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Around the Web: Toaster Tech. Car Color. Tongue Texting. Dynamic Dumbbells. Pointless Purloining. Malicious Meters. Face Fitbit. Snow Solution. Troubling Tie-In.

A graphene-based toaster. A BMW covered with E Ink panels can change color at the push of a button. A “smart retainer” for tongue-based text messaging. Alexa-based smart dumbbells can adjust weights via voice command. “The Spine Collector” scams book editors for manuscript copies of forthcoming books, for seemingly no reason whatsoever. QR code-based parking meter scams. An electronic mask can detect leaks. A liquid based bubble clock. How did people clear roads before the snowplow? Walmart’s special “Pain Box” DVD edition of “Dune.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s Wordle-winning miscellany.

 Talent and Culture as a Competitive Advantage

In this article Wayne Lynn presents the case for gaining competitive advantage through leadership development, helping employees meet their needs, and helping employees develop into better behavioral matches to high performers in their chosen jobs. Adopting this approach will, over time, strengthen the talent base of the business and foster a performance oriented culture.

Artificial Intelligence: Defining an Often-Misused Term

Artificial intelligence (AI) is much more than just a buzzword—it is currently available technology that is poised to transform much of our world, including the printing industry. This article defines this often-misused term and explains how AI differs from more traditional software programs.

The African Print Company Invests in Digital Textile Print for Absolute Supply Chain Control

Choosing to purchase their own machinery and not to outsource the manufacture of their products will give the husband-and-wife team at The African Print Company absolute control of their supply chain as they gear up the business, removing the requirement for keeping inventory on hand. And importantly, giving them the freedom to listen to their consumers and create the designs and products that their loyal customers love. They intend to implement customized manufacture and on-demand production from day one.

Why Invest in a Landa Digital Press? The View from Hudson Printing

Paul Hudson, CEO of Hudson Printing (Salt Lake City), shares his rationale for investing in a Landa S10P—why now, why the Landa, and how he expects it to impact his business.

Software’s Role in Helping Your Business Through Labor Challenges

Business processes controlled via trusted software systems are the best defense against the ever-tightening labor market.

The Industry Has Been Humming Along: The Label and Packaging Year in Review

There may not have been many live events this year to showcase the latest trends in label and packaging, but hardware manufacturers and software developers have been busy, and the industry has been humming along. All of this under the backdrop of shifting consumer preferences and supply chain challenges. David Zwang takes a look.

European Print Industry Snapshot: Bulgaria

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take an updated look at the printing industry in Bulgaria.

Top Three Software Sales Strategies for 2022

We were hoping that 2021 would bring stability and the end of lockdowns and quarantines. While we had some respite mid-year, we’re beginning 2022 with similar challenges. The good news for software sellers is that there is a continuing market for solutions to automate, optimize, and streamline at every step of the workflow. Contributor Pat McGrew offers three software sales strategies to kick off 2022.

Automation Will Power Your New Year

For your business to grow in 2022, you will need an intelligent infrastructure that allows work to move from sale to delivery with the least amount of friction. This article, written and sponsored by Kodak, tells you how to build a strategic plan for automation.

A Fresh Look at the Dye-Sublimation Opportunity

Back in 2019, we pointed out the opportunity presented by adding dye-sublimation printing to the mix as a diversification strategy. A great deal has happened since then, not the least of which is the continuing impact of the pandemic. But one thing that has not changed is the opportunity this technology offers. Read on!

The Target Report: GPA Global Emerges as Packaging Consolidator—December 2021 M&A Activity

Southern California Graphics Sells to GPA, CJK Acquires Again; and more…

Preliminary 2021 Business Conditions: Help Ruin This Chart!

We are sifting through the preliminary data from our 2021 Print Outlook Survey, and so far we have found that 17% of print businesses reported that revenues in 2021 increased more than 25% over 2020, and a further one-third (32%) saw revenues up 10–25%. But our survey is still open, so here is your chance to wreck this chart.

Around the Web: Public Property. Compelling Covers. Required Reading. Pre-PARC. Lego Lettering. Graphene Galore. Clever Clicker. Tongue TV. Fast Fitness. Visual Visage. Piscine Pilots.

