As the number of USPS Informed Delivery accounts continues to grow, will it change the way marketers design their mail? Will it change consumers’ behavior and how they interact with the mail? I know that it has already changed mine.
Do we need another color system? Coloro thinks so. The company launched its color system last year, based on the 100-year-old Munsell system, and claims it to be the easiest to use and most logical system on the market. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Coloro Managing Director Thorsten Traugott to learn more.
The Blue Ridge/UA 4-H Fab Lab, based in Pinetop-Lakeside, Ariz., offers student-directed, project-centric STEM training for K-12 students. Thanks to a partnership with 4-H, the facility is available to students across the state. Part of student projects involves designing and printing informational flyers, posters, and other materials on wide-format printers provided by Roland DGA, a sponsor of the Fab Lab. We spoke with Kevin Woolridge, Co-Director of the Fab Lab.
Forbes columnist suggests replacing public libraries with Amazon stores, for some reason. The economic costs of comma misuse. Built-in sun protection for garments. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Last month, the Trump Administration levied a 10% tariff on imported aluminum and a 25% tariff on imported steel. At present, the tariffs are having the biggest impact on manufacturers of aluminum lithographic plates—although that may be just the beginning. Plate manufacturers are deciding how best to respond, while industry associations are helping to fight back.
Every company has a sales process. Although these processes are sometimes well-established and well-documented, this is not always the case. If you’re struggling with your sales process, this article provides a quick-start guide on performing a sales audit.
July brings a mixed bag of postal/mailing news, from The White House supporting the idea of privatizing the USPS to the Postal Service gaining approval for internal performance audits, CAPS yielding to EPS, STOP on its way to becoming law, and both ID and IV adding features.
Adobe announced Adobe PDF Print Engine 5, their core technology used by many Digital Front Ends driving print production equipment. This release makes PDF 2.0 print-related features available for OEM implementation.
It’s been some time since we have taken a look at the state of our industry associations. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne conducted 17 interviews in late Spring 2018 with key industry players to get an update on status and strategies. We don’t cover every organization in the industry—there are simply too many—but it gives a good overview on the organizations and resources available to help printing businesses be more successful.
Do you have a cat or a dog? Or would you like to, if only you or someone in your household weren’t sensitive to allergens shed by cats and dogs? Devan Chemicals has an answer that may help. The company recently launched a technology to make textiles free from allergens shed by cats and dogs. Purissimo™ is a probiotic-based solution and is completely natural. We spoke to the company to learn more.
Try on clothes virtually. As bad as flying is, it used to be worse. World’s first biobased, circular car has been successfully designed and built. Men’s boxer shorts turned into a knife. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Although digitally printed corrugated packages serve to enclose products, develop displays, and create shipping containers, they can also be used as billboards for savvy brands to advertise and increase consumer engagement. This article explores how brands can take advantage of printed packaging to differentiate their marketing messages.
We are in a color-obsessed industry. Brand colors, in particular, are critical. When it comes to specific shades of color, however, studies show that consumers’ color memories are really poor. Considering this, along with the inability to maintain brand color standards in a digital world, where does the value in maintaining brand standards really lie?
A culture of finding ways to optimize software in your business is something you can control. The successful printers will be the ones who are getting the most of their print software tools—mostly by being open to evolving their own workflows to fit the how the software works best.
Ecommerce has created a new demand for custom corrugated boxes. To satisfy that demand, the purchase of Plymouth Packaging by WestRock has created a new momentum for producing custom sized boxes on demand at a time when the demand for variable-sized boxes in exploding.
Digital textile printing is taking off, and solutions that increase flexibility while maintaining high quality standards will help speed this analog-to-digital transformation. We recently spoke with Ann Sawchak, co-founder of Expand Systems, about the company’s DuraVibe fabrics and the role they play in enabling more digital printing volume.
Printing shipments for May 2018 came in at $6.77 billion, up +3.1% from April. However, on an inflation-adjusted basis, May 2018 came in below the $6.92 billion reported in May 2017, and is well below the recent high of $7.46 billion back in May 2016.
A new technology can remove pet allergens from textiles (and that’s nothing to sneeze at). The retail transformation heats up. Scientists find the oldest (1.1 billion years) colors. ColorZenith uses Massivit technology to 3D print a classic car for Milan’s La Scala opera house. The Morgan Library & Museum in NYC is exhibiting a unique autograph collection. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
As the level of sophistication and effectiveness of digital marketing grows, and as the younger generation of marketers who natively understand and use these channels continues to overtake the traditional generation, is the future of print to understand digital marketing and fit into its world rather than the other way around?
