Since 1997, the value of printing shipments went from around 0.75% of GDP all the way down to about 0.35%. So we should not be surprised that parts of the printing industry are falling off the government’s radar.
Fabric that responds to its wearer. I got my soul shoes on my feet. (Maybe.) The world’s first photographed human. An E Ink typewriter that only does one thing...like a typewriter. The earliest book covers. The calming sound of a dot matrix printer. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Much has been written recently about the issues legacy publishers are facing as they try to navigate the digital world, including Jill Abramson’ book "Merchants of Truth." Setting aside the plagiarism charges, Abramson, formerly an editor at the New York Times, makes some excellent points. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne wanted to add her two cents’ worth in this article.
Although printers acknowledge that dealing with a high number of small jobs is a major workflow bottleneck, many have not automated their processes. This article offers some quick tips for getting started with automating processes to aid employees and benefit customers.
A new study from Yieldify shows that, even though it costs more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, marketers are more focused on customer acquisition than retention. What does this mean for you?
Once a new piece of equipment has been installed and the vendor training team has exited the building, the work is just beginning. Without understanding the real advantages of the new equipment, assessing and updating “talk tracks” for sales team members, and revisiting the marketing collateral and campaigns, the return on that investment may not be truly realized. Pat McGrew explains how to optimize pricing, sales, and marketing to get the most out of the new equipment investment.
New research from Smithers Pira forecasts growth opportunities for suppliers in the printed food packaging market, driven by trends including sustainability, and premiumization features such as 3D and metallized effects on packaging. That growth will come in the context of navigating continual developments in the regulatory landscape for food contact materials, however.
An announcement from WeaveUp, a technology company offering digital print room solutions and customization tools for fabric, about its partnership with JOANN Fabrics, the leading fabric and craft retailer in the U.S., caught our eye. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne connected with Flint Davis, the company’s President, to learn more.
The future of digital fabric printing. Printing industry government classifications consolidating. The fastest growing jobs in each state. Newspapers not subscribing to “Netflix for News.” The dark art of content marketing. A Death Star waffle maker. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Gen Zers—despite being branded as digital natives—are embracing more traditional media types. This article explores how Gen Z consumers interact with communications and discusses how increased knowledge about this generation can be turned into actionable implementation of direct mail marketing, TransPromo communications, and advertising support.
The International Newspaper Group (ING) provides a forum for newspaper industry executives to network and share idea on a variety of topics from production, to operations, to logistics. The revitalized organization’s annual Summit heads to PRINT 19 this fall in Chicago, with an ambitious two-day program. Here’s an early look at what attendees can look forward to.
When buying and implementing print software, start with the simple jobs software does well, implement and learn. Do not get stuck in a myriad of “use case exceptions” as an excuse to do nothing. You will never get ROI and you’ll never find software that can do everything.
Kodak Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division (EISD) has officially put a stake in the ground—and that stake is positioned in the heart of volume label and packaging production. While they have been flirting around the edges of packaging production since drupa 2012, outwardly their focus has seemed to be in their legacy wheelhouse; transactional, direct mail, and commercial print. That is about to change, and in fact it already has….
Once a 3D skeptic, Jordache Executive Vice President Shaul Cohen is now a true believer. Initially adopting 3D technologies from Browzwear to solve issues with getting fits right, Cohen not only achieved better fits and a rapid ROI, but is looking to expand its use of 3D technologies to solve other issues as well.
Patented houseplants now come with a EULA. Mapping Earth’s longest continuous walk. The rise of automated newswriting. Delta and Coke team up to creep out airline passengers. A new play about 6th US President John Quincy Adams (sort of). 5G conspiracy theories. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
In early February, the USPS opened the first of its six 2019 promotions. These new promotions encourage mailers, marketers, and printers to work together to create unique and engaging mail pieces. This article provides a brief overview of this year’s promotions.
