The current state of the US textile industry. Ironic commemorative stamps. Making a giant paper dragon. Photographing a black hole. A font of typography news. An encyclopedia of unknowns. Robot-penned books. A screenwriter toys with a Facebook Messenger scammer. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
The 2019 Xeikon Café event, which took place in late March, attracted 1,000+ visitors from about 250 companies. This article provides a brief overview of Xeikon’s recent progress while also discussing the effects of its annual event.
Canon Solutions America President Peter Kowalczuk and Production Print Solutions Executive Vice President Francis McMahon talk to WhatTheyThink/Printing News about the company’s new emphasis on the services part of the organization and how today’s production inkjet vendors are tasked with not just offering top-of-the-line technology, but playing a more consultative role in helping customers with business development.
Automation starts with an understanding of the business process and how it’s done “manually.” Documenting this business process is called a “standard operating procedure” which is where you can begin your journey to some level of automation.
In WhatTheyThink/Printing News’ Annual Franchise Review, Cary Sherburne takes a look at how the five major print franchises fared in the past year—and looks back at the last decade to see how franchises were tracking compared to commercial print and draws some conclusions about the value of franchise networks vs. an independent small commercial printing firm operating on its own.
Embellishment has been a function of print production for as long as there has been printing. In fact, it almost goes back to the beginning of the writing of documents. There is no doubt that embellishment does add value to the printed product. Especially with the more recent introduction of digital embellishment technologies, designed to complement digital printing technologies. New developments in digital embellishment are happening all the time now that it has finally begun to capture market awareness. In part one of this two-part feature, David Zwang will look at the added value and long history of embellishments.
At TechTextil North America, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne stopped by the Cotton, Inc., booth to learn what’s new with this staple fiber (pardon the pun) and was amazed at all the uses cotton is being put to these days. It’s not just for T-shirts anymore!
Printed textiles are rapidly replacing vinyl and rigid materials for signage, and Tempe, Ariz.’s Next Level Signs has leapt into so-called “soft signage.” Founder Mark Baldwin has launched a sister company Windigo Signs to offer a robust, custom-made, and weather-resistant alternative for outdoor soft signage mounting.
In Winter 2018/2019, we conducted our annual Print Business Outlook Survey and found that business in 2018 was perceived by survey respondents as overall pretty good: 42% said that revenues had increased by six percent or more compared to 2017.
April Fool’s Day: some cautionary tales. Pantone’s color matching for 3D printing. Be careful when you share your screen. Repossessing eBooks. Gin and tonic toothpaste. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Security printing is no longer about just about foiling counterfeiters. From packaging to book printers to retail to businesses that serve the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, along with financial printers, protection of files and products must be considered. There is a need for a broader definition of what security printing means and for a greater number of print providers to think of themselves as “security printers.” Maybe instead it should be called “secure printing.”
Voice technology is appearing in more and more places—and is starting to become relevant to printing and publishing. WhatTheyThink talks to Bradley Metrock, CEO of Score Publishing, producer of the VoiceFirst Events portfolio which includes The Alexa Conference, the Voice of the Car Summit, and Digital Book World, about the current and future state of voice technology.
ISA Sign Expo 2019 heads to Las Vegas later this month, 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, about what’s new this year.
Functional and barrier coatings are extremely important in the production of paper and board packaging as they provide a protective barrier against water and water vapor, oil and grease, and oxygen and aromas. The barrier coatings industry faces ongoing change in preferred material usage as governments and brands increasingly look for alternatives to plastic packaging for sustainability and recycling purposes. A new report from Smithers Pira details these new sustainability initiatives.
Business as usual is great...when business is usual. But what happens when disaster or some other disruption hits the shop? It can be a business killer if it prevents execution of contracted customer work. Do you have an emergency plan? In Part Three of this series, Pat McGrew offers tips on setting up contingency plans for when mayhem calls.
The Fashion Institute of Technology and OnPoint Manufacturing yesterday announced a new development in fashion design that will enable more entrepreneurism to occur in this market. Unique.Fashion is a unique web portal for designers and buyers that is set to transform how fashion is marketed and produced. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with OnPoint Chairman Kirby Best to learn more.
