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World Industrial Packaging to Be Worth $66 Billion by 2024, Smithers Pira Research Shows

In 2018, the world produced about $36 trillion worth of manufactured goods, almost all of which was packaged, protected, and shipped in some form of industrial packaging. This article provides some top-level results from Smithers Pira’s new study of this sector, The Future of Industrial Packaging to 2024. According to the study, the value of these formats will reach nearly $66 billion in 2024, growing from an estimated $56.1 billion in 2019.

Labelexpo 2019: Hybrid or...?

Labelexpo 2019 was an interesting event. There were a lot of hybrid presses being shown: flexo presses with inkjet or toner digital integrated imaging; digital presses with flexo imaging in order to get the great opaque white needed for many labels and flexible packaging or precoating for plastics, etc.; a variety of presses with inline enhancement capabilities, etc. But, perhaps the whole hybrid evolution is really just a part of the industry digital transformation and transition to the real end game: purpose-built or bespoke solutions.

Acabada Launches CBD-Infused Activewear

As a proponent of the various benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), Senior Editor Cary Sherburne was intrigued to learn about Acabada’s CBD-infused activewear. She spoke with co-founder and CEO of Acabada, Seth Baum, to learn more. Watch for the March 2020 issue of Printing News for more information on all things cannabis, from definitions to sourcing CBD to unique packaging requirements and more.

Printing Shipments: Summer Surprise

The value of printing shipments for July 2019 was $6.8 billion—up from June’s $6.6 billion. Breaking with seasonality, what has typically been one of the lowest months of the year for printing shipments actually came in pretty good.

Around the Web: Go to Noto. Post-Modern English. Meddling Milton. More Moore. Dart DRM. All Over Alexa. Fancy Feast. Celery Salves. Robot Tuna. Minnow Message.

IKEA changes its typeface. An op-ed from the future comments on 23rd-century English. A scholar discovers a John Milton-annotated volume of Shakespeare. Animation compares Moore’s Law to actual CPU speeds. DRM for Nerf darts. “Highlights” from Amazon’s hardware announcements. Nestlé introduces $17 “luxury KitKat” bars. Celery juice: a magic cure-all? Sherwood Schwartz sticks it to Newton Minow. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

What if We Could Switch to Recycled Polyester by 2030?

Join us in welcoming textiles guru Debbie McKeegan as a WhatTheyThink contributor! In this article, she weighs in on a hot topic in apparel—can we re-fashion fashion to use recycled polyester by 2030, and should we? She provides good insight into what polyester is and how it can be efficiently recycled—even polyester blends!

How Game Mechanics Can Grow the Print Business

Game mechanics may seem alien to some print service providers, but other industries have been using these principles to promote user engagement and drive revenues for decades. With augmented reality emerging as a natural upgrade for static print, now is the time to critically evaluate the potential of a well-designed application—one that incorporates gaming elements—to drive brand interaction and generate new revenue potential.

Marketing Lessons from Top Retailers vs. Fastest Growing Ones

Study by Iterable looking at the marketing strategies of “top retailers” vs. “fastest growing retailers” during the two-week period between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The results? The fastest growing retailers were more focused on “near sales,” less likely to send promotional emails, more likely to re-engage abandoned cart shoppers, and less likely to use multiple channels to do it.

Why Software is Challenging and Expensive

Building good software requires a very desirable skill set in our current economy. Virtually every single company on the planet needs to utilize software in order to increase their efficiency and reach more customers.

Labelexpo 2019 Kicks Off In Brussels

Labelexpo 2019, celebrating its 40th anniversary, launched in Brussels to a huge group of more than 600 exhibitors and a very large global audience of attendees. In this first article, David Zwang looks at general trends at the event.

Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Landa Helps Change the Tides

Considering only about 3% of the total global print production in the market is digital, including all digital technologies, capturing a larger share will depend on production speeds and cost. Landa and their global customer base are now ramping up for a global presence, high demand, and are ready to participate in the Inkjet Revolution. The tides are changing…

Latest Sign Code Court Decision May Have Serious Implications for Billboard and Sign Industry

Two weeks ago, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision in the case of Thomas v. Bright that the government cannot distinguish between on-premise and off-premise signage because it is an unconstitutional content-based distinction. We spoke to David Hickey, VP Advocacy, for the International Sign Association (ISA) about the decision and some of the potential ramifications.

