One thing about a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic is that it can bring people together to come up with creative ways to help. We are starting to hear stories about how players in the textiles and apparel industry are doing just that, converting operations to the production of much-needed masks and other PPE, and we wanted to share these inspiring stories with you.
The quality of the address on a mailing list can have a significant impact. A single error in an address—a wrong/missing apartment number or an incorrect zip code—can lead to marketing messages, bills, statements, critical privacy, or compliance materials being delayed, misdelivered, or returned. Improving address quality allows your organization to control these costs, improve efficiency, deliver great customer experience, retain loyal customers, and ultimately increase revenues. Postal expert Christine Erna explains how.
As the world reels from the impact of the coronavirus and the increasing scarcity of critical medical equipment like masks, gloves, and ventilators, the 3D maker community is stepping in to do its part. Do you have a 3D printer? Join the movement.
As the articles in our series on the cannabis packaging market have shown, this is a high-growth area—but various pitfalls abound. David Zwang talks to several companies producing packaging for the cannabis market and highlights the opportunities they've found and the challenges they faced.
As the options for applied graphics proliferate, it can be a challenge for print service providers to keep up, and yet it has never been more important to understand how a material will perform both on press and on its intended surface. As a result, consumables manufactures are playing a greater consultative role.
Everyone thinks they don’t need to worry about cybersecurity—until they do. And when there is a data breach, it can be costly and embarrassing—and maybe even business-damaging. Cybersecurity expert Kevin Keane explains why printing businesses need to take data management and security seriously.
The continued evolution of digital technologies, including printing, for textile-based products has opened the door to more reshoring of manufacturing as well as on-demand production, ease of customization and more. Florida-based Catalyst Fabric Solutions is taking advantage of all of these trends for business growth.
This is an unprecedented and chaotic time, the nature of business is changing rapidly, and everyone in the organization, from the top down, feels the stress. Wayne Lynn offers some guidance for business leaders to help alleviate employee stress.
More alternatives to handshaking. A Chicago restaurant offers free...dinner rolls. “Social distancing enforcement object.” A field guide to local foliage should the TP shortage become acute. Brooklyn restaurateurs uncover a trove of historical materials from a 19th century restaurant. A woman mistakes cheese for soap. Macmillan cancels its plans to deny libraries access to ebooks. An Ice Age house made of mammoth bones. Faux stained glass window clings for airplanes. E Ink’s new tablet could be a hit. The Shaft Bottom Boys play world’s deepest concert. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly self-quarantined miscellany.
According to the latest edition of County Business Patterns, in 2017 there were 25,256 establishments in NAICS 323 (Printing and Related Support Activities). This represents a decline of 13% since the decade began.
Designers are quickly becoming aware of the new opportunities offered by digital technologies for the fashion and home décor industries. In this article, we focus in on Jie Ren and his Fashion Collections, reflecting a new era of fashion manufacturing.
Employee retention is a top-of-mind issue for nearly every organization. Proper training can improve employee retention and increase company growth. This document explores how today’s print service providers (PSPs) are allocating their training dollars.
According to new research from Printing for Less (PFL) and Demand Metric, marketers are not always using the most effective channels, even when they know what they are. Instead, they use the channels they know and are most familiar with. A look at some intriguing data on channel use and channel effectiveness, including types of direct mail.
The second in a series of articles about the current cannabis landscape, and the potential opportunities in cannabis product packaging. Market research from Smithers—The Future of Cannabis Packaging to 2024—forecasts that as this market evolves, the value of the packaging for legal cannabis products will rise from $493 million to exceed $1.63 billion in 2024.
We find ourselves in difficult times, the conditions of which are delivering a window of opportunity to do strategic projects that will accelerate your business when the economic engine starts running at full speed again.
The first in a series of articles about the current cannabis landscape. While this is a high-growth market opportunity for packaging converters, it is also still a Wild West environment, and there are many misunderstandings about what it is comprised of, what’s legal and what’s not, and what the actual benefits of cannabis-derived products are from a health and well-being perspective. In this introductory feature, Cary Sherburne provides an overview of the current state of the market, including definitions, and applications, as well as developments in packaging and even apparel.