The source of our innovation is moving from the production floor to the customer’s mobile device. We are going from the differentiation based on speed, quality, and finishing to differentiation based on solving customer’s data challenges way upstream of the printing press.
Epson announced two new entry-level models in its SureColor T Series, designed for technical and AES (architecture, engineering, and construction) printing. These devices are targeted more to end users—architecture and design firms, SOHOs, etc.—than print service providers, which indicates the direction technical printing as market segment is going.
Traditional printers across Europe face stiff competition from cheaper online print service providers—and not just for commodity print products anymore. US printers hoping to enter the European market also face this daunting competition.
A new process reduces the environmental impact of water-repellent textiles. Harvard Business Review looks at new possibilities for 3D printing. New health benefits of coffee. The best streaming service may just be your public library. RIP Harlan Ellison. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Web-to-print is well established in the world of commercial printing, and web-to-fabric is now gaining steam in textiles, as the demand for shorter runs and faster turn times for customized and personalized textiles and apparel grows. We recently spoke with DPInnovations about its web2fabric workflow solution which has been installed in more than 20 customer locations.
What do you think the role of the printing industry and printers, specifically, ought to be in demand generation for print? Do printers even have a responsibility to work together to generate demand for their own product?
When Steve Moran-Cassese decided to launch a print business in the midst of the Great Recession, he knew it could only grow—and he was right. A mix of the right equipment and picking up on hot new application trends early on has helped SpeedPro Marin thrive. And, somewhat ironically, the Bay Area’s booming economy has created its own challenges.
A "historical culinary event" featured a 4,000-year-old Mesopotamian recipe carved on a cuneiform tablet. Modern air conditioning was originally invented for a Brooklyn commercial print shop. Amazon beats out Google for product searches. The World Cup gives a lift to streaming services. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Smart Print Manufacturing (SPM) can help companies achieve operational excellence. This article explores how SPM enables workflow automation so businesses can create quality products and services by adding value throughout the supply chain.
Greater awareness of special print effects and press coatings is driving printers to rethink their press configurations to meet the demands of discerning customers who need high-impact, quick-turn, two-sided printing with press coatings at a competitive price.
Sales is about catering your company’s solutions to the specific challenges that are relevant to their current situation. There is no better way to lose a prospect’s attention then to talk about subjects that aren’t relevant to them.
Brittany Hodak co-founded The Superfan Company to make “cool collectible stuff for superfans”—coffee table books, deluxe packages for albums and DVDs, subscription magazines, fan boxes, metal commemorative tickets, limited edition tour books, and more, elaborate, print-centric items that help bring fans closer to a beloved musician or athlete. We spoke with Hodak about her own journey that started at a local radio station and led to The Superfan Company—and an appearance on Shark Tank.
A look at one printer’s effort to reach out to the design and marketing community to promote the value of direct mail—and not just any direct mail, but direct mail designed to drive website traffic. It’s a real eye-catcher and great inspiration.
In 2011, David Zwang began a series that looked at the current production inkjet product offerings from a wide range of vendors, discussing how they are being, or could be, used. Since then he has continued to evaluate and report on new developments. The latest product is the new Ricoh Pro VC70000, which rounds out the Ricoh VC Pro production print offerings with an impressive press targeted at higher-quality offset-to-digital migration with the ability to print on many commodity coated offset papers with higher ink densities and without the need for precoat.
Smithers Pira hosted two terrific digital printing conferences in Chicago earlier this month—Digital Print for Packaging and Digital Textile Printing. Both had great content and were very interactive. In this article, we’ve just scratched the surface of what was covered. We highly recommend putting these conferences on your calendar for next year!
Summer comes in with a flurry of reports: Household Diary Study finds mailed payments losing a lot of ground to e-payments…OIG report says USPS should do more to retain customers…Universal Postal Union study ranks USPS eighth in the world. Plus: Updates on PRC and BOG nominees.
Pantone has been providing color standards for the fashion, home, and interiors marketplace since 1987. Cotton standards were introduced in the mid-1990s. Since then, Pantone has developed additional textile color standards, including today’s announcement of 203 new colors for polyester. We spoke with Laurie Pressman, Vice President at Pantone Color Institute, to learn more.
Writedowns in the first quarter of 2018 for commercial printers with $25 million or more in assets were $157 million, or 1.9% of sales. The assets may be written down, but the borrowing that was created to finance them remains. Interest expense was 4.8% of sales. For the quarter, losses were -1.47% of sales. That rate of loss made average profits before taxes for the industry a mediocre 3% of sales—which means that printers with less than $25 million in assets must have done well.