Looking for Fun and Profit? Try Heat Transfer Sublimation!

Twenty-seven years ago, David Gross identified heat transfer sublimation as an interesting market opportunity with good potential for future growth. Today, at Condé Systems, he has made that vision a reality. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Gross to find out how others can benefit from what he has learned.

Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 1,356 establishments in NAICS 322211 (Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing). By 2016, that number had declined -12% to 1,200.

Around the Web: Surf’s Up. Sonar Gloves. Wearable Chair. Cardiac Keister. Earthquake Bed. Self-Repairing Robots. Inadvisable Burger.

Graphene: is there anything it can’t do? Inside the University of Minnesota’s Wearable Technology Lab. Lose all shred of dignity with a wearable chair. Monitor your heart health with a smart toilet seat. The grueling, physically demanding world of...chess. “Hope you enjoy your stinking phones.” KFC’s Chicken and Donuts Sandwich. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

PrintEx 19: The Biggest Thing in Australian Print!

From the 13th to the 16th of August, over 8,000 print professionals converged on the Sydney Olympic Park to experience the latest in hardware and software in document production, commercial print, labels, and packaging at PrintEx 19. This article explores the factors that made this year’s event a standout.

The Real Source of Competitive Advantage

Technology is easy to acquire—both for you and for your competitors—but for most companies, it’s your employees who provide a real competitive advantage. High-performing companies are winning the competitive battlefield by figuring out how to match their best talent with their best opportunities. Wayne Lynn offers some tips for getting the most out of your most productive employees.

Gimmicks or No Gimmicks? The Challenge of Email

Are “magic” subject lines really magic? Or are they only magic for certain people? Are you tracking who is responding to which? If you know which customers respond to which tactics, you’re way ahead of the game.

Perspectives from Outside Your Print Business

Getting outside perspectives into your print business is important, especially when implementing a Print MIS or other print software. You want people who see a wide variety of print businesses to weigh in on best practices.

MIS/ERP Systems: How Are You Managing Your Business?

The best way to look at MIS/ERP systems is holistically, in the context of the bigger picture of managing your business as a whole. Just as you should have a production workflow system, ultimately an MIS system is a workflow system for your business operations.

Technical Textiles: When Do Possibilities Drive Demand?

Funxion was founded about a year ago as a spin-out from North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles, where its founders obtained their Ph.Ds. The company is focused on building out a platform for smart wearables that can be adapted to various use cases. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke with Dr. Raj Bhakta, co-founder and CEO, to learn more.

Executive Q&A: Xerox

WhatTheyThink spoke with Marybeth Gilbert, Vice President General Manager Production Inkjet and Packing Business, Chris Irick, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager, Entry Production Inkjet, and Bill Bay, Manager, Production Cut Sheet Business Team.

Industry Profits: Mind the Gap

Annualized profits for the second quarter of 2019 were down from $3.61 billion in Q1 to $3.05 billion. However, the gap between large and small printers has only narrowed very slightly.

Around the Web: Chameleonic Kicks. Twisted Twister. Fooling Facial Recognition. Plastic Priests. Kaput Cameras.

Sneakers that put on a light show. An inflatable Twister mat may be just what your next party needs. Adversarial fashion takes on face recognition systems. A.I. priests. A.I. passes an 8th-grade science test. An animation tracks the rise and fall of web browsers. Camera sales fall off a cliff.  All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

The Role of Tradeshows in Modern Business Planning

With so much knowledge at their fingertips, decision-makers no longer need to travel—or even pick up the phone—to stay informed. Although the role of trade shows has changed as a result, these events remain an important component of modern business planning. This article explores how the role of trade shows has shifted in today’s digital age.

New Ryerson University Study Evaluates Expanded Color Gamut Printing

Ryerson University has just published a detailed study of expanded gamut printing, based on a series of extensive tests using commercial color management systems to process and print test forms containing PANTONE spot colors. The author of the study, Dr. Abhay Sharma, presents some of the top-level findings and conclusions.

Solving Print Software Challenges by Borrowing from Other Features

Define the challenge you're trying to solve before you jump into a shortcut that borrows from another feature in your Print MIS or web-to-print. If you borrow too much, you’re implementation of the software will get detached from the vendor’s product roadmap—which can be expensive and painful.

