Virtual fitting rooms for men. Create customized wrapping paper. Safety apparel for grow lights. Is the flying car on its way? Boots for Mars. Chinese news media introduces AI-based virtual presenters. What’s the deal with “The Piña Colada Song”? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
As you tease out the last bits of efficiency and productivity from your operations, the primary way to continue to grow your business is to add new services. The question is, which ones? How do you make smart decisions about what is best for your business? Sometimes the considerations go deeper than you might think.
United States, Western Europe, and Japan accounted for nearly two-thirds of total production printing placements in 2017. This article provides a brief overview of how global placements and print volumes are expected to shift over time.
Smithers Pira shares its recent research that looks at the future of packaging to 2028, quantifying the overall market by packaging type and identifying the major emerging drivers of packaging market growth.
Flexography is going through a renaissance. While it has been around since the late 19th century, it has never really had a role in “quality” printing, although that seems to be changing. This change is proving that it can fight off the increased use of digital printing for packaging production with better productivity and lower cost. In this article, David Zwang looks at one of the more significant changes facilitating that transformation.
The USPS announces new prices for 2019…Postal Service continues outreach on proposed new Marketing Mail Content Standards…U.S. intends to withdraw from 144-year-old Universal Postal Union Treaty…New Mail.dat version for January price changes.
The digital transformation in textiles and apparel is well underway. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne writes about the drivers for this transformation and how fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff is leveraging digital technologies in unique ways.
Rumors of retail’s death have been greatly exaggerated (to coin a phrase). But there is no doubt that it is changing. We look at how it is changing, and what that means for POP/retail graphics providers.
In 2016, there were 5,150 total U.S. commercial screen printing establishments. As with most printing categories, the majority have under 10 employees, but screen shops tend to be smaller than other kinds of printing establishments.
Don’t spoil the ends of books...or else. Heidelberg heads to InPrint Milan with the Omnifire. A new meaning of the phrase “high on the hog.” Pantone and United Way develop a new color to raise awareness of social issues. Could you power your home with hamsters? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Although the industry has not yet hit a “flash point” that would result in the significant growth of cloud-based software solutions, there are indications that this spark may not be far away. This article explores the growth potential and lingering challenges associated with cloud software.
Your web-to-print solution is underutilized. Do all functional areas of your company—sales, customer service, technology—understand all the challenges your current web-to-print system solves? Probably not. You can’t be “solution focused” without understanding the challenges your toolset solves.
With its new CEO in place for just two weeks, I wanted to tune in to the company’s third quarter financial analyst call to get a feel for his approach to the business. This brief article summarizes what I heard and my thoughts on EFI moving forward.
Two Sides has reported that brands are moving away from “Go Paperless—Go Green” messaging because of negative publicity around greenwashing. As consumers start to recognize these ads as dishonest and really intended to save companies money, brands are switching from environmental messaging to convenience messaging instead. T.J. Maxx is one of them.
The Vomela Companies, headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., started in 1947 doing promotional product printing. Now, 71 years later, the company has expanded through both organic growth and acquisition to produce retail, POS, décor, event, and fleet graphics for a wide variety of local and national brands and venues. Their most recent project: wrapping 3M’s 14-story corporate headquarters.
What were you thinking about at eight years old? Probably not the career that would be your life’s passion! That’s when Ariel Swedroe began her fashion career. At Age 11, she began exploring digitally printed fabrics. Today, at age 15, she has a full-fledged fashion business. But she’s not stopping there! You’ll love this story.
Designers in textiles and apparel typically use Adobe products to create their designs. But until now, there have not been textile-specific tools to make the task easier. To address this, Adobe has announced Project Paras, a set of tools that allow designers to stay within Photoshop CC and reduce the number of steps required to complete and preview a design. We spoke with Adobe to learn more.