Winnie the Pooh is ours now! The best book covers of 2021. What was the best book of the past 125 years? A history of the graphical user interface. All the latest textile-based graphene developments. Samsung’s new TV remote can harvest energy from your router’s radio waves. Sony’s new Bravia Cam allows you to control your TV via gestures. A lickable TV screen to sample televised tastes. McDonald’s in China is installing exercise bikes. A display, app, and platform for displaying digital facial expressions on masks. Fish can now drive cars. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s New Year’s miscellany.

Let’s Try This Again: Wide Format 2022—Seven Things to Pay Attention to

Almost against all odds, here we are in 2022, and it’s hard not to get the sense that this is our third attempt at starting 2020, building on the successes of 2019 before things went south. As we head into the new year, here are some of the topics Wide Format section editor Richard Romano has been following as they relate to wide-format printing—and, specifically, the market for wide-format printing.

A Guide to Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Fabric and Textile Printing—Print Customers Are Increasingly Requesting Greener Materials

There has been significant focus on improving sustainability in the textiles and apparel industry, and that concern for the planet is also affecting what customers are demanding in signs & display graphics, especially looking for more sustainable soft signage. What type of textile printing is greenest, and what can be done to reduce waste? These are just two of the topics addressed in this article provided by Ella Faulkner of Soyang Europe, compliments of Texinel.

HBR Study Finds 28% Lift in Sales and 600% ROI by Adding Print Catalogs

In a large-scale field study conducted by Harvard Business Review, a luxury e-commerce retailer found that by adding print catalogs, it increased sales by 28% and inquiries by 77%. It also yielded a direct ROI of 600%.

Accessible Publishing: A Valued Skill for Graphic Communicators

The last century has been a time of sweeping change for mass communication methods, and the capabilities of graphic communication firms have expanded to include non-print services such as website design and email campaign development in addition to the conversion of printed documents to the Portable Document Format (PDF), web forms, or interactive media. Hal Hinderliter explains how this list of capabilities is poised to change again, as awareness increases regarding the need for all graphic communication to be made accessible to audiences with physical or cognitive limitations.

Automation Starts with Your Print MIS/ERP

Automation is about finding recurring patterns and then taking them out of the hands of humans and into the realm of software so that repetitive tasks can be done programmatically—and “programmatically” automating anything in your business will inevitably involve your Print MIS.

Reanimating the Customer Experience: Take Radical Ownership of Outcomes

The ultimate goal of customer experience management (CXM) is to establish greater customer stability and loyalty resulting in predictable, sustainable company growth. In every customer relationship there is a time when promises made must become promises kept. Preston Herrin explains how your entire team should be acutely focused on correctly establishing, measuring, and delivering on the customers’ expectations.

Color, Your Brand, and Display Graphics: How Your Clients Perceive You Through Color

In today’s world of digital and mixed analog technologies, it can be difficult to get consistent color from different platforms. Marty Davis, President of Alder Color Solutions, explains the importance of ensuring color consistency across small- and wide-format graphics.

Heidelberg: Solidly Positioned for Growth

As the print market has evolved, Heidelberg, like all other analog and digital press manufacturers, has had to pivot to address the new market demands. For a while, their transition had been a bit rocky, but they seem to have stabilized and are now growing with an impressive line of products with more to come.

Labor Pains: The Challenge of Attracting Young Talent to the Printing Industry

Although it’s not a new problem, the labor shortage in the graphic arts industry is becoming more pressing with many industries rallying for talent—and the print industry not necessarily being seen as very attractive. A lack of new staff to fill required roles is already affecting the competitiveness of many printing companies across Europe. European section editor Ralf Schlözer look at one Millennial and Gen Z employee recruitment project underway in Europe and the lessons it can teach globally.

drupa 2021 Essentials of Print: The Digitization of Packaging

Digital packaging printing allows brands to make content decisions closer to the consumer, helping them to provide more than just the traditional containment and protection functions of the pack, with information and promotion. Digital print and finishing of packaging can provide a wider range of functions beyond analogue capabilities, which is why it is growing so quickly. Smithers’ Sean Smyth looks at the current state of digital packaging and where it’s heading.

What’s the Deal with Denim?

We all love our jeans, but consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the massive environmental impact of the denim dyeing process—chemistry, water usage, potential pollution of water sources, and so on. But there are encouraging developments underway in the world of more sustainable denim. We explore a few of them here.