A lot of crazy things can happen in estimating departments. But estimating is the foundation of your print business. If your estimates are grossly inaccurate, you risk the utilization of your precious resources for the privilege of losing money. If your estimates are right on target, you are able to make very strategic decisions about customer pricing. Essentially, the estimating department is your profit management center.
Consumers care about environmental issues more than ever, and they are using their spending dollars to reward companies that share their values. A new study shows just how important this trend has become.
Today we have many different print technologies available, including a variety of offset, electrophotographic, and inkjet presses from many different manufacturers using a variety of unique manufacturing and design techniques. Additionally, all of these at a minimum have a DFE which controls the file processing prior to print. They all have the potential to be used to produce commercial print, labels, packaging, and industrial printing. So how do you determine that the press you are using or about to purchase is up to the challenge? And how do you compare it to other similar and even different presses?
The NPOA Annual Print Owners Conference heads to the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa on February 28 to March 2. The three-day event includes a dozen sessions, panels, and workshops that focus on business, technology, and marketing issues important to small and mid-size print business owners.
ShareCloth has developed an integrated cloud-based solution that is designed to fill the gaps that exist in the apparel design and manufacturing ecosystem to facilitate profitable on-demand manufacturing of apparel, minimizing forced markdowns, overstocking, and waste. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with ShareCloth CEO Sergey Moliavko to learn more.
How to find out if your email account has been compromised. Make your home smell like chicken gravy. VR comes to the theater. Mondrian-inspired sticky notes. Theatergoers still want a printed playbill. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Even though EFI Connect has been around for two decades now, the 2019 event included many firsts! Customers, partners, analysts, and journalists in attendance enjoyed a lively event emceed by Frank Tueckmantel and hosted by Bill Muir, EFI’s new CEO. This article provides a brief overview of EFI’s strategy as it moves into the future with a new focus and new leadership.
Leading by example is the most powerful way to approach challenging business environments. When the leadership is engaged in constant learning, the culture of the company is much more likely to be a learning organization. If I could pick only one characteristic of a business, it would be learning because if you’re learning, you’re staying relevant against any future changes.
If you have invested in new equipment in the last year, did you go back and change your supporting processes to ensure you are pricing your work appropriately? The ability to understand the actual cost of goods sold after new equipment is installed and put into production is essential. Despite best intentions, few organizations go through this process. Make 2019 the year that you update your understanding of your true costs and update your quoting, estimating and pricing assumptions.
EFI is turning 30 this year, and the EFI Connect user conference turns 20. It’s been a rollercoaster of changes in technology, in printing, and in the culture at large. Cary Sherburne and Richard Romano recap this year’s event.
Browzwear began its life as a 3D solution dedicated to fashion. While the initial concept back in 1999 was to create a virtual dressing room, a concept that was ahead of its time, the company has pivoted to create a suite of 3D solutions for fashion that can have a positive impact on all phases of the supply chain. We spoke with Browzwear’s Chief Commercial Officer, Lena Lim, to learn more.
The oldest periodic table is uncovered in Scotland. UK’s Yellow Pages are no more. Cremona, Italy, goes quiet. A new zine highlights the new works in the public domain. The magnetic north pole is on the move. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Thanks to ongoing innovations in customer segmentation and data mining, today’s enterprises now have access to more information about their customers than ever before. In parallel, consumers’ expectations are also shifting—people understand that their providers have access to a great deal of their personal information, and they now expect any communications to reflect this level of knowledge. This article explores the impact that personalization has on the effectiveness of customer communications.
Technical people are a differentiator in your business—not just the typical geeks, but technical people at every position in your company. When your print business is staffed by technical people, they have a greater potential to deliver profitable growth.
MGI’s AlphaJET is unique and it goes to the core of their company’s DNA: building “application-based” printing presses. However, it is designed to support a much wider range of solutions than just commercial printing applications, with a primary focus on packaging and industrial. It sure looks like a print factory…
One of the most important issues concerning the production and installation of exterior signage is the ever-evolving sign codes and regulations. The landmark 2015 SCOTUS decision in Reed v. the Town of Gilbert is still impacting city planners, and, in turn, signmakers and their clients. What should PSPs know about sign codes? What are the latest issues regarding sign regulations? And why might vehicle graphics be the next frontier for sign codes?
