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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 4311 articles

Zünd America’s Beatrice Drury on Cutting and Finishing

Published May 18, 2022

Zünd America’s Beatrice Drury talks with Kelley Holmes about Zünd’s participation in the ISA Sign Expo, the markets the company is involved in, and the kinds of cutting and finishing equipment Zünd manufactures. She also shares some examples of the specialized cutting Zünd equipment can produce.

Onyx’s Jonathan Rogers Talks About Automation

Published May 17, 2022

Onyx Software’s Jonathan Rogers talks about the forthcoming major ONYX software release, the primary focus of which will be a simplified user experience and easy-to-use tools for everyday automation.

Rick Salinas on Duplo at the ISA Sign Expo

Published May 16, 2022

Duplo’s new president Rick Salinas talks to Kelley Holmes talks about Duplo’s first time exhibiting at the International Sign Association (ISA) Sign Expo. He notes that the big growth areas in the industry are signage, POP, and packaging, and Duplo is moving to pursue those areas.

Commercial Printing Annual Payroll—2010–2019

Published May 13, 2022

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, US establishments in NAICS 323111 had an annual payroll of $15.9 billion. Payrolls dipped during and in the aftermath of the Great Recession and then rose, at least on a current dollar basis, over the latter half of the decade before dropping in 2019, finishing out the decade at $16.3 billion in 2019. However adjusting for inflation, payrolls declined by -12% over the course of the decade. In macro news: inflation is starting to slow ever so slightly.

Around the Web: Sand Solution. Plastic Problems. Conquering Corrosion. Stapler Substitute. Drone Deluge. Fromage Finder. Cremation Cannon. Pod Parting.

Published May 13, 2022

Print Against War shows how the global printing industry is standing with Ukraine. Turning discarded glass containers back into sand to help combat coastal erosion. Devastating report finds that plastic recycling simply is not working. Graphene-based anti-corrosion paint for automotive applications. A “staple-less stapler.” A revised 3D-printed cap for the iconic Kikkoman soy sauce bottle. Now you can be chased through a forest by a drone swarm without fearing they’ll crash. A new app is Shazam for cheese. Hurl your dearly departed into the afterlife with the Loved one Launcher. RIP Apple iPod. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Cris Pollnow Talks About IntoPrint Technologies

Published May 12, 2022

Kelley Holmes talks to IntoPrint’s Cris Pollnow. IntoPrint sells its own branded equipment for signage, label, and envelope printing, and serves as a dealer channel for other equipment vendors, as well. EFI is their flagship vendor. IntoPrint also has a strong service team.

Jim Raffel Geeks Out with Mark Heimerl

Published May 11, 2022

Resident Print Geek Jim Raffel talks with Serigaph’s Mark Heimerl at last week’s ISA Sign Expo about the new product and application areas Serigraph is moving into, how they are adapting with the times and with new demands from customers, and the new equipment they are acquiring to implement those changes.

March Graphic Arts Employment—Print Production Drops from February, Non-Production Up a Bit

Published May 6, 2022

In March 2022, all printing employment was up +0.2% from February. Non-production printing employment was up +2.7%, but production employment was down -0.9%.

Around the Web: Plastic Problems. Library Love. Perilous Packaging. Glasses Galore. Fowl Fashion. Dear Deere. Scarce Sand. Butcher Bots.

Published May 6, 2022

Using recovered plastic to 3D print on-demand retail items. The Brooklyn Public Library is offering free digital library cards. “Wrap rage” is real. Three approaches to eyeglasses-based displays. “Chicken eyeglasses.” Graphene helps turn discarded facemasks into concrete. Bricking stolen farm equipment. The world’s impending sand crisis. New technology is coming to a restaurant near you. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

ISA President Lori Anderson Opens Sign Expo 2022

Published May 5, 2022

International Sign Association (ISA) President and CEO Lori Anderson welcomes sign and display graphics professionals to Atlanta, where the first Sign Expo in three years kicked off yesterday.

Printing Annual Payroll—2010–2019

Published April 29, 2022

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, US establishments in NAICS 32311 had an annual payroll of $18.8 billion. Payrolls dipped during and in the aftermath of the Great Recession and then rose, at least on a current dollar basis, over the latter half of the decade, coming in at $19.6 billion in 2019. However adjusting for inflation, payrolls declined by -11% over the course of the decade. In macro news: GDP decreased by 1.4% in Q1 2022.

