Pharmaceutical and small-format finishing is a robust and specialized category that can be very profitable to serve. However, until recently the category was in dire need of a technology overhaul to remove labor from the process, increase quality and security, reduce make-ready times, and increase production and changeover speeds. Trish Witkowski rounds up recent finishing equipment releases that are just what the doctor ordered.
We’ve been hearing that print is going interactive for years, not just with QR codes, but with technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and near-field communications (NFC). Some of the applications are truly astounding, but are they relevant to the printing industry at large? Heidi-Tolliver-Walker looks at some examples of how “interactive print” is relevant to commercial printers.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, more than 4 million Americans quit their jobs in April, a record high, and even more plan to do so as we exit the pandemic. If people are quitting due to boredom or unhappiness but still want to work, where will they look? And how can the textiles and apparel industry, which has long struggled to attract new talent, generate interest among those looking for something new?
Swiss researchers calculate pi to a new record number of figures. Buy an NFT clipart of a rock for almost $300K, for some reason. Graphene-reinforced concrete. “Biosmocking” is a peek at the future of apparel. AATCC announces the first global standard for measuring fiber fragment release during home laundering. A new sock sneaker featuring mushroom soles and 3D knitted discarded dog hair. Words coined by classic authors. Big brands go direct-to-consumer to gather better data. Genetically altering mosquitoes to make them blind to human hosts. “The Big Sleep” at 75. The firefly squid isn’t just a visual feast. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 253,464 employees in NAICS 3222 (Converted Paper Product Manufacturing establishments). Employment in this category dropped abruptly in 2012, then remained somewhat stable over the course of the decade and reaching 245,579 in 2018. In macro news, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) show increased demand for architectural design services, good news for the signage industry.
Manchester Print Services in the UK is one of a growing number of companies driving new business models in the textiles industry, including digital production of interior décor, as well as specialized textile printing for events, exhibitions, and retail display.
In his fourth of six articles dealing with improving how we get things done, Wayne Lynn looks at getting past issues that delay and potentially stifle the implementation of goal-supporting business decisions. Leaders and their teams need to develop and support the Inventive mindset. Read on to learn more.
Although the print industry is still reeling from the ongoing effects of the pandemic, direct mail communications have seen a resurgence because of their tactile nature and ability to establish a physical connection. This article explores how print service providers can leverage inkjet technology to capitalize on new opportunities in print.
In the past three years, Lawrence, Mass.’s LaPlume & Sons Printing experienced a gas explosion and then the pandemic—but then this 85-year-old family business has faced its share of challenges over the decades and has managed to change with the times.
Even as CMOs’ 2020 marketing budgets were being slashed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, CMOs were hopeful that those budgets would bounce back in 2021. But Gartner’s just-released “CMO Spend Survey” tells a different story. Not only are budgets not bouncing back, but they have dropped to the lowest level in the history of the survey. Is there any good news for PSPs in here?
Printing costs are going up, and we need to start letting customers know prices will too. Customers need advance warning—no one likes surprises. Contributor John Giles advises you to be proactive and tell your customers, particularly your top customers, about the pending increases.
Over the last several years, Jefferson City, Mo.-based Modern Litho has experienced growth both organically and through acquisitions as it expands its footprint within Missouri. In this interview, Jeff Davidson discusses the company’s strategy, how acquisitions are key to its growth and diversification, and its latest investments in IT infrastructure.
How do you evolve your business and imbue your culture with a customer-centric ethic that actually modifies your organizational DNA? Preston Herrin offers four steps to becoming a customer-experience-driven company.
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 Denmark.
A new wearable patch can monitor blood pressure. New graphene paper can extend shelf-life of fruits. Calorie-counting stair signage. A first-person essay written by a QR code. The new “packaging real estate boom.” Why is the English language as erratic and haphazard as it is? Turning cremains into decorative pebbles. How fast can you type the alphabet? The 1962 Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic. How much trouble is the travel industry in? Remember that time when a goose collided with Fabio’s face? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly Delta variant miscellany.
Everywhere you look, whether online or off, enterprises are sending customer communications that beg, plead, and sometimes even force consumers to go paperless. Although COVID-19 has accurately been dubbed “the great accelerator,” ongoing market shifts probably won’t prove to be the final nail in the coffin that represents the death of printed bills and statements.