One of the popular additions to print shops around the world is the ability to create products that add white ink, embossing, debossing, foil, iridescent and neon colors, metallics, varnishes, texture, and unique folds to create high value. We call it CYMK+ because much of this work is created on digital presses and the ability to add enhancements is the plus. The breadth of options for enhancement provide myriad possibilities, but that might make it hard to find a talk track for the sales team. In this two-part feature, Pat McGrew walks through the steps to sell CMYK+ capabilities.
Last week we attended RadTech’s 2020 UV+EB Technology Conference in Orlando. Richard Romano reports on some of the new trends in energy-cured inks for packaging, 3D printing, and how UV technology is helping combat the coronavirus.
We all love our blue jeans. They are comfortable, often stylish, but what about their impact on the environment? What if you could have a pair of jeans with an almost indistinguishable look on the outside, but silky soft on the inside, with a 97% water footprint reduction? Sound impossible? With new fabric printing technologies, it’s totally achievable. Read what Dalton Cheng of Intech has to say on this subject and more.
Printed electronics have been hyped as a potential growth area for printers for years. Pete Basiliere offers a reality check on the current state of printed electronics, what some top applications are, and what printers need to know if they want to pursue them.
A round up of some virus-laden news items. Apple’s Quick Look adds AR to shopping. Virtual fashion makes “fit pics” sustainable. A Dutch shopping mall that doesn’t sell anything. “Geofencing warrants” trace geolocation data to crime scenes. Building a crab infrastructure on Christmas Island. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
In February 2020, overall printing employment was virtually unchanged from January (-0.1%) and on a year-over-year basis was down -2.0%. Interestingly, production employment was up, albeit infinitesimally.
On the heels of the HP PageWide announcement last week, HP Indigo has now announced some significant technology and product advancements which seem to reaffirm industry shifts, but more importantly highlight the company’s direction going forward.
Virtually every printed document requires some type of finishing. The expanding array of digital printing methods has changed the nature of finishing from large-scale devices focused on offset printing to automated methods that often occur alongside a production digital printer. To reach its true potential, the role of finishing must evolve as well. Recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends offers important insights on how print service providers (PSPs) can leverage finishing to win business and drive profitability.
Having employees that are engaged in and satisfied with their jobs can give a business a powerful competitive edge. In this article, Wayne Lynn looks at the positive impacts that engaged employees can have on a print business’ bottom line.
As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, the Customer Communications Management (CCM) market is undergoing radical changes on an evolutionary scale. In order to better understand the forces behind this evolution, late last year Aspire CCSsurveyed businesses across the globe, interviewed stakeholders in every facet of the market, and published an extensive report entitled “The State of CCM-to-CXM Transformation.” This four-part series, published in partnership with WhatTheyThink, will take a look at some of the key takeaways from this research by first examining the forces driving this evolution.
HP likes to combine technology innovation with the release of a new press. In this case, the new innovation is HP Brilliant InkTMand the press is the new HP PageWide Web Press T250 HD. Targeted at commercial and publishing markets, initially Brilliant InkTMadds compatibility with offset coated and uncoated media through the selective use of a new HP Optimizer. This brings HP PageWide to the level of media handling capabilities of the competing Canon ProStream and Ricoh VC70000.
As of this morning, the ISA Sign Expo 2020 is still a go. This year, the show heads to Orlando April 1–4, with four days of educational sessions and its continuously expanding exhibition floor. We spoke with Brandon Hensley, ISA’s Chief Operating Officer, and Iain Mackenzie, ISA’s VP of Meetings & Events, for a preview of this year’s show.
In 2019, packaging will reach a total global value of $917 billion with demand growing steadily at 2.8% yearly to reach $1.05 trillion in 2024.Rising incomes, growing populations, and rising urbanization are some of the key growth drivers for the global packaging market, according to The Future of Global Packaging to 2024, a new study from Smithers.
