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WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's leading independent media organization with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.comPrintingNews.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. 

Displaying 1-99 of 4445 articles

Around the Web: Map Mania. Wrapped Ride. Bot Bill. Nullifying Knitwear. Calamity Clock. Core Conundrum. Scent Sensors. Wall Wings. Phishing Fish. Soda Sauce.

Published January 27, 2023

Sales of paper maps are soaring. Snoop Dogg’s adventures in vehicle wrapping. Massachusetts legislators use ChatGPT to write a bill…regulating ChatGPT. Wearing an ugly sweater can make you invisible to AI, if no one else. Scientists change the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds to midnight. If it’s not one thing it’s another: now the Earth’s core has stopped spinning. Graphene-based sensors function like “electronic noses.” A Reddit embroidery forum 2022 award goes to embroidered chicken wing wall art. A bunch of aquarium fish pull off a credit card scam (not The Onion). Mountain Dew releases a hot sauce. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Greeting Card Publishing Establishments—2010–2020

Published January 27, 2023

According to County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 107 establishments in NAICS 511191 (Greeting Card Publishing). Although this represents a net increase of 4% since 2010, it has been a category that has ebbed and flowed over the course of the decade, although we’re not talking about a tremendous number of establishments. In macro news, real GDP increased 2.9% annualized in Q4.

November 2022 Shipments Drop—But That’s Normal!

Published January 20, 2023

November 2022 shipments came in at $7.16 billion, down from the year’s high of $7.48 billion in October. This should not be cause for concern, as business always drops in November and December as things slow down for the holidays.

Around the Web: Pilfering Probe. Font Feud. Retailer Renaissance. Obsolete Offices. Flame Fighting. Credit Credibility. Cool Container. Romantic Russets.

Published January 20, 2023

Here we go: there is now a “plagiarism checker and AI detector.” The State Department changes its internal document font and war breaks out. Barnes & Noble has had a remarkable comeback—how? A Colorado library closes to clean up meth contamination. Zillow CEO writes that “traditional offices are as outdated as typewriters.” Graphene-enhanced gear can help protect firefighters. Celebrate Burns Night next Wednesday. FEMA attempts to translate typhoon aid instructions into indigenous languages—with surreal results. A new startup aims to make carbon credits credible. A new fridge container has a built-in dial to indicate when it was stored. This Valentine’s Day, send your beloved an “Idaho potato bouquet.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s non-AI-generated weekly miscellany.

Around the Web: Computer Creatives. Sign Stickers. Dystopian Devices. Carbon Cousin. Loco Logo. Rodent Research. Webb World. Butter Battle. Pasta Problem.

Published January 13, 2023

How worried should creative professionals be about artificial intelligence? A Florence, Italy, street artist who applies whimsical stickers to traffic signs. CNet looks at some dubious introductions at last week’s CES. The FTC has proposed banning companies from requiring that employees sign noncompete agreements. Researchers have found a “cousin” to graphene, which they have dubbed “graphullerene.” Kia’s new logo is illegible. New Wordle-esque game lets you guess the list prices of houses for sale. Good news for mice this week—researchers are prolonging their lives and improving their memories. The James Webb Space Telescope finds its first exoplanet. A fire in a Wisconsin daily causes melted butter to flood nearby streams. Ronzoni discontinues its Pastina and the Internet sees stars. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Other Publishing Establishments—2010–2020

Published January 13, 2023

According to County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 664 establishments in NAICS 51119 (Other Publishing). This represents a decrease of 35% since 2010. In macro news, what’s behind the employee shortages?

Winning in 2023 Is a Team Effort

Published January 12, 2023

We present a virtual roundtable of Dscoop and HP Industrial Executives. They discuss the upcoming event in St. Louis, the value of the global Dscoop community, and the close connection between HP and its users as they transform the digital print industry in 2023 and beyond.

Graphic Arts Employment Essentially Flat in November

Published January 6, 2023

In November 2022, all printing employment was up +0.1% from October. Production employment was up +0.7% and non-production employment was down -1.2%.

Around the Web: Marketing Muster. Creating Crayons. Joe’s Journalism. Going Graphene. Feather Photography. Car Colors. Checking Chuckling. Fish Fiasco.

Published January 6, 2023

Marketing Brew rounds up the most overhyped and overlooked marketing trends of 2022. A new book looks at the history of the crayon. Our own Dr. Joe presents a four-part radio documentary about newspapers in old radio dramas. Graphene is poised to replace silicon as the basis or all electronics. Smart elevators look to take us for a ride. Facial recognition for birds via a “smart feeder.” BMW’s E Ink-wrapped car can display millions of colors for quite the road show. Printed electronics for therapeutic wearables. The cool upgrade on Brava’s smart countertop oven is a…glass window. The “LOL Verifier” is a device that will only let a user type LOL when they are actually laughing out loud. A huge aquarium in a Berlin hotel bursts. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Around the Web: Clumsy Cat. Welding Wishes. Beautiful Books. Book Binge. Wednesday Website. Color Can Conundrum. TENG Tech. Fusion Feat. PEARLS Peering. Sculpture Saviors. Cheese Cheer. Large Loop.