Around the Web: Tropicana Trouble. Problematic Packaging. Ceiling Selling. Time Transformation. Following Felines. Candy Commemoration. Soap Story. Cookie Conundrum.  

Published April 29, 2022

When rebrands go wrong. The latest color ereaders from E Ink. Specialized tools to open troublesome packaging. The Sistine Chapel ceiling—1:1 scale and published in a massive, three-volume book. Graphene for automotive interiors. Scientists are working on a new, improved second. The Netflix opening animation…using yarn. Does sleeping where a cat sleeps improve human sleep? The gummy bear turns 100. What happens to used hotel soap? MIT researchers invent an Oreometer to study cookie physics. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Joris Bosch on Digital Printing and Finishing

Published April 28, 2022

Joris Bosch from Holland-based Wihabo talks about digital printing and finishing. Wihabo offers commercial and packaging printing. Five years ago, they added an HP Indigo 10000, which was a game changer for the company. They have added digital die-cutting and recently added Highcon and Scodix machines to add even more value to printed materials.

Will We See You in Minneapolis in June for Amplify?

Published April 28, 2022

This unique event is focused on finishing, with a large dash of embellishment. In this video discussion, you'll hear from APTech about the event, and gain the perspective of both an attendee and an exhibitor about why the show is important and what you might gain from attending or exhibiting!

Adam Sidrane on Digital Labels and Packaging

Published April 27, 2022

Adam Sidrane from K. Sidrane talks about digital labels and packaging. The company was founded by his grandfather in 1948 as a medical device packaging converter, transitioned to a flexo label shop, and most recently a digital label shop. The company specializes in digitally printed labels, folding cartons, shrink sleeves, and flexible packaging. Its three HP presses have helped it serve the gamut of the digital label market.

Empowering Women in the Printing Industry Through Mentorship

Published April 26, 2022

Blooming Color’s Rosemarie Breske Garvey and MagnetStreet’s Brenda Baird share some highlights of a “women in print” panel discussion at last month’s Dscoop on International Women’s Day. One key takeaway from the panel was to focus on mentorship to empower young women in the printing industry.

Cober Solutions’ Jeff Sider on Attending Dscoop

Published April 25, 2022

Jeff Sider, Senior Development Manager for Cober Solutions 106-year old technology company that does a little bit of everything—from sheetfed print to digital printing and wide-format. The company currently has five HP Indigo presses, with two more being installed.

February Shipments: OK, About What We Expected

Published April 22, 2022

February 2022 shipments came in at $6.53 billion, down from January’s $6.67 billion. As we remarked last month we’re starting the year better than we did 2021 and reverting back to our normal seasonality trends.

Around the Web: Mug Mania. Chip Change. Ad Archive. Fantasy Food. Sound Storehouse. Deadline Diner. Galactic Graphene. Cool Colander. Charged Chopsticks.

Published April 22, 2022

Reusable glass packaging. Subcutaneous chip payments. An archive of newspaper ads from the 1980s. Two juxtaposed front page stories accidentally help nab a thief. Using AI to generate pictures of food that doesn’t exist. The Museum of Endangered Sounds preserves the noises of old technologies. A café for writers that won’t let them leave until they’ve met their deadlines. Graphene goes into space! Produce stickers are the bane of composters. Two words: “electric chopsticks.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

FASTSIGNS Franchisee Talks Diversity and Inclusion

Published April 21, 2022

Carmen Ruiz, a FASTSIGNS franchisee from Holly Hill, Fla., talks to Kelley Holmes about giving a panel discussion at the annual FASTSIGNS convention about inclusion and diversity. They also talk about an interesting project her business worked on that brought diversity and inclusion to life in her community.

Making the Leap to Becoming a FASTSIGNS Franchisee

Published April 19, 2022

Dan Stutzman, a FASTSIGNS franchisee from Erie, Pa., talks about the history of his company and how he converted to a FASTSIGNS business. Dan also talks about the support his business gets from the corporate side of the franchise business.

Kurt Michalak of Fortis Solutions Group Talks Growth

Published April 19, 2022

Kurt Michalak, Fortis Solutions Group’s Director of Manufacturing for the Central Region, talks about how the company has grown from five plants to 15 in five years. The company specializes in everything from pressure-sensitive labels to flexible packaging, with a press mix that is 70% flexo, 25% digital, and just under 5% offset. They have also acquired a fleet of HP Indigo presses, expanding from four to 25 in those five years.