With so much emphasis being placed on customization of interior and home décor enabled by digital printing technologies, can we even customize our carpets now? Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan shares this Texintel guest post by Bob Balings of Bob Mats B.V., which highlights different carpet printing technologies and their pros and cons, with lots of great advice about selecting the right technology for your work.
To what extent is this industry merely talking about relevance-based personalization and to what extent are we actually doing it? Insights from Who’s Mailing What!, a national database of direct mail, raises some interesting questions.
You offer great quality, terrific service, and competitive prices, yet some prospects still won’t work with you. Why? Steven Johnson uses a colorful analogy to show how customer disinterest can come from some unexpected places.
Feeding envelopes through a printer is not necessarily an easy task, especially since there are so many sizes, configurations, and variations in thickness—even batch to batch. Yet Printlink has found an exceptional bespoke press solution that highlights what can be accomplished with production inkjet.
We’ve been speculating about how the textiles and apparel industry will come out of the pandemic—how much will change, how quickly, and how much will remain the same? To help with this thought process, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University has published a study entitled "Repeat, Repair or Renegotiate? The Post-COVID Future of the Apparel Industry." We summarize the results in this article.
The history of the restaurant menu. A “textile artist” specializes in food. French fry packaging made from discarded potato peels. Does it surprise you that graphene played a role at the Olympics? Changes are coming to Google Drive—consider yourselves warned. Pop Charts sells very cool infographic posters. Cornell researchers capture the highest-resolution image of atoms ever seen. An eight-year-old “entrepreneurial ant dealer.” Ron Popeil passes away. SpaceX is looking for a spaceport bartender. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly Olympic miscellany.
According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 90,892 employees in NAICS 51913 (Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals). Over the course of the decade, employment in this category grew steadily to reach 275,875 in 2018. In macro news, real GDP increased at an annual rate of 6.5% in Q2 2021.
One of the critical needs in the textiles and apparel industry is attracting new talent. CMYUK is helping address this need by launching a worldwide competition to recognize emerging talent. Its “Creatives in Residence” program will give two young surface designers and one talented videographer an outstanding opportunity to undertake a six-month placement at CMYUK’s advanced digital training and demonstration facility in Shrewsbury in the UK. While this might seem UK-centric, it is a worldwide opportunity. If you know a talented young person that would like to participate, please let them know about this opportunity! Learn more...
Because electronic messages substantially outnumber printed communications, direct mail is now the less cluttered channel. Electronic communications also fall short of well-designed printed communications in terms of tactile impact. This article explores how marketers of printed communications can use the sensory elements of direct mail to their advantage.
Automation is the sexy sales and marketing term. Process improvement is where the magic happens. Keep your reality hat on and think about automation at the discrete task level of your business process.
As the U.S. economy continues to bounce back, “state of marketing” surveys are giving conflicting pictures. One says marketing budgets are falling. Another says they are rising. What to make of this conflicting information?
Navigating the post-pandemic world in the early days of the reopening could be confusing, as there was little signage that indicated a particular location’s policies regarding mask-wearing, etc. Still, some demand for post-pandemic signage remains, although the major opportunities for sign and display graphics producers were mostly fleeting.
PRINTING United Alliance is a member-based printing and graphic arts association based in the U.S. The Alliance team provides economics and market trend insight, education, certification, events, human resources services, the latest legislation affecting our industry, environmental, and health and safety leadership. The Alliance partners with leading industry organizations that echo its mission in serving professionals and their companies across market segments with current, usable resources, both locally and nationally.
Wayfinding and other kinds of interior graphics are good opportunities for signage and display graphics providers. However, it is essential to have an understanding of the requirements for signage to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)—and how some of those requirements have changed post-COVID.
2021 marked the year that Fuji Xerox become FUJIFILM Business Innovation and started launching their own product range. While still supplying most print engines to Xerox, FUJIFILM Business Innovation is set to become a major digital printing player on its own. Get ready for an emerging major player in digital print.
Fats Domino toured with Scitex equipment? QR codes could be poised to raise privacy concerns. Graphene goes skiing. Is more expensive clothing necessarily more ethically produced? Keep your Oreo cookies away from your kids by using disguised packaging. How fast can a robot run a 5K? Pogo stick crutches, to make your rehab even more challenging. Philosophical CAPTCHAs to make your logins more challenging. Why are tennis balls yellow? A reusable silicone straw that unzips for easy cleaning. The world’s most expensive French fries. Florida man attempts to run on water from Florida to New York in a giant hamster wheel. Cicada killer wasps! All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly Olympic miscellany.
