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.
2020 was the “year of the mushroom,” apparently—and lobsters, too. A 16th-century doctor’s plague prevention manual is relevant to COVID. The company out to replace plastic packaging with metal. A collection of the weird swag pharmaceutical reps used to give to doctors. Researchers recently unearthed the oldest painting of an animal. Balloon-based pizza delivery. The history of nachos. Praying mantises watch TV. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s New Year’s miscellany.
A great many industries leverage before and after results because highlighting a contrast can be powerful, inspiring, and attention-grabbing. Savvy print sales organizations understand how to use sales metrics to capture a clear before and after picture. This article discusses the importance of sales metrics and explores how they can be used to make more informed business decisions.
If you are a designer working in a larger organization, you probably have access to formal color standards. But there are a growing number of freelancers starting their own businesses, and creating color standards that ensure what gets printed carries out your design intent is not a trivial process. Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie Mckeegan rides to the rescue with a free color chart to get you on your way.
B2B buyers are using more pieces of content in their research than in prior years. This means more things you can print and distribute digitally for your customers. But exactly what types of content do they see as valuable enough to register for and for which they are willing to provide information about themselves and their companies?
The printing industry is becoming more dynamic—not just as it relates to COVID-19 but in general. Everything is moving and increasing in velocity. Our ability to thrive in this environment requires a dynamic business approach, one that is characterized by constant change. A business must adjust according to its current conditions. This is a path to systemizing a dynamic business, one that is characterized by constant change—but a constant change that doesn’t leave your people behind.
It is often said that the level of thinking (and leadership) that got us to where we are today will not take us to the next level. In this article, Wayne Lynn talks about learning to manage paradox. It requires individual and organizational growth. It is sorely needed in a world beset with pandemics, civil unrest, and political polarization.
On January 7, the Flint Group kicked off the year with an organizational announcement that makes a great deal of sense for its business; in fact, many of us have wondered why it took so long. The company formed a new division, XSYS, which combines Flint Group Flexographic and Xeikon Prepress into a single Flint Group division, led by Dagmar Schmidt as President. Read more for all the details.
With €3.1 billion in revenues and more than 17,000 employees, the graphic arts industry in the Netherlands is among the largest in Europe. But there are additional print segments as well, adding to a total print market of close to €6 billion. This is the fifth part of a series of articles on the size of and trends in the printing industry in key countries in Europe.
An honest preview of the year to come. The Great Gatsby is now in the public domain—and there is already clamoring for a Muppets version. A new H.G. commemorative coin has a couple of errors. Google’s Verse By Verse uses AI to help us write a poem. DALL·E uses AI to generate images from text prompts. An oral history of Bed Bath and Beyond’s big blue coupon. The origin of the Pez dispenser. The AR version of the New York Times crossword. An often hysterical mashup of North By Northwest and Star Wars. Denmark’s…bizarre idea for a children’s cartoon. McDonald’s China launched a Spam and Oreo burger, for reasons passing understanding. KFC has a combination game console/chicken warmer. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s New Year’s miscellany.
The customer communication process is becoming increasingly complex. Thanks to ongoing innovations in customer segmentation and data mining, businesses now know more about their customers than ever before. This article explores the latest strategies for delivering data-driven communications.
A recent report from McKinsey stated that 58% of fashion executives expected that assortment planning was a key area for 2021. The direct result means “less is more,” holding less stock and replenishing at speed in-tune with data and sales analytics. But how do they get that done? It means overcoming decades of doing things a certain way, and we all know that change is difficult. Further driving the need to make these changes are increased focus on sustainability and the need to restructure supply chains. These can be accomplished by, among other things, simplifying fabric printing, and as textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan points out in this article, that requires increased use of digital technologies across the board.
Many print companies have reinvented their business models and service offerings to overcome the challenges presented by the pandemic, but not every printer can develop a new proofing solution or create 100% automated, touchless production. But that doesn't mean that you can’t make changes that improve your ability to weather the pandemic and set yourself up for success. Heidi Tolliver-Walker offers some tips from an organization outside the printing industry.