“The craft, precision, and unexpected beauty of the newspaper printing process.” Rebirth of a paper mill. Keyless in New York. The 14th-Century Mappa Mundi. “Alien”: The Play. Garfield phones storm the beaches. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
The first platforms appeared over four years ago and have steadily increased their performance, functionality, and partnerships over time. This article explores the characteristics of true print workflow platforms and discusses how platforms can benefit print production.
Your customers want convenience. Printers who prioritize around making it easy to do business with their customers will differentiate themselves. Don’t wait until your best customers demand online ordering and self-service access to the business they do with you—do it proactively and strategically instead of under duress.
There is a trait that top executives of growing print companies share. It’s the art of being still and listening. Here are three examples of how top print executives do this in their own way...and why.
Whether you are already a converter or are a print service provider looking at expanding your product and services portfolio, it is important to develop a long-term strategy in order to capture your share of the changing and developing market. In this new series, David Zwang takes a deep dive into the opportunities, changes, and challenges that you need to focus on in Labels and Packaging.
We recently wrote about graphene as a miracle product. At TechTextil 2019, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was able to see graphene in action, courtesy of Kyorene. In this story, she speaks with Matt Reid, the company’s director of sales, about current and future strategies of the business, and how he expects to see graphene impact the textiles market.
Overall, annualized printing industry profits for Q4 2018 were $3.66 billion—not a massive gain from Q3 but a gain nonetheless (we’ll take it). It also appears that the “tale of two cities” trend is—at least temporarily—on hold.
Which book was the most popular in your state in 2018? Did early humans' dietary changes affect speech? What new words did the OED add to the English lexicon? How are Gen Zers’ sustainable buying preferences driving new apparel products? Is Munch’s “Scream” guy actually screaming? People still use MySpace? Have you heard Vienna’s Vegetable Orchestra? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Through consolidated purchasing, print management providers offer cost savings and upgraded efficiencies that in-plants struggle to match, as well as a wider array of products, applications, and expertise than a single print manufacturer can manage. This article provides an overview of the print management market and discusses key opportunities for growth.
Software is like a press; it needs to be staffed. Software is like a press; it needs to be maintained. Software is like your business; it needs to keep evolving. Your most important piece of software is your Print MIS—dedicate the tasks of your Print MIS to one individual.
Traditionally, when people share a printed piece they have received with others, we use the term “pass-along.” But what if we want to think about print in a more current context? What if we started using the term “shared” instead?” In other words, what if we started thinking about print the same way we think about digital channels?
We have all seen the studies and even experienced first-hand the value of personalization in direct mail and other forms of communication. But what about the value of personalization in products and packaging? There are a lot of projections into what the market value “could” be, but how do you take advantage of that?
While the retail and apparel industries are moving to more digital technologies and processes, many observers still believe we are in the infancy of the analog-to-digital transformation the industry will ultimately need to undergo. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently spoke to a digital advocate to gain insight into the industry’s progress. Kelly Price, Director of Business Development for consulting firm ArcherGrey, made some interesting observations.
Print books remain more popular than digital formats. Save the date: WTIN’s digital textile webinar. The first laptop typewriter. Why did people stop wearing hats? An exhibition of really tiny books. Unlucky in love? Try writing to a tree. (No, not D. Eadward Tree.) All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Last month, Microsoft announced the introduction of its Hololens 2 mixed reality headset. This article explores what the upcoming product could mean to the print market, while grounding print service providers’ expectations.
New software tools are often rejected because the humans feel like their jobs are being replaced by computers. Software does math better, faster, and more accurately than humans—that is not debatable. But new tools augment brainpower—not replace it.
Part of being a marketing services provider is helping your clients with their marketing, and this goes beyond integrating marketing channels and improving databases. It includes selecting and tweaking the right offers, too. Studies on this topic provide fascinating insight into the psychology of discounts and deals.