Australian researchers have found a way to minimize unsightly pilling and help garments look better longer. HyperCard, the first application for creating interactive documents, was inspired by an acid trip. Fad Fashion? Micro Moments? Learn the new textile lexicon. Rats break into an ATM and eat $17K in cash. A random slide from Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends Report.” Amazon’s Alexa will soon be sharing your hotel room. A keyboard that can fit in your pocket. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
As digital delivery proliferates within the customer communications market, service providers with a legacy in print have been challenged to devise pricing models that position their operations for long-term sustainability. As part of its recently published research study entitled Pricing for Digital: Exploring New Models for Transactional Communications Delivery, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends conducted more than a dozen in-depth interviews with print service providers in North America to gain a deeper understanding of the primary pricing obstacles that stakeholders face in today’s changing market. The final in a three-part series, this article explores the challenges that providers must overcome when developing comprehensive customer communications pricing plans.
The transition between sales and implementation of web-to-print systems can be a rough road for the implementation team and the customer. The leadership of the implementation belongs with the printer—all too often the customers take the leadership and run the project off a cliff after spending lots of time and money.
Leading companies in the labels business are benefiting from smart workflow automation. While some feel intimidated by the thought of changing a workflow that works—maybe not as well as it could—we've talked to folks who have made the transition and can't imagine how they actually functioned before.
Back in 2002, Dr. Joe agreed to do a regular column for WhatTheyThink for “only one year and no more”...for 15 years. This farewell column explains how it started, behind-the-scenes intrigue, the problems, and why it turned out the way it did. And then…he explains the exciting adventures ahead.
The 54th annual IPMA Conference provided a look at the current state of the in-plant printing department, with more than two dozen sessions and a vendor fair focusing on new opportunities such as interactive print and wide format, and overcoming top challenges such as outsourcing.
A library in Portugal uses a colony of bats to help preserve old books and documents. The UK is confounded by the name change from “Salad Cream” to “Sandwich Cream.” The new heroes of our age: Country Time Lemonade and Domino’s Pizza? A random slide from Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends Report.” Uncovering lost “data” from ancient manuscripts. What happened this week in printing and publishing history. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Celebrating its 10th year, the 2018 DOCUMENT Strategy Forum (DSF 18) was held last month in Boston, Mass. This peer-driven, peer-reviewed, and peer-produced conference is designed to educate professionals on how to deliver and manage customer communications, customer engagement, and information management. As was the case in previous years, the 2018 event offered a wide array of educational sessions, executive round tables, panels, and inspiring keynotes. Visitors had plenty of opportunities to network with industry peers or any of the 44 exhibitors in attendance. This article reviews some highlights from DSF 18 through the lens of customer communications.
Technological advances and market trends are forever changing the face of flexographic printing. Smithers Pira values the global flexo print market in 2013 at $147 billion, with a forecast for 2.3% CAGR. Key to this growth are packaging-related industries including corrugated board packaging, flexible packaging, bags and sacks, and others.
MWW On Demand has leveraged automation and technology to gain its position as the single largest weaving and on-demand printing company for textile-based products in the U.S. The company employs digital printing technologies for heat transfer sublimation, direct-to-garment, and direct-to-textile, and is one of the few—or perhaps the only—company that maintained a large fleet of looms when others began sending weaving offshore. The result is a vertically integrated, environmentally sustainable, on demand manufacturing operation that is a model for the future of textiles.
The May employment report was regarded as good, but when you dig past the top-level numbers, it was better than it looked. However, while the 3.8% unemployment rate looks good on the surface, it really can’t be compared to when it was last attained nearly 20 years ago. So many workers left the workforce that this figure implies a tighter labor than it really is. We will really know we have a strong economy when the active labor force starts increasing.
Government Attic discovered a load of NSA workplace posters from the 50s, 60s, and 70s—you can even get them on a T shirt. A 3D printer outputs custom-designed pancakes. Don’t call it “dope”: hemp used for intelligent textiles. A random slide from Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends Report.” What happened this week in printing and publishing history. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
As digital delivery proliferates within the customer communications market, service providers with a legacy in print have been challenged to devise pricing models that position their operations for long-term sustainability. As part of its recently published research study entitled Pricing for Digital: Exploring New Models for Transactional Communications Delivery, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends conducted more than a dozen in-depth interviews with print service providers in North America to gain a deeper understanding of the primary pricing obstacles that stakeholders face in today’s changing market. The second in a three-part series, this article examines the hurdles that providers encounter in the market as they attempt to demonstrate value through their services.