Integrate with your customers’ systems so that your technologies have relationships just like your people have relationships. The more ties that bind you and your customers together, the less likely you will divorce!
Pat McGrew offers her list of three recommendations for print businesses to start doing that will help them grow and thrive. The print business may continue on a roller coaster as we move through the first half of the year, but that makes it a great time to tune your workflows and ensure you are getting the most from each of your systems.
If you are interested in textiles and how they are woven through human history (pun intended), The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World is a well-written and very informative history of how fabrics have been part of human history from the beginning. In this article, we take a look at silk—not it’s history so much, but at where it might go from here.
As we enter 2021, we have reasons to be optimistic, maybe even over-optimistic. So let’s put the old year behind us (to the extent that we can), jump feet-first into the new one, and resolve never to use terms like “the new normal” or “pivot” ever again. Instead, let’s look at some of the substantial new opportunities for wide-format graphics and signage. What can we be over-optimistic about?
Amazon launches made-to-measure T-shirts. 3D printing with graphene. 3D printing pollen grains. Checking in with the inventor of the QR code. Are robot pets a solution for COVID-induced loneliness? A “find the fake written language” visual test.” A European map of different forms of quotation marks. The dispute over Cap’n Crunch’s rank. Sax kittens. ELECTRONICOS FANTASTiCOS! Poems based on A Christmas Carol. Replace the Yule Log with this Dumpster fire video. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s blizzard of miscellaneous items.
“Retail” embodies vastly different kinds of businesses, all of which have fared differently during the pandemic. As a result, rather than V-shaped, perhaps we should think of it as a K-shaped recovery. But what does that mean for retail graphics?
Although the ongoing pandemic is certainly not the first hurdle that the printing industry has encountered, printers have proven themselves to be very resilient during challenging times. Past recessions have certainly impacted the print industry, but they didn’t happen seemingly overnight the way COVID did. This article explores how PSPs are leveraging their core competencies to uncover new opportunities that will carry them to the future.
2020 was not the year we expected it to be. WhatTheyThink European section editor Ralf Schlözer reviews some of the key developments that shaped the printing and communication industry in 2020 in Europe—and most likely in the years to come.
How do you switch an entire industry to sustainable technologies and increased profitability? It’s been done in the past, of course, but never on the scale of the multi-trillion-dollar textiles and apparel industry. While it may seem impossible to turn this large ship in a new direction, the past year has caused some significant shifts to happen. Here’s what textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan has to say about this shift and what it may mean for the future.
2020 has forced us to rethink every aspect of business, including where and how it’s conducted. Thankfully, we have the technology, skillset and expertise to create a better customer experience, share and engage with buyers, partners, and customers, and showcase our essential role as print professionals. Contributor Joanne Gore looks at the changes the year has wrought on the way we communicate.
Is the COVID-19 pandemic fueling a rise in the use of QR codes? Yes, and for a simple reason—they provide a safe, touchless way to communicate between businesses and their customers. We see this anecdotally, but data from a recent poll by MobileIron support this observation, as well.
Cary Sherburne talks to Diana Wyman, Executive Vice President at the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC), about the state of the association, the occasion of its 100-year anniversary, and its upcoming plans.
Selling during the pandemic is like selling during a widespread economic downturn. You have to figure out the market segments who are least impacted or, in COVID-19’s case. find the companies who are positively impacted. Directing your sales efforts is critical to closing new business.
Marc Olin co-founded ProGraph in 1989 right out of college and has stayed with the same company through its many iterations since, through formation of PrintCafe and acquisition by EFI. Effective December 1, 2020, Olin has left EFI to explore his next chapter. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Olin to revisit history and get a look toward the future for this industry veteran who has contributed much to the industry over the years.
The COVID crisis laid bare the weaknesses and fragility of the textiles supply chain, and brought to the fore a renewed interest in and need for digital textile production and more environmentally sustainable practices. Cary Sherburne takes a look back at the year in textiles.
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 last installment for 2020 features a look at the printing industry in Turkey.
Trish Witkowski looks back at the major trends in binding and finishing—including a growing interest in embellishments, book-of-one, and robots/cobots/automation. She also looks at a large handful of new products and solutions that hit the market in 2020.