Expect to see accelerating developments in smart textiles through 2020 and beyond. A few of the more recent developments are explained in this article by Senior Editor Cary Sherburne, who is keeping tabs on this market segment and the exciting news coming out almost daily. Be sure to check out WhatTheyThink’s Around the Web every Friday for additional smart textile news.
Kevin Shimamoto is the CMO of Memjet, a company that is positioned to provide the tools for the next generation of printing applications. His background, and the Memjet mission, is a great story that brings energy and innovation to print.
A close look at what CBD does in the body. Have we killed the apostrophe? Terry Jones’ final project. Beehive theft is now a thing. Which decade had the biggest hair? A history of sneaker design. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
According to the latest edition of County Business Patterns, in 2017 there were 1,373 establishments in NAICS 32312 (Support Activities for Printing). The majority of these establishments (66%) had fewer than 10 employees.
There have been many advances in ink sets for digital textile printing over the last several years. Are you up to date with the latest information? This article will give you insight into five ink types available, how they work, and which fabric types they are suited for.
Thanks to an abundance of online information, many buyers conduct a good amount of research on their own before they even engage with a sales rep. This places additional pressure on sales organizations and their reps. This article provides tips on creating a sales process that will engage more customers and close more business.
Today I received a marketing letter that was an interesting twist on the use of faux handwriting to make a communication feel more personal. But instead of the handwriting being on the front, it peeked through a window on the back.
A designer can create a fantastic-looking printed piece, but great design doesn’t mean much if it can’t physically be printed. ColorKarma’s Shoshana Burgett discusses how the technological limitations imposed on designers—whether it be web or print—can actually be empowering.
On the 20th anniversary of Enfocus PitStop Server, one of the earliest of the automated workflow tools, there is a broader movement to bring automation tools to the next level in order to support the new business and production requirements of today and tomorrow.
WhatTheyThink’s annual printing industry outlook report, including the results of our Fall 2019 Business Outlook survey, is now available in our Report Store. This article offers some of the top-level results from that survey.
There is a secret sales strategy known as the “Win Theme”: a sales approach that aligns a prospect’s priorities and goals with your company’s strengths. Lisa Magnuson explains how you can use Win Themes to turn your prospects into customers.
With the growing share of digital print for textiles, software and workflow can often be more critical than the printing engine itself. In this article, we provide information about software RIPs and their role in the digital fabric printing process.
A possible alternative to the handshake. Both the Smithsonian and the Biodiversity Heritage Library have released thousands of images into the public domain. Libraries are ditching overdue fines. Take the Swedish Design Museum home with you. Believe it or not, printed catalogs and the mail order business may be in the process of restoration—if not Restoration. Inside the NY DOT inplant and Stop sign manufacturing. Rough weather for a meteorologist who left an AR filter on his broadcast. Stop-motion animation using pancakes. The best thing since sliced...mayonnaise? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for January 2020, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $529.8 billion, an increase of +0.3% (±0.4%) from the previous month, and +4.4% (±0.7%) above January 2019. Retail drives a lot of printing and packaging volume, so it’s important to keep an eye on that sector.
Providers of transactional communications must continually reinvent themselves to keep up with consumers’ changing preferences and work to effectively deliver their messages. Above all, today’s consumers are demanding a say in the way that their providers communicate with them. This document provides data points from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends’ most recent transactional communications survey to underscore the importance of choice in delivering a positive customer experience.
Fueled by mindset, society, and technology, a new generation of business buyers is forcing companies to re-think how they approach every aspect of their business. As a result, marketers across all industries are investing in solutions that help capture, distill, and present customer data—and automating how leads are generated, scored, nurtured, and converted from suspect to prospect to customer. Joanne Gore examines the current marketing automation landscape.
It's easy to get into a panic when you wake up to the reality that your approach to software in your print business requires a major overall. It probably took you years to get into this state; don’t freak out because it could take years to crawl out of it. The best thing to do is to calmly prioritize and then start making incremental progress.
Xanté has launched an alternative to the QR code called InfoMark that lets writers and other content creators “attach” multimedia elements to print via a unique four-digit code. We gave InfoMark a spin to see how it worked.
