What is 5G and what is its impact on sign and display graphics likely to be? Richard Romano spoke with Dexter Johnson, author of a recent ISA white paper called “5G in Signage Technology” about the technology and the advantages of 5G and its potential applications in sign and display.
In Part 1 of Pat McGrew’s two-part series on sales and marketing for print businesses, she looks at the difference between sales professionals and marketing professionals and where the two processes overlap.
Last week, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne had the pleasure of attending the Executive Conference sponsored by the Sewn Products Equipment and Suppliers of the Americas (SPESA) in New Orleans. This was the first major event planned by the new staff, led by Michael McDonald, President, and by all accounts, it was a huge success.
Hellvetica unleashed. The edge will transform sporting events—and perhaps everything else. Apps for recycling used clothing. A study of mobile technology use by today’s tweens and tweens. Where eagles dare, roaming charges follow. Gift recipients may like poorly wrapped presents better. A hierarchy of candy. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Like many other businesses, manufacturers of office printers and multifunctional peripherals (MFPs) are focused on improving the usability of their products. This article explores the efforts that printer and MFP manufacturers are making to improve the accessibility of their devices, including features that help workers with visual, hearing, mobility, and other physical limitations.
The number one thing we hear when we engage with a printer who is having trouble with their print software (Print MIS, Web-to-Print, or Pre-Press automation) is “we didn’t get trained.” Ironically, more training is rarely the solution to this common complaint.
Will augmented reality finally gain widespread adoption in print and digital marketing communications? When will it move beyond enterprise applications, gaming, and social media? To find out, ARtillry Intelligence worked with Thrive to survey 2000+ U.S. adults.
As we continue to look into the cannabis-related market, including how cannabis-related products are being used in apparel—more specifically, activewear—and the special packaging requirements the market has, we took time out to speak to Christopher Lackner of Mile High Labs in Colorado to gain an understanding of how the hemp plant is processed to deliver CBD-based materials for the market.
Publishing and advertising are among the biggest print-buying markets. Last month, the Census Bureau released its Quarterly Services Survey, which reported revenues for these markets. Publishers’ revenues continue their long decline, while the up-and-down of advertising revenues indicate the extent to which the nature of advertising is changing.
The 14th Graphene Conference meets in Silicon Valley. Bear Naked and Sustainable Pouches. Using digitized books to gauge happiness. English majors are down 25%. What will the Internet look like in 10 years? What does 19 hours on a plane do to the human body? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Textiles guru and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan shares her thoughts about fashion on subscription—a new business model for the eco-conscious consumer. Today’s new shopping generation of digital nomads is quite comfortable ordering fashion online, and they idea of renting fashion holds a lot of appeal. Learn more.
Years ago, most businesses only had one shop and/or one channel in a single town. Now, they will typically have a web presence and hundreds or even thousands of shops in different locations as they work to increase sales productivity. This article discusses how to successfully sell W2P solutions to marketers in today’s changing environment.
When you think of promotional products, what comes to mind? Branded hats and pens? Tote bags? Many printers may not see these items going with their clients’ high-end image, so they may not give these complementary offerings a fair shot. But promotional items can also include high-end luxury items used for C-level executives, influencers, and corporate events. Some, like this company’s products, even offer the trendy element of sustainability.
You have a bias for what solutions work; that bias is based on what has worked for you in the past. If you’re a print business owner, buying new stuff feels like a solid way to solve challenges of hiring new employees. Solving print software challenges requires expertise in print software.
Smithers shares its latest research on the security printing industry, forecasting the market to reach $29.8 billion in 2019 and rise to a total value of around $37.7 billion in 2024, as well as some of the trends and changes in such printed materials as banknotes, personal identification, brand protection packaging, and tax stamps.
Pat McGrew wraps up her 12-part series on selling in today’s print environment with some tips for how to tap into the do-it-yourself market, specifically, the variety of businesses that cater to DIYers who are happy to rebuild their lawnmower, re-roof a shed, or add features to kitchen.
In case you haven’t been following it, the market for products containing CBD—or cannabinoid derived from the hemp plant—is growing rapidly. It’s really only taken off in the U.S. since the approval of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized CBD extracted from industrial hemp with less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Hippo Packaging in San Diego is focused on meeting the unique packaging needs for this emerging market segment.
