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.
There is a lot of focus on digital textile printing for apparel, but another great market opportunity for digital textile printing is interior décor. In this article, textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan talks with Terry Raghunath, Business Development Manager for Printed Decorative Applications based at HP Barcelona, about market trends and how HP focuses its development efforts to meet them.
According to a Keypoint Intelligence study of 300+ office equipment dealers and IT resellers that sell A3 print technology and provide servicing, 50% of respondents said their customers are actively planning to change their print environments after the pandemic. This article explores the changes that office equipment vendors and IT resellers are planning as they emerge from the pandemic.
In his last article, Wayne Lynn described the process of execution or “how we get things done.” It included making the decision to do something, finding the right motivation to get it implemented, and managing the stress that it naturally creates, being inventive as needed to overcome obstacles encountered along the way, and, finally, putting in place the policies and controls necessary to make sure the decision stays made but allows for changes in circumstances. In this article, Wayne examines the process of approaching a decision that increases your chances of success.
The Who’s Mailing What! Database contains an astounding wealth of information about direct mail. The database is growing by leaps and bounds, currently containing more than 130,000 mail pieces and with 13,000 mail pieces added every 30 days. Because these mail pieces are searchable, you can slice and dice the database any way you want—by industry, by sub-category, by search term, by color, by mailing format, and the list goes on.
WhatTheyThink contributor David Fellman writes about urgency and importance—specifically, how any task on your plate can be both of those things, just one of them, or neither of them. If you have more tasks on your plate than you have time in your day, it’s really important to know exactly where each one fits in terms of importance and urgency—and not to be distracted by “shiny things.”
Vycom (and its parent, The AZEK Company) launched its Recycling Take Back Program in 2019, accepting hard-to-recycle materials like PVC and other materials used for signage and display graphics and reusing them in decking products, diverting millions of pounds of plastic from landfills. The company has expanded the number of recycling plants, has been adding customers, and is renewing its outreach efforts.
Mass customization avoids many pitfalls of typical VDP projects because it doesn’t require the development of elaborate cross-sections of personal user data. In this article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's “Workflow Chef” Gershon Alon, learn how creating such campaigns is relatively worry-free and less complex, yet can be a very effective way of giving each individual the feeling of being unique.
In its first in-person trade show appearance since the pandemic began, EFI Reggiani displayed its dedication to ongoing innovation for textiles, even during this difficult time. Three new products were announced at ITMA Asia in Shanghai last Friday, as well as ink manufacturing capabilities in Asia and updates to the EFI Reggiani BOLT. Read the full story.
Who was responsible for Tuesday’s Internet outage? LEGO launches a working model typewriter. Restaurant prevented from locally sourcing cicadas. The NYT reports that watermelons were found on Mars. Anyone can learn echolocation. An inventor creates a third eye for mobile phone addicts. The finalists in this year’s UK Shed of the Year Competition. The laziest carpool lane violator. Sponges that look like old cassettes. Three short videos by The Residents. Next Wednesday is Bloomsday. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly cicada-eatin' miscellany.
Following PRINTING United Alliance’s acquisition of the Printing Industries of America (PIA), the 21 local Printing Industries of Americas Affiliates joined together to see how they could work together to continue to support their local print communities. Cary Sherburne spoke with members of Affiliate Operating and Education Committees about their plans for the future.
Keypoint Intelligence has identified five core technologies (cloud computing, big data and analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and augmented reality) that will ultimately lead to mostly—if not fully—autonomous print production. This article explores the current state and future implications of our five core technologies for SPM.
Upcycling has become an important element of the circular economy, and furniture is no exception. Learn how this creative team is using digitally printed fabric to increase their ability to upcycle furniture and more!
FASTSIGNS of Louisville (Ky.) took top honors at this year’s FASTSIGNS/Wide Format & Signage Project of the Year Awards. Second place was claimed by FASTSIGNS of Martinsburg (W.V.), and third by FASTSIGNS of Puerto Rico. Let’s take a close look at this year’s winners.
Arnie Kahn, president of PrintLink, a recruitment firm specializing in the printing industry, shares his insights on the challenges of maintaining the pipeline of skilled workers into the printing industry, along with some of the solutions and opportunities that a good staffing agency offers.