October Shipments: Still On the Rise

October 2021 printing shipments came in at $7.23 billion, up from September’s $6.99 billion. This is the third month in a row in which shipments increased. Year to date, January-to-October shipments are $68.21 billion, a bit off 2020’s January-to-October number of $69.03. Unless November and December are higher than expected, 2021 will come in slightly below 2020.

Frank’s Time Bandits: 80 Years of Printing’s Past, Present, and Future

As the calendar brings us to the start of another year, Frank Romano reflects on the past in terms of printing achievements...as well as how science fiction predicted the future.

Around the Web: Locked Letters. Coffee Creativity. Clever Clip. Terrific Toaster. Neat Knife. Graphic Glasses. Lego Largesse? Ornithological Oddballs. Strategic Syrup. Gingerbread Ginmill.

Mary, Queen of Scots: champion paper folder. “Coffee spill art.” Redesigning the binder clip. The smartest toaster was invented in 1949. An Internet-enabled cutting system for printers. A monocle/eyewear system for display graphics. Is it really better to invest in Lego’s than gold? The future of the swag bag? Birds aren’t real! Taping Canada’s strategic maple syrup reserves. The future of work from home? Miller High Life’s gingerbread dive bar. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Simple Steps for Factoring SEO into Your Marketing Strategy

Search engine optimization—more commonly known as SEO—is a great way to spread the word about your business and its offerings. This article provides an excerpt of a conversation Keypoint Intelligence Consulting Editor Christine Dunne had with SEO Specialist Jeanne Visser, who shares some simple steps that print companies can take to improve the SEO of their websites and blogs.

The Best in British Hospitality Design

Want to find out what constitutes the Best in British Hospitality Product Design? Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan is anxious to share! She interviews the team at this year's award winner, The Monkey Puzzle Tree. Cool name. Even cooler designs!

A Folding Carton Converter Brewing Beer?

Printing and packaging companies are always looking for unique ways to expand and grow their businesses. While printers may have historically had a reputation for “tipping a few beers,” not every printer can be a brewer. However, this one is!

Textiles Year in Review: There Were Challenges and Successes

Cary Sherburne looks back at some of the notable new products and trends that the textile and apparel industry saw in 2021—from a growing emphasis on digital printing, new inks (especially pigment-based), and the reshoring of apparel production.

Landa Digital Press Update: Crossover Points, Installed Base, and the Value of Being Anti-Fragile

Miss the “Landa Nanographic Printing in the Market” webinar on November 3? Here is a recap of Landa’s portion of the presentation, giving an update on its expansion, its installed base of users, and what it’s learned about the crossover points with offset.

Measuring What Matters to Drive Optimal Behavior

The default approach to working is to just show up and respond to inputs. But what’s the non-default approach to work? Goal setting, which is more important than ever because we’re all drowning in our inputs. Prioritization is critical and goals help us prioritize.

Your Business: Looking Back and Looking Forward

As we come to the end of the year, Pat McGrew encourages us to reflect on the choices made over the past year and set goals for the coming year. Think about how to evaluate what we have experienced and make a practical plan for 2022.

Waste Circularity in Labels and Packaging: Fixing a Broken Recycling System

Recycling is broken, and we need processes that can handle waste instead of shifting responsibility for handling waste back onto consumers and producers, which will not solve the problem.

Graphic Communications Leadership Institute (GCLI) Completes First Full Year to Rave Reviews

As the Graphic Communications Leadership Institute (GCLI) wrapped up its first year of operation, we spoke with three participants to better understand the value they are getting from this three-year program. We also spoke with Francis McMahon of Canon Solutions America, who hosted this year’s final session.

The Year in Review: Finishing Is In It to Win It

It has been a wild year of highs and lows and unique pressures, but the print finishing category met the challenge and pushed forward with lots of new offerings and opportunities. Trish Witkowski looks at some of the highlights.

Grossman Marketing: A Case Study in Successful Business Transformation

How many companies have been able to successfully transform their businesses multiple times over a century of continuous operation? Not that many. That’s why the Grossman Marketing Group’s story is so interesting!