Idealliance’s Tim Baechle introduces the new TC1617x (IT8.7/5) printer characterization target, explains how it differs from its predecessors, details its benefits, and describes how printers can use the new target to improve the characterization accuracy of a printing system.
Read classic books on the NYPL’s Instagram. Deluxe edition of a classic Philip K. Dick novel. A compendium of classic arcade typography. An immersive edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. An Advent calendar for cats. Custom T-shirts based on Spotify data. The current science of CBD. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
The hiring process is more important today than it has ever been in the past. Establishing a successful organization involves developing a great sales team and retaining those employees. Print Service Providers can set their businesses up for success by hiring the right sales personnel and fostering employee loyalty with a more sophisticated compensation model.
You probably have a sales plan, a profit plan, and a capital and cash management plan. But what about a talent development plan? Do you know how to grow your human assets, improve the culture, and develop both current and future leaders? In this article, Wayne Lynn explores the need to develop your company’s next leaders.
If you want to grab immediate attention with direct mail, make the mailer look like something other than a traditional letter. Mailers often use envelopes designed to look like USPS Priority Mail, Air Mail, or UPS or FedEx packages. But do some efforts cross the line?
We live in a connected world. The artifacts (documents, spreadsheets, etc.) we create for business should be stored centrally with controlled access in the cloud. Isolated artifacts on employees’ computers slow projects down and make research into past projects nearly impossible.
The trends in labels and packaging have become pretty well-defined in 2019 and will remain a significant focus going forward. The four primary trends are; increased quality, short and on-demand production runs, an increase in personalization, and a focus on sustainability. These trends along with the corresponding messaging will continue to evolve and resonate throughout 2020 and beyond.
The world has become very “data rich” and companies are using this data in ways that just two decades ago were unheard of. It boggles the mind how much information is available and the ways in which organizations are utilizing it!
When you think about digital textile printers and where they might be installed, your first thought isn’t a photo lab. But that’s exactly where the first North American HP Stitch S1000 production model went. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Mark Lane, co-owner of American Color Imaging (ACI), to learn how this printer will fit into its overall business model.
Mechanical paper sculptures. A book about Graphene. Did RFID playing cards help a poker champ cheat? LED-based art helps gauge NYC’s water quality. Tech is helping animals communicate better. Real-life Robocop is no hero. Scotch pods?! All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Following a focused sales strategy involves targeting offerings toward customers that need and want those services while setting aside the customers that do not fit that profile. This article provides a brief overview on how PSPs can leverage a focused sales growth strategy to position themselves for future success.
Fashion Designer Mary Katrantzou embraced digital textile printing in 2008 and has already become known as the Queen of Digital Print. Textiles guru and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan shares the story of her meteoric rise.
Last week we saw the last of the big Chicago printing events. Over the years we have seen many printing and technology events disappear only to be replaced by others that, at least for a time, provide more relevance and timeliness. However, even with the excitement of new events on the horizon, in speaking with many of the exhibitors and attendees last week, there was still a shared sadness. Our new normalcy is taking away a certain comfort and, sadly, Chicago.
The individuals and small businesses who cut lawns, build gardens, and trim trees, as well as independent carpenters, painters, drywall professionals, plumbers, and electricians are all potential print customers. In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she provides some tips for approaching “gig” workers and identifies some of the unique printed product requirements these folks have.
As PRINTING United approaches, we checked in with SGIA’s Ray Weiss, Director of Digital Print Programs, to better understand what textiles and apparel solutions will be at this expanded show, and to get his advice on how commercial printers, display graphics companies, or other attendees interested in gaining a foothold in this dynamic market can most effectively get the information they need at the show.
Dennis Amorosano launches Dendog Strategy Insights. Avery Dennison and Unmade partner for apparel manufacturing. Hackers have an electronic billboard play porn. Getting a smart jacket to work properly. A smart trash bin takes itself to the curb. Tesla’s Smart Summon and the chaos that is the modern parking lot. Keeping robot cars away from bicyclists. The Bank of Canada finds “spocking” $5 bills to be highly illogical. Escalator etiquette is wrong. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
There are many ways to segment digital print technologies at Labelexpo 2019, with electrophotography and inkjet being the most obvious. This article explores a different split—digital printers designed for print-for-pay service providers vs. those dedicated to print-for-use end-users. It also considers how technological changes will affect the flexible packaging market.
