WhatTheyThink

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MGI AlphaJET: An Industrial Print Factory?

MGI’s AlphaJET is unique and it goes to the core of their company’s DNA: building “application-based” printing presses. However, it is designed to support a much wider range of solutions than just commercial printing applications, with a primary focus on packaging and industrial. It sure looks like a print factory…

Reed Between the Lines: Evolving Sign Codes Impact Exterior Signage—and Potentially More

One of the most important issues concerning the production and installation of exterior signage is the ever-evolving sign codes and regulations. The landmark 2015 SCOTUS decision in Reed v. the Town of Gilbert is still impacting city planners, and, in turn, signmakers and their clients. What should PSPs know about sign codes? What are the latest issues regarding sign regulations? And why might vehicle graphics be the next frontier for sign codes?

Sewbotics: The “Last Mile” in Automated Apparel Technology

As brands look to take time and waste out of the apparel design and manufacturing process, there is a strong focus on automation. Much progress has been made—yet the sewing stage has provided challenges. Softwear Automation is tackling that challenge with SewBots—robotics designed to automate the sewing process. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Softwear Automation’s Chief Commercial Officer, Pete Santora, to learn more.

Screen Printing Employees—2010–2016

In 2010, there were a total of 57,674 employees in U.S. screen printing establishments (NAICS 323113). By 2016, screen printing employment had grown to 63,056—the opposite of what we have seen in general commercial printing during that same period.

Around the Web: The Perception of Lines. Loving Lydian. Platform Shoes? Young Entrepreneurs Spurn VCs. A Sixfold Dos-à-Dos Book. The Case of the Missing Mile Marker Signs.

Why we perceive horizontal and vertical lines differently. An old typeface returns. Superior sleep with pricey pjs. Nike’s new sneaker is a fitness tech platform. Finding alternatives to venture capitalists. A 16th-century book that opens six ways. Why do Mile Marker 480 signs keep disappearing?

Mass-Optimize Your Workflow in 2019

Although many personal resolutions fizzle out by February, your workflow resolutions should be targeted and easy to follow. Keep things simple by committing to three resolutions and automating three tasks. This article explores why building mass optimization into your print production workflow should be a key initiative in 2019.

Print Software Integrations Are Integral to Your Print Business

Integrated software is a requirement for an end-to-end workflow. You will be faced with lots of decisions around integration when you’re purchasing new software tools. Never let integration to be a yes/no question—it requires much more exploration and understanding.

Consumers Are More Willing to Share Data than Ever...Under Certain Conditions 

As you help your customers gather data to improve their targeted marketing, the good news is that consumers are more willing than ever to share it. But it’s not a given. As a recent study reminds us, trust and transparency are key to getting them to open the vault.

Flatland: What’s New(s) and What’s Next for Flatbed Wide-Format Printers?

It’s been nearly 20 years since the advent of the flatbed wide-format printer. They’ve come a long way, baby; what’s new with the technology and where do they go from here?

RayWear Gives Cannabis Workers as Much Protection as the Plants

Do you use sunscreen when in the sun? Of course you do. But if you are working under the powerful lights used to artificially grow plants—say, legal cannabis—are you taking the same precautions? Because that light can be as dangerous—or even more dangerous—than sunlight. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Daniel Jordan, founder of RayWear Clothing Company, who has made it his personal mission to provide clothing that will protect cannabis workers from the harsh environments in which they work.

Graphic Arts Employment Held Steady in December

Overall printing employment stayed roughly the same from November to December 2018, and, compared to December 2017, declined -1.6%. Non-production printing employment was up a bit in December, production employment down by about the same bit. PR employment continues to be the industry growth spot.

Around the Web: The Truth About Parachutes? Loud Packaging. Faux 5G. Personalized Cartography. Kohler’s “Intelligent Toilet.” Jazz Graphic Design.

New barefoot training footwear. What color is your parachute—and how safe is it? 5G connectivity is coming—but accept no imitations. Are paper maps back on the...map? If it were really intelligent, would it be a toilet? The visual look of jazz. Is it better to read a book or listen to it? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

The Importance of Awareness for Print-Based Augmented Reality

As businesses seek to remain competitive in today’s increasingly digital landscape, many are turning toward content that is enhanced with augmented reality (AR). This article discusses how print providers can inform their clients about AR content in printed products. It also explores some barriers to market entry, including app surplus and the limited use of AR headsets.