As brands look to take time and waste out of the apparel design and manufacturing process, there is a strong focus on automation. Much progress has been made—yet the sewing stage has provided challenges. Softwear Automation is tackling that challenge with SewBots—robotics designed to automate the sewing process. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Softwear Automation’s Chief Commercial Officer, Pete Santora, to learn more.
In 2010, there were a total of 57,674 employees in U.S. screen printing establishments (NAICS 323113). By 2016, screen printing employment had grown to 63,056—the opposite of what we have seen in general commercial printing during that same period.
Why we perceive horizontal and vertical lines differently. An old typeface returns. Superior sleep with pricey pjs. Nike’s new sneaker is a fitness tech platform. Finding alternatives to venture capitalists. A 16th-century book that opens six ways. Why do Mile Marker 480 signs keep disappearing?
Although many personal resolutions fizzle out by February, your workflow resolutions should be targeted and easy to follow. Keep things simple by committing to three resolutions and automating three tasks. This article explores why building mass optimization into your print production workflow should be a key initiative in 2019.
Integrated software is a requirement for an end-to-end workflow. You will be faced with lots of decisions around integration when you’re purchasing new software tools. Never let integration to be a yes/no question—it requires much more exploration and understanding.
As you help your customers gather data to improve their targeted marketing, the good news is that consumers are more willing than ever to share it. But it’s not a given. As a recent study reminds us, trust and transparency are key to getting them to open the vault.
Do you use sunscreen when in the sun? Of course you do. But if you are working under the powerful lights used to artificially grow plants—say, legal cannabis—are you taking the same precautions? Because that light can be as dangerous—or even more dangerous—than sunlight. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Daniel Jordan, founder of RayWear Clothing Company, who has made it his personal mission to provide clothing that will protect cannabis workers from the harsh environments in which they work.
Overall printing employment stayed roughly the same from November to December 2018, and, compared to December 2017, declined -1.6%. Non-production printing employment was up a bit in December, production employment down by about the same bit. PR employment continues to be the industry growth spot.
New barefoot training footwear. What color is your parachute—and how safe is it? 5G connectivity is coming—but accept no imitations. Are paper maps back on the...map? If it were really intelligent, would it be a toilet? The visual look of jazz. Is it better to read a book or listen to it? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
As businesses seek to remain competitive in today’s increasingly digital landscape, many are turning toward content that is enhanced with augmented reality (AR). This article discusses how print providers can inform their clients about AR content in printed products. It also explores some barriers to market entry, including app surplus and the limited use of AR headsets.
This Minneapolis-based startup is changing the way retailers and others are thinking about direct mail. No batches. No minimums. Just programmatic direct mail generated by a trigger determined by the customer that puts the mailer into the queue in real time.
Software implementations evoke fear in the minds of your employees—these fears are manifested in a variety of ways. You should be looking for fear, not reacting to the symptoms of fear that cause all kinds of issues with print software implementations.
2019 has all the potential to become a pivotal year in print and packaging. It is a Hunkeler Innovation Days year and the leadup year to drupa 2020…and available technology is maturing. Strap yourselves in for an exciting year!
On a recent visit to Miami, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne stopped by to visit Carla Llull at House of Llull Atelier, an apparel design and manufacturing operation focused on delivering high quality swimwear. House of Llull is celebrating its fifth anniversary.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are changing the way consumers interact with brands. But much of this technology is operating in the background. What is the current status of awareness and adoption of AR/VR and what does it mean for marketers? A survey from GlobalWebIndex provides some insight.
Phrozen, ironically, helps heat up the desktop 3D printer market. Is the U.S. missing the digital textile transformation bus? A new typeface is based on eye test characters, while another does away with the Latin alphabet entirely. Livetweeting an IoT toothbrush firmware update. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Research consistently shows that companies with gender-diverse leadership teams have significantly higher profits than those that don’t. The reason? Different approaches to hiring, problem-solving, and relationship-building, all of which have positive benefits on the bottom line.