Small Business Goals, Challenges, and Marketing Tactics

According to the Small Business Administration, 89.0% of all businesses in the United States have less than 20 employees. What are the primary goals, challenges, and marketing tactics of these companies? This survey from Taradel provides some insights.  

Don’t Call It Wallpaper: “Wallcoverings” Are Just One Aspect of Décor

Digital wide-format printing and new substrates are changing the face of wall décor, both in commercial and residential spaces. In this feature, we look at some unique applications and detail some prevailing trends.

Enabling Sales with the Right Story—Cater to People’s Interests and Hobbies

Car enthusiasts. Hiking and biking clubs. Adult hockey leagues. Senior golf associations. Dance troupes. In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she provides some tips for approaching hobbyists and other groups and clubs, as well as the unique printed product requirements these kinds of groups have.  

The Target Report Annual Recap—August 2019 M&A Activity

M&A activity in commercial printing continues unabated, mostly tuck-ins; packaging deals are driven by PE; newspaper and magazine publishing segment in turmoil; and more…

Web2Fabric™: Lessons Learned

Web-to-print has become well-entrenched in commercial printing, and same on-demand production model is now making its way into the textiles and apparel industry. Cary Sherburne talks to Steve Smith, founder of DPInnovations, about the company’s Web2Fabric, a set of tools that can be modularly configured to meet the needs of individual companies.

Converted Paper Product Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2016

In 2010, there were 4,128 establishments in NAICS 3222 (Converted Paper Product Manufacturing). By 2016, that number had declined -12% to 3,638.

Around the Web: AI vs. WTT Round 2. Temporary Text. Fast Food. Siri-ous Sneaker. Dim Bulbs. Forest Bathing. Plastic People. Erse Erudition.

Artificial intelligence attempts to write a wide-format story. “The World’s Most Dangerous Writing App.” Digital signage is too fast. Editor & Publisher sold. Nike’s Self-Lacing Sneakers. How to keep Slack from driving you crazy. All about “forest bathing.” Hide and seek in IKEA. Are we in a true “Age of Plastic”? A revised online dictionary of Medieval Irish. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Sustainability Today: Trying to Close the Loop

WhatTheyThink talks to Renée Yardley, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Sustana Group—parent company of Rolland Paper and Sustana Fiber—about the company’s new sustainability initiatives as well as the current state of sustainability in the paper and printing industry.

What’s Next for Mail?

Given all the changes that have occurred within the mailing industry, what’s next? This article provides a overview of some current trends within the mailing industry and considers what the future might hold.

Got Sustainability? PebblePost Says Print Does!

Usually, when a printer has a sustainability page on its website, the page talks about things like carbon emissions, tree planting, or use of environmentally certified papers. But PebblePost has a sustainability page, too—but it is talking not about consumables and energy use, but how its trigger-based direct mail programs, in themselves, are environmentally friendly. This is a great model for presenting direct mail as an environmentally friendly option that can help marketers meet their sustainability goals.

The Migrating Value Chain: Print Production to Software

The value in the print industry today is migrating from the production floor to the mobile device of your customers. How are you investing in providing your customer access to your business from their phone?

Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Memjet Targets Light Production

The adoption of production inkjet so far has narrowly targeted mid to high-end production requirements. However, light production including higher-end departmental MFP devices currently addressed by EP (toner) devices is a significant portion of the market. Memjet just introduced a low-cost single pass OEM printhead solution to target that market. The tide may be turning…

Printing Establishment Births and Deaths

From 2015 to 2016, there was an increase of +1,586 printing establishments and a decrease of -1,881 establishments, for a net loss of -295 establishments.

Around the Web: Fashion Pact. Bug Barrier. Book Sales. Caption Contretemps. Capital Ideas. AI vs. WTT. 80s iPhones. Elemental.

G7 takes on fashion sustainability. Graphene vs. mosquitoes. AAP’s latest book sales figures for January to June 2019. Is captioning audiobooks illegal? How to capitalize headlines. Can AI write for WhatTheyThink? What would a 1980s-era iPhone have looked like? Whither the Periodic Table? All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Do You Know the Print Cost of Every Job that Goes out the Door?

Not all print service providers fully understand the costs of the print jobs they create on a daily basis, and this is troubling. Without accurate, detailed reports of cost breakdowns, print companies will continue to struggle to turn a profit, instead investing in a random number of jobs—only some of which will turn a profit. With technology growing more robust, managed information systems can help organizations keep accurate, up-to-date tracks of exactly how well each print job is performing for the company. In this paper, InfoTrends outlines exactly how this information can be gathered, as well as a more detailed explanation of why it is so crucial to do so.

