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Frank Romano Remembers John Peterson

John Peterson, a major figure in the typesetting industry, passed away last year. Frank Romano offers a remembrance.  

Will the Humble Silkworm Soon Be Out of a Job?

If you are interested in textiles and how they are woven through human history (pun intended), The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World is a well-written and very informative history of how fabrics have been part of human history from the beginning. In this article, we take a look at silk—not it’s history so much, but at where it might go from here.

Wide-Format ’21: Reasons to Be Over-Optimistic

As we enter 2021, we have reasons to be optimistic, maybe even over-optimistic. So let’s put the old year behind us (to the extent that we can), jump feet-first into the new one, and resolve never to use terms like “the new normal” or “pivot” ever again. Instead, let’s look at some of the substantial new opportunities for wide-format graphics and signage. What can we be over-optimistic about?

Stationery Product Manufacturing Establishments—2012–2018

In 2010, there were 496 establishments in NAICS 32223 (Stationery Product Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 359. In macro news, retail sales for November took a dip.

Around the Web: Fashionable Fit. Glorious Graphene! Printed Pollen. Code Creator. Plastic Pets. Quantifying Quotes. Kitten Concert. Machinery Making Modern Music. Festive Fire.

Amazon launches made-to-measure T-shirts. 3D printing with graphene. 3D printing pollen grains. Checking in with the inventor of the QR code. Are robot pets a solution for COVID-induced loneliness? A “find the fake written language” visual test.” A European map of different forms of quotation marks. The dispute over Cap’n Crunch’s rank. Sax kittens. ELECTRONICOS FANTASTiCOS! Poems based on A Christmas Carol. Replace the Yule Log with this Dumpster fire video. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s blizzard of miscellaneous items.

K, Then: What’s In Store for Retail

“Retail” embodies vastly different kinds of businesses, all of which have fared differently during the pandemic. As a result, rather than V-shaped, perhaps we should think of it as a K-shaped recovery. But what does that mean for retail graphics?

Uncovering New Opportunities for Print During Unprecedented Times

Although the ongoing pandemic is certainly not the first hurdle that the printing industry has encountered, printers have proven themselves to be very resilient during challenging times. Past recessions have certainly impacted the print industry, but they didn’t happen seemingly overnight the way COVID did. This article explores how PSPs are leveraging their core competencies to uncover new opportunities that will carry them to the future.

Looking Back at 2020 in Europe

2020 was not the year we expected it to be. WhatTheyThink European section editor Ralf Schlözer reviews some of the key developments that shaped the printing and communication industry in 2020 in Europe—and most likely in the years to come.

Positive Fashion: The Future of On-Demand Apparel and the Print Technologies That Will Deliver Sustainable Textile Production

How do you switch an entire industry to sustainable technologies and increased profitability? It’s been done in the past, of course, but never on the scale of the multi-trillion-dollar textiles and apparel industry. While it may seem impossible to turn this large ship in a new direction, the past year has caused some significant shifts to happen. Here’s what textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan has to say about this shift and what it may mean for the future.

Print Is “Virtually” Everywhere: How 2020 Re-Shaped the Way the Print Industry Communicates and Engages

2020 has forced us to rethink every aspect of business, including where and how it’s conducted. Thankfully, we have the technology, skillset and expertise to create a better customer experience, share and engage with buyers, partners, and customers, and showcase our essential role as print professionals. Contributor Joanne Gore looks at the changes the year has wrought on the way we communicate.

Poll: Pandemic Is Fueling a Resurgence in QR Codes

Is the COVID-19 pandemic fueling a rise in the use of QR codes? Yes, and for a simple reason—they provide a safe, touchless way to communicate between businesses and their customers. We see this anecdotally, but data from a recent poll by MobileIron support this observation, as well.

AATCC Update and Industry Outlook: Q&A with Executive Vice President Diana Wyman

Cary Sherburne talks to Diana Wyman, Executive Vice President at the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC), about the state of the association, the occasion of its 100-year anniversary, and its upcoming plans.