Your customers expect more than a “print order taker” print sales representative. Successful printers require a sales team that can dig in and learn about their customer’s business processes that involve print. When you understand the business process that print is involved in, you get the opportunity to solve other challenges and create more value for your customers. This is now an expectation of most customers.
Significant market drivers are having profound impacts on the printing ink market. Technology, changes in world population, and shifts in brand use of printed packaging and graphics, among other trends, are causing disruption in the global inks market that will be seen to 2023. Smithers Pira presents some highlights of its new report “The Future of Global Ink Markets to 2023.”
With the Christmas season upon us, our European correspondent, Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV, looks back at all the friends he has made in the printing industry around the world, and entreats us to think of all the things that unite rather than divide us.
As we head into 2019 and toward 2020, what are the emerging and accelerating trends in wide-format and specialty printing? The buzzword is “convergence,” which will only accelerate, but what other forces are changing the nature of applied graphics?
A cheap, easy-to-use desktop 3D printer. RIP, Evelyn Berezin, inventor of the word processor. Jules Van Sant’s next adventure. Anonymous New Yorkers’ war on signage. A Massachusetts town creates its own broadband. “Please check for all your personal belongings.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes a digital or computer-generated display (image, video, or words) onto the real world. Although AR is still young, it has advanced enough to impact multiple industries. AR enables a variety of improvements in the print space, and this article explores how AR is affecting the production print market.
The topic of Print MIS software can be a dangerous topic to bring up if you want to keep things low-key or drama-free. Most printers are really frustrated with their MIS. I’ve been working on customer-facing technology (web-to-print) my whole career—the Print MIS is by far the most important software tool you have in your business.
A look at a well-intentioned personalized mailing that illustrates why it’s so important to get these communications right. Not just so the client gets the best return on investment, but to preserve your own relationship with the client. Poor personalization = poor results, and poor results = disengaged clients. Nobody wants that.
MakerBot, a subsidiary of Stratasys, has two primary missions: Helping to innovate in STEM education to better prepare kids for the future, and to help companies bring product to market faster. It is in this latter category that today’s announcement of MakerBot Method falls. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Forrest Leighton and Shawn Miely of MakerBot to learn more.
I was intrigued to read in a recent Axios newsletter that fashion designer jobs are expected to increase by +148%, according to Cognizant, a technology and business services company. I reached out to Ben Pring, who runs the company’s Center for the Future of Work, to learn more. And boy, did I learn more!
Open Source versions of the Creative Cloud applications. A new font aids reading for dyslexics. Yet another take on what’s happening with retail. Cutting Greenland down to size. Futurists in 1988 predict the jobs of the future. Have a time machine? Skip A.D. 536. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Industry profits data came out earlier this week, and it was good and bad news. Overall, annualized profits for Q3 2018 were $3.07 billion—not a huge gain from Q2, but a gain nonetheless. But it’s the ongoing saga of the low profitability of large printers dragging down average industry profitability.
For the most part, commercial printers are locked out of the existing supply chain for digital textiles. This article explores the more accessible textile segments that commercial printers can participate in, including textile-based sign and display graphics and direct-to-garment.
What were the big trends in wide-format and specialty printing in 2018? It’s been a year of convergence and while shops that were likely to transition to wide-format have largely done so, the applications that can be produced are constantly changing, as new materials and new inks hit the market. Let’s have a look at what’s been happening.
Software is never done. It has to keep moving to stay compatible. It operates in business processes that keep changing. The consumer expectation of how fast and easy software can change is being set by some of the most valuable companies on the planet.