As opposed to a horizontal market approach (which involves developing a specific product offering that touches many industries), a vertical market approach involves serving specific customers with specific needs. This article explores how implementing a vertical market strategy can help you recognize new and existing opportunities.
Throughout history, silk has been recognized as one of the most, if not the most, exquisite and luxurious fabrics available. Now fabric printers are having huge success with digital printing of this glorious textile. In this article, textile expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan shares an example from Italian firm Mantero.
Paper and packaging companies are not only consumers of natural resources, but they are striving to be protectors of them, too. Here are five “feel good” stories about how members of the paper industry are doing their part.
Constraints are real. You can feel limited by them or you can decide to work with them in a way to maximize your results. No business is without constraints. With print software, humans and existing software are critical constraints to embrace.
If you are struggling with setting prices or trying to decide when it’s time to change prices, Pat McGrew offers some starting points with this two-part series on five steps for managing pricing. This second part involves looking not just as the products you sell, but the services, too, and then reviewing and executing your pricing plan.
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 Sweden.
Pandemic and other forms of uncontrollable change can be detrimental for businesses. However, to offset initial disruptions and potentially larger, more long-term implications when hit with the unexpected, leadership at organizations must act swiftly and rally their team. Guest contributor Burke Cueny, VP of Marketing for Alliance Franchise Brands, explains how multiple departments and business units can work together to overcome the crisis.
We’ve written a great deal about sustainability—or the lack thereof—in textiles and apparel on this site. In this article, we highlight some of the less discussed but equally important textile finishing technology that is driving sustainability in the industry
According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 10,166 employees in NAICS 511199 (All Other Publishers). Over the course of the decade, employment in this category steadily declined to bottom out at 4,999 in 2018. In macro news, last year’s “official” COVID recession lasted only two months, according to the NBER.
Book sales may keep increasing…or not. A quill-like pen is a Kickstarter hit. A scholarly paper was co-authored by a dead friend in a dream. Do you remember The Print Shop pre-Mac design application? How many words did Shakespeare invent? Batteries need help…graphene to the rescue! A gasoline-scented cologne. A woman uses signage to accuse her cat of robbery. The Bow TIE: the geeky accessory you know you want. Two words: meth trout. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly space-bound miscellany.
Fashion week on film? Richard Quinn unveiled this unique approach to debuting a new collection at the recent AW21 collection at the Electric Theatre, London. Is this a sign of what's to come from other designers? It would seem it is partly the result of the many things we have learned about virtual events and digital technology during the pandemic.
The oldest members of Generation Z will turn 24 this year, and Millennials are now fully entrenched in their adult lives. These groups wield a tremendous amount of influence and purchasing power, so it’s more important than ever to reach them. This article explores how younger consumers perceive print and considers how printed communications can be used to get their attention.
Until recently, growth and excitement around augmented reality (AR) has been limited among printers since the barriers to entry were high, and other than for SnapChat filters and niche applications (such as gaming), few consumers were using it. Even as AR experiences became more robust and effective, they required an app, and marketers found that people don’t want to download apps. Now AR has developed a symbiotic relationship with QR Codes, and that changes everything.
Being busy doesn’t equate to business success. Is your busy-ness leading you in the right direction? Or are you being led by your inputs? Prioritization takes uninterrupted time and discipline, it results in your activities having strategic direction.
Most people familiar with production inkjet printing are aware of the FUJIFILM Jet Press® 750s (marketed as JPRESS in the U.S.) and the FUJIFILM DIMATIX Samba printhead used in that press. This article by Inkjet Insight’s Elizabeth Gooding discusses the capability of Fujifilm’s Samba JPC technology to meet the evolving needs of system integrators and OEM customers.
New players are introducing new technologies for textile and apparel production and are poised to up-end the industry. Upheavals in the supply chain and rapidly changing consumer demands are starting to increase a sense of urgency, and more brands are looking seriously at how to effectively work on-demand or made-to-order manufacturing into their go-to-market processes.
During the pandemic, profitable printers had a shared characteristic: they were proactive in selling and didn’t wait for customers to come to them. Contributor John Giles looks at six habits that allowed printers to be profitable during the pandemic.