Products in Motion: European Print Imports and Exports

Differing labor rates, scales of operations, and specialization contribute to a busy trade in print products among European countries. This article, by European section editor Ralf Schlözer, provides an overview of the types of print products crossing borders, as well as trends that have developed over the last five years.

Other Converted Paper Product Manufacturing Employment—2010–2019

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 35,368 employees in NAICS 32229  (Other Converted Paper Product Manufacturing establishments). This NAICS category bounced up and down over the course of the 2010s, ending with 34,770 employees in 2019. In macro news: Beige Alert!

Around the Web: Polly’s Paper. Printable Pianos. Toilet Tour. Milk Monitors. Rapid Rejection. Arm Artifice. Perilous Press. Bogus Bomber. Pachyderm Parade. Nutty Nutcracker. Crazy Condiment.

Meet Polly Verity: paper sculptor. Printing playable, paper-based pianos. An exhibition of artistic toilet paper holders. New technology can detect and warn of bacterial contamination from inside a milk container. Introducing the Journal of Universal Rejection. Graphene-based batteries headed for the EV market. Attempting to use an artificial arm to fake vaccination. William Bullock, the ill-fated inventor of the web rotary press. The FBI suspected the inventor of the Tickle Me Elmo doll of being the Unabomber. How to prove the safety of the Brooklyn Bridge? A terrifying nutcracker powered by an explosive piston. “Terry’s Chocolate Orange Mayonnaise,” for some reason. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Why Can’t I Get My Paper? It’s All About the Supply Chain

Buying paper has become a convoluted process, putting stress on inventory management, procurement, and vendor-client relationships—the result of forces that had begun before the pandemic. High Rock Strategies’ Lois Ritarossi looks at some of the reasons for the paper crunch.  

Driving a New Workforce: How the Hybrid Working Trend is Affecting Print

These pandemic times continue to affect how we work as well as how we print. Many of today’s employees are more evenly splitting their time between their homes and offices, which is causing a shift in how businesses print and from where. These trends have the potential to cause across-the-board changes for vendors, OEMs, and content creators alike.

The Time is Now for Fashion to Get Wholly On Board with Sustainability!

As we move towards a sustainable future, each and every product we consume has an environmental impact. Every choice that we make as designers and printers matters and collectively, we can make a significant contribution to the environmental impact of the products we create across all commercial sectors. Together we can drive effective change for a sustainable future. That’s the message that global retail sustainability strategist Steve Lister is communicating through his participation in HP’s Sustainable Impact Series. Don't miss this important read! Or view the recorded presentation.

What’s Second-Best to In-Person Conversations? Augmented Reality—and the Data Show It

You’ve seen the data for the effectiveness of augmented reality (AR) for sales and marketing. This isn’t due to novelty. There is real psychology to why it works.

Teamwork in a Challenging Labor Market

Teamwork can be a differentiator for recruiting and hiring in a tough labor market. Technology can help set up the conditions (trust and transparency) that make teamwork possible.

The Target Report: Slugfest Breaks Out Over RR Donnelley—November 2021 M&A Activity

Chatham Asset Management Victorious in Fight Over RRD, CJK Acquires; and more…

Johnson’s World—Warming Up To Color: “Unsettled” Is a Great Book, but the Graphs Miss the Color Mark

Steven Johnson takes a look at Dr. Steven E. Koonin’s new book on climate change “Unsettled”—an excellent book that is marred by bad chart printing.

European Print Industry Snapshot: Romania

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take an updated look at the printing industry in Romania.

Time to Talk Turkey about Sales—Part 2: Remembering to Invoice

Of course, you are invoicing, but are you invoicing the correct amount? Your customer will let you know if you overcharge, but they aren’t as likely to come to you with undercharges. Pat McGrew explains why now is an excellent time to look at your invoices for the last quarter to see if you have a chronic problem.

Can the Fashion Industry Change Quickly Enough to Positively Impact Climate Change? Or Perhaps the Better Questions Is, Will They?

The fashion and textiles industry is one of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to impact on climate. There’s lots of talk from brands about how they will reduce this impact, but it’s not as straightforward as it may seem. To truly drive change, there are many friction points across the entire supply chain that need to be aggressively addressed. We discuss a few of them in this article.