A new kind of electronic paper. The science of paper crumpling. How Choc became a ubiquitous typeface. A “guerilla artist” produces life-affirming stealth signage. Alexa has been integrated into Big Mouth Billy Bass, for reasons passing understanding. A collision of vehicle graphics, AI, and public shaming. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
As 2018 draws to a close, you’re likely doing one of two things: focusing on meeting/exceeding your sales goals for the year or reflecting on why your goal has proven to be unreachable. In many cases, the process used to achieve the goal fails to deliver the desired results. This article explores methods for exceeding your business goals in 2019.
When we look at case studies, we immediately scan to the bottom of the page to see what the metrics are. One case study from IMS Direct illustrates why it’s important to look deeper into the numbers to find the real story.
What are you investing in that will result in the true differentiation of your print business? An important question in a market where many commercial printers look alike (same equipment, same sales approach, similar online tools). I think differentiation is about solving additional customer challenges that your competitors don't even know about.
PRC approves 2019 price increases…USPS reports $3.9 Billion loss…The Universal Postal Union reacts to U.S. withdrawal…Mailers less satisfied with USPS overall…Marketing Mail controversy continues…Next steps for Regulatory Review?
Earlier this month, print shop owners and managers from around the Northeast journeyed to Grant Graphics in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., for a day-long program of wide-format educational sessions and equipment demonstrations.
I first got to know Kirby Best when he was running on-demand book printer Lightning Source. And I was interested to see him turn up as Chairman at OnPoint Manufacturing, an on-demand garment manufacturer. We connected for a wide-ranging discussion at the recent Gerber Technology Ideation event, including the newly announced FashionTech Platform 1.0 initiative.
Your Print MIS should be your trusted system of record for your business; the estimating module is the most critical component of your Print MIS. When you implement estimating brilliantly, it provides you a healthy daily dose of ROI forever.
How do you reinvent a 160-year-old business to address the new market requirements? This is a challenge that we have been seeing over and over again, and many companies have not been able to make that change. Heidelberg seems to have found the formula that looks at their internal organization, but more importantly, at their customers’ changing requirements as well.
Officially launched in September 2018, the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network (RITIN) is another example of initiatives across the country that are working to revive the U.S. textile and apparel industry, both with innovations that improve efficiency and to reshore textile and apparel manufacturing. We spoke with RITIN steering committee chairman and CEO of textile company Trans-Tex Michael Woody to learn more.
EFI Reggiani held a gala launch event for its new EFI Reggiani BOLT single-pass digital textile printer at Reggiani’s Bergamo, Italy, headquarters. Attended by nearly 300 media, customers, and potential customers, the event generated a high level of excitement. With high-quality print speeds of up to 90 meters per minute, this press looks to be a game changer for high-volume digital textile printing.
In 2010, there were 2,080 establishments offering prepress and/or postpress services; by 2016, that number had dropped to 1,545. (The Census Bureau stopped breaking out prepress and postpress establishments separately in 2012.) It’s not difficult to understand why the number of these establishments has been dropping; prepress is being absorbed into the printing process itself (especially in digital printing), and more print businesses are acquiring their own finishing capabilities.
Mix-and-match jigsaw puzzles. Postcards from World War I. The bestselling books of 2114. Alexa stars in a reboot of "Rear Window." Friendly skies, unfriendly seats. Weighing in on the kilogram. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Recognizing the challenges associated with making the digital transformation in customer communications, Taylor Corporation created a new organization called Taylor Communications, Secure & Customer Solutions, Inc. (Taylor Communications SCS). This article explores how Taylor has taken its printing and mailing capabilities to a new level by integrating its communications with advanced digital platforms to enhance the customer experience.
After a decade in the ad agency world, Shira Kollins took her graphic design and production background and launched SpeedPro Chicago. By taking an active role in local business associations—and being “pleasantly persistent” when it comes to sales and marketing—she has built a business creating cutting-edge display graphics for some of Chicago’s biggest retailers and restaurants.
Once you make a print software decision, you have to enforce it by communicating the strategy clearly and then repeatedly. Your people will forget, your business will evolve, sales people will appear from other solutions trying to convince your team of a different path.
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.