The documentation of your repeating processes will change your business in so many ways. No matter how inefficient you might be today, the simple act of documenting processes and committing to iterative improvements will turn your business into a continuous improvement engine.
From the moment new work enters the business to delivery and invoicing, printing businesses are a mix of orchestrated and structured activities and ad hoc business decisions. Savvy print operations leverage smart automation because every touchpoint brings potential delays and costs. In this article, sponsored by Kodak, learn about implementing comprehensive automation that uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI), including Machine Learning (ML), to collect more data and provide deeper insight.
Companies that have been in business for more than a few years usually have well-oiled sales machines, but mergers, acquisitions, changes in production capabilities, and market fluctuations could push the plan out of sync. That puts the business at risk. Sales needs to sell to the current capabilities and help set the strategy for future investments to support what customers are moving toward in their purchases. Contributor Pat McGrew identifies what items should be on your sales assessment checklist.
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 Belgium
As we begin to see the end of the pandemic (we hope), we wonder what things will look like on the other end. WTIN recently conducted a very informative webinar that touches on this topic and more. Worth a view! This article contains a summary of key information provided.
With more products and SKUs out there than ever before, converters must manage a larger number of short runs. As a result, they are spending a lot more time on spot color matching. In this article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's “Workflow Chef” Gershon Alon, find out how they are dealing with this challenge.
The park ranger who designed the iconic National Park signage. A report on the need for apparel recycling infrastructure. The Guardian looks back at its best typos. Making transparent wood. 3D printed wood. Franz Kafka’s letters, sketches, and other materials are now online. Coming soon: in-car advertising. Danish cellists play for cattle. Kellogg’s develops a cereal-making robot, for some reason. FDA warns about eating cicadas. Jell-O mold lamps. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s Brood X weekly miscellany.
According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 81,511 employees in NAICS 51113 (Book Publishing). Over the course of the decade, employment had dropped to a low of 64,085, but climbed back up to 73,108 in 2018. In macro news, the Great Rebound is underway.
With the growing interest in and functionality of pigment inks for digital textile printing, you might wonder why one would still use acid inks. Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan explains.
The COVID-19 pandemic worsened paper supply chain challenges that had been developing for the past several years. Contributor Mark Vruno looks at the problems print businesses have been having sourcing paper, the reasons behind those problems, and some of the workarounds that have been devised.
Implementing a new inkjet press can mean great things for your company’s productivity, but the purchasing process is not without its pitfalls. This article outlines some common mistakes to avoid (in terms of capacity and capabilities) when acquiring inkjet technology.
It’s rare that a survey is the bearer of truly good news, but the recent consumer attitudes survey out of McKinsey is one of them. Here are seven nuggets of good news from the survey that should make the grass a little greener and the sky a little bluer this morning.
European section editor Ralf Schlözer talks to Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer and Heidelberg North America Head of Service Cedric Muenzing about the impact of the pandemic on Heidelberg, the company’s trade event plans, the state of the Gallus business, and an update on the Zaikio platform.
Software solutions have features that overlap and are outright solving the exact same issues. Just be careful of the tendency to assume that a small feature means more than it really does. Be wary of where the feature gets done in your workflows.
One year after UK exited the European Union, European section editor Ralf Schlözer looks at the impact of Brexit on the printing industry in both the UK and the EU—an evaluation complicated by the simultaneously occurring COVID-19 pandemic.
Indigo did some research to understand why some commercial print customers managed to come out ahead during the pandemic crisis—some even doubling their volume. This article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's “Workflow Chef” Gershon Alon, looks at the factors that made some print businesses more resilient than others.
Telemedicine grew more than 6,000% during the pandemic. With that rate of growth, and no preparation, how were healthcare providers expected to provide the care needed remotely for seniors and others who were on extreme lockdown?
Watching graphene grow. Smell-O-Vision comes to virtual reality. Doom-inspired Captcha. John Steinbeck wrote a werewolf novel. Google is opening a physical store. Telescoping high heel shoes. “Optical illusion jeans.” A drug dealer is captured thanks to a picture of cheese. Last Tuesday was “Towel Day.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s super blood moon weekly miscellany.
Post-pandemic, the business environment is changing rapidly. Balancing the needs of customers, operations, and the workforce is the big challenge employers now face. Guest contributor Lou Caron offers hiring strategies for printers needing to staff back up.