Overall printing employment dropped from August to September 2018, and on a year-over-year basis is down -1.5%. Non-production printing employment was up slightly, indicating that production staff are the hardest employees to find. PR employment is again the industry bright spot, employment-wise.
Get a customized reading list from the Brooklyn Public Library. A new process recycles textile waste into dyestuffs. Poor color management made The Hulk green. Shatner Claus? Thwarting the “retail apocalypse.” 200 years of Frankenstein. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Personalized video advertising is a relatively new marketing method empowered by the digital revolution. This article is the second in a two-part series. It explores how companies can most effectively use personalized video advertising to reach the widest share of audience.
Labelexpo 2018 in Rosemont, Ill., and PRINT 18 in Chicago are over, and it they were pretty exciting shows. The crowds were enthusiastic and buying from early indications. In this second of two parts I will look at how embellishment is moving from a standalone mechanical process to digital mainstream production.
This survey by NAPCO Research and commissioned by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) included something rarely seen in digital printing surveys: a look at the use of digital printing across the entire buyer’s journey. It’s good news. Retailers are embracing digital printing for more than just direct mail.
Since launching its high-end Avalanche HD6 direct-to-garment printer and HD upgrade to most Avalanche systems with RAPID ink technology in the first quarter of this year, Kornit Digital has installed or upgraded a whopping 150 HD systems. Now the company has brought HD direct-to-garment technology to within reach of smaller businesses with the launch of the Storm HD6.
From 2010 to 2016, the number of U.S. commercial screen printing establishments increased from 4,454 to 5,150. Growth in screen printing establishments has been consistent from year to year. Chalk this up to the rise of specialty printing.
A new book is nothing but bound slices of cheese. A New Zealand vending machine has a grim message. The Rijksmuseum to livestream a Rembrandt painting restoration. The Museum of London offers a fascinating online archive of package design.
The SGIA Expo 2018 opened yesterday to large crowds and a completely full exhibition hall. Our recap of Day 1 looks at where SGIA President and CEO Ford Bowers sees the organization and the industry going, and highlights a handful of new product announcements.
Personalized video advertising is a relatively new marketing method empowered by the digital revolution. This article, the first in a two-part series, provides an overview of personalized video advertising and explores the role that age plays in a consumer’s acceptance of the technology.
As marketers scramble to increase the depth of their knowledge about every aspect of their customers’ habits, preferences, and patterns, there may be a simple data point that is getting overlooked—the weather. Weather has a direct effect on the sales of 30% of all products and services and is the second biggest influence on consumer behavior. Are your customers taking advantage?
A print business that learns is one that has a foundation for tracking its business processes and improving on them. From a cultural standpoint, a learning organization has to be able to talk openly about mistakes made from all levels of the organization.
Our European correspondent Morten Reitoft recently visited Athens, Greece, to shoot a video of a Greek packaging company. It was his first time in that country, and he took the opportunity to talk to some of the people and companies that lived through the country’s recent economic crisis.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently traveled to Miami Beach to join more than 300 people at the Gerber Technology Ideation event, the company’s software users’ group. This educational and networking event is in its 20th year. The enthusiasm among the more than 240 customers and prospects in attendance reflects the efforts the company has made to listen to customers and stay ahead of the trends.
Gibsonton, Fla.’s Rocken Graphics has carved out a unique niche among print service providers: signage and tent graphics for traveling carnivals. We spoke with Kenny Smith, founder of Rocken Graphics, about how he got into this market, as well as how his product offerings extend beyond simple printed graphics.
A new book identifies flowers by color. An old movie poster to sell at auction for $1+ million. Closed captioning glasses for live theater. Christmas comestibles: mac and cheese candy canes and Christmas tree-flavored potato chips. Is the Internet of Things trouble waiting to happen? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Shifting consumer expectations are increasing the demand for relevant and personalized communications, so it is becoming ever more vital for print service providers to offer their clients the tools and expertise they need to compete via all channels. This article cites recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends to explore how communication practices are changing.