Inkit Changes the Way Clients Do Direct Mail

This Minneapolis-based startup is changing the way retailers and others are thinking about direct mail. No batches. No minimums. Just programmatic direct mail generated by a trigger determined by the customer that puts the mailer into the queue in real time.

The Manifestations of Fear in Print Software Implementations

Software implementations evoke fear in the minds of your employees—these fears are manifested in a variety of ways. You should be looking for fear, not reacting to the symptoms of fear that cause all kinds of issues with print software implementations.

Consolidation in Commercial Printing Rolls On—December 2018 M&A Activity

Mittera acquires Henry Wurst, H.I.G. Capital invests in print, GSB Digital expands in NYC, Alliance adds another franchise system, and more…

Welcome to 2019: The Beginning of the Next Chapter in Print and Packaging?

2019 has all the potential to become a pivotal year in print and packaging. It is a Hunkeler Innovation Days year and the leadup year to drupa 2020…and available technology is maturing. Strap yourselves in for an exciting year!

Big Opportunities for Small Design Houses

On a recent visit to Miami, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne stopped by to visit Carla Llull at House of Llull Atelier, an apparel design and manufacturing operation focused on delivering high quality swimwear. House of Llull is celebrating its fifth anniversary.

What’s the Top Use for AR/VR for Marketers?

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are changing the way consumers interact with brands. But much of this technology is operating in the background. What is the current status of awareness and adoption of AR/VR and what does it mean for marketers?  A survey from GlobalWebIndex provides some insight.

Commercial Printing Employees—2010–2016

In 2010, there were a total of 499,622 employees in all commercial printing and related support businesses (NAICS 323). By 2016, overall industry employment had dropped to 445,992.

Around the Web: 3D Printing Gets Big. Fruit Gets Branded. Textiles Get Transformed. An IoT Toothbrush Gets Updated. ThreadSol Gets Acquired. Edward Gorey Gets Tarotfied.

Phrozen, ironically, helps heat up the desktop 3D printer market. Is the U.S. missing the digital textile transformation bus? A new typeface is based on eye test characters, while another does away with the Latin alphabet entirely. Livetweeting an IoT toothbrush firmware update. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Want Higher Profits? Hire More Women

Research consistently shows that companies with gender-diverse leadership teams have significantly higher profits than those that don’t. The reason? Different approaches to hiring, problem-solving, and relationship-building, all of which have positive benefits on the bottom line.

Selling Print Requires More Than Order-Taking

Your customers expect more than a “print order taker” print sales representative. Successful printers require a sales team that can dig in and learn about their customer’s business processes that involve print. When you understand the business process that print is involved in, you get the opportunity to solve other challenges and create more value for your customers. This is now an expectation of most customers.

Technology and Brand Trends Contributing to Changing Global Inks Market

Significant market drivers are having profound impacts on the printing ink market. Technology, changes in world population, and shifts in brand use of printed packaging and graphics, among other trends, are causing disruption in the global inks market that will be seen to 2023. Smithers Pira presents some highlights of its new report “The Future of Global Ink Markets to 2023.”

We Are the World

With the Christmas season upon us, our European correspondent, Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV, looks back at all the friends he has made in the printing industry around the world, and entreats us to think of all the things that unite rather than divide us.

Wide-Format 2019: What’s Next?

As we head into 2019 and toward 2020, what are the emerging and accelerating trends in wide-format and specialty printing? The buzzword is “convergence,” which will only accelerate, but what other forces are changing the nature of applied graphics?

October 2018 Printing Shipments: Suitable for Framing

Printing shipments for October 2018 came in at $7.27 billion. That’s up from September—and it’s well above October 2018’s $7.08 billion. Welcome to the new seasonality.

Around the Web: Easy 3D Printing. Roman Adiators. Russian Fauxbots. Bad Signs. Mass Broadband. HP Sustainability. Chicken Logs.