Business as usual is great...when business is usual. But what happens when disaster or some other disruption hits the shop? It can be a business killer if it prevents execution of contracted customer work. Do you have an emergency plan? In part two of this new series, Pat McGrew offers tips on planning for the worst and how to manage customer expectations.
Techtextil North America was a success by any measure. The show, which moved from Chicago to Raleigh N.C., drew more than 3,000 textile and apparel professionals and included an impressive symposium program. Cary Sherburne provides a quick summary.
WhatTheyThink’s annual printing industry outlook report, including the results of our Winter 2018–2019 Business Outlook survey, is now available in our Report Store. This article offers some of the top-level results from that survey.
Forensic garment analysts. Fast fashion and the environment. A toast matching system. John Steinbeck sends Marilyn Monroe a fan letter...sort of. Death of a robot. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
InPrint USA heads to Louisville, Ky., to showcase the latest opportunities for commercial printers in the fast-growing area(s) of industrial printing. Richard Romano offers a preview, and talks with InPrint co-founder Frazer Chesterman about the show and industrial printing.
Last month, Pantone entered into an agreement with FiberForce Italy to bring Pantone colors into the world of 3D printing. Although color has been available in 3D printing filaments and powders for some time, there has been no standard way to ensure users achieve the color they are truly looking for. All of that changes with this partnership. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with both Pantone and FiberForce to learn more.
During odd-numbered years, the Hunkeler-sponsored Innovationdays event in Luzern, Switzerland, features finishing solutions for the transactional, commercial graphic arts, and book industries. This article provides a brief overview of the announcements that brought the theme of automation to the forefront at this year’s event.
To move the needle on direct mail responses, your customers may change up their copy, their images, or their list. But what about their offers? A new Bed Bath & Beyond mailer raises an interesting question.
Your print business is being invaded by software tools. These tools require a level of thinking/concentration that requires blocks of uninterrupted time for your employees. Without this uninterrupted time, your software will remain grossly underutilized and lacking measurable ROI.
Business as usual is great...when business is usual. But what happens when disaster or some other disruption hits the shop? It can be a business killer if it prevents execution of contracted customer work. Do you have an emergency plan? In part one of this new series, Pat McGrew offers tips on planning for the worst.
Window graphics are a growing subset of wide-format printing, and are popping up in more and more locations, both public and private, and new films and materials are making window graphics more versatile and eye-catching than ever. Printing is the easy part; it’s installation that can cause problems, and eat into your profitability. Here are some dos and don’t for working with window graphics.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Roland DGA President Andrew Oransky about the company’s entry into the direct-to-garment (DTG) market as well as its overall go-to-market strategy and its future plans relative to direct-to-textile printing.
In 2010, there were 38,335 establishments classified as Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services. By 2016, there had been a net loss of -1.2%. This is a very broad industry classification, comprising a disparate bunch of business types, each of which has its own unique dynamics.
Getting a text from sender to receiver. The Internet of shoes. Nuclear testing and Kodak film. An oral history of “Office Space.” In praise of standards. Retrieving DNA from old books. Digitize yourself for the perfect fit. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
HP Indigo hosted its annual Global VIP event in Tel Aviv, Israel, from February 11–14, 2019. This year’s event drew over 650 visitors to HP Indigo’s headquarters, production, and Research & Development sites to learn about the company’s latest offerings. The event highlighted the latest devices in HP’s digital press lineup and also discussed business opportunities for growing applications.
The demand for luxury packaging across the world continues to increase. Sustainability, e-commerce, and material trends are driving the luxury packaging market and will continue to shape it over the next five years. A new Smithers Pira report details these key products, materials, and market trends.
Think of your go-live date for your Print MIS as a flood. Prepare for it by training everyone how to create sandbags and then monitoring that everyone actually applied the learning and figured out how to do their jobs in the new system BEFORE go-live.
Looking at a series of case studies on high-speed inkjet, the takeaway is how unremarkable investing in this technology has become. The decision is no longer about the readiness of the technology itself. It’s about market pressures and cost-justification...just like any other capital investment. How times change!