NAPCO Research has released a new report on the use of personalization in direct mail. The report finds that marketers are evenly splitting their campaigns between personalized, segmented, and mass mailing approaches and that highly personalized campaigns are seeing increases in response rates up to 17% in certain market verticals.
The dream of an online business that delivers profitable revenue from strangers is a good dream to have. It simply takes a lot of work to be successful at it. I have seen too many printers spend too much time focusing on the software and forgetting that internet traffic is not free or easy to get.
In 2018, the world produced about $36 trillion worth of manufactured goods, almost all of which was packaged, protected, and shipped in some form of industrial packaging. This article provides some top-level results from Smithers Pira’s new study of this sector, The Future of Industrial Packaging to 2024. According to the study, the value of these formats will reach nearly $66 billion in 2024, growing from an estimated $56.1 billion in 2019.
Labelexpo 2019 was an interesting event. There were a lot of hybrid presses being shown: flexo presses with inkjet or toner digital integrated imaging; digital presses with flexo imaging in order to get the great opaque white needed for many labels and flexible packaging or precoating for plastics, etc.; a variety of presses with inline enhancement capabilities, etc. But, perhaps the whole hybrid evolution is really just a part of the industry digital transformation and transition to the real end game: purpose-built or bespoke solutions.
As a proponent of the various benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was intrigued to learn about Acabada’s CBD-infused activewear. She spoke with co-founder and CEO of Acabada, Seth Baum, to learn more. Watch for the March 2020 issue of Printing News for more information on all things cannabis, from definitions to sourcing CBD to unique packaging requirements and more.
The value of printing shipments for July 2019 was $6.8 billion—up from June’s $6.6 billion. Breaking with seasonality, what has typically been one of the lowest months of the year for printing shipments actually came in pretty good.
IKEA changes its typeface. An op-ed from the future comments on 23rd-century English. A scholar discovers a John Milton-annotated volume of Shakespeare. Animation compares Moore’s Law to actual CPU speeds. DRM for Nerf darts. “Highlights” from Amazon’s hardware announcements. Nestlé introduces $17 “luxury KitKat” bars. Celery juice: a magic cure-all? Sherwood Schwartz sticks it to Newton Minow. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Join us in welcoming textiles guru Debbie McKeegan as a WhatTheyThink contributor! In this article, she weighs in on a hot topic in apparel—can we re-fashion fashion to use recycled polyester by 2030, and should we? She provides good insight into what polyester is and how it can be efficiently recycled—even polyester blends!
Game mechanics may seem alien to some print service providers, but other industries have been using these principles to promote user engagement and drive revenues for decades. With augmented reality emerging as a natural upgrade for static print, now is the time to critically evaluate the potential of a well-designed application—one that incorporates gaming elements—to drive brand interaction and generate new revenue potential.
Study by Iterable looking at the marketing strategies of “top retailers” vs. “fastest growing retailers” during the two-week period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The results? The fastest growing retailers were more focused on “near sales,” less likely to send promotional emails, more likely to re-engage abandoned cart shoppers, and less likely to use multiple channels to do it.
Building good software requires a very desirable skill set in our current economy. Virtually every single company on the planet needs to utilize software in order to increase their efficiency and reach more customers.
Labelexpo 2019, celebrating its 40th anniversary, launched in Brussels to a huge group of more than 600 exhibitors and a very large global audience of attendees. In this first article, David Zwang looks at general trends at the event.
Considering only about 3% of the total global print production in the market is digital, including all digital technologies, capturing a larger share will depend on production speeds and cost. Landa and their global customer base are now ramping up for a global presence, high demand, and are ready to participate in the Inkjet Revolution. The tides are changing…
Two weeks ago, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision in the case of Thomas v. Bright that the government cannot distinguish between on-premise and off-premise signage because it is an unconstitutional content-based distinction. We spoke to David Hickey, VP Advocacy, for the International Sign Association (ISA) about the decision and some of the potential ramifications.
Twenty-seven years ago, David Gross identified heat transfer sublimation as an interesting market opportunity with good potential for future growth. Today, at Condé Systems, he has made that vision a reality. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Gross to find out how others can benefit from what he has learned.