A cheap, easy-to-use desktop 3D printer. RIP, Evelyn Berezin, inventor of the word processor. Jules Van Sant’s next adventure. Anonymous New Yorkers’ war on signage. A Massachusetts town creates its own broadband. “Please check for all your personal belongings.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

An Augmented Future: How AR is Helping Production Printing

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes a digital or computer-generated display (image, video, or words) onto the real world. Although AR is still young, it has advanced enough to impact multiple industries. AR enables a variety of improvements in the print space, and this article explores how AR is affecting the production print market.

Frustrating, Tedious, and Detail-Oriented Print MIS Work

The topic of Print MIS software can be a dangerous topic to bring up if you want to keep things low-key or drama-free. Most printers are really frustrated with their MIS. I’ve been working on customer-facing technology (web-to-print) my whole career—the Print MIS is by far the most important software tool you have in your business.

Lessons from a Well-Intentioned Personalized Mailer

A look at a well-intentioned personalized mailing that illustrates why it’s so important to get these communications right. Not just so the client gets the best return on investment, but to preserve your own relationship with the client. Poor personalization = poor results, and poor results = disengaged clients. Nobody wants that.

MakerBot Method Bridges the Gap Between Desktop and Industrial 3D Printing

MakerBot, a subsidiary of Stratasys, has two primary missions: Helping to innovate in STEM education to better prepare kids for the future, and to help companies bring product to market faster. It is in this latter category that today’s announcement of MakerBot Method falls. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Forrest Leighton and Shawn Miely of MakerBot to learn more.

Cognizant Projects +148% Growth in Fashion Designer Jobs, Highlights the Future of Work

I was intrigued to read in a recent Axios newsletter that fashion designer jobs are expected to increase by +148%, according to Cognizant, a technology and business services company. I reached out to Ben Pring, who runs the company’s Center for the Future of Work, to learn more. And boy, did I learn more!

Around the Web: 3D-Printed Food. Font for Dyslexics. Fiction On Demand. “Retail Rashomon.” Virtual Vermeer. Murdering Mercator. The Future from 1988. Stay Away from 536.

Open Source versions of the Creative Cloud applications. A new font aids reading for dyslexics. Yet another take on what’s happening with retail. Cutting Greenland down to size. Futurists in 1988 predict the jobs of the future. Have a time machine? Skip A.D. 536. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Printing Industry Profits: The Tale of Two Cities Continues

Industry profits data came out earlier this week, and it was good and bad news. Overall, annualized profits for Q3 2018 were $3.07 billion—not a huge gain from Q2, but a gain nonetheless. But it’s the ongoing saga of the low profitability of large printers dragging down average industry profitability.

The Waning Fortunes of the Time Inc. Magazines—November 2018 M&A Activity

Meredith sells off iconic American magazine titles, Quad/Graphics acquires Periscope, PE continues love affair with labels, and more…

Digital Textiles: The Next Frontier for Commercial Printers

For the most part, commercial printers are locked out of the existing supply chain for digital textiles. This article explores the more accessible textile segments that commercial printers can participate in, including textile-based sign and display graphics and direct-to-garment.

Wide Format 2018: What Kind of Day Has It Been?

What were the big trends in wide-format and specialty printing in 2018? It’s been a year of convergence and while shops that were likely to transition to wide-format have largely done so, the applications that can be produced are constantly changing, as new materials and new inks hit the market. Let’s have a look at what’s been happening.

Understanding the Software Feature Request

Software is never done. It has to keep moving to stay compatible. It operates in business processes that keep changing. The consumer expectation of how fast and easy software can change is being set by some of the most valuable companies on the planet.

Data: Wide-Format Still Front and Center

Wide-format is here with a vengeance. One webinar provided a great summary of data on the growth and opportunities in wide-format graphics.

Esko—Firing on All Cylinders

Esko has been the premier provider of software and hardware solutions for label and packaging prepress. Now that the market is changing, what are they doing to address these new requirements? A lot!

As Industry Convergence Continues, Xplor International and ISA Colocate Events

The convergence continues: the International Sign Association and Xplor International have announced that in April 2019, the Sign Expo 2019 and XPLOR19 will colocate.  

Prepress and Postpress Services Establishments—2016

In 2016, there were 1,545 total U.S. establishments offering prepress and/or postpress services (NAICS 32312); 51% of these establishments had fewer than 10 employees.

Around the Web: Really Clickable Paper. Chocing Typography. More Gift Wrap Ideas. Guerrilla Signage. Alexa Sleeps with the Fishes. P Is for Pterodactyl. Beard Lights!