Printing Industry Annual Payroll—2010–2019

Published April 8, 2022

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, US establishments in NAICS 323 had an annual payroll of $20.2 billion. Payrolls dipped during and in the aftermath of the Great Recession. They rose, at least on a current dollar basis, over the latter half of the decade, coming in at $20.7 billion in 2019. However adjusting for inflation, payrolls declined by -13% over the course of the decade. In macro news: forecasters are not expecting a happy Q1 GDP report.

Around the Web: Caption Cursing. DALL-E Drawing. Dash Delight. Poem Pageant. Shape Shifting. Disease Detective. Dull Day. Speaking Spores.

Published April 8, 2022

Automatic speech recognition systems add age-inappropriate captions to children’s YouTube videos. An AI technology that will let you create digital images by describing what you want to see. In praise of the em dash. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” Improving the recyclability of flexible plastic packaging. Graphene may save lives. Required reading: “The Price of Nails Since 1695.” What was statistically the most boring day in history? Mushrooms speak! A mobile phone umbrella, for some reason. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s dead serious weekly miscellany.

Graphco Holds Open House at EZ Mailing in Indianapolis

Published April 5, 2022

Graphco President Chris Manley is joined by EZ Mailing Owner Kevin Bennet on the final day of a two-day open house dubbed "The Unfair Advantage" by Graphco. They discuss the company's beginnings as a mail only shop to a full service printer and mailer now with offset, digital, and wide-format capabilities.

CustomXM’s Paul Strack on How the Pandemic Changed His Company

Published April 4, 2022

Sometimes a major crisis like a global pandemic helps a business focus, change, and better prepare itself for the future. Paul Strack, President of CustomXM, shares how this happened with his print business.

Catching Up With a FASTSIGNS Master Franchisor from Puerto Rico

Published April 4, 2022

José Corujo, FASTSIGNS Franchise Partner from Puerto Rico, talks to Kelley Holmes about his three centers there and 10 years of experience as a franchisee. José also discusses selling a center in the Dominican Republic as a Master Franchisor, as well as what it means to be a part of the FASTSIGNS franchise network.

Around the Web: Linedock Lamp. Circular Storybooks. Cornea Cleverness. Creative Cancelling. Brain Boosting. Poster Panoply. Coin Cuisine. Block Battle.

Published April 1, 2022

A Ukrainian designed lamp to benefit Ukraine. CAD-designed 360-degree pop-up books. A contact lens-based display. Delivering medications via (different) contact lenses. Using carbon monoxide to synthesize high-quality graphene. Dyson introduces combination noise-cancelling headphones/particulate-cancelling air purifier. Turns out no one really wants IQ-enhancing brain implants. However, a brain implant helps a “locked in” ALS patient communicate. A special exhibition of Krautrock concert posters. A new documentary featuring Mel Brooks pays tribute to the automat. A vacuum that sucks and sorts LEGOs. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s dead serious weekly miscellany.

Now it Can be Told: Why Printing Shipments Declined! (April Fools 2022 Edition)

Published April 1, 2022

In this exclusive report, we found a modest positive relationship between the decline in average consumption of margarine and the value of printing shipments.

Shroud of Turin (Audio)

Published March 31, 2022

Needed: Quick-Turn Labels

Published March 31, 2022

A trio of OEMs share what to expect in label printing trends.

Print Franchise Review 2022

Published March 31, 2022

Print franchise networks struggled, like many businesses, in 2020. But most of them have bounced back almost to 2019 levels and are seeing good growth going into 2022.

Print Franchise Review 2022

Published March 31, 2022

Print franchise networks struggled, like many businesses, in 2020. But most of them have bounced back almost to 2019 levels and are seeing good growth going into 2022.

Your Package Has Been Delivered

Published March 31, 2022

Look outside your front door and the chances are that there is at least one, if not multiple cartons stacked up. They are not just stacked up by your front door. it is a growing global phenomenon.

ISA Sign Expo Preview

Published March 31, 2022

Innovative Fibers Are Set To Improve Textile Sustainability.

Published March 31, 2022

It is estimated that some 60% of apparel is made of petroleum-based polyester or polyester blends. As the world moves to diminish its reliance on petroleum, polyester fabrics are an attractive target.

Three Factors Driving Growth In Large-Format And Signage

Published March 31, 2022

When the pandemic first ensued, printers were left scratching their heads wondering how to keep business flowing. Many seized the opportunity to bounce back and stepped into the wide-format space, producing pandemic-related signage, floor graphics and face shields. Fast-forward to 2022 and these wide-format heroes find themselves facing a new set of issues - all threatening its continued growth.