COVID-19 Sales Strategy: Think of Your Customer’s Customer

Selling during the pandemic is like selling during a widespread economic downturn. You have to figure out the market segments who are least impacted or, in COVID-19’s case. find the companies who are positively impacted. Directing your sales efforts is critical to closing new business.

Marc Olin on Life After EFI

Marc Olin co-founded ProGraph in 1989 right out of college and has stayed with the same company through its many iterations since, through formation of PrintCafe and acquisition by EFI. Effective December 1, 2020, Olin has left EFI to explore his next chapter. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Olin to revisit history and get a look toward the future for this industry veteran who has contributed much to the industry over the years.

Textiles in 2020: A Year Like No Other

The COVID crisis laid bare the weaknesses and fragility of the textiles supply chain, and brought to the fore a renewed interest in and need for digital textile production and more environmentally sustainable practices. Cary Sherburne takes a look back at the year in textiles.

How It Started and How It’s Going: The Wide-Format Year in Review

A recap of the top wide-format and signage trends and new products that hit the market in 2020.

European Print Industry Snapshot: Turkey

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 last installment for 2020 features a look at the printing industry in Turkey.

The Year of Imposed Flexibility: A Look Back at Finishing in 2020

Trish Witkowski looks back at the major trends in binding and finishing—including a growing interest in embellishments, book-of-one, and robots/cobots/automation. She also looks at a large handful of new products and solutions that hit the market in 2020.

ISA Quarterly Economic Report Finds Improvement in Q3, but Recovery Is Still a Long Ways Off

According to the Q3 2020 ISA Quarterly Economic Report, it’s going to be a long, hard slog to full recovery, and not just domestically. 2021 will be an improvement, but don’t expect the “new normal” (whatever that is) until 2022.

Sizing the European Printing Industry: France

With €7.6 billion in revenue and more than 50,000 employees, the graphic arts industry in France is sizeable and the fourth biggest in Europe. But there are additional print segments as well adding to a total print market of close to €16.1 billion. This is the fourth installment of a series of articles on the size of and trends in the printing industry in key countries in Europe.

AATCC/PRINTING United Alliance Host Successful Digital Textile Printing Conference

As was the case with so many events this year, the Digital Textile Printing Conference, hosted by AATCC and the PRINTING United Alliance, was held virtually over two days. The inability to meet in person didn’t stop these organizations, their speakers, and attendees from spending quality time reviewing the latest trends and looking ahead to 2021 and beyond.

October Printing Shipments—The "Best" October in Five Years?

In October 2020, printing shipments rose to $7.63 billion—the fifth straight month of increasing shipments, as the industry rebound from the depths of the spring continues.  

Around the Web: Current Color. Word Weary. Jarring Jargon. Curtailed Catalog. Bicycling Bookseller. Expanding Everest.

Pantone announces its color(s) for 2021. Various dictionaries announce their “words of the year.” A lexicon of annoying marketing buzzwords. Sigh: IKEA discontinues its print catalog. The IOC adds breakdancing to the 2024 Olympic Games. Get books delivered the same day by bicycle (offer only available in Milan). Know your US states—or lack thereof. Mt. Everest gets bigger. The Immortal Bard gets vaccinated. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s continuing to get into the seasonal sprit miscellany.

How Screenworks Is Gearing up for (Even More) Customization by Blending Screen Printing with Investment in Kornit Digital DTG Technology

UK-based Screenworks is accelerating its growth by blending screen printing with digital printing, including investments in tools and solutions to enable production of a catalog of protective, antiviral, promotional, workwear, and day-to-day wear products and accessories. Read more from textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan.

How Enterprises Can Achieve CXM in the New Digital Reality

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 CCS surveyed 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.” The final entry in a four-part series focuses on how enterprises can leverage the unique forces currently disrupting the industry to transform their customer communications workflow into a vehicle that drives revenue by maximizing a consumer’s lifetime value.

