. In macro news, weekly initial unemployment claims were at 965,000, an increase of 181,000 from the previous week.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, PrintingNews.com and WhatTheyThink magazine versioned with a Printing News and Wide-Format & Signage edition. Our mission is to provide cogent news and analysis about trends, technologies, operations, and events in all the markets that comprise today’s printing and sign industries including commercial, in-plant, mailing, finishing, sign, display, textile, industrial, finishing, labels, packaging, marketing technology, software and workflow.