Pre-Call Prep Leads To Better Prospect Meetings

Published March 31, 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.

HP Indigo Brings New Products, New Energy to DSCOOP 2022

Published March 31, 2022

HP Indigo delivered strong performance in 2021, and the team headed out to Colorado for DSCOOP 2022 armed with enthusiasm and lots of news. In this sponsored interview created from written answers provided by HP Indigo, Senior Vice President and General Manager, HP Indigo and Industrial Go To Market, Haim Levit, shares an update and a look ahead.

Transforming the Learning Environment with Signs

Published March 31, 2022

No one could have predicted the effect a sustained pandemic would have on our workspace and learning environments. For many, after a prolonged hibernation at home, returning to the workplace or classroom was met with hesitation and anxiety. For some, working and learning from home gave us time to take a step back and reflect on priorities, spend more time with family and re-think our surroundings. Businesses, including our learning institutions, continue to pivot and change course to fit the needs of its students, parents, customers and staff.

The Cat and Mouse Game (Audio)

Published March 31, 2022

A Marketing Lesson from Walter the Cat

The Advantages of Being a FASTSIGNS Co-Brand Location

Published March 28, 2022

Chuck Lobaugh, a FASTSIGNS franchise owner from Hilton Head Island, S.C., talks to WhatTheyThink's Kelley Holmes about his long history in the printing industry, why he became a co-branded FASTSIGNS location, and the advantages it gives him as a small business owner in challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Outdoor Advertising Employees—2010–2019

Published March 25, 2022

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 24,534 employees in NAICS 541850 (Outdoor Advertising). This NAICS actually grew post-Great Recession, with a slight decline mid-decade before climbing back up to 27,620 establishments in 2017. 2018 and 2019 saw a drop in employees. In macro news: AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) indicates that demand for design services continues to grow, boding well for commercial real estate construction and thus signage projects.

Around the Web: Meme Memorial. Clever Cup. Ballpoint Brilliance. Vest Value. Ring Wrangling. Light Longevity. Bone Benefits. Playing Portably.

Published March 25, 2022

RIP Stephen Wilhite, father of the GIF. A recyclable, reusable, lidless, strawless beverage cup. Stunning ballpoint pen art. A special deal on USB graphene heated vests. A map showing the latest sunrise times if DST were made permanent. How to fold plastic shopping bags for easy storage. A two-piece engagement/wedding ring that is assembled during the wedding. The longest-burning lightbulb is in Livermore, Calif. Bones are more complex than we thought. A portable, rollable AI-driven chessboard, and a set of playing cards than can turn into a chess board. A glowing ceramic tardigrade night light. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Kevin Lee Explains Pineapple Payments

Published March 24, 2022

Kelley Holmes interviews Kevin Lee of Pineapple Payments at the NPSOA Owners Conference in San Antonio, Tex. Pineapple Payments is a payment technology company that provides print owners with a simple and secure payment processing system to collect their accounts receivables via credit card payments.

American Litho’s Digital Printing Journey

Published March 24, 2022

At Dscoop, Frank Arostegui, Executive Vice President of American Litho, talks about how the company first went digital in 2017 with an HP 12000. They are now at capacity and are considering a second one. They also acquired a PageWide T240, were able to migrate a lot of work over to it, and 12 months later bought a T250. Both are now at capacity.

Packaging Lab’s Unique Business Model

Published March 21, 2022

Jeff Searson & Dan Niblo, Founders of Packaging Lab, talk about how they are only company that offers flexible packaging in as fast as 24 hours with no minimum quantity. The company relies on automation and HP Indigo digital printing. They went into this year’s Dscoop with specific needs, which were met.

January Shipments: Let’s Get This Year Right

Published March 18, 2022

January 2022 shipments came in at $6.64 billion, down from December’s $7.09 billion. We’re starting the year better than we did 2021 and reverting back to our normal seasonality trends.

Around the Web: Lasting Letraset. Fabulous Fiberboard. Pod Power. Criticizing Classics. Sharing Shaming. Plug Portability. Bee Bricks. Bright Bread. Ear Edibles.