Labelexpo Europe 2019: Getting Ready for the Big Event!

drupa 2020 is only about eight months away and the rumors and anticipation are starting to heat up. Very much like drupa, Labelexpo is truly a global event. And don’t let the name fool you: it isn’t just about labels. There is also flexible packaging and of course lots of innovative finishing and media being showcased. Even if you are not in label or flexible packaging production, this event offers you a preview of things to come—although you may need to connect the dots.

How Are Consumers Engaging with Digital Content?

Highlights from 2019 Adobe’s Brand Content Survey, including consumers’ daily digital content usage, usage of multiple devices, and some head-scratching data on their attitudes toward personalization.

Making Brutal Software Feature Decisions

Print software is a pile of features that solve business process challenges. You have to learn how to prioritize what’s the next most important feature in the software by comparing its impact against all the other features.

High Folding Carton Growth Driven by Sustainability and Increasing Demand in Emerging Regions

With a market value exceeding $110 billion in 2019, the cartonboard packaging industry will experience high growth at the end-user level, approaching $150 billion in 2024, according to Smithers Pira’s latest report, The Future of Folding Cartons to 2024. This growth is driven by the sustainability movement and increasing demand in emerging regions.

Enabling Sales with the Right Story—Take Advantage of Trade Shows

In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she provides some tips for using trade shows—not necessarily printing industry shows, but home and garden shows, car shows, hobbyist shows, and other private events—to develop new business opportunities.

Echo Chambers, Finding Open Water, and Navigating to Create Your Own Economy

In any industry, just like in life, there are normally two great barriers that stand in the way of people and companies changing: ego and education (knowledge). When we believe we have all the answers, we find ourselves in a terrible dilemma. Tim Baechle, CEO of Idealliance, explains how stepping outside the industry’s echo chamber and making outselves open to alternative viewpoints can make us more open to change—and make better decisions. 

Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing Establishments—2016

In 2016, there were 451 establishments in NAICS 322212 (Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing). More than half of these establishments (57%) have 50 or more employees and more than three-fourths (79%) have 20 or more employees.

Around the Web: Bogus Books. Letterpress Lovecraft. Online Occultiana. Crazy Cards. Bothersome Billboards. Migrating Mattresses. Farewell, FogCam.

Amazon sells fake Orwell titles. An experiential letterpress-printed book inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. Amsterdam’s occult library digitizes its collection. Memorable baseball card photos. The Apple Card: Leave home without it? New York’s continued war on digital offshore billboards. “Popeyes Chicken Sandwich Is an Economic Indicator.” The longest-running webcam is going dark. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Where’s the Packaging Opportunity for Commercial Printers?

The ongoing digital transformation has created problems for commercial printers, namely electronic displacement. As a result, many have turned to digital wide-format equipment to add new revenue streams. Nevertheless, with more PSPs adapting wide format, this service is no longer the differentiator it once was. Commercial printers looking for the next value-add product stream should examine packaging, particularly the folding carton and label segments, to find new revenue opportunities.

Where Do Sales Reps Fit Into the Pricing Story?

Sales reps are key players in your business. Their knowledge of the market and their customers are a central part of the process of optimizing pricing. Your objective is to attract and retain the best ones while motivating them to attain even better results. The objective should to get them on the team and make their interests parallel that of the firm. In this article, Robert Lindgren discusses the various sales rep compensation options.

Transpromo Messaging: More Likely to Be Seen in Print

Are your clients buying into the paperless billing trend? If so, this survey from Consumer Action shows that they might want to think twice, especially if they are doing transpromo messaging.

The Trap of One More Software Feature

Don’t let a feature stop you from implementing what works for you today. Don’t let the people in your organization that are good at looking for all the ways something won’t work win. Implement what works and then find ways around the missing features. Waiting is keeping your business in neutral.

Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Let’s Talk Corrugated

One of the hottest topics in packaging print today is corrugated, and for many reasons. One of those is that it is a market area showing a solid growth trajectory. So, what are the areas of growth, and what are some of the challenges that will affect the growth of digital print, more specifically production inkjet, in corrugated?