Why E-Commerce Is More Important than Ever

E-commerce is likely having a significant impact on your processes and business prospects. This article explores the growing importance of e-commerce and highlights how printing companies can use it to their advantage during these changing times.

Ricoh Enters the Cutsheet Production Inkjet Press Market with a Game Changer

Ricoh is not a newcomer to production inkjet. But as a late-comer to cut-sheet production inkjet, how do you compete with both the existing B2+ and A3 presses in the market at the same time? Apparently, they figured it out!

Labels and Packaging 2020: The Year in Review

2020 was a transformative year, not so much for new and significant developments in label and packaging printing technologies—although there were some—but for triggering increased awareness of the value of digital packaging production. David Zwang looks back at the year’s label and packaging products and technologies.

Print Sales Calls: Who’s in Charge of the Conversation?

When a print buyer wants to know your sweet spot or equipment list of upfront, what is the right approach? Pivot the conversation to needs and solutions? Or answer the buyer’s questions?

Johnson’s World—Go Ahead, Judge Me: Christmas Cards and Politics Can Go Hand-in-Hand

In Johnson’s World, a Christmas card sent last Christmas allowed him to make an informed political choice in the last election. Read about how and judge for yourself.

The Future of Print Customer Service

The future of your customer service department still involves skilled labor. In fact, the labor is more skilled than it is today and it will be able to handle more volume because of the self-service tools your customers will have access to. Customer service will turn into customer success—a proactive element to drive more business and maintain loyalty thru convenience.

Executive Q&A with EFI: Chief Revenue Officer Frank Mallozzi Shares the Latest Updates

Cary Sherburne talks to EFI’s Frank Mallozzi about the launch of the second-generation Nozomi digital corrugated press, its trade event plans, and winning an InterTech Award for the EFI Reggiani BOLT digital textile printer.

A Good Year for Software: The New Infrastructure of Your Print Business

WhatTheyThink Print Software section editor Jennifer Matt looks back at the year 2020 in software, some of the trends that emerged from the pandemic, and how software has become an important element in helping print companies adapt and pivot.

The Transformation of a Classic: Duggal Visual Solutions

Duggal Visual Solutions is a company that has been growing and transforming itself since its inception in 1963, and through it all has maintained their core values of high quality and service to their customers. They have proved that they can, and will, continue to innovate and transform to meet the changing needs of visual communications.

Dystopia, Social Justice, and Steamy Romance—November 2020 M&A Activity

Bertelsmann buys Simon & Schuster and Quad’s Book Plant, I.D. Images acquires Pointil Systems, Graphic Village adds a tuck-in, and more…

How Much Sewing Automation is Enough?

Manufacturing automation in textiles and apparel is moving ahead apace, accelerated by advances in digital technology. But the remaining “last mile,” sewing, continues to be a barrier to reshoring of apparel manufacturing on a large scale. This article explores some of the efforts underway to automate sewing and what impact that could have on the future of apparel manufacturing in North America and Europe.

Inkjet, TikTok, and Happy New Year: The Year in Review

Inkjet Insight’s Elizabeth Gooding  rounds up the production inkjet press launches serving the document and publishing market in 2020, when they were announced, when they will be commercially available, and the related development trends.

Develop New Agility Phase Two: Plan from the Foundation

In part two of Preston Herrin’s ongoing series about building an agile business, he describes how to tap into the power source of organizational agility: employees.

Stand Out from the Crowd: Five Keys to an Effective Resume

With so many people out of work and many companies struggling due to the pandemic, competition for available jobs is fiercer than ever. it is ever more critical that resumes are structured to meet today’s very different needs in order to stand out and be considered in the job application process. PrintLink’s Arnold Kahn and Dino Scalia offer five ways to get your resume to rise to the top of the pile.

Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2012–2018

In 2012, there were 348 establishments in NAICS 322219 (Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 290. In macro news, highlights (if you want to call them that) from the most recent Federal Reserve “Beige Book.”