Published March 18, 2022

Remember Letraset? There is now an online store dedicated to dry transfer type. Bullish forecasts for digital textile printing. The history of corrugated cardboard. Stephen Colbert’s NFT heist movie trailer. 3D-printed living pods made from graphene-infused cement. Now-classic 20th-century novels weren’t always well-received when first published. Netflix’s new passive-aggressive crackdown on password sharing. A unique approach to portable electric outlets. Construction options that benefit local pollinators. Yukiko Morita’s handmade Bread Lamps are real bread with LEDs inside. Mike Tyson’s new bitten-ear-shaped cannabis edibles. A human slinky! All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Advantage Color Graphics’ Tom Ling Attends His Sixth Dscoop

Published March 17, 2022

Tom Ling, Founder and Owner of Anaheim, Calif.’s Advantage Color Graphics, attends his sixth Dscoop and talks about the value he gets from collaborating with his peers, and learning what others have been exploring—in this year’s case, flexible packaging.

Tom O’Brien Talks About His 41 Years in the Business

Published March 17, 2022

Tom O’Brien President of Greenville, N.C.’s Acculink and Accuflex Packaging, talks about his history in the industry. He founded Acculink in 1980 and had always been in the digital cut-sheet space. Currently, a strong focus of the company is on e-commerce fulfillment for popular photogift/photocard brands, printing customer photos on items like mugs, neckties, mousepads, and cards.

Smartpress’s Matt Chapman on Attending Dscoop

Published March 15, 2022

Matt Chapman, Vice President of Smartpress, an online printing business founded in 2009 and based outside Minneapolis, talks about the benefits of attending last week’s Dscoop.

Point B Solutions Produces Highly Variable Direct Mail

Published March 15, 2022

Joe Avery, Owner of Point B Solutions, talks about some new initiatives his company is pursuing following the recent acquisition of another company, such as expanding into packaging. Point B Solutions also produces a lot of highly variable direct mail for food clients.

Houston Independent School District: An education in-plant success story

Published March 14, 2022

Chuck Werninger is a well-known name in in-plant circles as a successful in-plant professional and evangelist for print. We had the opportunity to speak with him on a wide range of topics regarding in-plant operations, how he has been able to drive change within the Houston Independent School District, and on the value of print in general.

Sign Manufacturing Employees—2010–2019

Published March 11, 2022

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 70,507 employees in NAICS 33995 (Sign Manufacturing). This NAICS category tumbled in the wake of the Great Recession, ultimately climbing to 76,944 employees in 2019. In macro news: Inflation continues to continue to climb.

Around the Web: Wreck Retrieval. Cover Clairvoyance. Container Questions. Salmon Suits. Battling Baker. Menschy Mirror. Head Heist.

Published March 11, 2022

The wreck of the “Endurance” was found—as was footage of it actually going down. The magazine cover as a contrary indicator. The Gender Pay Gap Bot called out hypocritical companies on IWD. Why do bottles have indented bottoms? And why did bottles used to have rounded bottoms? An excellent webinar on graphene in textiles. Hooking synthesizers to plants, for some reason. Seattle is being sued by fish. A “smart mirror” that actually sounds kind of cool. A box of human heads was stolen from a truck in Denver. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly salvaged miscellany.

Smoothie Shop Leverages FASTSIGNS for Relocation Project

Published March 10, 2022

Joel Miller, Owner of FASTSIGNS of Manchester, CT & FASTSIGNS Newington, CT, talks about his two businesses, their history, and the benefit of being a franchisee of FASTSIGNS. Joel also shares details of an interesting project for a smoothie shop that leveraged financing for his customer through FASTSIGNS enabling them to spend more on the project and achieve better results.

A Creative Journey in Fashion (Audio)

Published March 9, 2022

Lucy Swann has been designing beautiful surface patterns for the fashion industry for many years and has an extensive knowledge of the sector, particularly children’s wear. She is living the dream and doing what she loves. Having recently diversified to launch her own scarf collection, here she shares her inspiring creative journey and what the future holds.

I Call Nonsense: Let's dissect some internet tropes (Audio)

Published March 9, 2022

I’m calling out some nonsense, and what better place to start than the internet? It is home of social media, which is unequalled for nonsense.

How To Use Augmented Reality To Generate Revenue (Audio)

Published March 9, 2022

Augmented reality has hit a milestone. It is no longer a niche technology used primarily for entertainment and brand-building. Thanks to simple games on fast food packaging or the ability to take selfies with virtual celebrities and share them on social media, it has evolved into a true revenue-generating tool. For printers looking for opportunities to build new revenue streams, AR has arrived.

2022 FASTSIGNS/Wide Format & Signage Project of the Year (Audio)

Published March 9, 2022

The winner of this year’s FASTSIGNS/Wide Format & Signage Project of the Year is FASTSIGNS York (Pa.), whose major rebranding of the Shippensburg University football team’s training facility caught the judges’ eyes.