Electronic paper can now have as many colors as an LCD display. The US Olympic Team will sport wearable air conditioners. What will be in the medicine cabinet of 2030? Decode the latest Forever Stamp. A roll of tape featuring programmable QR-like codes. A repository of horrible sci-fi book covers. Painting reindeer antlers with reflective paint to prevent traffic collisions. A treadmill for hamsters. Mac and cheese ice cream, for some reason. McCormick is hiring a “Director of Taco Relations.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
May 2021 printing shipments came in at $6.59 billion, a slight downturn from April’s $6.87 billion, and the second consecutive month of decline, but is consistent with the pattern we have been tracking over the past five years.
Decisions are not made in a void. They serve multiple purposes but the focus of this article is on stimulating action that moves us toward the accomplishment of goals. Last month we looked at the subject of approaching decisions in a structured way and in a way that used both sides of the human brain. The point was to make the best possible decision using what we know about how the brain works and how each side works to balance and inform the other. This month we look at finding and ensuring that the necessary motivation is in place for successful implementation of decisions and achievement of our goals
It has never been more important to shine a light on the achievements of students graduating with expertise in the textiles and fashion industry. Like many other industries, finding new talent is difficult. Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan shares the story of one award-winning graduate we hope will be an inspiration to future generations of students who might consider careers in textiles and apparel.
Why has one QR code usage gain traction when others haven’t? What lessons can we learn from it? Can QR code use be turned into further print work, even if the code itself “steals” certain types of business?
This Print Software Product Spotlight looks at EFI’s Midmarket Suite. EFI’s “suite” approach to software solutions essentially pre-packages a group of products that already work together to solve end-to-end workflows.
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 Czech Republic.
If you are struggling with setting prices or trying to decide when it’s time to change prices, Pat McGrew offers some starting points with this two-part series on five steps for managing pricing. This first part involves understanding your costs and your current pricing.
Variable-temperature graphics installation. Vaccine site graphics. Outside art exhibits. Home décor. Superbowl graphics from the Before Times. In this photo gallery, we highlight some recent projects that users have produced using a variety of consumables types, from labels, to vinyls, to fabrics.
Direct-to-consumer retail for apparel, once the domain of upstarts, is now being more seriously pursued by larger brands, a move that has been accelerated by the pandemic. What does this mean for brands and retail? Is another upheaval coming?
According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 10,258 employees in NAICS 511191 (Greeting Card Publishers). Over the course of the decade, employment has been up and down, reaching 13,690 in 2018. In sort of macro news, Las Vegas tourism traffic rose substantially in May 2021, as conventions were poised to reopen.
A meticulously detailed paper model of a Heidelberg letterpress. “Algorithmic typography.” Graphene’s latest triumph. Birds aren’t real!! A new approach to wearable tech. An outdoor art installation is all AR-based. Cutting boards made from upcycled bottlecaps. A candy-pushing robot will stalk you in supermarkets. A model of Jabba the Hutt’s internal anatomy, for some reason. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Adobe announced a creative alliance with Aquario Design and NedGraphics, two elements of the textiles portfolio of FOG Software Group, a division of Constellation Software. The alliance was announced by Adobe’s Mike Scrutton at the Smithers Digital Textile Printing conference underway in Arizona.
The textile manufacturing industry is on the cusp of dramatic change, driven by increased focus on restructuring fragile supply chains and growing consumer demand for more sustainable practices. Learn why heat transfer dye sublimation fabric printing can help meet these challenges by enabling responsive on-demand production of textile-based products.
As is the case with many other things, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about many changes to the modern workplace. During the lockdown phase, many discovered that remote work was sometimes just as productive as work performed in an office. When we come out on the other side of the pandemic, what will the workplace of the future look like? This article explores the benefits—and possible pitfalls—of a hybrid workforce.
Carles Farre, vice president and general manager, HP PageWide Press, talks about his background, current role, and views of the future of HP’s production inkjet business and the industry at large, including both commercial and corrugated applications.
A strategic feature of software is a value driver that generally has prerequisites in order to reap the benefits of the feature. The sales process generally skips the prerequisites (for obvious reasons). It is your responsibility as the buyer to understand precisely what it will take to reach the potential.
Recently, Keypoint Intelligence released data from a new vertical market survey that reflects how a classic concept—unboxing—has become today’s news. No company illustrates the power of unboxing more than Apple.
Online print made rapid progress in the last few years, and the country with the most advanced market for online printers is probably Germany. Needless the to say, that the pandemic did affect online print greatly as well. This article by European section editor Ralf Schlözer offers some insight on the effects and outlook.