Published December 16, 2022

The winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. This Christmas, give the gift of welding classes. How to gift wrap a dog. “The 60 Most Beautiful Books of 2022.” An exhibition called “Building the Book from the Ancient World to the Present Day.” Find out if it’s Wednesday. Seeing red in an image that has no red pixels. Artist and activist Stuart Semple rebels against the color of the year. Graphene-enhanced power sources for flexible electronic devices. What the “fusion experiment” at the National Ignition Facility actually accomplished. Police break into an art gallery to rescue what turned out to be a statue. Dictionary.com weighs in with its word of the year. Adorn your home with the “Cheese Wreath.” Supersize your breakfast with the Big Fruit Loop. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s pre-holiday miscellany.

Have a Little Holiday Cheer/October Shipments the Highest All Year

Published December 16, 2022

October 2022 shipments came in at $7.48 billion, up from September’s $7.32 billion—the best month of the year for the industry.  

Directory and Mailing List Publishing Establishments—2010–2020

Published December 9, 2022

According to the latest edition of County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 594 establishments in NAICS 51114 (Directory and Mailing List Publishers). This represents a decrease of 64% since 2010. In macro news, estimates for Q4 GDP are in the +1.4%–3.4% range.

Around the Web: Word Weirdness. Search Stats. Print Patron. Tidying Tome. Light Love. Purple Panic. Graphene Guns. Wind Wonder. Moon Mania. Lager Lighting.

Published December 9, 2022

The OED’s word of the year is…something. Google’s search of the year. GE buys all the ads in the New York Times. A barcode tattoo that can be scanned by a store checkout. A 504-page photobook of people cleaning things. The Northern Lights Photographer of the Year’s 25 best aurora photos. Why are city streetlights turning purple? A graphene-based artificial muscle that is 17 times more powerful than human muscle. Is Grawindy the “next generation of wind technology”? Reusable elastic lids to replace plastic wrap. Artemis I is on its way back from the Moon. “Busch Light Bush Lights” let you drape “electric glowing cans” across the greenery in your yard, for some reason. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Around the Web: Winning Word. Paper Perfume. Terminal Typewriter. Crazy Cards. Tarot Tech. Horse Hobby. Moon Material. Canine Console. Cosmic Collision. Bambi Butchery. Pasta Pajamas.

Published December 2, 2022

Meriam-Webster’s Word of the Year is “gaslighting.” The latest perfume that smells like old books. What Siri might have been like in the 1970s. The creepy world of Victorian Christmas Cards. E Ink-based playing cards in search of a game. A father photoshops the real world to resemble his child’s drawings. Graphene is going to be tested on the moon. “Apple Health, but for dogs.” In the 16th century, you could sue animals. The James Webb Space Telescope watches galaxies collide. Coming soon to a theater near you: “Bambi: the Reckoning.” Olive Garden’s matching family pajamas. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

September Printing Shipments—The High Before the Holidays

Published December 2, 2022

September 2022 shipments came in at $7.20 billion, up a little from August’s $7.17 billion—reflecting a return to the industry’s regular seasonality. Could we be back to normal?

Product Strategy: GEW’s Gary Doman on UV Ink Curing for Sheetfed Offset

Published December 1, 2022

GEW’s Gary Doman discusses trends in sheetfed offset and how UV curing can address these trends.

Stefan Hunkeler Talks About the Upcoming Hunkeler Innovationdays 2023

Published November 29, 2022

Stefan Hunkeler spoke with David Zwang about the Hunkeler Innovationdays 2023 event happening early next year in Lucerne, Switzerland. Hunkeler Innovationdays is the place to see “next level automation” from over 100 exhibitors covering digital printing, software, finishing and related processes.

Product Strategy: Chris Hogge on Harris & Bruno's Coating Solutions for Continuous Feed Inkjet

Published November 28, 2022

Chris Hogge from Harris & Bruno International talks about inline coating and finishing trends in continuous feed inkjet and how Harris & Bruno is developing inline coating solutions that integrate directly inline with the production inkjet device to reduce touchpoints.

Book Publishing Establishments—2010–2020

Published November 18, 2022

According to the latest edition of County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 2,357 establishments in NAICS 51113 (Book Publishing). This represents a decrease of 21% since 2010. In macro news, October retail sales were up.

Around the Web: PRINT Props. Typography Tutorial. Site Slaughter. Swift Seat. Wandering Walls. Car Copy. Galactic Graphene. Star Start. Cold Color.

Published November 18, 2022

The 2023 PRINT Awards are now open. Friedrich Nietzsche’s Malling-Hansen Writing Ball. A branding expert talks about creative a bespoke typeface. A website that “deteriorates” every time someone visits it. Volkswagen’s motorized office chair can cruise up to 12 mph. A cubicle with motorized walls that can follow you around. Get a Hot Wheels version of your own car. A portmanteau word generator. Graphene is going into space. The James Webb Space telescope captures a protostar. Coors has developed nail polish that changes color when its temperature drops to a level acceptable for drinking a Coors Light. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Around the Web: First-Place Fromage. Lice Language. Gorey Gala. Graphene Garments. “Fast Furniture.” Redaction Recreation. Computer Cuisine. Breakaway Baubles.