The Book-Of-One Produced On Site (Audio)

Published March 9, 2022

Entering a location, maybe a book shop, and having the book you want printed and bound within a few minutes -- this is the promise of Gutenberg One.

How To Educate The Next Generation In Apparel (Audio)

Published March 9, 2022

The U.S. January jobs report was surprisingly strong, adding 467,000 positions. In addition to the "Great Resignation" phenomenon, it was expected that jobs numbers would be more in the 150,000 range. In addition, average wages rose 5.7%. This has led some pundits describing the trend as "The Great Upgrade" – many employees leaving existing jobs not to stay home, but rather, to find jobs with higher pay and a better work/life balance. But the job growth is not equal across all industry segments. And many in the textiles and apparel industry still struggle to find enough workers. There is a lack of skilled workers in North America due to the outsourcing to Asia and other parts of the world that began in the 1970s.

Did We Learn Anything?

Published March 9, 2022

It's all about quality, not quantity, when it comes to human resources.

Up with Higher Education (Audio)

Published March 9, 2022

Finding signage opportunities in academic applications.

Self-Service Resistance in the Print Industry (Audio)

Published March 9, 2022

If you’ve been paying attention at all, self-service is a critical trend in almost every industry. We are doing things for ourselves that our parents would never have dreamed of. Complex financial transactions, complex real estate dealings, and complex ordering of expensive and custom manufactured items - all online, all in a self-service fashion. It's starting to look like we might only interact with software to procure just about anything.

Printing Outlook 2022: Back to the Future or Groundhog Day? (Audio)

Published March 9, 2022

Digging into the results of our "Business Outlook Survey" for the our annual "Printing Outlook 2022" report, they showed an industry that has largely recovered from 2020, but faces some new challenges and some older challenges now writ large. We’re not exactly back to normal, but we’re closer than we thought possible in a long time.

The Bridge Between Under-Served Students And The Printing Industry Workforce (Audio)

Published March 9, 2022

Founded by Yankees Hall-of-Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera, the Mariano Rivera Foundation provides youth in under-served communities with one-to-one mentorship, vocational training, college preparedness and STEM learning. Its flagship training program, "Print, Design, and Packaging Development," is run out of a church property in Gainesville, Fla.

How To Engage And Educate Tomorrow's Print And Packaging Workforce (Audio)

Published March 9, 2022

For the most part, print and packaging service providers today are busy again. In fact, some of those I have spoken with say they are too busy. Is that a thing? However, they all to seem to have the same two problems; available paper and available personnel. These problems were already gaining some visibility under the surface pre-pandemic, but became severe and more obvious post-pandemic.

What It Means to Be a FASTSIGNS Franchisee

Published March 8, 2022

Kevin Hebert, FASTSIGNS Franchise Owner from St. Charles Parish, La., speaks with WhatTheyThink VP Kelley Holmes at the FASTSIGNS Annual Convention about what it means to be a part of the FASTSIGNS network.

January Graphic Arts Employment—Print Production Drops from December, Non-Production Up Slightly

Published March 4, 2022

In January 2022, all printing employment was down -2.6% from December, with production employment down -4.1%. Non-production printing employment offset that a bit by being up a modest +0.9%.

Around the Web: Language Learning. Smell Search. Creepy Casing. Teutonic Typeface. Nefarious Knockoffs. Graphene Guest. Bionic Basher. Tater Tale. Witchy Ouijas.

Published March 4, 2022

An animated history of the English language. What would Wordle have looked like in the 1980s? Why do new books smell different than old books? The myths and realities of books bound in human skin. The typeface used on German license plates was designed to thwart forgery. Fast-fashion knitwear faces a knockoff problem. Graphene guest stars on an episode of NCIS. VR boots that simulate walking. A drummer with an AI-enabled bionic arm. Heavens-Above tracks the satellites currently orbiting over your location. The origin of the potato chip. When in Salem, Mass., visit the museum dedicated to Ouija Boards. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

The Journey to Becoming a FASTSIGNS Franchisee

Published March 2, 2022

Clint Ehlers, franchise owner from Willow Grove, Pa., discusses how he became a FASTSIGNS franchise and the research he conducted for the decision to start this business. Clint also discusses being elected to the International Franchise Association board.