A successful client event can drive a lot of business your way, and deepen relationships with your customers. This week, Trish will share the secrets of successful events, along with some of the biggest mistakes that can trip up even the most well-intentioned host.
What if you could cost-effectively color thread on demand? You know exactly how much of each color you need and in what order. You produce what you need, and you can do even very complex embroidery designs using a single head. That’s a dream that’s rapidly becoming a reality. Coloreel is another example of thread on demand in action. We spoke to CEO Mattias Nordin to take a deeper look.
This morning, I received a personalized email that was anything but personal. While this was an email, the mistake could easily have ended up in print, and it offers object lessons for all of us. Before we send out anything data-driven, let’s make sure it reads as if it was written by a human being.
Canon is not just entering the label and packaging press market, but challenging the current label press market with the new Océ LabelStream 4000, a 5-color inkjet hybrid UV press that continues to show their strengths in production inkjet.
“Experiential graphics” are a form of interior décor that are becoming a fast-growing part of wide-format and signage. Pursuing that particular application requires a somewhat different strategy than traditional commercial printing—or even traditional wide-format printing.
For 50 years, Gerber Technology has been providing solutions for the fashion and apparel industry, from planning through sourcing and production. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Karsten Newbury, Senior Vice President and General Manager, and Mary McFadden, Executive Director, CAD Product Management, to learn about the company’s latest offerings and how they help the industry in the analog-to-digital transformation.
California experiments with E Ink-based license plates. Mary Meeker’s hotly anticipated annual Internet trends presentation has arrived. The first “cyberattack” took place nearly 200 years ago. A beautiful and brilliant collection of crowdsourced letter and number designs. ANA Acquires DMA. What happened this week in printing and publishing history. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
As digital delivery proliferates within the customer communications market, service providers with a legacy in print have been challenged to devise pricing models that position their operations for long-term sustainability. As part of its recently published research study entitled Pricing for Digital: Exploring New Models for Transactional Communications Delivery, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends conducted more than a dozen in-depth interviews with print service providers in North America to gain a deeper understanding of the primary pricing obstacles that stakeholders face in today’s changing market. The first in a three-part series, this article explores the hurdles that providers encounter in the market and considers the approaches they have developed as they attempt to establish profitable pricing models.
When you lose a sales deal, how does your company react? Do you have a culture of learning from losses or do you have a culture of blaming? A sales loss is a treasure trove of learning—successful companies evaluate and adjust for their next pitch.
Pablos Holman is a serial entrepreneur whose latest venture is Bombsheller, an online source for leggings manufactured on demand. Customers can select from more than a thousand designs, or upload their own, and each pair of leggings, which are available in 10 sizes, is digitally printed, cut, and sewn, with shipment in 24 hours in most cases.
Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV kicks off a new series of editorials offering advice for U.S. companies seeking to enter the European print market. In this first installment, Reitoft stresses that “Europe” is not a single, monolithic market.
Investing in companies by how much they spend on lobbying. Searching for a safe, bright red pigment. Making your mail smell like popsicles. Exaggerating the death of retail. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.
Earlier this month, the National Postal Forum (NPF) celebrated its 50th anniversary in San Antonio, Tex., with more than 4,000 professionals from the mailing and shipping industry. In addition to the five primary educational tracks over the four-day event, NPF had nearly 130 exhibitors in the exhibitor hall. This analysis provides highlights from the NPF’s Opening General Session, as well as an overview of the USPS’s latest innovations.
WhatTheyThink attended TechTextil/TexProcess in Atlanta, and one of the key messages that came out of the show was the fact that apparel microfactories are a reality. This brings many advantages to the apparel industry, especially in North America and Europe where there is a move to re-shore some part of apparel manufacturing.
At RADTECH, David Zwang saw an interesting solution from a young startup company, LUMII, for label and packaging security. Imagine a high-tech moiré that can provide visually 3D security printing inline without the need for external embellishments or to apply post print.
Prepress automation, streamlining your customer service department, and reducing the time between inquiry and jobs getting on press – these are common feature requests for web-to-print systems. They are all about you (the printer) – web-to-print isn’t about you! Web-to-print is for your customers!
Some people say that the news is always bad, and they wish someone would report good news now and then. There is good news but no one seems to report it. You’d think that would be a full time job for someone. The economy has set a record for full time employment, and all we hear are crickets. The economy has been doing better lately in some key measures of employment, but the Fed is scaring markets by preparing to raise rates. TINA, meet TAMA, the result of the Fed’s actions; don’t worry, we’ll explain it. The statisticians at the Commerce Department revised printing shipments data. Revising data seems to be a full time job in the Beltway. Dr. Joe clarifies it all for one nearly last time.