According to the Q3 2020 ISA Quarterly Economic Report, it’s going to be a long, hard slog to full recovery, and not just domestically. 2021 will be an improvement, but don’t expect the “new normal” (whatever that is) until 2022.
With €7.6 billion in revenue and more than 50,000 employees, the graphic arts industry in France is sizeable and the fourth biggest in Europe. But there are additional print segments as well adding to a total print market of close to €16.1 billion. This is the fourth installment of a series of articles on the size of and trends in the printing industry in key countries in Europe.
As was the case with so many events this year, the Digital Textile Printing Conference, hosted by AATCC and the PRINTING United Alliance, was held virtually over two days. The inability to meet in person didn’t stop these organizations, their speakers, and attendees from spending quality time reviewing the latest trends and looking ahead to 2021 and beyond.
Pantone announces its color(s) for 2021. Various dictionaries announce their “words of the year.” A lexicon of annoying marketing buzzwords. Sigh: IKEA discontinues its print catalog. The IOC adds breakdancing to the 2024 Olympic Games. Get books delivered the same day by bicycle (offer only available in Milan). Know your US states—or lack thereof. Mt. Everest gets bigger. The Immortal Bard gets vaccinated. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s continuing to get into the seasonal sprit miscellany.
UK-based Screenworks is accelerating its growth by blending screen printing with digital printing, including investments in tools and solutions to enable production of a catalog of protective, antiviral, promotional, workwear, and day-to-day wear products and accessories. Read more from textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan.
As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, the Customer Communications Management (CCM) market is undergoing radical changes on an evolutionary scale. In order to better understand the forces behind this evolution, late last year, Aspire CCS surveyed businesses across the globe, interviewed stakeholders in every facet of the market, and published an extensive report entitled, “The State of CCM-to-CXM Transformation.” The final entry in a four-part series focuses on how enterprises can leverage the unique forces currently disrupting the industry to transform their customer communications workflow into a vehicle that drives revenue by maximizing a consumer’s lifetime value.
E-commerce is likely having a significant impact on your processes and business prospects. This article explores the growing importance of e-commerce and highlights how printing companies can use it to their advantage during these changing times.
Ricoh is not a newcomer to production inkjet. But as a late-comer to cut-sheet production inkjet, how do you compete with both the existing B2+ and A3 presses in the market at the same time? Apparently, they figured it out!
2020 was a transformative year, not so much for new and significant developments in label and packaging printing technologies—although there were some—but for triggering increased awareness of the value of digital packaging production. David Zwang looks back at the year’s label and packaging products and technologies.
The future of your customer service department still involves skilled labor. In fact, the labor is more skilled than it is today and it will be able to handle more volume because of the self-service tools your customers will have access to. Customer service will turn into customer success—a proactive element to drive more business and maintain loyalty thru convenience.
Cary Sherburne talks to EFI’s Frank Mallozzi about the launch of the second-generation Nozomi digital corrugated press, its trade event plans, and winning an InterTech Award for the EFI Reggiani BOLT digital textile printer.
WhatTheyThink Print Software section editor Jennifer Matt looks back at the year 2020 in software, some of the trends that emerged from the pandemic, and how software has become an important element in helping print companies adapt and pivot.
Duggal Visual Solutions is a company that has been growing and transforming itself since its inception in 1963, and through it all has maintained their core values of high quality and service to their customers. They have proved that they can, and will, continue to innovate and transform to meet the changing needs of visual communications.
Manufacturing automation in textiles and apparel is moving ahead apace, accelerated by advances in digital technology. But the remaining “last mile,” sewing, continues to be a barrier to reshoring of apparel manufacturing on a large scale. This article explores some of the efforts underway to automate sewing and what impact that could have on the future of apparel manufacturing in North America and Europe.
Inkjet Insight’s Elizabeth Gooding rounds up the production inkjet press launches serving the document and publishing market in 2020, when they were announced, when they will be commercially available, and the related development trends.