Around the Web: Wet Wattage. Quit Questions. Pricey Picture. Revising Roboto. Liquid Lenses. Bottle Battle. People Portal. Robot Restaurants Redux. Hellish Hotel. Car Carnage. Cardiac Cod.

Published February 25, 2022

The emerging field of “liquid electronics”—and graphene is there! Redesigning corporate logos with a Medieval theme. The Great ReShuffling: meet the new buzzword, same as the old buzzword. An actual, physical object will be the most expensive photograph, bizarrely. Google introduces Roboto Serif. Self-adjusting water-based eyeglasses—in low- and high-tech versions. Coca-Cola’s tepid approach to its refillable bottle program. Beam a 3D hologram of yourself with PORTL. An update on robot restaurant servers. Also: the first robot hotel. A boat full of luxury cars bursts into flames. A robot fish powered by heart cells.  All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Outdoor Advertising Establishments—2010–2019

Published February 25, 2022

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 2,378 establishments in NAICS 541850 (Outdoor Advertising). This NAICS actually grew post-Great Recession, with a slight decline mid-decade before climbing back up to 2,765 establishments in 2018. 2019 saw a massive drop in establishments. In macro news: Q4 2021 GDP revised up to 7.0%.

WhatTheyThink Member and FASTSIGNS Co-Brand Owner Richard Helmey

Published February 25, 2022

Richard Helmey, a co-branded FASTSIGNS Owner from Houston, Tex., talks about being a member of WhatTheyThink and how he got started as a FASTSIGNS co-brand location. Richard also talks about some of the applications his business has worked on.

Around the Web: Giving Gear. Clever Containers. LEGO Letterpress. Mitigating Microplastics. Gamut Game. Controlled Consumables. Carvana Craziness. Haute Hardware. Potato Perfume.

Published February 18, 2022

What happens to all the T-shirts printed for the team that lost the Super Bowl? A more recyclable approach to beverage containers. Using LEGO for letterpress printing. Samsung is partnering with Patagonia to address the problem of microplastics produced by washing clothes. Test your skills at color matching. Certain types of solvent inks are now regulated as controlled substances by the UK. Graphene-based inks can help with low-power hot water heaters. Carvana’s auto-buying robot buys a seven-year-old car for more than the owner had paid for it. Hardware-as-luxury-jewelry is apparently a thing. A new perfume smells like french fries. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

December Shipments: No Christmas Miracle

Published February 18, 2022

As 2021 drew to a close, December printing shipments came in at $7.00 billion, down from $7.10 billion in November, keeping with the usual seasonality of a slow December. For 2021 overall, we came in at $82.87 billion for the year, just below 2020’s $83.73 billion.

Sign Design UX Dos & Don’ts (Audio)

Published February 17, 2022

Employ a functional graphic approach for positive way-finding user experiences, top designers advise.

Core Publishing Solutions: A Dramatic Shift In Application Mix Enables Ongoing Business Growth (Audio)

Published February 17, 2022

Core Publishing Solutions offers publishers the convenience of seamlessly switching titles between offset and digital runs, and has installed two sheetfed inkjet presses and three wide-format web-fed inkjet presses, having nearly four billion pages on its digital presses.

Sign Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2019

Published February 11, 2022

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 5,824 establishments in NAICS 33995 (Sign Manufacturing). This NAICS category tumbled in the wake of the Great Recession, ultimately climbing back up to 5,865 establishments in 2019. In macro news: Inflation continues to climb.

Around the Web: Meme Manufacturing. Wordle Weary. Decoding Dickens. Privatizing Palettes. Recycled Rubber. Terrific Toaster. Tomato Tale. Snowy Sobriquet. Feather Fracas.

Published February 11, 2022

A “paper engineer” creates printed, pop-up versions of classic memes. More Wordle variants. Better than the DaVinci: the Dickens Code. Privatizing specific hexadecimal colors for NFTs (or something dubious like that). Graphene-based rubber. An award-winning non-electric toaster. Why are tomatoes red? The suspense is over: Minnesota has eight new snowplow names. Spit-take warning: “Pillow fighting could be the next great combat sport.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Catherine Monson on FASTSIGNS’ Terrific 2021

Published February 11, 2022

Kelley Holmes talks with Catherine Monson, CEO of Propelled Brands, at the FASTSIGNS Convention, which opened this week in Grapevine, Tex. FASTSIGNS' parent company Propelled Brands has been putting together a family of business-to-business and service-oriented franchisors with the recent acquisitions of NerdsToGo My Salon Suite. The jewel in the crown is FASTSIGNS, which had a banner year in 2021, expanding to 761 locations in eight countries.