Published November 11, 2022

What won Best Cheese for 2022? The oldest sentence in Canaanite has been found. Entries from this year’s Edward Gorey House All-Ages Envelope Art Contest. A 3D-printed clay humidifier made from industrial waste. A new line of graphene-enhanced activewear that keeps the wearer warm. Cheap, more or less disposable furniture is the next environmental scourge. “Redactle”: a daily game in which the user tries to determine the subject of a random redacted Wikipedia article. Can AI create original, edible recipes? Also: Scientists increasingly can’t explain how AI works. A hacked drone can find the location of every WiFi-connected device in your house. Vlasic has created a scented candle that looks and smells like a jar of pickles. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly post-election miscellany.

Printing Outlook 2023 Sneak Peek: Business Conditions Slipped in 2022

Published November 11, 2022

Our preliminary Fall Print Business Survey results are in and our Business Conditions Index dropped slightly from 2021. Last year marked a rebound from the plummeting conditions in 2020, and 2022 likely represents a move toward stability.

Around the Web: Polling Problems. Deconstructing Designer. Malleable Mouse. Color Combat. Heat Help. Vinyl Vise. Height Horrors. Skin Souvenir. Convenience Crocs. Puppy Potable.  

Published November 4, 2022

We may be getting close to the death of telephone polling. Scott Albrecht is a designer and artist who “deconstructs letterforms with the intent to reconsider the relationship between message and viewer.” A foldable “origami travel mouse.” More skirmishes in the Adobe/Pantone color war. New cellphone line uses graphene-based heat dissipation.  Audio-Technica brings back its Mister Disc portable record player. Saving the tattoos of deceased loved ones. Avocado prices are the lowest they’ve been in five years. Crocs and 7-Eleven are collaborating on footwear design, for some reason. Busch has introduced turkey-flavored “beer” for dogs. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Periodical Publishing Establishments—2010–2020

Published November 4, 2022

According to the latest edition of County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 4,519 establishments in NAICS 51112 (Periodical Publishing). This represents a decrease of 37% since 2010. In macro news, actual Q3 GDP was strong.

Graphic Arts Employment Down Slightly in September

Published October 28, 2022

In September 2022, all printing employment was down -1.3% from August. Production employment was down -1.9% and non-production employment was down -0.1%.

Around the Web: Roland Revelry. Key Kit. Distraction Dismisser. Plate Poster. Pumpkin Palooza. Speech Signing. Silly Simulator. Galaxy Growth. Aldi Advent. Beer Beheading. Plastic Pourers.

Published October 28, 2022

Roland Corporation turns 50, celebrating their history in pianos with a new model. A working (sort of) Lego typewriter. A distraction-free word processing device lets you write in peace. A Twitter account that posts denied California vanity license plates. Check out Transylvania University’s creepy display of hundreds of jack o’lanterns. Graphene sensors translate sign language to speech. A flight simulator that simulates the experience of being a passenger on a cramped commercial flight, for some reason. The James Webb Space Telescope watches galaxies form around a red quasar. Aldi’s new Advent calendars for this year include a hot sauce calendar. A device that chops the tops off beer cans. Bacardi is eliminating pourers from its bottles to reduce plastic waste. It’s almost time to break out the woolen nose warmers. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Newspaper Publishing Establishments—2010–2020

Published October 21, 2022

According to the latest, recently released edition of County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 6,567 establishments in NAICS 51111 (Newspaper Publishing). This represents a decrease of 16% since 2010. In macro news, early estimates of Q3 GDP getting more bullish.

Around the Web: Freaky Photos. Sign Standards. Silence Solution. COVID Conqueror. Knotty Knitting. Mollusk Monument. Auto Aviation. Star Spectacular. Clam Condiment.  

Published October 21, 2022

AI restores and animates 19th-century photos. a pictorial feature on Paris, France’s “graphic standards manuals” from 1893. An important part of environmental graphics can be noise reduction. A new font “uses dots instead of letters,” for some reason. Graphene vs. COVID. A tool for color-matching yarn. A life-size sculpture of a giant squid that washed up in Newfoundland. A flying car now exists…sort of. The James Webb Space Telescope revisits the “Pillars of Creation.” Kellogg’s is teaming with Sugarlands Distilling Co. to develop “Eggo Nog” cream liqueur. “Clam-O-Naise.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

WhatTheyThink Talks with HP’s Haim Levit

Published October 19, 2022

In this article, sponsored by HP, WhatTheyThink talks to Haim Levit, Senior Vice President & General Manager, HP Industrial Print, about the major dynamics impacting the industry and how HP is responding to them.

Frank Heads to PRINTING United

Published October 18, 2022

Frank has saved every trade show directory since 1967. He uses the shelf of them to implore printers to attend the PRINTING United show in Las Vegas, October 19-21. Every major supplier to the industry is introducing new technology. Printers need the automation as well as the ability to move into new markets. Frank thinks it is worth the trip.

Around the Web: Plate Pixels. Index In-Depth. Kooky Keyboard. Better Battery. Redirection Revisited. Couch Crying. Hand Holding. COVID Candles. Webb Wolf. Prawn Pillow.