The Direct-to-Garment (DTG) business is booming. During the pandemic, businesses with online ordering capabilities explored new ways to add new solutions or capacity to their portfolios, and DTG was one of the key ways to do so. Learn more.
A new Shoppers.com study finds that Americans are more likely to boycott a brand due to their political positions than they were one year ago. So be careful how you post, share, and comment on your social media pages. You could be driving away potential customers.
Stakeholders in print and packaging have a new awareness that automation and Industry 4.0 will be what’s going to keep their companies competitive. It may be true, as it was for Granpak, a large packaging manufacturer, that implementing an MIS/ERP can impact an organization WITHOUT spending any additional money on machines or additional personnel.
Lots of activity, little in the way of results is often the situation when your culture jumps to solutions without defining the problem first. Pause, say the problem out loud. Ask others to say it in their own words. Don’t move to the “how” until you all agree on the “what.”
Even moderate winds can be destructive to outdoor graphics if they have been insufficiently reinforced. And while taping, sewing, or welding banner edges may not be the sexiest finishing techniques in the world, they are important considerations when producing outdoor graphics that are designed look good as well as last.
It is very possible that the software in your workflow is not the best fit for your business! Business workflow suites and production workflow suites can be found for every size and type of business and at every price point. You can even find freeware for some of your common tasks. But just because it looks good and meets your budget doesn’t mean it’s the software for you. Pat McGrew explains how and why.
In this fifth article of this series, we continue to look at Industry 4.0, not as a marketing term, but in an actionable way so that you can begin or continue to prepare your company and participate in the many benefits today and tomorrow. In this article, we look at a solution that provides some process connection points, data collection and analysis.
Personalization is a trend that’s not going away any time soon. Research shows that about 63% of consumers agree that personalization is now part of a standard level of service that they expect. This article, sponsored by HP and written by HP Indigo's “Workflow Chef” Gershon Alon, looks at the essential elements of a successful VDP program.
We recently suggested that the Fast Fashion trend should come to an end sooner rather than later, especially in today’s more sustainability-conscious environment and increased focus on solving climate change issues around the globe. In this article, we share insights from recent UBS and other research supporting this position and suggesting what happens if consumers cut back on fast fashion.
Video conferencing is becoming the business communication of choice because it engages the participants. Face-to-face conversations build trust, particularly since all parties can see the non-verbal cues. Contributor John Giles outlines the advantages and requirements for effective video conferencing.
According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 134,432 employees in NAICS 51112 (Periodical Publishing). By 2018, employees had decreased to 84,424. In macro news, ecommerce as a percent of retail sales has dropped almost back to its pre-pandemic level.
A graphene-enhanced jacket for sailing. Why are Captchas getting harder? A bakery creates essentially a cookie-based wanted poster. AI writes bleak and depressing stories. AI paints “self” portraits, raising all sorts of existential questions. A cicada cookbook, for some reason. LED lightbulbs attract fewer insects than incandescents. Perfect for BBQ season: a levitating hot dog roaster. Learning to ride a penny farthing bicycle. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
As digital workflow increasingly makes its way into the textiles & apparel supply chain, how do you simplify the complex process that carries a creative piece of artwork through print production? That’s the question that Debbie McKeegan, textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor, addresses in this article.
It is a truism that most problems in today’s world of organizations are created by poor implementation of change initiatives. This stems from poorly thought out decisions all the way through to not putting in place clear decision boundaries that can prevent subversion of the desired outcomes. In this article, Wayne Lynn looks underneath the components of effective implementation with an eye toward creating a deeper understanding of what’s needed to improve our ability to improve how we get things done.
For many, “digital transformation” is likely a buzz term that roughly translates into “using computers.” In reality, however, it is so much more than that. The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly propelled digital processes and workflows forward, impacting almost every area of business today. Printing firms must ensure that they are prepared for this new normal of digital transformation.
Print shops with under 20 employees have typically been left behind when it comes to automation tools. However, the environment is changing quickly, and cloud-based solutions, such as Good2Go, opens the door to automation for printers of any size.
How careful are you with sharing information about your company, your sales practices, or your processes and technologies in public, thinking, “Nobody knows me here”? Could you be giving away compromising information without realizing it?
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.