Customer Spotlight: Konica Minolta’s AccurioJet KM-1 Inkjet Press Opens New Business Opportunities for Hummel Integrated Marketing Solutions

Senior Editor Cary Sherburne interviewed John Hummel, fourth-generation owner and CEO of Hummel Integrated Marketing Solutions, to gain insight into how the acquisition of a Konica Minolta AccurioJet KM-1 UV inkjet press has enhanced his business.

Executive Q&A - Wim Maes, Summa

Many of our readers will remember Wim Maes for his tenure as the CEO of Xeikon, a role he held from 2009 to March of 2017. From Xeikon to Summa, Wim Maes helps make the company a worldwide industry leader.

WTIN Shares Insights on Smart Textiles for Fashion, Entertainment, Lifestyle

Last week, Senior Editor Cary Sherburne tuned in to an interesting WTIN webinar, Smart Textiles for Fashion, Entertainment, and Lifestyle. She summarizes some of the key points here, but recommends that industry professionals interested in smart textiles review the entire free webinar.

June Printing Shipments: The Dog Days of Summer Begin

Printing shipments for June 2019 were—as expected—down from May, and came in slightly below June 2018.

Around the Web: Graphene Gown. Adversarial Fashion. Smart Ovens, Dumb Choices. Amazon Airbnb. Big Apple Retail Apocalypse. Crazy Train. Implantables.

A fashion line designed to mess with surveillance cameras. The smart device invasion. A Seattle Airbnb that offers a mock Amazon job interview. High-profile shopping meccas in NYC shut down. Ozzy Osbourne is an actual genetic mutant (as we all suspected). You can now store your data—and your car keys—inside your body. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Tips and Tricks for Cashing in on This Season’s Print Shows

Approaching print-related conferences with a plan can deliver a wealth of new ideas while also carving a path for business growth. This article offers some tips for making the most of your time during the upcoming trade show season.

Rules of Engagement: Meet an Employee’s Needs, Watch Them Perform

The average person uses around 70% of their available energy reserves to perform their normal activities, including meeting the requirements of their jobs. The remaining 30% is called “discretionary energy.” How can we tap into an employee’s discretionary energy and get them to apply it to their job? The key is engagement. Wayne Lynn explains how to measure and improve an employee’s level of engagement.

Jeff Jacobson Shares Thoughts About EFI’s Past and Future

In a surprise announcement this week, EFI reported that with the departure of CEO Bill Muir for personal reasons, Executive Chairman Jeff Jacobson would be taking on the additional role as CEO of the company. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne spoke to Jacobson to gain insight into his plans for the company’s future.

Takeaways on Triggered and Automated Direct Mail

Takeaways from a recent webinar on triggered and automated direct marketing, both from a high-level technology perspective and from the perspective of a mid-sized printer producing real programs every day.

The Primary Reason Print Software Gets Thrown Out

Print software gets thrown out by printers primarily because of factors that are 100% in the printer’s control.

Summer Stroll: The Signs Around Us

What kinds of signage and display graphics are in fashion? You don’t need elaborate market research surveys to find out—sometimes all you need to do is get out of the office and have a look around. Just doing a little recon can often generate ideas for new product areas to expand into.

Enabling Sales with the Right Story—Using Targeted Print Samples: Restaurants

In the latest installment of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she builds on the previous installment and puts together a print sample kit for a different specific vertical market: restaurants. If you or your sales reps are trying to sell your services to these kinds of establishments, what kinds of items should you include in your Restaurant Marketing Sample Kit?

Digital Printing of Textiles: A Growth Opportunity

World Textile Information Network (WTIN) has released its latest data regarding worldwide digital printing of textiles and we recap some of that information here.

Surface Tension: Specialty Substrates Are Proliferating, but Printing on Them Has Its Challenges

"Inkjet devices can print on any surface" is a common industry talking point, but the practical reality is a bit more complicated, involving the chemical and physical interplay of inks and substrates. This article offers an inkjet printing reality check.

Getting to Critical Mass in Augmented Reality

Welsh artist Alexander Ward designs stunning augmented content—like a recent interactive book cover—with Spark AR Studio.

The New Print Reality

VR, QR, AR and interactive print merge the digital and the physical.

The Four Rs

A primer on QR, VR, AR—and "print reality."