Published October 14, 2022

Digital license plates are now legal in California. A new book looks at the history of the index. Google Japan introduces a very long, single-row keyboard. Remembering Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer. A graphene-enhanced “SuperBattery.” NASA’s DART mission to repel an asteroid was a success! A “TikTok influencer” buys a accidentally buys a $100,000 couch “as a joke”; immediately regrets it. “Martha Stewart partners with Liquid Death to release ‘Dismembered Moments’ Candle.” Tracking COVID surges using bad Yankee Candle reviews. The James Webb Space Telescope captures a binary star’s “dust shells.” The Bettli Shrimp Meat U Shaped Neck Pillow. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

August August Printing Shipments  

Published October 14, 2022

August 2022 shipments came in at $7.16 billion, up quite a bit from July’s $6.67 billion—august business conditions indeed, and reflecting a return to the industry’s regular seasonality.

Around the Web: Perilous Pictures. Trusted Trademarks. Orbiting OOH. Clever Concrete. Toast Time. Clock Creator. Spit Savior. Sustainable Sneakers. Mars Mania. Ranch Redecoration.

Published October 7, 2022

Ugh: malware can hide in images. What are the most trusted brands in the US? Do we really need billboards in space? Graphene-enhanced “smart concrete.” Clever spring clip pin is a thumbtack without the tack bit. China’s “incense clocks.” David Mills, the Internet’s “Father Time,” is retiring. Wax worm saliva can readily degrade plastic. The James Webb Space Telescope takes a close look at Mars. Hidden Valley’s “Ranch Home Collection,” for some reason. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Publishing Establishments—2010–2020

Published October 7, 2022

According to the latest, recently released edition of County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 29,900 establishments in NAICS 511 (Publishing Industries [except Internet]). This represents an increase of 6% since 2010 and increase of 9% since 2016. In macro news, job openings were down 1.1 million in August while hires and separations (quits, dismissals, and layoffs) were generally unchanged.

Q2 Printing Profits: An End to the Tale of Two Cities?

Published September 30, 2022

Printing industry profits plunged during the pandemic peak but rebounded strongly afterward. But after hitting a peak in Q3 of last year, we’re on a downward trend, with annualized profits for Q2 2022 coming in at $3.92 billion, down a tad from $4.68 billion in Q1 2022.

Around the Web: Mammoth Manga. Number Nests. Royal Remaking. Virtual Voiceovers. Railway Redesign. Robot Rehab. Mouse Microbots. Averting Armageddon.

Published September 30, 2022

The longest book in existence is not designed to be read. House numbers that double as birdhouses. The arduous task of replacing Queen’s Elizabeth’s image on money, stamps, and products. An AI-powered speech engine for voiceovers. The complex design history of the London Unground map. BiaBrazil to integrate Graphene-Wear technology into women and men’s activewear. RIT researcher develops a humanoid robot that can teach humans tai chi. Swimming microbots clear pneumonia microbes from mice’s lungs. The James Webb Space Telescope captures details of spiral galaxy IC 5332. No need for Bruce Willis: NASA crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid to alter its orbit. A $10,000 first pumpkin spice latte engagement ring. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Around the Web: Count Conundrum. Lighting Leech. Floppy Fever. “Armor All”? Stick Solution. Carbon Kicks. Fruity Fashion. Hole Hoard. Ring Revelation.

Published September 23, 2022

How long should an article be? “Parasitic signage.” The floppy disk is, improbably, still in great demand. Graphene-based waxes and polishes for car detailing. A hand-crafted book about embroidery that was itself embroidered. Solving the problem of disposable chopsticks. New sneakers made from carbon emissions. A non-Pantone Color of the Year: Apricot Crush. An alternative to the skyscraper. An extensive online catalog of manhole covers from around the world. The Webb Telescope takes new pictures of Neptune. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Pre- and Postpress Establishments—2010–2020

Published September 23, 2022

According to the latest, recently released edition of County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 1,168 establishments in NAICS 32312 (Support Activities for Printing). This represents a decrease of 44% since 2010. In macro news, AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) indicates that demand for design services accelerated in August, boding well for commercial real estate construction and thus signage projects.

Printing Shipments: July Takes a Tumble

Published September 16, 2022

July 2022 shipments came in at $6.68 billion, down from June’s $6.98 billion, as the dog days of summer kicked in.

Around the Web: Blueprint Buddy. Better Bags. Tone Test. Plural Panoply. AI Art. Dead Dialogue. Insect Info. Finger Fun. Noodle Napping.

Published September 16, 2022

HP’s SitePrint robot for construction site printing. Graphene-enhanced bags for food storage offer greater strength and less weight and thickness. X-Rite’s quick online color IQ test. Why does English have so many different ways of pluralizing nouns? AI fails at reproducing classic works of art. Creepy AI grandma talks from the dead. Oh, NASA, we beg you not to crowdsource the name of the new Uranus Probe. Telling Queen Elizabeth’s bees about her passing. Lenovo’s new “virtual monitor” glasses. The James Webb Telescope captures a stellar nursery in the Tarantula Nebula. Creating wooden claws that fit over your fingers. A “blanket” based on udon noodles. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Book Printing Establishments—2010–2020

Published September 9, 2022

According to the latest, recently released edition of County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 379 establishments in NAICS 323117 (Books Printing). This represents a decrease of 29% since 2010. In macro news, highlights from the most recent Federal Reserve “Beige Book.”