Durable goods orders for consumers (less transportation) are growing at a rate almost two times faster than Real GDP. This data series remains -14% below where it was at the start of the recession in December 2017, and is a critical one to monitor for indications of an improved economy.
In this special Throwback Thursday feature, Trish reaches out to trade binderies to hunt for funky vintage machines that are still useful in today’s modern workflow. This first edition features fascinating finds from four well-known US binderies.
Quad/Graphics has launched Accelerated Insights, a cloud-based software tool to enhance—and some might even say revolutionize—direct mail testing. This article explores the features of Accelerated Insights and describes its effects on direct mailing.
Every industry is being transformed by a new staffing option for the “jobs to be done” and that staffing option is software. Your business needs to get stuff done—some of that stuff needs to be done by humans and a lot of that stuff needs to be done by software.
In 2018, the combined active and intelligent packaging market value is projected to reach $5.68 billion and will continue to present new value-adding options in the future according to the latest market analysis from Smithers Pira. Read on for more highlights of Smithers Pira’s latest report.
According to new research, marketers are increasingly investing in second- and third-party data to create 360-degree views of their customers. Are your customers doing the same? Are they prepared to compete? Read more.
What do we talk about when we talk about “wide format”? How is the term definitionally changing—and what does it even mean anymore? And more importantly, how does whatever we define as “wide format” play nice with other kinds of printing such as industrial, packaging, and commercial? And how can we navigate the “convergence” of these different print silos? Read on for more.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ advance report estimated that Q1-2018 real gross domestic product was up at an annual rate of +2.3%, which was slower than the +2.9% for Q4-2017. Because companies and individuals, especially corporations, shifted expenses into 2017 and delayed revenue recognition to 2018 to take advantage of the rates in the new tax law, many key economic data series—such as this one—will be subject to larger than usual revision.
Blockchain, Buffett, and blurring boundaries. Silk and sneakers. One space or two? WhatTheyThink’s new regular Friday feature, Around the Web, presents a miscellany of random news items that caught the attention of our contributors this week. Read on for more.
Seth Godin, world-renowned entrepreneur and marketing and publishing guru, will be keynoting this September’s PRINT 18. Cary Sherburne spoke to him about the changing role of print in today’s marketing and publishing landscape. Read on for some insights from one of today’s thought leaders.
Managing color in today’s ever-changing environment has long been a challenge for printers. No two scanners, monitors, or printers will reproduce colors identically, making it necessary to implement specialized color management systems to achieve an exact match across devices. This article explores some of the options that are available for printers.
Xerox has just introduced the very interesting Xerox® IridesseTM Production Press into the global market, the latest electrophotographic machine in its product lineup. With all of the media hype surrounding the Xerox Fujifilm merger, this new press shows how well Xerox and Fuji Xerox can work together to create technology that brings innovation and value to the market and the company, something you may not be hearing in the distracting news streams. Read on for more.
If you’re on your way to embarking on a Print MIS transition, then you need to sit down and pretend the whole thing was a spectacular failure. Once you’re in that uncomfortable place—work backwards and build a plan to prevent its untimely death.
For a dozen years, Forrest Leighton held marketing roles at Canon USA, and then spent four years with Marcomm Central. Today, he is Vice President of Marketing at MakerBot, a Stratasys company and a global leader in desktop 3D printing solutions. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with him recently to learn more about MakerBot and how 3D printing might be a relevant opportunity for commercial, sign & display graphics, packaging and textile printers.
Changing market dynamics, including the increasing proliferation of digital printing technologies for textiles and apparel, are boosting reshoring efforts in many countries. UK-based Standfast & Barracks has worked closely with digital textile printer manufacturer Durst to help accelerate this trend using its Durst Alpha Series digital textile printers. Read more.
A major theme of last week’s InPrint Industrial Inkjet Conference in Chicago was the emerging distinction between two specific kinds of industrial printing: printing as part of a larger manufacturing process and what we have often called specialty printing. The conference explored the differences between them, where the growth areas are, and what the drivers of that growth are. Read on for some reflections on the conference.
Smaller print shops face many of the same challenges as larger shops, so the need for a single system of record to manage the business is just as critical. Until recently, the only solution was purchasing an expensive print MIS with integration capabilities and pay for professional services to set up the connectivity to the other software solutions. This article explores how things are beginning to change for the better for small print shops.
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.