Graphene: is there anything it can’t do? Inside the University of Minnesota’s Wearable Technology Lab. Lose all shred of dignity with a wearable chair. Monitor your heart health with a smart toilet seat. The grueling, physically demanding world of...chess. “Hope you enjoy your stinking phones.” KFC’s Chicken and Donuts Sandwich. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
From the 13th to the 16th of August, over 8,000 print professionals converged on the Sydney Olympic Park to experience the latest in hardware and software in document production, commercial print, labels, and packaging at PrintEx 19. This article explores the factors that made this year’s event a standout.
Technology is easy to acquire—both for you and for your competitors—but for most companies, it’s your employees who provide a real competitive advantage. High-performing companies are winning the competitive battlefield by figuring out how to match their best talent with their best opportunities. Wayne Lynn offers some tips for getting the most out of your most productive employees.
Are “magic” subject lines really magic? Or are they only magic for certain people? Are you tracking who is responding to which? If you know which customers respond to which tactics, you’re way ahead of the game.
Getting outside perspectives into your print business is important, especially when implementing a Print MIS or other print software. You want people who see a wide variety of print businesses to weigh in on best practices.
The best way to look at MIS/ERP systems is holistically, in the context of the bigger picture of managing your business as a whole. Just as you should have a production workflow system, ultimately an MIS system is a workflow system for your business operations.
Funxion was founded about a year ago as a spin-out from North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles, where its founders obtained their Ph.Ds. The company is focused on building out a platform for smart wearables that can be adapted to various use cases. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Dr. Raj Bhakta, co-founder and CEO, to learn more.
WhatTheyThink spoke with Marybeth Gilbert, Vice President General Manager Production Inkjet and Packing Business, Chris Irick, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager, Entry Production Inkjet, and Bill Bay, Manager, Production Cut Sheet Business Team.
Sneakers that put on a light show. An inflatable Twister mat may be just what your next party needs. Adversarial fashion takes on face recognition systems. A.I. priests. A.I. passes an 8th-grade science test. An animation tracks the rise and fall of web browsers. Camera sales fall off a cliff. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
With so much knowledge at their fingertips, decision-makers no longer need to travel—or even pick up the phone—to stay informed. Although the role of trade shows has changed as a result, these events remain an important component of modern business planning. This article explores how the role of trade shows has shifted in today’s digital age.
Ryerson University has just published a detailed study of expanded gamut printing, based on a series of extensive tests using commercial color management systems to process and print test forms containing PANTONE spot colors. The author of the study, Dr. Abhay Sharma, presents some of the top-level findings and conclusions.
Define the challenge you're trying to solve before you jump into a shortcut that borrows from another feature in your Print MIS or web-to-print. If you borrow too much, you’re implementation of the software will get detached from the vendor’s product roadmap—which can be expensive and painful.
According to the Small Business Administration, 89.0% of all businesses in the United States have less than 20 employees. What are the primary goals, challenges, and marketing tactics of these companies? This survey from Taradel provides some insights.
Digital wide-format printing and new substrates are changing the face of wall décor, both in commercial and residential spaces. In this feature, we look at some unique applications and detail some prevailing trends.
Car enthusiasts. Hiking and biking clubs. Adult hockey leagues. Senior golf associations. Dance troupes. In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she provides some tips for approaching hobbyists and other groups and clubs, as well as the unique printed product requirements these kinds of groups have.
Web-to-print has become well-entrenched in commercial printing, and same on-demand production model is now making its way into the textiles and apparel industry. Cary Sherburne talks to Steve Smith, founder of DPInnovations, about the company’s Web2Fabric, a set of tools that can be modularly configured to meet the needs of individual companies.
Artificial intelligence attempts to write a wide-format story. “The World’s Most Dangerous Writing App.” Digital signage is too fast. Editor & Publisher sold. Nike’s Self-Lacing Sneakers. How to keep Slack from driving you crazy. All about “forest bathing.” Hide and seek in IKEA. Are we in a true “Age of Plastic”? A revised online dictionary of Medieval Irish. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
WhatTheyThink talks to Renée Yardley, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Sustana Group—parent company of Rolland Paper and Sustana Fiber—about the company’s new sustainability initiatives as well as the current state of sustainability in the paper and printing industry.