Around the Web: Graphene Glut. Contested Contest. Printed Python. Color Commentary. Solar Solution. Tide Tidying. Eyeing Exoplanets. Cup Clarity.

Published September 9, 2022

New IDTechEx study finds the global supply of graphene exceeds demand—for now. An art contest winner used AI—fair play or cheating? Flashing back to a terrifying bus wrap from 2010. How did the colors get their names? Why is Dante the father of the Italian language—or William Caxton the father of English? “Solar trees” for EV charging. A “floating waste collector” drone for cleaning up the ocean. The James Webb Space Telescope took its first photo of a planet outside the solar system. A design for an easier-to-read measuring cup. Oscar Mayer has introduced a combination hot dog/popsicle, for reasons passing understanding. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Graphic Arts Employment Up Slightly in July

Published September 2, 2022

In July 2022, all printing employment was up +0.7% from June. Production employment was up 0.2% and non-production employment was up 1.8%.

Around the Web: Problematic Print. Mail Merch. Code Complaints. Display Developments. Textile Tech. Meteorology Melee. Cream Confusion. Galaxy Gazing. Table Tournament. Gravy Grappling.

Published September 2, 2022

What is a print-based physical disability? Play the USPS’s new Great American Mail Race board game. What is the future of QR code menus? The Bigme InkNote Color brings E Ink devices closer to competing with LED-based tablets. AI illustrates lyric music videos. New graphene-based “smart textiles” hit the market. Hungary punishes inaccurate meteorologists. No, New York State has not banned selling whipped cream to minors. The James Webb Space Telescope does a Cartwheel. “Competitive table setting.” Gravy wrestling is back! All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Digital Print Solutions at the Americas Print Show

Published September 1, 2022

Adam Silk, President & CEO of Digital Print Solutions, talks about the Americas Print Show, as well as how, as a provider of equipment to the commercial print industry, DPS has been helping its customers navigate the current supply challenges and take advantage of new opportunities in embellishments.

Victor Envelope Adjusts to Current Supply Chain Issues

Published August 30, 2022

Asif Sheikh, Victor Envelope Company, talks to Kelley Holmes about the company and shows some samples. Located outside Chicago and founded in 1959, Victor Envelope specializes in short-run and custom envelope projects. During the current supply chain crisis, Victor has been able to adjust their model to improvise as the market dictates.

Scodix’s Jason Rollo on the State of Digital Embellishments

Published August 29, 2022

Scodix’s Jason Rollo provides an update on Scodix’s mission to digitize, and become the leader in, print embellishment and decoration for the packaging and print markets.

Screen Printing Establishments—2010–2020

Published August 26, 2022

According to the latest, recently released edition of County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 5,563 establishments in NAICS 323113 (Commercial Screen Printing). This represents an increase of 25% since 2010. In macro news, 2Q GDP revised up to -0.6%.

Around the Web: Preserving Painting. Brand Bios. Denim Dyeing. Golden Graphene. Drought Displays. Phone Fun. Rainless Rides. Mill Meal. Hair Hoopla. Spicy Smooching.

Published August 26, 2022

Keeping the art of traditional sign painting alive. A comprehensive book on the history of brand logos. A new, more sustainable approach to blue jeans production. “Graphene turns rubbish into gold, literally.” Record droughts are revealing all sorts of hitherto hidden relics in the world’s bodies of water. An interactive site where you can design the next iPhone. “Would you eat a windmill?” NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captures new detailed images of Jupiter. The USA Mullet Championship, for some reason. “The practical utility of equipping cats with laser beams.” Applebee’s new chicken wing sauce flavored lip gloss. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Mail Volumes Grow for Quantum Group

Published August 25, 2022

Quantum Group’s Cheryl Kahanek talks with Kelley Holmes about the company’s evolution from a commercial printer into more of a direct mail company. Based in Morton Grove, Ill., Quantum Group celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and as it continues to grow its digital platform, it recently acquired a Canon ProStream.

Bobst’s Doug Herr on Folding Carton Production Trends

Published August 24, 2022

Bobst’s Doug Herr talks with Kelley Holmes about some of the recent trends in the folding carton market, and areas where Bobst has been seeing growth.

From "Narc" to Queen of Weed Packaging

Published August 23, 2022

Kary Radestock of Hippo Premium Packaging talks with Kelley Holmes about building a print and packaging business serving the growing cannabis industry.

Jon Buddington on the Challenges of Expanding the Focus of a Print Business

Published August 22, 2022

Jon Buddington of More Vang talks about the challenges he encountered as he expanded his business beyond print to offering creative services and software development.

Printing Shipments: The Best June Since the Before Times

Published August 19, 2022

June 2022 shipments came in at $6.98 billion, up a tad from May’s $6.96 billion. This is the best June the industry has had since 2019—although it’s well below that month’s $7.54 billion.