With so many people out of work and many companies struggling due to the pandemic, competition for available jobs is fiercer than ever. it is ever more critical that resumes are structured to meet today’s very different needs in order to stand out and be considered in the job application process. PrintLink’s Arnold Kahn and Dino Scalia offer five ways to get your resume to rise to the top of the pile.
In 2012, there were 348 establishments in NAICS 322219 (Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 290. In macro news, highlights (if you want to call them that) from the most recent Federal Reserve “Beige Book.”
Why get a smartwatch or some other wearable when you can get electronic skin? Global fashion industry profits are expected to plummet precipitously this year. Winners of this year’s International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards. One word: monolith. Theaters get creative in staging “A Christmas Carol.” Gift ideas for designers and type lovers. A bank turns its building into an Advent calendar. Good grief: Zoom Santa. Get your Santa mask! All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s slowly getting into the seasonal sprit miscellany.
Many months in, we’re still struggling to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that PSPs still have options to connect with their customers and prospects. This article highlights some data from Keypoint Intelligence that seeks to illuminate these possibilities.
Looking for a growth opportunity? Look no further than the digital textile industry. A recent report from Allied Market Research predicts that digital textile printing will grow by over 230% by 2025. This is at least partly driven by a reduction in the cost of digital textile inks. Read what textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan has to say about this opportunity.
As it has become clear that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be deeper and longer than many expected, printers have an important question to ask: What differentiates the companies that thrive during a recession and those that do not? In this Part 2 on this topic, we look at two additional examples of printing companies that have invested and innovated their way to success.
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 features a look at the printing industry in Portugal.
Humans resist change, even when it provides them real value. If you need a group of humans to change, you have to think about your approach in order to optimize the outcomes. This applies to your existing customers and how they engage with your business.
Billions of euros’ worth of printed products are exported and imported across borders in Europe, although the amounts traded and trade balance differ a lot from country to country. European section editor Ralf Schlözer takes a look at the five biggest print markets in Europe and their print trade numbers.
More than two years have passed since Europe’s privacy regulation—the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—went into effect. WhatTheyThink European section editor Ralf Schlözer takes a look at what its impact has been, what its effects on print have been, and why printers and marketers even outside the EU should care about it.
As we wrap up 2020, let’s take a few minutes to look back over what has been a difficult year and highlight a bright spot for the textiles and apparel industry: increased efforts to reinvent the textiles and apparel supply chain, which has been hard hit by the pandemic and the resulting economic disruptions. Inside that effort is an increased focus on sustainability from both establish brands and suppliers and new emerging players.
In 2010, there were 825 establishments in NAICS 32222 (Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 725, despite a spurt of growth in 2012. In macro news, initial unemployment claims were 742,000, an increase of 31,000 from the previous week's revised level.
The knitwear industry is particularly susceptible to money laundering. Movie money looks pretty genuine—but it shouldn’t look too real. Graphene! The annual Bulwer-Lytton Awards. Does a 19th-century Austrian painting depict a smartphone? It’s one of the most iconic war photographs ever—but was it staged? Colognes that smell like ink. Blow your mind with the "Block Universe Theory." All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s wrecking ball miscellany.
As millennials move into leadership and ownership responsibilities in our industry they are uniquely positioned and qualified to take a strategic view of the management and development of our human assets. In this article, Wayne Lynn takes a look at this opportunity and how it can be capitalized upon. Read on to see how the future can be better shaped by better use of our people.
In today’s business climate, it is more important than ever for businesses to engage their customers and prospects via a channel that gets noticed. Although e-mail might seem like the easy choice, today’s digital inboxes are being inundated with messaging. This article explores how brands can use direct mail to connect with their customers and stay top of mind during the pandemic.
In this article, sponsored by Kodak, Senior Vice President John O’Grady discusses the advantages of KODAK Sonora Process Free Plates, including the environmental benefits and pressroom savings that can be realized with process free plates. He also previews the improvements to come in the next-generation SONORA XTRA plates.
Sourcing fabrics is a complex field, and finding sustainable textiles is not as easy as it sounds. It’s much easier for the large vertical brand than it is for the smaller-volume printer. All of which is further complicated by the variance in digital textile printing applications. Textiles expert Debbie McKeegan offers strategies on how to build knowledge and seek new partnerships and stakeholders.