No one likes reviews, but they can be a necessary evil. In this article, Pat McGrew explains how acquiring comprehensive data about jobs sold—and keeping that job database updated—can make the review process quick and painless.
As the market for wearable technology continues to evolve, UK-based Dresscode has taken a unique approach with CashCuff, the world’s first smart payment shirt. See what founder and CEO Andy Boothman has to say about the origin of the company and its strategy for the future.
There is a surge in demand for printed books, driven by two trends: self-publishing and on-demand printing, both enabled by digital printing technology. Of the 700 million books produced in the U.S. last year, about half were printed on demand using digital technology. Frank Romano profiles Lowell, Mass.’s King Printing Company, which takes on-demand book printing to the next level.
The latest edition of County Business Patterns is out, which updates number of establishments and other data to 2017. In that year, there were 500 establishments in NAICS 323117 (Book Printing). The majority of these establishments (63%) had fewer than 10 employees.
An LED light system to add high visibility to safety apparel. Forevernote will preserve your family memories—professional biographer included. The Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry. “Bracelet of silence” keeps Alexa from eavesdropping. Weird punctuation in film titles. Turn Microsoft Excel into a drum machine. A Victorian shop manager quits in protest over bar codes. KFC and Crocs team up for...huh? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Late last year, Frank Romano completed History of Desktop Publishing, the third book in a trilogy that includes History of the Linotype Companyand History of the Phototypesetting Era. This book, described by Jonathan Seybold as a “Tour de Force,” is enriched with Frank’s deep knowledge of the history of the printing industry. This article offers an overview of some of the book’s highlights.
The push and pull between creatives and production professionals occurs in just about every industry, including textiles. Creatives want bold designs that enhance their portfolios and bring beauty to the world. Production folks just want something that they can produce! Helping bridge that gap is the topic of today’s article by WhatTheyThink contributor and textiles expert Debbie McKeegan.
According to new research, marketing technology does more than make marketing automation easier. It results in higher response rates and higher ROI. A look at a study from Printing for Less (PFL) and Demand Metric.
Christine Erna explains how direct mail printers can use “enhanced print” technologies to increase engagement, generate new leads, track real-time results, and stay top of mind with customers and prospects.
As we continue to cover the burgeoning cannabis market and the business opportunities it offers, we spent time talking with Chris Cooper, CEO of California-based Lucent Botanicals, who has taken a different approach to CBD that is taken orally—mints enhanced with a variety of herbs and essences to tune their effects to different consumer requirements. He also shared his packaging strategy for these unique products.
Wide-format printing often involves a phenomenon called “apparent resolution,” which can be quite different than a print’s actual resolution. An image designed to be viewed up close, like a photograph in a magazine or direct mail piece, will have a different apparent resolution—and thus resolution requirement—than one designed to be viewed from a long ways away. Taking apparent resolution into account was the raison d’êtreof a new specification for sign and display graphics just released by the Ghent Workgroup.
In an industrial inkjet environment, a lot of pieces go into creating a specialized solution, but it’s the raster image processor (RIP) that does the heavy lifting. Elizabeth Gooding takes a detailed look at all the criteria to keep in mind when selecting RIP software for an industrial printing workflow.
Technology and a changing print product mix drive changes in the distributor–client relationship. We spoke with Matt Bruno and Nathan Goldberg of the PSDA to get a bead on how the non-asset-based print sales market has evolved.
To pang-wangle is to live or go along cheerfully in spite of minor misfortunes. That’s exactly what Jennifer John is doing with her Pang Wangle fashion business, creating sustainable fashion ideal for hot, buggy climates such as is experienced in her home state of Louisiana. We spoke to Jennifer to learn more about her background, her growing business, and the challenges she faced finding just the exact right fabric for her unique creations.
The value of printing shipments for December 2019 was down from November—as we expected it would be—but not down as much as been the case in recent years. At $6.95 billion, December shipments were down from November’s $7.03 billion, but far above the depths of 2017 and 2018.