Around the Web: Paper Properties. Sign Slight. Tape Trick. Choice Charging. Dog Design. Bubble Ballad. Termite Taste. Pumpkin Palate. Candle Cuisine. Mollusk Minder.

Published August 19, 2022

Zapping a Gutenberg Bible with X-rays to see if Gutenberg learned about printing from Korea. Magnetic signage helps Mexican street food vendors circumvent new sign prohibitions. Converting Scotch tape packaging into a tape dispenser. Dell’s graphene-enhanced wireless charging clip. A typeface in which each letter is a dog. A music box that plays music by popping Bubble Wrap. Will 100,000 termites eat fast food? Taste test Trader Joes autumn food products and earn $1,000. Ultrarealistic candles that look like food. Immobilize your toddler with Walmart’s octopus baby outfit. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Taylor Corp.’s Nick Gawrulek on Cultivating Printing’s Next Generation

Published August 18, 2022

Taylor Corp.’s Nick Gawrulek talks to Kelley Holmes talks about his entry into the printing industry. He is a strong advocate for bringing young people into the industry and discusses his efforts in attracting the next generation of workers, and the responsibility of the industry to mentor that next generation.

NextPage Leverages Customer Data for Clients

Published August 16, 2022

Gina Danner of NextPage talks to Kelley Holmes about NextPage’s data analysis services. NextPage is a high-volume direct mail provider based in Kansas City, Mo., that helps brands use their customers’ data to enhance their relationships with those customers.

Jon Buddington Talks About Expanding Print Business to Include Software and Apps

Published August 15, 2022

Jon Buddington of More Vang talks to Kelley Holmes about transitioning his printing business over the past 30 years to include a creative agency, software development, and marketing automation apps.

Around the Web: Test Test. Silly Stickers. Perilous Plants. Cola Cartridge. Raincoat Reservoir. Parasol Power. Better Buds. Spider Sleep. Dog Dudes.

Published August 12, 2022

Your expired COVID tests may have been given an extension. An epidemic of really bad forged car inspection stickers. When in the UK, visit The Poison Garden—but carefully. The Cana is a countertop “beverage printer” that can replicate many different flavors using a single cartridge. “Celebrate rainy days” with a rainwater harvesting coat. A solar-powered umbrella that can be networked. Graphene-enhanced earbuds. New evidence that spiders may dream. The World Dog Surfing Championships. Another roadside attraction…or two. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Commercial Printing Establishments—2010–2020

Published August 12, 2022

According to the latest, recently released edition of County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 16,283 establishments in NAICS 323111 (Commercial Printing except Screen and Books). This represents a decline of 26% since 2010. In macro news, inflation is flat!

Ecofoil: Fully Recyclable, OEM-Certified Metallized Media Optimized for Digital Printing

Published August 11, 2022

Mark Kempster of Ecofoil/Crystal Press, talks with Kelley Holmes about Ecofoil, the world’s first, fully recyclable, OEM-certified metallized board media optimized for digital printing. It has been certified for HP Indigo, Ricoh, and Xerox.

June Graphic Arts Employment—The Production/Non-Production See Saw This Month Favors Non-Production Workers

Published August 5, 2022

In June 2022, all printing employment was up +0.2% from May. This time, it was production employment that was down (-0.8%) and non-production employment that was up (+2.3%).

Around the Web: Rapid Rotation. Sheep Shipping. Recommended Reading. Keeping Calendars. Casino Clock. Clever Key. Hometown Heroes. Car Cluster. Faux Fax. Balloon Bistro. Velveeta Vodka.

Published August 5, 2022

The Earth is spinning faster than ever—and no one knows why. New Bubble Wool packing material made from discarded wool. “Recommendmeabook.com” lets you try out first pages of books. Graphene foam-based sensors for better prosthetics and robotics. New site tells you in what year you can reuse a calendar. A 3D-printed flip clock that uses playing cards to display the time. A redesigned door key that makes it easier to orient. Interactive map lets you find famous people from your hometown. A flock of self-driving cars mysteriously show up at the same corner and idle…ominously. Remember when urban legends and conspiracy theories spread by fax? The first hot air balloon-based restaurant. “La Dolce Velveeta” heads to happy hour with the “Veltini.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Get On the Same Page (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

Most salespeople agree that advance prep for important prospect meetings is a precursor for successful call outcomes. However, based on my observations from working with hundreds of salespeople over the years, many continue to just "wing it." Sales call after sales call, they leave the entire outcome to chance.

Teleporting Print Into The Metaverse (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

When you incorporate physical, interactive print into the buying journey, not only are you driving prospects to their online destination, you’re creating a subconscious memory of that experience (and brand) – simply by adding the power of touch. Triggering interactivity, like an augmented reality (AR) experience, increases conversion volume - and profit margins – further positioning interactive print into a necessary communication channel.

Ai In The Produce Section

Published July 29, 2022

Increasing Print Business With Augmented Reality (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

It’s finally happened. Print and marketing firms are incorporating augmented reality (AR) into their marketing tool kits. Not just for fan engagement and brand building, but as a business problem-solving and revenue-driving solution. Far from AR competing with print, it’s driving it.