Around the Web: Electronic Epidermis. Plunging Profits. Lovely Landscapes. Monolith Mystery. Ersatz Ebenezer. Festively Financial. Simulated Santa. Merry Mask.

Why get a smartwatch or some other wearable when you can get electronic skin? Global fashion industry profits are expected to plummet precipitously this year. Winners of this year’s International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards. One word: monolith. Theaters get creative in staging “A Christmas Carol.” Gift ideas for designers and type lovers. A bank turns its building into an Advent calendar. Good grief: Zoom Santa. Get your Santa mask! All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s slowly getting into the seasonal sprit miscellany.

Print Marketing During COVID-19

Many months in, we’re still struggling to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that PSPs still have options to connect with their customers and prospects. This article highlights some data from Keypoint Intelligence that seeks to illuminate these possibilities.

The Digital Textile Industry Looks Forward to an On-Demand Future with Incredible Opportunities: Growing 230% By 2025

Looking for a growth opportunity? Look no further than the digital textile industry. A recent report from Allied Market Research predicts that digital textile printing will grow by over 230% by 2025. This is at least partly driven by a reduction in the cost of digital textile inks. Read what textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan has to say about this opportunity.

Lessons in Success During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Part 2)

As it has become clear that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be deeper and longer than many expected, printers have an important question to ask: What differentiates the companies that thrive during a recession and those that do not? In this Part 2 on this topic, we look at two additional examples of printing companies that have invested and innovated their way to success.

European Print Industry Snapshot: Portugal

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 features a look at the printing industry in Portugal.

Our Customers Don’t Want to Order Online

Humans resist change, even when it provides them real value. If you need a group of humans to change, you have to think about your approach in order to optimize the outcomes. This applies to your existing customers and how they engage with your business.

European Print Imports and Exports

Billions of euros’ worth of printed products are exported and imported across borders in Europe, although the amounts traded and trade balance differ a lot from country to country. European section editor Ralf Schlözer takes a look at the five biggest print markets in Europe and their print trade numbers.

Epson Launches Its First UV Flatbed Printer Series

Epson fills out its wide-format portfolio with the SureColor V7000 Series, the company’s first UV flatbed. The debut unit is the 4 x 8-foot, 10-color SureColor V7000.

Two Years On: Evaluating Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation

More than two years have passed since Europe’s privacy regulation—the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—went into effect. WhatTheyThink European section editor Ralf Schlözer takes a look at what its impact has been, what its effects on print have been, and why printers and marketers even outside the EU should care about it.

Sustainability Efforts Escalate in the Textiles and Apparel Supply Chain

As we wrap up 2020, let’s take a few minutes to look back over what has been a difficult year and highlight a bright spot for the textiles and apparel industry: increased efforts to reinvent the textiles and apparel supply chain, which has been hard hit by the pandemic and the resulting economic disruptions. Inside that effort is an increased focus on sustainability from both establish brands and suppliers and new emerging players.

Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018

In 2010, there were 825 establishments in NAICS 32222 (Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 725, despite a spurt of growth in 2012. In macro news, initial unemployment claims were 742,000, an increase of 31,000 from the previous week's revised level. 

Around the Web: Fabric Felony. Cinematic Simoleons. Top Technologies. Glorious Graphene. Foul Fiction. Prescient Painting? Curious Cannonballs. Calligraphic Colognes. Baffling Block. Turkey Toque.

The knitwear industry is particularly susceptible to money laundering. Movie money looks pretty genuine—but it shouldn’t look too real. Graphene! The annual Bulwer-Lytton Awards. Does a 19th-century Austrian painting depict a smartphone? It’s one of the most iconic war photographs ever—but was it staged? Colognes that smell like ink. Blow your mind with the "Block Universe Theory." All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s wrecking ball miscellany.

Strategic People Management

As millennials move into leadership and ownership responsibilities in our industry they are uniquely positioned and qualified to take a strategic view of the management and development of our human assets. In this article, Wayne Lynn takes a look at this opportunity and how it can be capitalized upon. Read on to see how the future can be better shaped by better use of our people.