The Power of Print: Shifting from Commodity to Communications

Mass digitalization and adoption of an online shopping mindset have resulted in fewer communications channels between brand and buyer. It’s no wonder that  today’s buyers prefer print over digital. Contributor Joanne Gore looks at three trends that illustrate a shift from the traditional “print is a commodity” mindset to print as a high-value communications channel.

You Can Work from Anywhere, But Can Your Technology Keep Up?

New technology solutions have opened the doors that allow work to get done from anywhere and on virtually any device, providing the resources needed to keep businesses moving ahead. Terry Antinora, VP and General Manager, Workplace Solutions Offerings at Xerox, discusses technologies that support a decentralized workforce, placing productivity at the forefront.

October Graphic Arts Employment—Print Production Up, Non-Production Also Up

In October 2021, all printing employment was up +1.0% from September, with production employment up +0.9%, and non-production printing employment up +1.2%.

Around the Web: Handy Hemp. Digital Donuts. Tarmac Trouble. Cool Calendars. Punctuation Peril. Sheet Chaise. Printed Peeper. Droid Dante. Robot Reproduction. Barbecue Busking.

Hempitecture manufactures hemp-based insulation and other construction materials. NFTs jump the latest of many sharks. Graphene helps fill in potholes. A brief history of the Advent calendar. Is the apostrophe on the way out? A chair made of interleaved sheets of paper and held together by friction. The first-ever recipient of a 3D-printed prosthetic eyeball. Robot artist Ai-Da tries her hand at poetry. A rolling piano barbecue that grills food while the keys are struck. The “social distancing zapper.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Production Inkjet: The Year in Review

In 2021, for commercial print applications, production inkjet volumes held their own, and some applications saw modest growth. While production inkjet can displace toner printed pages, and has been for well over a decade, the lion’s share of the growth opportunity is offset pages, and that will continue for the foreseeable future. David Zwang looks back at recent press introductions, many of which are targeted at that volume.

Eurojersey Leverages Digital Print for Knitted Collections

When we talk about digital print for fabrics, we are often dealing with woven fabrics. But digital print can be used with knitted fabrics as well, as demonstrated by the success of Eurojersey in introducing digitally printed knit collections. The company, based in Italy, has been around for nearly 70 years and continues to lead the market in technical fabric innovation and sustainable sourcing. With its digitally printed Sensitive® Fabrics, the company uses digital printing to give the fabric a different appearance and different properties compared to its plain color products. Learn more.

HP xRServices: A Print-Centric Mixed Reality Solution

HP has unveiled is XRServices solution, which it calls the “first print-industry mixed reality service.” This announcement represents HP’s continued investment in extended reality (XR), as the firm has already introduced a virtual reality (VR) hardware line with its Reverb series of headsets.

Latest Updates: Printing Industry Affiliates

The printing industry affiliates, under their Operating Committee structure, work together in a number of ways to support members of more than 5,000 printing companies and the printing industry as a whole. WhatTheyThink Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently spoke to the Operating Committee leadership team for an update.

Millennials Are So Yesterday…Hello, Gen Z!

If you haven’t noticed, the emphasis on marketing to Millennials is shifting. Today, it’s all about Gen Z. One of the fundamental characteristics of Gen Z, however, is that they distrust the brands trying to market to them. What does that mean for marketers?

Trying to Learn Complex Print Software by Calling Support

You can’t learn a Print MIS system by calling the support desk. One ticket at a time is not an ideal learning environment. Internal expertise and the ability to optimize your print software investments delivers value directly to your bottom line.

Digital Packaging Print Set to Grow at 11.2% Y-O-Y as It Capitalizes on Post-Pandemic Trends, Smithers Says

Packaging is becoming increasingly important to the print industry after COVID and the specific conditions of the pandemic have further accelerated the use of digital (inkjet and toner) equipment in this space. Smithers editor John Nelson offers some highlights from the new Smithers report, The Future of Digital Print for Packaging to 2026.

J.P Bobst Knows History and Is Setting the Future Stage for Packaging

A company the size and breadth of the Bobst Group plays a big role in setting the direction of the packaging industry in the future. Their core values of People, Technology, and Financial, with a strong desire to create a more sustainable future, bode well for the many changes ahead.