Why Address Quality Matters: The Cost Of Undeliverable Mail Adds Up

According to the DMA’s 2017 Response Rate Report, direct mail has a much higher household response rate (5.1% customer – 2.9% prospect) than digital channels such as email (0.6%), social media (0.4%) and online display ads (0.2%).

Executive Q&A—Wim Maes, Summa

Cary Sherburne talks to Wim Maes, Executive Member of the Board at Summa NV, a global leader in cutting and finishing equipment for the printing, signage, outdoor advertising, packaging, and textiles industries.

“New Print” Will Prevail

Where will printers make money in the future? Some say it will be from digital printing. But digital printing is usurping analog volumes and analog volumes are not growing. In order to grow, the printing industry must find new products and new services.

Sustainability and Offset Inks: The Latest Trends and Issues

According to a recent study by the European Printing Inks Association (EuPIA), the share of offset printing inks is less than 2% of the overall eco footprint of the printed paper material or paper packaging on which they are used.

Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing Establishments—2016

in 2016, there were 1,200 establishments in NAICS 322211 (Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing). About half of these establishments (49%) have 50 or more employees and more than two-thirds (71%) have 20 or more employees.

Around the Web: Mobile Medals. Human Tails. Reviving Bookshops. Ugly Gerry. Dog Mode. Artificial Tongue. Libeling Parrots.

The medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are being made from recycled mobile phones. An Irish teen wins the Google Science Fair for a system for removing microplastics from the oceans. Can Waterstones’ savior duplicate that success for Barnes & Noble? A typeface based on heinously gerrymandered Congressional districts. Scottish researchers develop an artificial tongue for whisky tasting. 3M streamlines packaging material. If you’re a UK publisher, go ahead and insult all the parrots you want. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

OpenText Enterprise World: A Shift into the Information Era!

Offering insights into the latest trends as well as stories on successful digital transformations, OpenText Enterprise World is designed to help attendees unlock their information advantage. This article provides a brief overview of the 2019 event in Toronto.

What Neuroscience Can Tell Us About Why Magazine Ads (and All Good Print Marketing) Work

Highlights from the white paper “What Can Neuroscience Tell Us About Why Magazine Advertising Works?” Published by the Magazine Publishers Association, the white paper synthesizes years of neuroscience studies on why people understand, recall, and are better motivated by information provided in print rather than digital.

What’s in a Letter?—July 2019 M&A Activity

Monotype Imaging Goes Private, DG3 Acquires, Coloredge Merges, and more…

Strategic vs. Tactical Print Employees

Your print business has two kinds of challenges: the challenge of getting jobs out the door (tactical) and the business of continuing to strategically evolve so you maintain relevance and competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) Acquiring NAPCO Media

The state of printing industry associations is still very much in a state of flux with a few still trying to survive. This latest move may tip the scales.

Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Front Line Report from Rochester’s Mercury Printing

This article is a part of a series looking at production inkjet solutions leading up to and through drupa 2020. We will look at what’s new, how it’s being used, and how it’s  transforming print service providers. In this article, we go to the front lines and we take a look at Mercury Printing of Rochester, N.Y., a perfect example of a digital technology and business transformation. And for all the right reasons…

New in Technical Textiles: Smart Diapers, Lava Suits, and More

The topic of technical textiles can be a bit geeky. But there are always new and interesting developments in this area. Take P&G’s new smart diapers, or the protective lava suit for geologists from the University of Missouri working in volcanic areas, for example. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne digs into these topics and more.

June Jobs: Up in the Short Term, Down in the Long Term

In June, overall printing employment grew +0.5% from May to June 2019. On a year-over-year basis, it is down -2.5%. Production employment was up +0.4% from May to June, but year-over-year was down -4.9%. Non-production employment was up +0.7% from May to June, and year-over-year was up +2.6%.

Around the Web: Mechanical Marketers. Breathable Lava Suits. Smart Diapers. Wearable Air Conditioners. Paper Organs. Geomessages. Butternauts! Words About Words. Craving Carvers. Rebooted Airplanes.

Chase replaces its copywriters with AI. What to wear when immersed in molten rock. “If only there were a way to determine when a diaper needed changing...” Look cool being cool. Creating organ models from maps of Zürich, for some reason. Sending messages via geomapping. The dictionary explains “fursona,” upsettingly. The stone carver job market heats up. New books for language nerds. “We will start boarding as soon as the plane has rebooted.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Why is TransPromo Hot Again?