Developing Successful Direct Mail Campaigns in the COVID Era

In today’s business climate, it is more important than ever for businesses to engage their customers and prospects via a channel that gets noticed. Although e-mail might seem like the easy choice, today’s digital inboxes are being inundated with messaging. This article explores how brands can use direct mail to connect with their customers and stay top of mind during the pandemic.

KODAK SONORA Process Free Plates: An Interview with John O’Grady, Senior Vice President, Kodak

In this article, sponsored by Kodak, Senior Vice President John O’Grady discusses the advantages of KODAK Sonora Process Free Plates, including the environmental benefits and pressroom savings that can be realized with process free plates. He also previews the improvements to come in the next-generation SONORA XTRA plates.

Digital Textiles Are Evolving: The Fabrics of the Future Are Sustainably Produced and Biodiverse

Sourcing fabrics is a complex field, and finding sustainable textiles is not as easy as it sounds. It’s much easier for the large vertical brand than it is for the smaller-volume printer. All of which is further complicated by the variance in digital textile printing applications. Textiles expert Debbie McKeegan offers strategies on how to build knowledge and seek new partnerships and stakeholders.

Print Business Data in 2020/COVID-19

It is hard to think of a time in recent history when we have been so captivated by data. The COVID-19 global pandemic has had us glued to data for the better part of eight months. Data is guiding the day-to-day recommendations of epidemiologists around the world and it will also guide when a vaccine is safe to release. In any industry, a strong data foundation is critical to enable companies to make proactive decisions that will move businesses forward.

Lessons in Success During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Part 1)

As it has become clear that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be deeper and longer than many expected, printers have an important question to ask: What differentiates the companies that thrive during a recession and those that do not? In this article, part 1 of two-part series, we look at the research and the first of three examples of printing companies that have invested and innovated their way to success.

European Print Industry Snapshot: Austria

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 features a look at the printing industry in Austria.

“Do You Want Fries with That?”—Consider Incremental Selling, Part 2

Take a look at the product mix you offer. What products can you pair up or also offer to increase your offerings to customers? In part 2 of a two-part feature, Pat McGrew helps you identify the “fries” you can offer customers.

Digital Packaging Migration: Sustainability Is the Key, but What Does that Really Mean?

In biology, “adaptation is the physical or behavioral characteristic of an organism that helps an organism to survive better in the surrounding environment.” When we look at one of the newer requirements of packaging—sustainability—we tend to limit it to the ecological focus, when the more consequential focus relates to adaptation.

Three Strategies to Land 5X Deals: How to Increase Sales in Challenging Times

Salespeople who are trying to identify, develop and close big deals right now are facing unprecedented challenges. Lisa Magnuson details three strategies that will positively impact your win rates for contracts worth five times your average deal size.

Graphco’s Chris Manley Paints a Positive Picture for the Printing Industry

The pandemic and the economic and political uncertainty have cast a pall on many aspects of our lives. But it’s not all bad news. Graphco President Chris Manley joins the chorus of voices that sees growth and opportunity in printing—some going as far as to call it the Golden Age of Printing. Here’s how Manley explains it.

Sizing the European Printing Industry: Italy

With €10.6 billion in revenue and more than 62,000 employees, the graphic arts industry in Italy is sizeable and the third biggest in Europe. But there are additional print segments as well adding to a total print market of close to €19 billion. This is the third part of a series of articles on the size of and trends in the printing industry in key countries in Europe.

Around the Web: Fungal Fashion. Connected Clothing. Fision Fitting. Green Graphics. Maddening Mystery. Eel Economics. Piano Producer. Geyser Gourmets. Marvelous Mammals.

Two words: mushroom leather. Sustainable wipes. Fashion meets the Internet of Things, for some reason. German e-commerce company acquires body scanning technology developer. Coroplast campaign signs can and should be recycled. The world’s most difficult murder mystery/puzzle—“Cain’s Jawbone”—is solved for only the third time in almost 90 years. The eel as a unit of currency in Medieval Britain. Nannette Streicher, a “mechanical wunderkind,” was an 18th-/19-century piano builder who made Beethoven’s pianos. The world’s most Instagrammed train stations. PSA: don’t cook a chicken in Yellowstone’s hot springs.  All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s raccoon-menaced miscellany.