Literally trillions of printed pages still are reproduced worldwide each year using traditional offset press technology—not to mention “newer” offset product applications such as door hangers, pocket folders, and packaging. Contributor Mark Vruno looks at the latest developments in offset equipment.
Using error-free artwork files ensures that print production will go smoothly and that the result will be a timely delivery of your product. In this article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's “Workflow Chef” Gershon Alon, learn how to ensure the quality of your incoming artwork.
The pandemic has placed increased focus on supply chain issues in textiles and apparel, but a lot of this has been figuring out how to manufacture the same items more efficiently, especially Fast Fashion. But underneath it all, there is a burgeoning interest in better ways to extend the life of existing textile and apparel items—from reuse and recycling to upcycling. Will this be the next big thing for the industry, and how will it adapt?
It’s not a new top-of-the-line model, but the Heidelberg CX 104—launched last week at China Print— is a well-rounded, multi-purpose press with a good price/performance ratio. European section editor Ralf Schlözer identifies what sets the new B2 press apart from the other presses.
Graphene gets to the heart of the matter. Colored bracelets for wary shoppers. Data visualization studio turns street maps into watercolors. A look at Saul Bass and how he changed movie titles. New smart glasses designed as portable movie screens. A new archive of game show memorabilia to open in Rochester. A petition for Jeff Bezos to buy and eat the Mona Lisa. An app to help catch art thieves. A round up the latest fad: volcano-based cooking. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Lift Software Print MIS/ERP was invented inside a large wide format printer. That alone will tell you a lot about how Lift perceived the challenges of running a print business. For most Print MIS solutions, supporting wide format has been an add-on to a more traditionally focused offset or digital print manufacturing focus. For Lift it is clearly a deep specialty.
Digital pigment technologies have helped shape the customization culture that is prevalent among many of today’s online shoppers, and this technology is now making its way into textile DTF (direct-to-fabric). This article explores how pigment solutions are helping to fuel a revolution among textile printers.
Much of the discussion around the benefits of digital textile printing have focused on apparel, and its associated development and manufacturing processes as well as its supply chain issues. In this article, textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan points out that home décor is also a high growth opportunity for digital textile printing and other forms of inkjet printing, including wall coverings.
For many printers and their clients, QR codes offer many opportunities for improved customer engagement and better customer service. But for some industries, they could actually represent the potential for lost business for printers, too.
Highlights of a recent Print Geeks webinar in which resident geeks Jim Raffel and Shelby Sapusek of ColorCasters were joined by contributor Dan Gillespie of Alder Color Solutions to discuss five common areas where color management fails in the world of inkjet printing.
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 Poland.
Each year, WhatTheyThink | Printing News invites small commercial print business owners to participate in our Top 100 Shops Survey. In this article, we look at the results of this year’s survey, and profile this year’s winners—including #1 Top Shop, Strategic Factory.
Canon has the leading market share in production inkjet and has the widest range of production inkjet presses available. With the introduction of the ColorStream 8000, they are expanding their commercial production inkjet product line to further capture both toner and existing offset produced pages.
As things start to return to normal, conference organizers are looking for creative ways to reengage with their audiences. In the case of Smithers Digital Textile Printing U.S. (and its sister conference, Digital Print for Packaging U.S.), they have chosen to adopt a hybrid virtual/in-person model for both presenters and attendees.
One of the more important movements in the print industry is the inevitable trend of digital transformation—the transition from offset to digital. In this article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's “Workflow Chef” Gershon Alon, learn how print service providers can tackle this transition. What does the roadmap look like, and where does one begin?
Last week, Inkjet Insight hosted Inkjet Innovation Week, a five-webinar series that looked at new developments and trends in five areas of digital inkjet printing. In developing these sessions, which are available for download, Inkjet Insight focused on true innovators and their innovations, and drew on an international group of experts to determine makes something innovative rather than just new.
According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 41,489 employees in NAICS 51114 (Directory and Mailing List Publishing). Over the course of the decade, employment had plummeted to a low of 14,379. In macro news, new business creation has been at record highs.
What is to be done with all those Plexiglas barriers when they come down? The history of the dunce cap. In-dream advertising? Graphene sensors can quickly detect COVID-19. A lobsterman is nearly eaten by a whale. Facemasks made of bread. When will you reach the Brimley/Cocoon Line (if you haven’t already)? An umbrella that converts into a poncho. Dyson’s new laser vacuum cleaner. The history of processed foods. Monty Python Dead Parrot slippers. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
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.