There are a lot of ways to personalize a document. What if something as simple as location could nearly double response rates? It can. By personalizing maps based on this single data point, response rates can be outstanding. The question is why?
The implementation of print software is as important as the software itself. With every software tool there is a foundational knowledge that will help you be more self-sufficient. Those printers who understand their software tools succeed in spite of lack of support from print software vendors.
Labelexpo 2018 in Rosemont (Chicago area) is over, and it was an exciting show. The crowds were enthusiastic and, from early indications, buying. In this first of two parts, I will look at interesting press hardware trends.
Microban recently released Scentry Revive, the second generation of a unique odor control fabric finish that was developed in response to brands seeking a more innovative approach to odor control. This approach could reduce the number of times a piece of clothing needs to be washed, its primary environmental benefit.
For over 10 years BERGSTEIN has been developing and delivering industrial printers. Their first flatbed printers were based on solvent inks, already printing products with a height up to 30 cm. They put significant investments and developments into small flatbed printers, which are suitable for a huge range of industrial products using UV or LED inks and direct to shape. And in the last 5 years Bergstein is selling solutions for customer in Industrial Single Pass printing.
Print advertising success stories. Sans Forgetica, a font designed for memory retention. Young people are deleting their Facebook app. Social media users expect news to be inaccurate. WiFi 6 is coming; this may not be good news. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
In the printing industry, production dashboards provide critical and timely information for owners, managers, and operators so they can control the production chaos. This article provides a brief overview of available production dashboards and explores how they can simplify the production process.
Thinking about adding mail tracking to your roster of services? It takes extra cost and effort, so how would you pitch the value to your clients? Case studies from Pitney Bowes show that mail tracking can benefit more than just high-volume mailers looking to tweak in-home delivery dates. It can solve problems and save your clients from major marketing disasters.
A great deal is being written about graphene, in textiles and other industries. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne talked to Vorbeck Materials Corp. President & CEO Dr. John Lettow to learn more about what many are characterizing as a miracle material.
PRINT has not traditionally been a top venue for wide-format or specialty printing equipment announcements, but does showcase the latest technologies and the applications that can be produced on them, giving commercial printers concrete ideas for exploring new business opportunities.
Last summer, we took a look at the state of industry associationswith the goal of reminding our members about the many resources available to them to help move their businesses forward. By popular demand, we are now presenting Part Two in order to cover additional organizations that were not included in Part One. I’m sure there are still more!
Seth Godin’s keynote encouraged print service providers to eschew commodity printing and focus on selling products that are “remarkable.” “You don’t sell paper and ink,” he said, “you sell a feeling.” It was a fitting theme with which to open PRINT 18.
Hillside, Ill.’s Darwill, Inc., is a 57-year-old direct mail and multi-channel marketing agency. From humble beginnings, the company has grown to be at the forefront of the industry—and one of the early adopters of production inkjet printing technology.
PRINT18 offers the opportunity for attendees to get their own copy of a unique publication that will be distributed at the show. Not only does it feature stunning variable covers, but it contains a wealth of original thought leadership content that will benefit attendees during the show and long afterward. WhatTheyThink President Eric Vessels explains.
Research has identified down to the Pantone number the least attractive color. Merriam-Webster adds 300 new words to the Official Scrabble Dictionary. A nine-year-old dachshund is helped by 3D printing. The pen is still mightier. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Ongoing research and forecast data from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends shows that the digital textile printing market continues to grow. As the industry develops new manufacturing methods to meet this continued growth in demand, it is important to consider the environmental impact of these developments. This analysis explores some recent innovations in digital textile printing and considers the effect that these innovations may have on the environment.
Trish talks with Scott Engle of Graphic Visual Solutions of Greensboro, NC, about the power—and the pressure—of making visually striking (and costly) print capabilities brochures to inspire, educate, and motivate today’s customers.