A new kind of electronic paper. The science of paper crumpling. How Choc became a ubiquitous typeface. A “guerilla artist” produces life-affirming stealth signage. Alexa has been integrated into Big Mouth Billy Bass, for reasons passing understanding. A collision of vehicle graphics, AI, and public shaming. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Achieving Successful Sales in 2019

As 2018 draws to a close, you’re likely doing one of two things: focusing on meeting/exceeding your sales goals for the year or reflecting on why your goal has proven to be unreachable. In many cases, the process used to achieve the goal fails to deliver the desired results. This article explores methods for exceeding your business goals in 2019.

Results Metrics: Why You Gotta Dig

When we look at case studies, we immediately scan to the bottom of the page to see what the metrics are. One case study from IMS Direct illustrates why it’s important to look deeper into the numbers to find the real story.

Print Business Differentiation

What are you investing in that will result in the true differentiation of your print business? An important question in a market where many commercial printers look alike (same equipment, same sales approach, similar online tools). I think differentiation is about solving additional customer challenges that your competitors don't even know about.

In The Mail: November 2018—What You Need to Know About Postal Issues

PRC approves 2019 price increases…USPS reports $3.9 Billion loss…The Universal Postal Union reacts to U.S. withdrawal…Mailers less satisfied with USPS overall…Marketing Mail controversy continues…Next steps for Regulatory Review?

Grant Graphics’ Print & Cut Conference Offered Wide-Format 101—and 102—for Northeast Printers

Earlier this month, print shop owners and managers from around the Northeast journeyed to Grant Graphics in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., for a day-long program of wide-format educational sessions and equipment demonstrations.

OnPoint Manufacturing and Gerber Technologies Announce FashionTech Platform 1.0

I first got to know Kirby Best when he was running on-demand book printer Lightning Source. And I was interested to see him turn up as Chairman at OnPoint Manufacturing, an on-demand garment manufacturer. We connected for a wide-ranging discussion at the recent Gerber Technology Ideation event, including the newly announced FashionTech Platform 1.0 initiative.

From Hybrid Workflow to i300 White Paper Factory: Some Numbers

Thanks to some internal numbers from United Mail, we get a look inside the cost savings and QC improvements of switching from a hybrid to a Canon Solutions America VarioPrint i300 workflow.

Setting Up Estimating in Your Print MIS

Your Print MIS should be your trusted system of record for your business; the estimating module is the most critical component of your Print MIS. When you implement estimating brilliantly, it provides you a healthy daily dose of ROI forever.

Heidelberg 2.0—Reinventing a Classic

How do you reinvent a 160-year-old business to address the new market requirements? This is a challenge that we have been seeing over and over again, and many companies have not been able to make that change. Heidelberg seems to have found the formula that looks at their internal organization, but more importantly, at their customers’ changing requirements as well.

Textile Innovation in Rhode Island

Officially launched in September 2018, the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network (RITIN) is another example of initiatives across the country that are working to revive the U.S. textile and apparel industry, both with innovations that improve efficiency and to reshore textile and apparel manufacturing. We spoke with RITIN steering committee chairman and CEO of textile company Trans-Tex Michael Woody to learn more.

EFI Reggiani Unveils the EFI Reggiani BOLT—World’s Fastest Digital Textile Printer

EFI Reggiani held a gala launch event for its new EFI Reggiani BOLT single-pass digital textile printer at Reggiani’s Bergamo, Italy, headquarters. Attended by nearly 300 media, customers, and potential customers, the event generated a high level of excitement. With high-quality print speeds of up to 90 meters per minute, this press looks to be a game changer for high-volume digital textile printing.

Prepress and Postpress Services Establishments

In 2010, there were 2,080 establishments offering prepress and/or postpress services; by 2016, that number had dropped to 1,545. (The Census Bureau stopped breaking out prepress and postpress establishments separately in 2012.) It’s not difficult to understand why the number of these establishments has been dropping;  prepress is being absorbed into the printing process itself (especially in digital printing), and more print businesses are acquiring their own finishing capabilities.