Royalty-free illustrations from old books. A Japanese artist hand-draws every meal he eats. A new book teaches hand-lettering. An Ohio man receives 55,000 copies of the same letter from his daughter’s Student Loan Company. A reimagining (and improvement) of Garfield. Printed greeting cards are still in fashion. Making 3D printing resin from old fryer oil. Why are people getting worse at The Price Is Right? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Every business has employees who don’t perform as expected, or even as well as you as a manager know they are capable of performing. Why is that? There are a number of reasons why employees underperform, and they aren’t all the fault of the employee in question. Wayne Lynn details four primary reasons that people underperform on the job, and what employers can do about it.
Regardless of our job responsibilities, we, as employees and businesses, should be putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes and asking ourselves why should they buy from us? This article explores some of the questions that marketers can ask themselves to help improve sales success.
Reports like Resonate’s “State of the Consumer Report” provide valuable insight into buyer types and how to understand and segment them in ways that help you develop great targeted copy. But before you can develop personalized or targeted content, there is a more fundamental question to ask. Once this question is answered, your targeting and personalization efforts will have maximum success.
Your software investments deserve big picture, strategic planning. It’s time to step back and assess your core business processes and how software helps, hinders, optimizes, or ideally automates the steps required everyday to deliver on your customer promises.
Printing and printed packaging remains an important industry sector in 2019, with a value of more than $826 billion in sales supporting paper and substrate suppliers, ink makers, plate and cylinder suppliers, and high-tech printing equipment manufacturers. This article, adapted from a new Smithers report, looks at the future of global print to 2024.
Which print sales people are compensated for a sale, and at what rate, is often part of a contractual relationship between the company and the sales representative, but not always. Sometimes the relationships are based on “how things have always been done” or verbal agreements. And not every deal brought in is a winner. As a result, some kind of periodic review is necessary for the business to effectively allocate its production resources. In Part 1 of a new series, Pat McGrew discusses sales review processes.
At the recent EFI Connect 2020 conference, Lynn Smith from The Sourcing Group spoke on the customer panel, sharing The Sourcing Group’s unique story. We followed up with her afterward to get more details on this print-related Business Process Optimization (BPO) company.
The latest edition of County Business Patterns is out, which updates number of establishments and other data to 2017. In that year, there were 5,186 establishments in NAICS 323113 (Commercial Screen Printing). The majority of these establishments (74%) had fewer than 10 employees.
A new typeface raises awareness of, and helps fund a cure for, Parkinson’s Disease. Pineapple wool aims to replace sheep. A shark-proof wetsuit. Dye-sub transfer for non-polyester fibers. Japan experiments with robot bartenders. Private equity tries to acquire .org domain registry. Scorigami tracks rare football scores. Former newspaper headquarters have become luxury apartments. A Florida brewery puts pictures of adoptable rescue dogs on beer cans—and one woman finds her lost dog. Motorcycle hearses for uneasy riders. Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney once collaborated on an animated short film. “Uber for lavatories.” Faking a traffic jam on Google Maps. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
This article considers how the shift from mobile-based to headset-based augmented reality (AR) will impact augmented print offerings. It also explores when print service providers can expect to see the first mainstream AR headset and which company will likely introduce it.
As the world’s second largest polluter, the textiles and apparel industry has placed a huge focus on improving supply chain management to reduce its environmental footprint. WhatTheyThink contributor and textiles expert Debbie McKeegan talks about how digital textile printing can be a key to this effort, unlocking the supply chain while offering speed and sustainability.
According to data from Evergage/Research International, marketers are starting to “get” one of the most fundamental values of personalized experiences. Yes, personalization drives immediate sales, but more importantly, it creates better customer experiences and higher customer loyalty, which drive better ROI over time. The shift from a short-term to a long-term perspective is great news for everyone producing personalized campaigns, whether they are doing online personalization or not.
We have spent decades focusing and optimizing the production floor (where there is no carpet). It is time to focus our energies on the carpeted areas of the business which impact customer’s perceptions of our business.
Omni-channel campaigns have become old hat; marketers today are looking beyond omni-channel to fully immersive customer experiences, often using augmented reality. Colorkarma’s Shoshana Burgett looks at some cutting-edge examples.