Koenig & Bauer Strengthens Its Position in Packaging

With the launch of the VariJET 106 and the opening of the Packaging Print Customer Center in Germany this year, it is time to review the offerings Koenig & Bauer has for the packaging market—and they are remarkably comprehensive. The article by European Section Editor Ralf Schlözer reviews the new line-up and provides some details on the recent launches.

Plan for Profitability with PlanProphet

This Product Spotlight looks at PlanProphet, a specialized, complementary solution to your print MIS that acts as your business virtual assistant. Powered by the industry-leading Salesforce CRM, PlanProphet is a cloud-based subscription software that analyzes customer data and behaviors to identify trends and automate touchpoints.

Leather Goes Vegan: Is This the Next Normal for Auto Interiors?

As the world continues to struggle with the climate change crisis, methane emissions have been tagged as a key contributor that needs to be mitigated. And cows are being targeted as a key contributor to these greenhouse gas emission levels. Do we eliminate cows completely? Or are there other solutions? This article dives into those issues.

Compu-Mail: Relevant Information to the Right Person at the Right Time

Compu-Mail is a direct marketing services and solutions company located in Grand Island, N.Y., that provides database marketing for pharmaceutical companies, statements for medical insurance and even membership cards for automobile clubs. They have built their business around the variable data printing model: “Relevant information to the right person at the right time.”

Stationery Product Manufacturing Employment—2010–2019

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 24,349 employees in NAICS 32223 (Stationery Product Manufacturing establishments). This NAICS category declined slowly over the rest of the decade, ending with 15,678 employees in 2019. Also: following up a BoSacks tweet about newspaper circulation.

Around the Web: Lovin' 'Letters. Follicle Fabrication. Canine Calling. MySpace Memories. Freaky Furby. Bar Bots. Better Batteries. Unspun Unveiled. Plague Planet. Plushie de Pain.

Newsletters continue to thrive. Making ink from human hair. The “DogPhone,” for some reason. “MySpace nostalgia,” also for some reason. Integrating a Furby into a modular synthesizer. Robot bartenders streamline drink-making. A graphene-based battery charger accelerates charging speed. 3-D weaving can produce one-off pants in 10 minutes. The Human Library aims to promote more empathetic human relations. This week’s animal plagues had a 2020 feel to them. A bread plushie.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s plague-ridden weekly miscellany.

Driving the Reinvention of Printed Textile Production Demands an Acute Knowledge of Process

Over the years, digital textile printing appears to have become much simpler; and that is a tribute to the research and development teams, who have now perfected textile printing on an industrial scale by fine tuning physical manufacturing technology alongside digital innovation. But each unique combination of design, substrate, ink type, print process and post finishing has a cumulative impact on final printed output. This article, compliments of textile expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan, explains.

Communication Channels: The Focus Should be on the Strategy!

Today’s marketers must ensure that their communications are having an impact, which can be challenging when consumers’ communication preferences are individual and ever-changing. Some marketers obsess about the method of communication when developing their campaigns, but the overall strategic vision of the campaign should ultimately drive the channels that are used to deliver that messaging.

Wide Format and Signage: Demand- and Technology-Side Drivers for 2022

As we head into 2022, we look back at some demographic trends that could prove favorable for wide-format and signage providers, as well as offer some technology trends to keep an eye out for.  

Living Walls: Great Ideas for Transforming Spaces

Over the past three to four years, there’s been a surge in the use of living walls, also known as plant walls or green walls. These modern applications cultivate a feeling of well-being in any space. While popular, most versions of these walls need care and maintenance, requiring real soils, air, light and water. FASTSIGNS walks us through some of the types of these walls seen today.

Time to Talk Turkey About Sales—Part 1: Firing Customers and Avoiding Discounts

We use the phrase “let’s talk turkey” when Thanksgiving is just over a week away…or we want the other party to know that it’s time to get to the bottom line. As you look forward to 2022, Pat McGrew talks turkey about why this is a good time to think about the bottom line for your sales teams and how they interact with customers.

What You See Is What You Get. Or Not.

We’ve all been told not to rely on the color we see on our monitors because it’s not accurate. Most of the time that’s true, because most people don’t have capable devices or those devices configured properly. Dan Gillespie, Director of Technical Services at Alder Color Solutions, compares two monitors and explains how the accuracy of a display is a function of color gamut.