Around the Web: Dry Leather. Secret Envelopes. Movies and Typography. Eyewitness Alexa. Informed Identity Theft. Farewell, Mon Kg

Mix-and-match jigsaw puzzles. Postcards from World War I. The bestselling books of 2114. Alexa stars in a reboot of "Rear Window." Friendly skies, unfriendly seats. Weighing in on the kilogram. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Taylor Communications SCS: Transforming to Meet Changing Market Demands

Recognizing the challenges associated with making the digital transformation in customer communications, Taylor Corporation created a new organization called Taylor Communications, Secure & Customer Solutions, Inc. (Taylor Communications SCS). This article explores how Taylor has taken its printing and mailing capabilities to a new level by integrating its communications with advanced digital platforms to enhance the customer experience.

Wide-Format Graphics Make the Magnificent Mile More Magnificent

After a decade in the ad agency world, Shira Kollins took her graphic design and production background and launched SpeedPro Chicago. By taking an active role in local business associations—and being “pleasantly persistent” when it comes to sales and marketing—she has built a business creating cutting-edge display graphics for some of Chicago’s biggest retailers and restaurants.

After Your Print Software Strategic Decision

Once you make a print software decision, you have to enforce it by communicating the strategy clearly and then repeatedly. Your people will forget, your business will evolve, sales people will appear from other solutions trying to convince your team of a different path.

Commercialism

Europeans in general like Americans, American culture, and American entrepreneurship. However, one of the things Europeans often find difficult to understand is the extent to which money seems to influence almost every aspect of American business. Our European correspondent Morten Reitoft of INKISH.TV explains.

Consumers Love Packaging More Than Ever

As if you needed one more reason to add packaging to your product mix! A new study from WestRock, a leading provider of differentiated paper and packaging solutions, shows that consumers are loving packaging more than ever. The study, “2018 Packaging Matters,” outlines the key factors that influence consumer decisions.

Austin Community College Seeks to Spur Industry Growth with Fashion Incubator

Austin Community College in Texas has launched an innovative Fashion Incubator with the goal of creating a real-to-industry learning environment in partnership with the City of Austin, Gerber Technology, and others. This is a unique approach to bringing new talent into the industry and giving new fashion-oriented businesses a jump start.

End of the Season? September 2018 Printing Shipments

Printing shipments for September 2018 came in at $6.52 billion. That’s down from August—and it’s well below August 2017’s $6.76 billion. Are we seeing a new seasonality in the printing industry—or the end of any seasonality?

Around the Web: Virtual Fitting Rooms. Gift Wrap Your Face. Typewriters for Sale. Flying Cars. Music for Cheese. Fungus Footwear. Bionic Mushrooms. Fake News[casters].

Virtual fitting rooms for men. Create customized wrapping paper. Safety apparel for grow lights. Is the flying car on its way? Boots for Mars. Chinese news media introduces AI-based virtual presenters. What’s the deal with “The Piña Colada Song”? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

New Services: Are You Ready for the Domino Effect?

As you tease out the last bits of efficiency and productivity from your operations, the primary way to continue to grow your business is to add new services. The question is, which ones? How do you make smart decisions about what is best for your business? Sometimes the considerations go deeper than you might think.

InfoTrends’ Global Forecast Data Suggests Growth in Emerging Countries

United States, Western Europe, and Japan accounted for nearly two-thirds of total production printing placements in 2017. This article provides a brief overview of how global placements and print volumes are expected to shift over time.

A Reversal of Fortune: Paper Mills Gain Leverage—October 2018 M&A Activity

New Dragon acquires and opens shuttered paper mill, CJK rolls on in the book segment, Quad takes on LSC Communications, and more…

Is Your Print Business Freewheeling or Process Driven?

If you make decisions about your business based solely on the intuition of you and your staff, you are limiting the growth and the scale of business learning that can take place in your organization.

Key Print Trends in Packaging to 2028

Smithers Pira shares its recent research that looks at the future of packaging to 2028, quantifying the overall market by packaging type and identifying the major emerging drivers of packaging market growth.

Flexo’s Transformation—It’s All About Controlling Variables

Flexography is going through a renaissance. While it has been around since the late 19th century, it has never really had a role in “quality” printing, although that seems to be changing. This change is proving that it can fight off the increased use of digital printing for packaging production with better productivity and lower cost. In this article, David Zwang looks at one of the more significant changes facilitating that transformation.