Graphic Arts Employment—October 2020

October 2020 employment figures are at least moving in the right direction from September, albeit slowly; overall printing employment in October was up +0.8% from September, with the gains predominantly in production staff continuing to come back. Let’s not look at year-over-year changes in graphic arts employment.

Where Design Color and Textile Printing Interconnect, the Workflow Must Be Digital

From the outside, digital textile printing can look like a plug-and-play operation; but for the specialist practitioner, the commercial reality is often quite different … until now. Textiles expert and WhatTheyThink contributor Debbie McKeegan shares insight into some of the technology advances that can make the process easier without sacrificing quality and accuracy.

A Sign of the Times: Three Ways COVID-19 Made the Signs and Graphics Industry more Essential than Ever

The signs and graphics industry has become essential to the recovery of small business communities worldwide, and its value has only grown as the pandemic has gone on. Guest contributor Mike Cline, Vice President of Franchise Development at Alliance Franchise Brands, looks at three ways meaningful graphic displays have shown to be a crucial tool for businesses in both the fight against, and recovery from, the coronavirus.

Digital Stress Provides an Opportunity for Print

Although many have adjusted to the changes brought on by COVID-19, 2020 has undoubtedly been a very strange year. A sudden over-dependency on digital channels opens the door for print to present itself as a positive alternative during a stressful year.

Talent Acquisition Strategy for the New Normal

The pandemic has changed both the way companies seek to attract new talent and the interview/on-boarding process. In this article, Arnold Kahn & Dino Scalia of PrintLink offer five steps for hiring and keeping great employees during and after the pandemic

The Digital Trade Printer: A New Approach to an Old Idea

Harvard Pinnacle Group in Waltham, Mass., is a digital trade printer. Owner Greg Wallace started the company as a Macintosh training center, and his need for training materials moved him into printing. The company was born digital and has stayed digital.

Learning from Others’ Mistakes: Mailing Disasters from the USPS

When you get a chance to learn from someone else’s mistakes, take the opportunity while you can. In a document titled “Top 10 Mailing Mistakes,” the United States Postal Service offers four examples of mistakes in formatting and design that rendered the mail pieces of four real-life marketers unmailable.

COVID-19 Sales Strategy: Think of Your Customer’s Customer

Selling during the pandemic is like selling during a widespread economic downturn. You have to figure out the market segments that are least impacted or, in COVID-19’s case, find the companies that are positively impacted. Directing your sales efforts is critical to closing new business.

A Matter of Degrees: Temperature Detection Systems and Signage

As we enter “the new normal,” temperature detection systems and signage may become important elements of compliance and liability for businesses. This article looks at Altoros, a veteran professional IT services and software provider that has entered the temperature signage market.

Digital Packaging Migration: What’s Taking So Long?

The cost of printing has always been important. For packaging, which has volume counted in the tens of thousands to millions of pieces of each, it is a primary focus. Since the product manufacturing and time to market are dependent on it, not only is the cost of packaging important, but also the level of productivity.

drupa 2021 Essentials of Print: Digital Print for Corrugated—The Future Condition of Things

Despite the technology’s relative infancy, the choice of digital printers is already so widespread that you have to understand every detail of what you are buying before making a decision. Getting it wrong is likely to be very costly! In this article, corrugated industry veteran Nick Kirby looks all the variables involved in selecting a digital corrugated press.

Develop New Agility: Continuous Evaluation Is the Key to Success

Agility is not an elusive concept, neither is it a disruptive, one-time effort. Rather, it is a quantifiable system of continuous evaluation of your fundamental business practices. The stepping-off point is an assessment of the core practices from which your business culture emanates. Preston Herrin identifies three phases with which you can build purpose and agility into your organization and continually nurture it with the discipline of continuous improvement.