4Over Demonstrates Continued Growth With A Broad Services Portfolio (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

4Over is the largest trade-only printer in the United States with 10 locations and close to one million square feet of production space and 1,100 employees. The company offers offset, digital and wide-format printing, covering a wide range of customer applications. In this discussion, CEO Shaheen Javadizadeh, who joined the company in 2020 from the enterprise software industry, shares company updates and industry insights.

Interactive Signage: An immersive discussion (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

Interactive signage is changing from simply providing information to creating immersive experiences. At the same time, the actual mechanism by which a user interacts with a display is changing from simple physical interaction to electronic interaction.

Signarama Downtown Louisville wins "Best in Show" at Signarama Sign Awards (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

This year’s "Best in Show" award went to Signarama Downtown Louisville (Ky.) for a project that involved designing, constructing and wrapping a giant KFC bucket for Louisville-born rapper Jack Harlow (https://www.jackharlow.us). The bucket, which also served as a giant loudspeaker, was created to accompany Harlow on the local leg of his concert tour. KFC signed on as a sponsor of Harlow’s tour, and one of the Louisville shows was intended as a launch event for the sponsorship.

Spoonflower: One Year Later (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

Shutterfly acquired Spoonflower one year ago. Now it's time to check in.

Americas Print Show 2022 Preview (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

The Americas Print Show 2022 (APS22), Aug. 17-19 in Columbus, Ohio, is an opportunity for commercial printing professionals to once again gather in person after a long pandemic hiatus. Its location in the heart of the country makes it easy to access and in driving range for a large number of printing companies.

AMPLIFY Print Minneapolis (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

There was a lot of anticipation for AMPLIFY—a first-of-its-kind event presented by Association for Print Technologies (APTECH) and the Foil and Specialty Effects Association (FSEA). The event centered around the topic of value-added print finishing and embellishment, and boasted the latest and greatest in technology, equipment, materials, inspiration and thought leadership.

Johnson's World: Sounding Like a Dry Martini (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

Countless scientific studies have unanimously concluded that online reading results in inferior comprehension and minimal retention. In-depth on-screen reading is also uncomfortable on my eyes.

Inkjet Integration: Flexible and Sustainable (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

Inkjet technology is creating and transforming many disparate applications, and it has the potential to do it sustainably. Increasingly, people and organizations are looking at new forms of print and industrial applications to meet sustainability demands.

Harnessing the Power of Proactive Maintenance (Audio)

Published July 29, 2022

As digitization leads the way forward for print manufacturing, print service providers (PSPs) now can use machine learning and data analytics to shape processes and guide important decisions. Both capabilities are integral to Industry 4.0. They provide PSPs with the power to proactively optimize the management, conservation and ROI of their printing equipment as well as achieve higher levels of operational productivity and efficiency.

Around the Web: Box Boon. Art Action. Robot Roughness. Phone Photos. Substitute Sentences. Winging Winnebago. Fork Feasting. Spud Spoons. Bird Buddy. Creepy Claw.

Published July 29, 2022

A new packaging system that automatically creates the smallest possible box that uses the least amount of material. Posable action figures derived from fine art. A chess-playing robot breaks its six-year-old opponent’s finger. An online Pay Phone Museum. A sentence rephraser. Graphene-based medical diagnostic systems that can provide results within a few minutes. Winnebago’s “flying camper” from the 70s. Edible utensils for the ultimate in waste reduction. Heinz’s “spoon fries.” The Adventures of Chef and Emu. Upping the creepiness factor with the new field of “necrobotics.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Printing Establishments—2010–2020

Published July 29, 2022

According to the latest, just-released edition of County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 22,225 establishments in NAICS 32311 (Printing). This represents a decline of 18% since 2010. In macro news, Q2 GDP declined -0.9%.

Around the Web: Graphene Graphics. Bogus Beats. Newspaper Niche. Billboard Beast. Tome Travelers. Umlaut Understanding. Ball Bot. Blood Bet. Bug Betrayal. Toilet Tech.

Published July 22, 2022

A graphene-based ink. A suspicious biometric in a smartwatch ad. A newspaper for a single retirement community has a higher circulation than a lot of metro dailies. A magazine we’d like to see. 3D billboards get more extreme. A gallery of the objects that librarians have found in returned library books. Kentucky’s Depression-era “horseback librarians.” Why do metal bands love umlauts? Is baseball ready for robo umpires? A dead mosquito provides crucial evidence in a burglary case. “AI litter boxes”—hopefully for cats. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly monkeypox miscellany.

Printing Shipments: The Best May Since the Before Times

Published July 22, 2022

May 2022 shipments came in at $6.77 billion, up from April’s $6.73 billion. This is the best May the industry has had since 2019—although it’s well below that month’s $7.92 billion.

Trish Witkowski Talks About Her New MarketWise Academy

Published July 21, 2022

Trish Witkowski talks to Kelley Holmes about a new partnership with Daniel Dejan and Vicki Strull called MarketWise Academy, a training program for businesses to learn about print and digital marketing—where each one works in the customer journey. The first fruit of this endeavor is a day-long in-person masterclass, with some hybrid in-person/virtual events in the works, as well.