In The Mail: October 2018—What You Need to Know About Postal Issues

The USPS announces new prices for 2019…Postal Service continues outreach on proposed new Marketing Mail Content Standards…U.S. intends to withdraw from 144-year-old Universal Postal Union Treaty…New Mail.dat version for January price changes.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…Innovative Digital Solutions for Fashion

The digital transformation in textiles and apparel is well underway. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne writes about the drivers for this transformation and how fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff is leveraging digital technologies in unique ways.

Apocalypse Postponed: The State of Retail

Rumors of retail’s death have been greatly exaggerated (to coin a phrase). But there is no doubt that it is changing. We look at how it is changing, and what that means for POP/retail graphics providers.

Screen Printers—2016

In 2016, there were 5,150 total U.S. commercial screen printing establishments. As with most printing categories, the majority have under 10 employees, but screen shops tend to be smaller than other kinds of printing establishments.

Around the Web: New Flame-Retardant Fabric. Blockchains in Space. Direct-to-Object Printing. Pantone’s “Unignorable” Color. Hamster Power.

Don’t spoil the ends of books...or else. Heidelberg heads to InPrint Milan with the Omnifire. A new meaning of the phrase “high on the hog.” Pantone and United Way develop a new color to raise awareness of social issues. Could you power your home with hamsters? All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Where’s the Flash Point for Cloud Software?

Although the industry has not yet hit a “flash point” that would result in the significant growth of cloud-based software solutions, there are indications that this spark may not be far away. This article explores the growth potential and lingering challenges associated with cloud software.

Optimal Use of Your Web-to-Print System

Your web-to-print solution is underutilized. Do all functional areas of your company—sales, customer service, technology—understand all the challenges your current web-to-print system solves? Probably not. You can’t be “solution focused” without understanding the challenges your toolset solves.

New EFI CEO Bill Muir Conducts Third Quarter Financial Analyst Call

With its new CEO in place for just two weeks, I wanted to tune in to the company’s third quarter financial analyst call to get a feel for his approach to the business. This brief article summarizes what I heard and my thoughts on EFI moving forward.

T.J. Maxx Changes Its “Go Paperless” Messaging

Two Sides has reported that brands are moving away from “Go Paperless—Go Green” messaging because of negative publicity around greenwashing. As consumers start to recognize these ads as dishonest and really intended to save companies money, brands are switching from environmental messaging to convenience messaging instead. T.J. Maxx is one of them.

Edifice Rex: Vomela Conquers the Building Wrap

The Vomela Companies, headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., started in 1947 doing promotional product printing. Now, 71 years later, the company has expanded through both organic growth and acquisition to produce retail, POS, décor, event, and fleet graphics for a wide variety of local and national brands and venues. Their most recent project: wrapping 3M’s 14-story corporate headquarters.

Ariel Swedroe: Best Fashion Story Ever!

What were you thinking about at eight years old? Probably not the career that would be your life’s passion! That’s when Ariel Swedroe began her fashion career. At Age 11, she began exploring digitally printed fabrics. Today, at age 15, she has a full-fledged fashion business. But she’s not stopping there! You’ll love this story. 

Adobe Project Paras Extends Photoshop CC Textile Design Capabilities

Designers in textiles and apparel typically use Adobe products to create their designs. But until now, there have not been textile-specific tools to make the task easier. To address this, Adobe has announced Project Paras, a set of tools that allow designers to stay within Photoshop CC and reduce the number of steps required to complete and preview a design. We spoke with Adobe to learn more.

Graphic Arts Employment Continues to Decline; PR Employment Continues to Grow

Overall printing employment dropped from August to September 2018, and on a year-over-year basis is down -1.5%. Non-production printing employment was up slightly, indicating that production staff are the hardest employees to find. PR employment is again the industry bright spot, employment-wise.

Around the Web: Cameras In the Lens. Recycled Textiles in the Ink. Color in The Hulk. Apocalypse Not in Retail.

Get a customized reading list from the Brooklyn Public Library. A new process recycles textile waste into dyestuffs. Poor color management made The Hulk green.  Shatner Claus? Thwarting the “retail apocalypse.” 200 years of Frankenstein. All that and more in WhatTheyThink's weekly miscellany.