Digital Textile Printing 2020 Overview: AATCC and PRINTING United Alliance Digital Textile Printing Conference Goes Virtual

There is no question 2020 has been an unusual year across the board, and especially in the textiles and apparel industry. As the year comes to a close, be sure to attend the 2020 Edition of AATCC and PRINTING United Alliance’s Digital Textile Printing 2020 conference, packed full of the information you need to finalize your plans for a successful 2021 and beyond. Check out the details.

The State of the USPS: It’s Been a Rocky Year for the US Postal Service

Christine Erna looks at the status of the US Postal Service, and provides a reality check to some myths and misinformation that had been proliferating in the run-up to the 2020 election.

Moving Messages: Vehicle Graphics Are an Effective Advertising Platform

A lot of shops have been doing vehicle graphics for many years, but even more have mot net explored the opportunities to be had. And as with virtually everything else, the COVID pandemic has the potential to alter the market for vehicle graphics.

Deconsolidation of the Consolidators—October 2020 M&A Activity

LSC Jettisons Creel Las Vegas Before Final Sale to Atlas, Brook & Whittle Acquires, Traxium Files Bankruptcy, and more…

Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018

In 2010, there were 491 establishments in NAICS 322212 (Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 440, despite a spurt of post-recession growth. In macro news, the BEA’s advance estimate of 3Q GDP saw it increasing +33.1%—a climbing out of Q2’s -31.4% hole.

Around the Web: Postal Performance. Fictional Fragrance. Ballpoint Bio. News Negation. Java Jacket. Canvas Cosplay. Cetacean Savior.

A street-corner performance artist writes and mails “pick-me-up” letters. Powell’s Books is selling the smell of its bookstore. A history of the ballpoint pen, the “smartphone of its era.” The controversy over “unpublishing.” AI-enabled camera mistakes a ref’s head for a soccer ball. New Kickstarter for a coat made from “coffee yarn.” A malfunctioning 3D printer inspires a new form of textile. At “The Bob Ross Experience,” fans can dress up as and paint along with the PBS art instructor. A 3D art “performance” at the Brussels airport. A whale sculpture prevents a train from plummeting to its doom. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s post-electoral miscellany.

Leveraging LinkedIn to Stay Connected

When it comes to developing a sales strategy, LinkedIn is a superior platform because it has done a great job of remaining professional, clean, credible, and reliable. Although other platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are also great tools for business development, they tend to intersect more with users’ personal lives. This article explores how LinkedIn can best be used to establish and maintain those all-important connections during the pandemic.

Why Late Fall Is the Best Time to Order Canvas Prints

Canvas prints aren’t exactly seasonal products—thanks to the online printing industry you can order excellent canvas prints all year round. But placing an order in late fall can have particular benefits, especially if you’re ordering from BestCanvas.ca. Want to know why? In this article, sponsored by BestCanvas, you’ll find out!

Paper or Plastic: Depending on the Application, Printing Digitally on Synthetic Substrates May Be Worth Premium Pricing

Digitally printing on synthetic paper and plastics is more expensive than running traditional, wood-fiber papers on press, but certain products may be worth the expense, especially in the COVID era. Contributor Mark Vruno looks at the latest in synthetic papers.

Direct-to-Garment Printing Industry Boosted by Massive Growth in Online Sales

One thing the pandemic has boosted is online shopping. And one application that is experiencing terrific growth is direct-to-garment printing, allowing consumers to personalize their T-shirts and other items. Guest contributor Peter Wright, Managing Director of Amaya Ltd., shares more information.

A Tale of Two Informed Delivery Interactive Promotions

The U.S. Post Office’s Informed Delivery service offers a free interactive campaign feature. But just because it’s free doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think it through. It’s a great opportunity. Don’t waste it!

Cracking the Code: Is Your Packaging Secure?

While product counterfeiting has been an issue for many years, brands are now determined to address the issue head on. Security is becoming a crucial part of the packaging process, especially in the age of COVID.