Strategic Focus: Omer Kulka Explains Kornit’s Shift of Focus and View of the Industry

Kornit Digital showed a 118% year-over-year revenue increase for the second quarter of 2021. The company also has shifted its strategy a bit and made a couple of acquisitions that reflect this shift. In this Executive Q&A, Chief Marketing Officer Omer Kulka shares insight about Kornit’s strategic focus and the state of the industry at large.

Moving Pictures: Automotive Wrap Applications Can Involve More than Cars

A photo gallery of recent vehicle wrap projects for private, commercial, and even aquatic vehicles.

First Class Mail? An Uncertain Outlook for Direct Mail in Europe

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a blow to the direct mail market in Europe. However, there was already some pressure on parts of the market in the years before. European section editor Ralf Schlözer provides some details on market development and revenues achieved for direct mail in Europe.

September Shipments: We Got Good News and We Got Bad News

September 2021 printing shipments came in at $6.93 billion, up from August’s $6.87 billion. It’s not a massive increase, but we’ll take it. Year to date, January-to-September shipments are $60.48 billion, a bit off 2020’s January-to-September number of $60.97. Can we close the gap in Q4?

Around the Web: Better Breathing. Climate Catastrophe. Mrs. Mural. Tome Time. Phone Future. Zillow Zaniness. Tube Trouble. Bear Blending. Dead Doornails. Claus Crisis.

Robotic textiles that can help you breathe better. Fast fashion’s major manufacturing hubs may soon be under water. A robot painter sows the seeds of marital discord. A clock that displays the time using quotes from books. What will the smartphone of the future look like? The world’s first active heating fabric—thanks to graphene! An Indiana town is luring workers by offering free grandparents. Zillow shuts down doomed AI-based real estate valuation business. A “handheld toothpaste manipulation device” that will put toothpaste back in the tube, for some reason. Photoshopping Paddington Bear into every movie. The origin of the phrase “dead as a doornail.” The labor shortage is now getting real: there is a shortage of Santa Clauses. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Not Fast Fashion—Extraordinary Fashion: Kornit Fashion Week Rocks Los Angeles to Deliver a New Future for Apparel Production

We talk a great deal about on-demand manufacturing in textiles and apparel, but it takes more than talk. Los Angeles Fashion Week may have been a tipping point between talk and action, according to on-demand apparel manufacturer Kirby Best. Why? Take a look at this article compliments of WhatTheyThink contributor and textiles expert Debbie McKeegan that demonstrates what can be done with digital technologies to change the way we think about—and produce—fashion.

What is the Metaverse, and Why Should Businesses Care?

The term “metaverse” is being thrown around a lot lately, but what does it really mean? When we hear tech evangelists discussing the metaverse today, what they’re really talking about is user-driven interactions within virtual realities. This article explores early examples of the metaverse and highlights why businesses should be paying attention.

Product Spotlight: Canon PRISMAprepare Go

Jennifer Matt takes an in-depth look at Canon’s PRISMAprepare Go pre-production workflow solution that can be deployed and optimized in a small print facility whose primary business is processing small “upload and print” orders.

What’s New with USPS Informed Delivery?

A look at the most recent USPS Informed Delivery update, including updated user stats, the latest open and click-through rates, and new features.

Don’t Get Spooked by Salespeople!

There are two sides to every sale: the buyer and the seller. Each party usually has the support of teams that help to solidify the requirements of the sale. hardware and software acquisitions are the result of long relationships with specific salespeople or the companies they represent—but that closeness can bring bias to the sales cycle. Pat McGrew explains how not to get spooked by the friendship.

Land The Big One: Three “Big Contract” Practices that Always Work

All salespeople want bigger contracts. Big contracts are the rising tide that floats all boats. But big deals can be complex, messy, and sometimes involve moving backwards to go forwards. Contributor Lisa Magnuson identifies three practices that always work.

The Target Report: The End of the Dotcom Era—October 2021 M&A Activity

HH Global Acquires Noosh, Allan Creel Jumps Back In, PE Still Loves Labels, and more…

Leading Textile Operations Provide a Template for Increasing Sustainability in the Industry

We always talk about the fact that the textiles industry is the world’s second largest polluter. Raising this awareness is helpful, but only if companies take the initiative to change the way they operate to reduce pollution, water and energy use, shipping, and transport, all while treating workers well and providing a living wage. In this article, we document some of those initiatives that can act as a template for others to follow.