Hunkeler Innovationdays is a biennial event that brings together some of the latest digital press workflows and equipment with the latest finishing equipment to showcase complete solutions. Surprisingly, this is done in an atmosphere that presents exhibitors as equals, without much of the hype or fanfare that you might expect at a print show. The theme of this year’s event “Success with Automation” is a very timely topic considering the growth and impact of production inkjet technology. As they have done in the past, they have accomplished their goal.
As the analog-to-digital transformation heats up for textiles, the opportunities for entrepreneurs heats up as well. Experience in transformations of other industries shows that not only do opportunities abound for entrepreneurs, but established businesses risk the most from non-traditional competition. We share some of their transformative stories in this article.
As we put the final touches on our Printing Outlook 2019 report, based on our Winter 2018–2019 Business Outlook survey, this article highlights a few of the findings specific to wide-format and specialty printing. Is it still a compelling business opportunity? And what are print businesses’ wide-format investment plans?
Since 1997, the value of printing shipments went from around 0.75% of GDP all the way down to about 0.35%. So we should not be surprised that parts of the printing industry are falling off the government’s radar.
Fabric that responds to its wearer. I got my soul shoes on my feet. (Maybe.) The world’s first photographed human. An E Ink typewriter that only does one thing...like a typewriter. The earliest book covers. The calming sound of a dot matrix printer. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Much has been written recently about the issues legacy publishers are facing as they try to navigate the digital world, including Jill Abramson’ book "Merchants of Truth." Setting aside the plagiarism charges, Abramson, formerly an editor at the New York Times, makes some excellent points. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne wanted to add her two cents’ worth in this article.
Although printers acknowledge that dealing with a high number of small jobs is a major workflow bottleneck, many have not automated their processes. This article offers some quick tips for getting started with automating processes to aid employees and benefit customers.
A new study from Yieldify shows that, even though it costs more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, marketers are more focused on customer acquisition than retention. What does this mean for you?
Once a new piece of equipment has been installed and the vendor training team has exited the building, the work is just beginning. Without understanding the real advantages of the new equipment, assessing and updating “talk tracks” for sales team members, and revisiting the marketing collateral and campaigns, the return on that investment may not be truly realized. Pat McGrew explains how to optimize pricing, sales, and marketing to get the most out of the new equipment investment.
New research from Smithers Pira forecasts growth opportunities for suppliers in the printed food packaging market, driven by trends including sustainability, and premiumization features such as 3D and metallized effects on packaging. That growth will come in the context of navigating continual developments in the regulatory landscape for food contact materials, however.
An announcement from WeaveUp, a technology company offering digital print room solutions and customization tools for fabric, about its partnership with JOANN Fabrics, the leading fabric and craft retailer in the U.S., caught our eye. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne connected with Flint Davis, the company’s President, to learn more.
The future of digital fabric printing. Printing industry government classifications consolidating. The fastest growing jobs in each state. Newspapers not subscribing to “Netflix for News.” The dark art of content marketing. A Death Star waffle maker. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Gen Zers—despite being branded as digital natives—are embracing more traditional media types. This article explores how Gen Z consumers interact with communications and discusses how increased knowledge about this generation can be turned into actionable implementation of direct mail marketing, TransPromo communications, and advertising support.
The International Newspaper Group (ING) provides a forum for newspaper industry executives to network and share idea on a variety of topics from production, to operations, to logistics. The revitalized organization’s annual Summit heads to PRINT 19 this fall in Chicago, with an ambitious two-day program. Here’s an early look at what attendees can look forward to.
When buying and implementing print software, start with the simple jobs software does well, implement and learn. Do not get stuck in a myriad of “use case exceptions” as an excuse to do nothing. You will never get ROI and you’ll never find software that can do everything.
Kodak Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division (EISD) has officially put a stake in the ground—and that stake is positioned in the heart of volume label and packaging production. While they have been flirting around the edges of packaging production since drupa 2012, outwardly their focus has seemed to be in their legacy wheelhouse; transactional, direct mail, and commercial print. That is about to change, and in fact it already has….