Given all the changes that have occurred within the mailing industry, what’s next? This article provides a overview of some current trends within the mailing industry and considers what the future might hold.
Usually, when a printer has a sustainability page on its website, the page talks about things like carbon emissions, tree planting, or use of environmentally certified papers. But PebblePost has a sustainability page, too—but it is talking not about consumables and energy use, but how its trigger-based direct mail programs, in themselves, are environmentally friendly. This is a great model for presenting direct mail as an environmentally friendly option that can help marketers meet their sustainability goals.
The value in the print industry today is migrating from the production floor to the mobile device of your customers. How are you investing in providing your customer access to your business from their phone?
The adoption of production inkjet so far has narrowly targeted mid to high-end production requirements. However, light production including higher-end departmental MFP devices currently addressed by EP (toner) devices is a significant portion of the market. Memjet just introduced a low-cost single pass OEM printhead solution to target that market. The tide may be turning…
G7 takes on fashion sustainability. Graphene vs. mosquitoes. AAP’s latest book sales figures for January to June 2019. Is captioning audiobooks illegal? How to capitalize headlines. Can AI write for WhatTheyThink? What would a 1980s-era iPhone have looked like? Whither the Periodic Table? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Not all print service providers fully understand the costs of the print jobs they create on a daily basis, and this is troubling. Without accurate, detailed reports of cost breakdowns, print companies will continue to struggle to turn a profit, instead investing in a random number of jobs—only some of which will turn a profit. With technology growing more robust, managed information systems can help organizations keep accurate, up-to-date tracks of exactly how well each print job is performing for the company. In this paper, InfoTrends outlines exactly how this information can be gathered, as well as a more detailed explanation of why it is so crucial to do so.
drupa 2020 is only about eight months away and the rumors and anticipation are starting to heat up. Very much like drupa, Labelexpo is truly a global event. And don’t let the name fool you: it isn’t just about labels. There is also flexible packaging and of course lots of innovative finishing and media being showcased. Even if you are not in label or flexible packaging production, this event offers you a preview of things to come—although you may need to connect the dots.
Print software is a pile of features that solve business process challenges. You have to learn how to prioritize what’s the next most important feature in the software by comparing its impact against all the other features.
With a market value exceeding $110 billion in 2019, the cartonboard packaging industry will experience high growth at the end-user level, approaching $150 billion in 2024, according to Smithers Pira’s latest report, The Future of Folding Cartons to 2024. This growth is driven by the sustainability movement and increasing demand in emerging regions.
In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she provides some tips for using trade shows—not necessarily printing industry shows, but home and garden shows, car shows, hobbyist shows, and other private events—to develop new business opportunities.
In any industry, just like in life, there are normally two great barriers that stand in the way of people and companies changing: ego and education (knowledge). When we believe we have all the answers, we find ourselves in a terrible dilemma. Tim Baechle, CEO of Idealliance, explains how stepping outside the industry’s echo chamber and making outselves open to alternative viewpoints can make us more open to change—and make better decisions.
In 2016, there were 451 establishments in NAICS 322212 (Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing). More than half of these establishments (57%) have 50 or more employees and more than three-fourths (79%) have 20 or more employees.
Amazon sells fake Orwell titles. An experiential letterpress-printed book inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. Amsterdam’s occult library digitizes its collection. Memorable baseball card photos. The Apple Card: Leave home without it? New York’s continued war on digital offshore billboards. “Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is an Economic Indicator.” The longest-running webcam is going dark. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
The ongoing digital transformation has created problems for commercial printers, namely electronic displacement. As a result, many have turned to digital wide-format equipment to add new revenue streams. Nevertheless, with more PSPs adapting wide format, this service is no longer the differentiator it once was. Commercial printers looking for the next value-add product stream should examine packaging, particularly the folding carton and label segments, to find new revenue opportunities.
Sales reps are key players in your business. Their knowledge of the market and their customers are a central part of the process of optimizing pricing. Your objective is to attract and retain the best ones while motivating them to attain even better results. The objective should to get them on the team and make their interests parallel that of the firm. In this article, Robert Lindgren discusses the various sales rep compensation options.
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.