TransPromo—bicapitalized with a T and P to emphasize the link between transactional and promotional communications—is experiencing a resurgence. Consumer-facing communicators are using TransPromo techniques in their printed and digital communications. This article explores why TransPromo is re-emerging as a talk track.

SAi Launches Augmented Reality App for Signmakers

SAi’s new VirtualSign is an augmented reality (AR) app that lets signmakers show clients how a sign will look in situ before it is printed and installed. We spoke wth SAi’s Gudrun Bonte, Vice President of Product Management, who oversaw the development of the app.

Areas Where Only Print Can Reach (Still)

We have been hearing for a while that 24% of Americans in rural areas still have no access to broadband, making print critical for marketers looking to reach those areas. This isn’t just a small pocket here and there. There are entire communities, even cities, without broadband access, where only traditional channels like print can reach.

Five Critical Issues Brands Face in the Global Packaging & Printing Supply Chain

Idealliance CEO Timothy Baechle identifies the five most critical issues that brands face today in terms of their global packaging and printing supply chain: finding qualified vendors, effective communication, evaluation, validation, and the need to never stop learning. This article looks at those five issues and how mastering them can help build an unbreakable supply chain.

Enabling Sales with the Right Story—Using Targeted Print Samples: Banks

In part 7 of Pat McGrew's ongoing series on selling in today’s print environment, she puts together a print sample kit for a specific vertical market: banks. If you or your sales reps are trying to sell your services to a bank, what kinds of items should you include in your Bank Marketing Sample Kit?

Lectra Acquisition of Retviews Helps Bring Realization of Industry 4.0 Closer for Fashion Brands

Lectra offers solutions that give fashion, automotive, and furniture companies the means to embark on the Industry 4.0 journey. Its recent acquisition of data company Retviews is another arrow in the company’s quiver. We spoke with Maximilien Abadie, Chief Strategy Officer for Lectra, to learn more.

Converted Paper Product Manufacturing Establishments—2016

in 2016, there were 3,638 establishments in NAICS 3222 (Converted Paper Product Manufacturing). More than four out of 10 of these establishments (42%) have 50 or more employees and two-thirds (65%) have 20 or more employees.

Around the Web: Medical Tattooing. Etsy Faces the Music. Guinness’ Road Less Traveled. Another Press Conference Cat-astrophe. Slugs in Medieval Manuscripts. Wienerbnb.

Disney’s “Escape from the Haunted Mansion” papercraft. Tattoos that function as medical diagnostics. Etsy buys musical marketplace. What technology will be obsolete in your lifetime? Is the world’s steepest road really the steepest in the world? What is it with these cat filters? A long, but well-worth-it Twitter thread about slugs in Medieval manuscript illumination. Spend a night in the Wienermobile...if you dare. “Disruption has come for toilet paper.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Are You 100% Digitally Transformed?

Many businesses believe they’ve made the digital transformation, yet market shares of digitally printed pages are only in single digits. This article explores the disconnect between perceptions and reality in our industry’s digital transformation, and also discusses what must be done to help close this gap.

Beware of Dog: Automation and Wide-Format Printing

Automation for wide-format printing can encompass a lot of different processes, from automatic file processing, to robotics, even to database management. Where once wide format was deemed too “artisanal” or “craft-like” to be automated, the times are changing. After all, as competition in the wide-format segment continues to heat up, automation becomes a key element in controlling costs. We’ll take a look at the current state of automation for wide-format printing.

Are You Walking the Customer Retention Walk with Your Customers?

Whether it’s a print business or any other type of business (such as your customers’ businesses), retaining customers is critical. But knowing how important it is and being able to develop and execute an effective strategy are two different things. Here are five tips you can use to guide your customer retention strategy, as well as your customers’.

RFPs Are Not a Good Way to Procure Print Software

Learning is the most important part of software procurement decisions. The vendor needs to learn about you (to assess if you are a good fit for their solution) and you need to learn about the vendor. An RFP doesn’t facilitate any learning.

Production Inkjet: Welcome to the Revolution—Time to Take Stock

Production inkjet solutions are proliferating at an ever-increasing rate. The quality of many of the solutions has finally reached that of offset, and the productivity has surpassed that of toner. There are also a lot more options and opportunities. Perhaps it is time to step back and take stock of where we are and where things could be going?