Once a 3D skeptic, Jordache Executive Vice President Shaul Cohen is now a true believer. Initially adopting 3D technologies from Browzwear to solve issues with getting fits right, Cohen not only achieved better fits and a rapid ROI, but is looking to expand its use of 3D technologies to solve other issues as well.
Patented houseplants now come with a EULA. Mapping Earth’s longest continuous walk. The rise of automated newswriting. Delta and Coke team up to creep out airline passengers. A new play about 6th US President John Quincy Adams (sort of). 5G conspiracy theories. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
In early February, the USPS opened the first of its six 2019 promotions. These new promotions encourage mailers, marketers, and printers to work together to create unique and engaging mail pieces. This article provides a brief overview of this year’s promotions.
A lot of crazy things can happen in estimating departments. But estimating is the foundation of your print business. If your estimates are grossly inaccurate, you risk the utilization of your precious resources for the privilege of losing money. If your estimates are right on target, you are able to make very strategic decisions about customer pricing. Essentially, the estimating department is your profit management center.
Consumers care about environmental issues more than ever, and they are using their spending dollars to reward companies that share their values. A new study shows just how important this trend has become.
Today we have many different print technologies available, including a variety of offset, electrophotographic, and inkjet presses from many different manufacturers using a variety of unique manufacturing and design techniques. Additionally, all of these at a minimum have a DFE which controls the file processing prior to print. They all have the potential to be used to produce commercial print, labels, packaging, and industrial printing. So how do you determine that the press you are using or about to purchase is up to the challenge? And how do you compare it to other similar and even different presses?
The NPOA Annual Print Owners Conference heads to the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa on February 28 to March 2. The three-day event includes a dozen sessions, panels, and workshops that focus on business, technology, and marketing issues important to small and mid-size print business owners.
ShareCloth has developed an integrated cloud-based solution that is designed to fill the gaps that exist in the apparel design and manufacturing ecosystem to facilitate profitable on-demand manufacturing of apparel, minimizing forced markdowns, overstocking, and waste. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with ShareCloth CEO Sergey Moliavko to learn more.
How to find out if your email account has been compromised. Make your home smell like chicken gravy. VR comes to the theater. Mondrian-inspired sticky notes. Theatergoers still want a printed playbill. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
Even though EFI Connect has been around for two decades now, the 2019 event included many firsts! Customers, partners, analysts, and journalists in attendance enjoyed a lively event emceed by Frank Tueckmantel and hosted by Bill Muir, EFI’s new CEO. This article provides a brief overview of EFI’s strategy as it moves into the future with a new focus and new leadership.
Leading by example is the most powerful way to approach challenging business environments. When the leadership is engaged in constant learning, the culture of the company is much more likely to be a learning organization. If I could pick only one characteristic of a business, it would be learning because if you’re learning, you’re staying relevant against any future changes.
If you have invested in new equipment in the last year, did you go back and change your supporting processes to ensure you are pricing your work appropriately? The ability to understand the actual cost of goods sold after new equipment is installed and put into production is essential. Despite best intentions, few organizations go through this process. Make 2019 the year that you update your understanding of your true costs and update your quoting, estimating and pricing assumptions.
EFI is turning 30 this year, and the EFI Connect user conference turns 20. It’s been a rollercoaster of changes in technology, in printing, and in the culture at large. Cary Sherburne and Richard Romano recap this year’s event.
Browzwear began its life as a 3D solution dedicated to fashion. While the initial concept back in 1999 was to create a virtual dressing room, a concept that was ahead of its time, the company has pivoted to create a suite of 3D solutions for fashion that can have a positive impact on all phases of the supply chain. We spoke with Browzwear’s Chief Commercial Officer, Lena Lim, to learn more.
The oldest periodic table is uncovered in Scotland. UK’s Yellow Pages are no more. Cremona, Italy, goes quiet. A new zine highlights the new works in the public domain. The magnetic north pole is on the move. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.
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.