Personalized Video Part 2: How to Maximize Effectiveness

Personalized video advertising is a relatively new marketing method empowered by the digital revolution. This article is the second in a two-part series. It explores how companies can most effectively use personalized video advertising to reach the widest share of audience.

Leaving Las Vegas: Recapping the SGIA Expo

The final SGIA Expo was a culmination of all the specialty graphics innovations of the past decade or two—with a few signposts (digitally printed, of course) pointing to the future.

Labelexpo 2018 Part 2—Digital Embellishment Going Mainstream

Labelexpo 2018 in Rosemont, Ill., and PRINT 18 in Chicago are over, and it they were pretty exciting shows. The crowds were enthusiastic and buying from early indications. In this second of two parts I will look at how embellishment is moving from a standalone mechanical process to digital mainstream production.

I Remember Charles Wang

Charles Wang, founder of Computer Associates (now called CA Technologies), passed away on Sunday at the age of 74. Frank Romano looks back at a technology—and VDP—pioneer.

Survey Looks at Digital Print Across the Buyer Journey

This survey by NAPCO Research and commissioned by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) included something rarely seen in digital printing surveys: a look at the use of digital printing across the entire buyer’s journey.  It’s good news. Retailers are embracing digital printing for more than just direct mail.

Kornit Brings HD Direct-to-Garment Printing to Mid-Sized Businesses with Storm HD6

Since launching its high-end Avalanche HD6 direct-to-garment printer and HD upgrade to most Avalanche systems with RAPID ink technology in the first quarter of this year, Kornit Digital has installed or upgraded a whopping 150 HD systems. Now the company has brought HD direct-to-garment technology to within reach of smaller businesses with the launch of the Storm HD6.

Screen Printers 2010–2016

From 2010 to 2016, the number of U.S. commercial screen printing establishments increased from 4,454 to 5,150. Growth in screen printing establishments has been consistent from year to year. Chalk this up to the rise of specialty printing.

Around the Web: A Cheesy Book. “Hello, Death.” Watching The Night Watch. Packaging Design Archive Online.

A new book is nothing but bound slices of cheese. A New Zealand vending machine has a grim message. The Rijksmuseum to livestream a Rembrandt painting restoration. The Museum of London offers a fascinating online archive of package design.

SGIA Expo 2018 Marks the End of an Era—But the Start of an Exciting New One

The SGIA Expo 2018 opened yesterday to large crowds and a completely full exhibition hall. Our recap of Day 1 looks at where SGIA President and CEO Ford Bowers sees the organization and the industry going, and highlights a handful of new product announcements.

Personalized Video Part I: Marketing for Future Generations

Personalized video advertising is a relatively new marketing method empowered by the digital revolution. This article, the first in a two-part series, provides an overview of personalized video advertising and explores the role that age plays in a consumer’s acceptance of the technology.

Want a New Data Point? Try the Weather!

As marketers scramble to increase the depth of their knowledge about every aspect of their customers’ habits, preferences, and patterns, there may be a simple data point that is getting overlooked—the weather. Weather has a direct effect on the sales of 30% of all products and services and is the second biggest influence on consumer behavior. Are your customers taking advantage?

Make Your Print Business a Learning Organization

A print business that learns is one that has a foundation for tracking its business processes and improving on them. From a cultural standpoint, a learning organization has to be able to talk openly about mistakes made from all levels of the organization.

A Greek Sojourn

Our European correspondent Morten Reitoft recently visited Athens, Greece, to shoot a video of a Greek packaging company. It was his first time in that country, and he took the opportunity to talk to some of the people and companies that lived through the country’s recent economic crisis.

Gerber Technology’s Ideation an Inspirational Event for Textile Design and Manufacturing

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently traveled to Miami Beach to join more than 300 people at the Gerber Technology Ideation event, the company’s software users’ group. This educational and networking event is in its 20th year. The enthusiasm among the more than 240 customers and prospects in attendance reflects the efforts the company has made to listen to customers and stay ahead of the trends.

For Rocken Graphics, Business Is On the Move

Gibsonton, Fla.’s Rocken Graphics has carved out a unique niche among print service providers: signage and tent graphics for traveling carnivals. We spoke with Kenny Smith, founder of Rocken Graphics, about how he got into this market, as well as how his product offerings extend beyond simple printed graphics.