The Evolution of VITS International

Published July 21, 2022

Deirdre Ryder of VITS International talks to Kelley Holmes at the Amplify Print event. VITS International started as an inline finishing equipment company specializing in sheeters, and the company has evolved to produce a full range of finishing equipment, as well as customized bespoke solutions for customers.

FSEA’s Jeff Petersen on the Amplify Print Event

Published July 20, 2022

Jeff Petersen, executive director of the Foil and Specialty Effects Association (FSEA), talks with Kelley Holmes about FSEA’s partnership with APTech that led to the Amplify Print event highlighting the latest trends and technologies in embellishments and other finishing effects.

Sugar Print Helps Brands Design for Embellishments

Published July 19, 2022

Darren Kenning of Sugar Print talks to Kelley Holmes at the Amplify Print event. Founded three years ago, Sugar Print specializes in adding embellishments to printed materials, working with agencies and brand owners to design materials for embellishments.

Rollem Changes with the Times

Published July 18, 2022

Doug Sherwood, National Sales Manager for Rollem, talks to Kelley Holmes at the Amplify Print event about how the 60+-year-old finishing equipment manufacturer has changed, evolved, and adapted over the years.

Around the Web: Media Memorial. Creative Cursing. Bottle Bother. Battery Breakthrough. Dead Dialogue. RIP Recipes. Taco Tech. Kitty COVID. Spirit Saloon. Launcher Love. Cereal Scents.

Published July 15, 2022

An heirloom app ensures your digital presence outlasts you. A “Reddit chart of compound pejoratives.” Carlsberg’s dubious attempt at a wooden bottle. Upcycling discarded EV batteries to harvest graphene. Alexa goes full Black Mirror. The growing trend of “gravestone recipes.” Taco Bell’s new human-less drive-through. The first cat-to-human COVID transmission. A “giant, nuclear-powered ‘hotel airplane’” stays aloft for years. Buy a haunted bat for $250K. Three words: “Nerf rocket launcher.” General Mills’ new “cereal-inspired candles.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Printing Establishments—2010–2020

Published July 15, 2022

According to the latest, just-released edition of County Business Patterns, in 2020 there were 23,393 establishments in NAICS 323 (Printing and Related Support Activities). This represents a decline of 20% since 2010. In macro news, Q2 GDP estimates are bearish—but that may not be cause for concern.

Trish Witkowski Reports on Amplify Print

Published July 14, 2022

Foldfactory’s Trish Witkowski talks about her impressions of last month’s Amplify Print event, including educational sessions, highlights from the show floor, conversations with show attendees and exhibitors, and many examples of how to take advantage of all the benefits of print.

Ellen Manning on Cold Foiling

Published July 12, 2022

Eagle Systems' Ellen Manning talks to Kelley Holmes at last month's Amplify event about the company’s inline cold foiling equipment and its capabilities for adding "pizzazz and glitz" to labels and packaging.

Printing Profits: Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Published July 1, 2022

Despite COVID, printing industry profits have been pretty good, with annualized profits for Q1 2022 coming in at $4.55 billion, down from $4.79 billion in Q4 2021.

Around the Web: Coupon Collapse. Creative Communication. Leaf Leather. Curse Collection. Graphene Grant. Training Tunes. Shoe Show. Burger Bugaboo. Ketchup Cooler.

Published July 1, 2022

Clipping printed coupons is on the decline. Core77 Visual Communications Design Award winners. Making leather from pineapple leaves. A cursed object trifecta: books, a phone number, and a Kleenex ad. A grant to develop graphene-based sustainable housing construction materials. Air New Zealand is adding beds to its economy class. The keys to an effective workout playlist. Designing Saucony’s Endorphin sneaker launch event. What the optimal number of times you should flip a hamburger? French’s introduced a mercifully short-lived ketchup pop. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Harris & Bruno’s Chris Hogge on the Transition to Digital Finishing

Published June 30, 2022

Chris Hogge from Harris & Bruno talks to Kelley Homes at last week’s Amplify event about how, as printing has transitioned from offset to digital, finishing equipment—especially the coating equipment Harrison & Bruno manufactures—has had to make the transition as well.

Duplo’s Rick Salinas on Cannabis Packaging Embellishment

Published June 29, 2022

Duplo’s Rick Salinas talks with Kelley Holmes at last week’s Amplify event about Duplo’s offerings for finishing and embellishment. Their solutions have proven especially popular for short-run packaging, particularly for the cannabis industry.

Parkland Direct’s Envelope Embellishments

Published June 28, 2022

Clint Seckman talks to Kelley Holmes at the Amplify Print event about Parkland Direct. The company started 40 years ago as a litho printer, began producing envelopes 15 years ago, and for the last five years has completely focused on envelopes, adding embellishments and other effects to increase open and response rates.

David Ashkenaz on Software Investment Fears

Published June 27, 2022

Kelley Holmes talks with David Ashkenaz, independent software consultant for the printing industry, about the fears printers have of investing in software to help run their businesses more efficiently.