The ability to make data-driven decisions is critical to your business success. The various software systems (Print MIS, web-to-print) are your primary tools for managing this data. When you do integrations make sure you keep the control of right data in the right hands.
The logjam on postal promotions and price increases may be broken with confirmation of two members to the USPS Board of Governors…Postal Service proposals could require more stringent requirements for hazardous liquids packaging and limits on marketing mail content...Deadline for new EPS accounts just days away.
In this next in the series of articles about technical textiles, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with Smithers Pira Associate Consultant for Nonwovens Phillip Mango to learn more about nonwovens—what are they, how is the market categorized, and what are some of their uses.
The Association for PRINT Technologies (APTech) is announcing a new print service provider membership category just in time for PRINT 18. If you are going to PRINT, you can get the first year of membership free! We spoke with APTech to find out more.
The biannual International Woodworking Fair, which took place August 21-25 in Atlanta, Ga., held its inaugural Digital Printing Symposium. While this symposium is new, digital printing has actually been part of the woodworking industry for some time. That said, the need to short-run cost-effective decorative surfaces, as well as ongoing development in digital inkjet printing sector, is creating a perfect storm for the technology to meet woodworking’s market needs.
New odor-capturing fabric finishes. Cheat on your homework with a variant of Times New Roman. New documentary on a prominent “coffin artist.” Turn any object into a robot. Turn 2D videos into 3D objects. The pen is mightier than the packaging. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Consumer demand and technological innovations continue to drive growth within the apparel and home décor industries. This article outlines the key components of the digital textile printing industry and highlights how mass customization is fueling the adoption of various technologies.
The process of getting your Print MIS into a “trusted state” can be difficult, but the effort is well worth it. Printers who 100% trust the data in their Print MIS move faster and are more profitable than those who are constantly questioning the data.
Value in the world inkjet market will rise at 9.4% across the next five years according to the latest market report The Future of Inkjet Printing to 2023 from Smithers Pira. As the worldwide print market transforms, shifts in buyer demands—short runs, versioned and personalized products—and higher quality are aligning with the capabilities of inkjet. This is making it a key focus for technology developers. Smithers’ analysis shows that across the next five years inkjet will grow, both by deepening its penetration into existing markets, and exploiting new emergent market opportunities.
It’s working! Our industry’s campaign against the false claims of greenwashing is having an impact. Consumers are starting to see claims like “Go Paperless! Go Green!” as false and misleading, and marketers are changing their tactics.
In recent years, significant advances have been made in both aesthetic and functional fabric finishes. While some finishes are produced mechanically, the focus of this article, the latest in our series on technical textiles, is on chemical treatments or coatings that add functionality to fabrics for comfort or for specialized uses.
How to hurricane-proof your outdoor digital signage. The oldest human drawing. Do parrots know economics? New color from weevils. An optical illusion-based crosswalk thwarts speeders. New arguments for Pluto’s planethood. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Consumer demand and technological innovations are driving growth in the apparel and home décor industries. This article explores some of the ongoing shifts that are occurring in the industry and considers how these shifts are affecting the digital textile market on a global basis.
Print software is a powerful tool to create efficiencies in your business. Your success with print software is dependent upon how well you can make the various technologies work and play together in your overall technology stack.
What would happen if you took the time to imagine what your shop might look like if you could start from scratch? If there were no financial or legacy constraints? What might you do differently from what you have now? What might you learn from walking through that exercise?
English has become a global language and the de facto language of business, and American culture and American companies have permeated throughout much of Europe. Our European correspondent Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV looks at the transatlantic difference in language and culture.
Graphic Alliance, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, started as a commercial print shop but quickly adopted wide-format printing and has carved out a substantial niche in restaurant graphics and signage. The company has also expanded into vehicle wrapping and is currently developing residential interior décor services. Richard Romano spoke with founder and CEO Eric Grossman.