It is hard to think of a time in recent history when we have been so captivated by data. The COVID-19 global pandemic has had us glued to data for the better part of eight months. Data is guiding the day-to-day recommendations of epidemiologists around the world and it will also guide when a vaccine is safe to release. In any industry, a strong data foundation is critical to enable companies to make proactive decisions that will move businesses forward.
As it has become clear that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be deeper and longer than many expected, printers have an important question to ask: What differentiates the companies that thrive during a recession and those that do not? In this article, part 1 of two-part series, we look at the research and the first of three examples of printing companies that have invested and innovated their way to success.
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 features a look at the printing industry in Austria.
Take a look at the product mix you offer. What products can you pair up or also offer to increase your offerings to customers? In part 2 of a two-part feature, Pat McGrew helps you identify the “fries” you can offer customers.
In biology, “adaptation is the physical or behavioral characteristic of an organism that helps an organism to survive better in the surrounding environment.” When we look at one of the newer requirements of packaging—sustainability—we tend to limit it to the ecological focus, when the more consequential focus relates to adaptation.
Salespeople who are trying to identify, develop and close big deals right now are facing unprecedented challenges. Lisa Magnuson details three strategies that will positively impact your win rates for contracts worth five times your average deal size.
The pandemic and the economic and political uncertainty have cast a pall on many aspects of our lives. But it’s not all bad news. Graphco President Chris Manley joins the chorus of voices that sees growth and opportunity in printing—some going as far as to call it the Golden Age of Printing. Here’s how Manley explains it.
With €10.6 billion in revenue and more than 62,000 employees, the graphic arts industry in Italy is sizeable and the third biggest in Europe. But there are additional print segments as well adding to a total print market of close to €19 billion. This is the third part of a series of articles on the size of and trends in the printing industry in key countries in Europe.
Two words: mushroom leather. Sustainable wipes. Fashion meets the Internet of Things, for some reason. German e-commerce company acquires body scanning technology developer. Coroplast campaign signs can and should be recycled. The world’s most difficult murder mystery/puzzle—“Cain’s Jawbone”—is solved for only the third time in almost 90 years. The eel as a unit of currency in Medieval Britain. Nannette Streicher, a “mechanical wunderkind,” was an 18th-/19-century piano builder who made Beethoven’s pianos. The world’s most Instagrammed train stations. PSA: don’t cook a chicken in Yellowstone’s hot springs. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s raccoon-menaced miscellany.
October 2020 employment figures are at least moving in the right direction from September, albeit slowly; overall printing employment in October was up +0.8% from September, with the gains predominantly in production staff continuing to come back. Let’s not look at year-over-year changes in graphic arts employment.
From the outside, digital textile printing can look like a plug-and-play operation; but for the specialist practitioner, the commercial reality is often quite different … until now. Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan shares insight into some of the technology advances that can make the process easier without sacrificing quality and accuracy.
The signs and graphics industry has become essential to the recovery of small business communities worldwide, and its value has only grown as the pandemic has gone on. Guest contributor Mike Cline, Vice President of Franchise Development at Alliance Franchise Brands, looks at three ways meaningful graphic displays have shown to be a crucial tool for businesses in both the fight against, and recovery from, the coronavirus.
Although many have adjusted to the changes brought on by COVID-19, 2020 has undoubtedly been a very strange year. A sudden over-dependency on digital channels opens the door for print to present itself as a positive alternative during a stressful year.
The pandemic has changed both the way companies seek to attract new talent and the interview/on-boarding process. In this article, Arnold Kahn & Dino Scalia of PrintLink offer five steps for hiring and keeping great employees during and after the pandemic
Harvard Pinnacle Group in Waltham, Mass., is a digital trade printer. Owner Greg Wallace started the company as a Macintosh training center, and his need for training materials moved him into printing. The company was born digital and has stayed digital.
WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's go-to information source with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, WhatTheyThink Email Newsletters, and the WhatTheyThink magazine. Our mission is to inform, educate, and inspire the industry. We 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.