KODAK NEXFINITY Digital Press: Versatility that Helps Printers say “Yes”

Print service providers who can say “yes” to virtually any job are at an advantage today. This article, sponsored by Kodak, explains how the KODAK NEXFINITY is a compelling solution for printers seeking a robust, flexible, effective sheetfed digital color press, delivering running costs competitive with medium-run offset andprints up to 400% more pages per month than competing sheetfed digital presses.

User Adoption and a Useful Crisis (COVID-19)

A crisis is also an opportunity, and COVID-19 is no exception. The rate of adaptation taking place is one of the most powerful forces at play in 2020. Entire populations are expanding their comfort zones with online tools, remote learning, and working from home.

European Print Industry Snapshot: Spain

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 features a look at the printing industry in Spain.

New Directory Connects Manufacturers and Suppliers to Meet PPE Needs

Colorkarma and Gerber Technology have teamed up to help local manufacturers quickly adjust and ramp up production lines to meet need for personal protective equipment (PPE). Together, they have launched a new PPE Task Force Directory.

Lane Changers and Game Changers: Competitive Diversification with Inkjet

Inkjet is not only entering new markets, it’s changing the way we think about and operate in those markets. As more printing companies adopt inkjet, we are seeing more “lane changers”: printing companies, like transaction printers and direct mailers, stepping outside their traditional segments and taking on new applications. Inkjet Insight’s Elizabeth Gooding takes a close look at how lane changing is becoming game changing.

Fan Club: Ricoh Helps Brings Virtual Spectators to UT Game Day

In the face of prohibitions on live fan attendance at sporting events, both college and pro sports teams are filling empty stadiums with printed spectators. Read how Ricoh helped two sports programs take advantage of wide-format printing to connect with fans while also helping raise money for health initiatives.

Lilly Pulitzer Gains Valuable Capabilities with Digital Fabric Printing

The story of how Lilly Pulitzer got started as a fashion designer is fascinating, and so is the story of how the company has leveraged digital printing technologies to streamline its workflow and unleash increased design creativity. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Margaret Getty, Lilly Pulitzer Senior Associate for Woven Fabric and Trim, to learn more.

Johnson’s World—Cheese, Sausage, Mushrooms, Shipping: Expand Your Reach and Find Your Niche

Looking for new markets? Tired of the same ol’ conversations about quality and price? Think: is there a simple action or additional service that will take out the competition?

Sizing the European Printing Industry: UK

With £14 billion in revenue and about 112,000 employees, the graphic arts industry in the UK is fifth largest worldwide and the second largest in Europe. Revenues have been surprisingly stable in recent years, but COVID made a big dent in 2020 production volumes. This is the second part of a series of articles on the size of and trends in the printing industry in key countries in Europe.

North Coast Litho Continues Digital Journey with iJetColorPro Envelope Press from Printware: Investment Decision Fueled by Need for Quality, Productivity

North Coast Litho devoted a great deal of time and effort in assessing digital printing options, waiting until it could find solutions that met its extremely high quality requirements and that of its customers. It found that quality level in digital presses, acquired in 2011 and 2016, but only recently was able to find the same level of quality in an envelope press, acquiring the iJetColorPro from Printware in 2020. General Manager Bob Strohmeyer explains in this article, sponsored by Printware.

Around the Web: Frightening Figurines. Kooky Costumes. Mouse Mastication. Table Talk. Tracing Textiles. Poll Posters. Lunging Leopards.

Precious Moments figurines repainted for Halloween. A photo gallery of some of weirdest and/or ill-advised Halloween costumes ever. New eco-conscious automotive wiring is eaten by rats. A new app and connected tablecloth tells you what’s on your table, for some reason. A new book traces the history of textiles. RIT opens a digital exhibition of suffrage posters. Classic jazz album cover designs. Some questions about Burger King’s reusable packaging. Never pay for a “full contact experience” with a leopard. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s spooktacular miscellany.