High color corrugated packaging is growing and will continue to grow. The run sizes are getting smaller to adapt to the new market requirements, and the opportunities for print service providers to jump on this moving train abound. In Part 3 of this series, I focus on the available preprint solutions with some limited product mentions. Selecting which method is better is really based on a lot of factors, including your market opportunities, capital investment, production costs, and internal skills. Although making that determination also involves board and run size as well. Both analog and digital presses are and will continue to be in the mix and grow. It’s a pretty exciting time with some great opportunities.
You can’t attend any textiles and apparel events or speak with industry professionals without the subject of workforce challenges arising. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Marilyn McNeil-Morin about the Fashion Exchange program at Toronto’s George Brown College that has programs in place to help address these issues.
In December 2019, overall printing employment dropped -0.2% from November, and on a year-over-year basis, it is down -2.4%. Production employment was down -0.5% from November to December (and -4.4% Y/Y) while non-production employment was down -0.1% from November to December—but actually up +1.7% Y/Y.
The growing market for paper straws. A slow elevator designed for fast meetings. A paperboy helps save a restaurant from fire. A balloon-based fashion collection. A new book collects old airline maps. Another new book collects photographs of famous economists. Which classic novels are the most-loved—and most-hated? Contact lens-based displays. Are new running shoes “technological doping”? Merit badges for—oy—“adulting.” Three words: “meat cleaver massage.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Although UV technology currently dominates the inkjet printing market, aqueous printing is gradually rising. This article provides a brief overview of the inkjet printing market and considers what the future may hold for UV and aqueous technologies.
EFI Connect 2020 marked the 21st year this user conference has been held, and the 13th year it has been hosted at the Wynn Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas. This edition marked a year of dramatic change for the company, with the departure of long-time CEO Guy Gecht, a short-lived CEO in Bill Muir, and an acquisition by Siris Group that took the company from public to private. EFI Connect 2020 was an opportunity for customers to gain first-hand insight into what these changes might mean for them.
Demand growth for retail-ready packaging is originating within emerging and transitional economies, with Asia-Pacific accounting for 4.5 million metric tons—nearly half the total global demand—according to Smithers’ latest report, The Future of Retail-Ready Packaging to 2024.
When we think about creating relevance in marketing communications, we think about personalizing based on traditional factors such as demographics and past purchases. But the principle of “liking” adds another useful dimension to the equation.
Describe your business challenges: be specific, be precise. Then let go of any attachment to the “how this business challenge gets solved by print software.” You want your business challenges solved. One of the fastest ways to solve them is to describe them accurately and then to be open to all the possible solutions.
In Part 2 of this series, I focus on the available digital post-print solutions with some limited product mentions. Leading up to drupa, I will cover some of the offerings in greater depth. All of the solutions discussed here are “single pass” printers, where the printheads are stationary and only the media moves. They include complete corrugating equipment with built in printing, to a tabletop printer with lots of other options in between. Equipment pricing ranges from in excess of $4MM to as low as $19K. In summary: Lots of Choices!
Since its founding in 2002, Phoenix, Ariz.’s Custom Graphix Signworks has cornered the market on that most commoditized of wide-format applications: banners. We spoke with Mladen Mike Mirkovic, founder and principal of Custom Graphix.
At last month’s AATCC/SGIA Digital Textile Printing Conference 4.0, I had the pleasure of meeting Jonathan Tio and his brother Patrick of California-based Prima-Tex. His active and informed participation in the conference discussions were an inspiration, and he agreed to a subsequent interview for this article.
One of the most important activities at the start of the year is a quick review of the processes that go into ensuring the smooth flow of business. Often overlooked is how sales team members gather the information needed to bring a job into production, whether it is a new job or one that has been in production for years. Pat McGrew offers a template to use to standardize the information captured during the sales process.
The latest edition of County Business Patterns is out, which updates the number of establishments and other data. In 2017, there were 25,256 establishments in NAICS 323 (Printing and Related Support Activities). The majority of these establishments (71%) have fewer than 10 employees.
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.