This is the fourth installment of a series of articles by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne on technical textiles—how they fit in the industry, why they are important, and interesting new developments. In this installment in the series, Sherburne discusses geotextiles, an important but rarely discussed segment of technical textiles.
A special fashion model inspires the design industry. A new font for brands encompasses all brands. A new printer technology can print very viscous liquids. An honest stock report. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Looking at the most recent industry profits data that came out earlier this week, we continue to tell the “tale of two cities.” Low profitability of large printers is dragging down average industry profitability. For the industry as a whole, cracking—or re-cracking—$4 billion in profits is proving to be an elusive goal.
IGAS 2018 may not get as much attention as some of the other international trade shows, but InfoTrends analysts still found several products that we believe will make an impact on the global print market.
Marketing efforts are generally directed at customers and prospects, but there is another target audience that needs your clients’ attention, too—their employees. This is an area of growing attention that your presses will thank you for.
Buying more software isn’t always the best option. Duplicate solutions that solve the same set of challenges (e.g. multiple web-to-print solutions) have extra costs and require extra understanding by your sales team. Buying software should be at the same strategic level as buying presses is in your print business.
HYBRID Software has been growing at a fairly good clip and this new $20 million software deployment by the SGK Brand Solutions subsidiary of Matthews International is going to give it an additional boost. More importantly, the new software, Shockwave, their development project name, is a great example of a next-generation workflow solution that was developed for the new market requirements.
The mission of Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) is to enable a manufacturing-based revolution—what we could call Industry 5.0—with the transformation of traditional fibers, yarns, and textiles into highly sophisticated integrated and networked devices and systems. In a recent conversation with Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, the organization’s Chief Marketing Officer, Eric Spackey, explains.
The world’s oldest customer complaint was etched in clay. A modern twist on the old “spend a penny.” Today’s teens are not as wired as we thought. Twice-yearly earnings reports? The case for daily earnings reports. Researchers use 3D-printed boxes to help search for new antibiotics. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
In 2010, there were 6,725 10–19-employee commercial printing establishments. Among this demographic category, there was the most precipitous drop from 2010 to 2011—the fallout from the Great Recession which started to take its toll after 2009. By 2012, the bleeding had been largely stanched, and the year-to-year declines were more modest. So says our recently launched Commercial Printing Establishments tracker.
Delphax Technologies Inc. entered bankruptcy in 2017. The company's backer, Air T, created a new company called Delphax Solutions Inc. (DSI) to design, manufacture, and sell printing equipment starting with the existing elan product line. The company shared news of the new organization and strategic direction.
Unveiled in 2017, Memjet’s DuraLink technology appears to be catching on with OEMs. Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends believes this is due to its improvements in head life and other features, which will enable Memjet products to address high-volume applications. As DuraLink evolves, it looks poised to succeed in industrial print applications such as high-speed label and packaging printing.
Working smarter is an evolution. Digital tools are providing us ways to work more efficiently, but it comes down to being able to work with other humans. Efficient communication is the key to working smarter and optimizing the digital tools at our disposal.
Labelexpo is coming to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 15 minutes from Chicago’s O’Hare airport, on September 25–27. This is the biggest Label and Print packaging event in the Americas. However, what will be seen there will also prove to be a harbinger for many of the new developments coming to other print production applications.
As brick-and-mortar retail works to streamline costs by updating facilities with LED lighting, are they overlooking an important effect—how LED lighting will affect the way customers see the color of their products? Senior Editor Cary Sherburne looks into the pros and cons of LED lighting and how the retail industry is approaching this conversion.
Looking at the 12-month moving average of Canada’s printing shipments, it may look like Canada’s printing industry has been holding steady, but the inflation-adjusted figures show a slight decline from a recent peak at the end of 2013.
3M wraps its own headquarters. UNITED CAPS develops bio-sourced plastics for its caps. How much paper would it take to print the Internet? Are library ebooks killing sales? 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.