Train Your Customers: An Educated Customer Is Your Best Customer

As the pandemic changes the print-buying environment, it becomes more important for customers to understand the new technology and business practices that make buying printing easier. Contributor John Giles explains how to train your customers and establish realistic expectations.

Printing On Glass: The View of the Future Is Bright with Inkjet Technologies

Over the years, many different methods have been used to decorate glass including painting, silk screen, sandblasting, etching, and decals and cling films—and of late inkjet technology has been increasingly used. David Zwang surveys the current state of direct-to-glass printing.

Around the Web: Robot Record. Living Lava. Digital Doors. Kooky Kafka. Goofy Glasses. Vaccine Vocab. Meta Misinterpretation. Clever Cards. Arrested Android. Truck Tech. Sustainable Spirit.

A writer, musician, and AI collaborate on a new album. Seen on Halloween: a human lava lamp. Replacing clear glass cooler doors with dynamic displays, for some reason. A recently unearthed collection of drawings shows a playful side of Franz Kafka. Good grief: are full-face sunglasses becoming a thing? The OED chooses its Word of the Year. Memo to Facebook: “Meta” is similar to the Hebrew word for “death.” MasterCard adds distinctive notches to its credit, debit, and gift cards for the visually impaired. Graphene integrated into trail running shoes. Ai-Da, an “artist robot” detailed in Egypt on suspicion of espionage. Air Vodka: “the world’s most sustainable spirit.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing Employment—2010–2019

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 50,879 employees in NAICS 32222 (Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing establishments). This NAICS category peaked two years later at 54,175, declined slowly over the rest of the decade before shooting back up to 51,811 employees in 2019. In macro news, Q3 GDP growth is up 2.0%.

Are You Noticing More Holiday Catalogs This Year? You’re Not Alone!

I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of holiday catalogs I receive in the mail, but I wasn’t sure if it was just me. This article explores the changing role of printed catalogs and considers what the future might hold in today’s highly digital world.

3D Printing Shifts into Fourth Gear: It’s Time to Increase 3D Printing in Automobile Manufacturing

3D printing is accelerating in the auto industry, shifting from prototyping and tooling to finished parts. Manufacturers of consumer, commercial and military vehicles are producing original and replacement parts with plastic and metal. Contributor Pete Basiliere looks at growth trends in automotive 3D printing.

Three Ways to Prepare Cotton and Viscose Fabrics for Brighter, Sharper and More Cost Effective Inkjet Printing

Proper fabric preparation can maximize the intensity and brilliance of the printed colors and control how the ink spreads on the fabric, optimizing printing definition and delivering a better-looking end product to delight brands and consumers. As brands and designers increasingly look for ways to use cellulosic fibers such as cotton and viscose, Huntsman Textile Effects offers good advice in this article provided compliments of Texintel.

Root Cause Challenges in Print Software

Sometimes the way you’ve been managing your core business data in your Print MIS/ERP is fundamentally broken. This has a ripple effect across your business, so it’s worth the effort to clean it up. Stop ignoring the crack in your business foundation.

Are Workload Challenges Affecting Your Employees?

Workplace satisfaction matters. Unhappy employees equal higher turnover. Higher turnover equals higher HR costs and, especially in the printing industry, real concern about the ability to fill open positions. A workplace satisfaction survey from Parallax, while focused on the digital services industry, shines a spotlight on issues that many other employers should consider, including those in the printing industry.

Vehicle Visions: The Role of Textiles in Today’s Automobiles

You might be surprised at the volume and type of textiles being used in today’s vehicles—including woven, knitted, and nonwovens. Cary Sherburne takes nonwoven fabrics for a test drive, and identifies business opportunities—perhaps not so much in mass manufacturing of automobiles, but in customization of vehicles, which is growing in popularity.

drupa Essentials of Print: What’s Holding Back Digitally Printed Packaging?

It may sound unnecessarily provocative to suggest that digital print in packaging has failed to fulfil expectations, but some of the more idealistic predictions of digital conquest have not yet come to pass. What are the reasons for this? And is the post-COVID world closer to the tipping point? Tim Sykes, Brand Director at Packaging Europe, explores the barriers that may be holding back the digital tide.