Post-Pandemic Profits on the Upturn

Published February 4, 2022

Shipments have been slowly climbing back from the pandemic recession of 2020, but profits have been on a sharp upturn. However there still remains a bit of a profitability gap between the two major asset class distinctions.

Around the Web: Groundhog Galore. Replacement Rodent. Extra Eyesight. Translation Trouble. Superfluous Sockets. Super Supercapacitors. Timeless Tomes. Pointless Product. Tesla Trouble. Coin Couture.

Published February 4, 2022

All about Groundhog Day. Tetrachromats have an extra photoreceptor that lets them see 100 times as many colors as the rest of us. 7-Eleven is testing touchless “floating holographic displays” for self-checkout. A mistranslated sign inadvertently advertises free alcohol. A gigantic, 60-socket power bank could fully charge 5,000 smartphones with 3,000-mAh batteries. A gallery of “automated furniture.” Enhancing the energy storage capacity of graphene supercapacitors used in solar heating. A search engine that finds full-text public-domain books. Why would anyone program a self-driving car to ignore stop signs? A chainmail cocktail dress made from pennies. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly wintry miscellany.

Throwing Shades - What you need to know about textiles and color management (Audio)

Published February 4, 2022

Color management continues to be a hot topic in commercial print, packaging and display graphics. But what about textiles?

Alon Bar-Shany Q&A – Transformations; the keys to success

Published February 4, 2022

Alon Bar-Shany has been on the front line of this transformation for over 25 years at HP, rising to general manager of HP Indigo, one of the leaders in the transformation to digital printing. Since leaving HP, he has continued his journey in industry transformations, most recently as the Chairman of Highcon, Executive Chairman of Redefine Meat Ltd. and Chairman and CEO of Twine Solutions.

I'm Sorry, Dave: The rise of AI in print and packaging (Audio)

Published February 4, 2022

We have all read about or seen lots of Sci Fi stories in our lifetime. While they are fascinating and capture the imagination, they have always seemed somewhat detached from our day-to-day lives.

Automation Starts with Your Print MIS/ERP (Audio)

Published February 4, 2022

Automation is about finding those recurring patterns and then taking them out of the hands of humans and into the realm of software, so that repetitive tasks can be done programmatically.

Packaging Boom and What it Means for PSP's

Published February 4, 2022

Ceramic Tiles & the Recirculation Revolution (Audio)

Published February 4, 2022

Ceramics tile decoration has become a crucial application for industrial inkjet. A brief retrospective on the market can set the stage for the technology advances that enabled the success in ceramics, particularly with respect to the importance of nozzle-based recirculation in print heads.

Take Out the Laborious Part of Labor with Metrics (Audio)

Published February 4, 2022

How to use observational platforms to keep your business running smoothly.

Arms of Love: New automation options for wide format (Audio)

Published February 4, 2022

It took some time, but automation is gradually creeping into wide-format printing, especially on the flatbed side. Many wide-format printers pride themselves on producing bespoke projects and specialty “one of a kind” applications. And, after all, haven’t us industry pundits and analysts—and vendors—been pushing this kind of approach?

Talent and Culture as a Competitive Advantage (Audio)

Published February 4, 2022

Talent and culture have not been given the deep attention that strategy and capital have historically had. The printing industry is no exception. However, competition grows stiffer with the passage of time. Rapidly changing technology has created a transparent world where any sort of advantage rapidly deteriorates.

Customers Demand Greener Options: A Guide to Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Fabric and Textile Printing—Print Customers Are Increasingly Requesting Greener Materials (Audio)

Published February 4, 2022

Print customers are increasingly requesting and specifying greener materials, helping their supply chains become more sustainable. Large-format printing is no exception; and the industry has responded by providing machines that use less electricity, processes that use less water, curing that utilizes less heating, while also focusing on developing newer, greener substrates and materials.

Scott Schinlever on EFI’s Inkjet Business

Published February 3, 2022

Scott Schinlever, COO of EFI’s Global Inkjet Business provides an update on the EFI inkjet business, encompassing such disparate markets as wide format, textiles, corrugated, and ceramic printing.

All Other Converted Paper Product Manufacturing Employment—2010–2019

Published January 28, 2022

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 16,147 employees in 322299 (All Other Converted Paper Product Manufacturing establishments). This NAICS category bounced up and down over the course of the 2010s, ending with 15,177 employees in 2019. In macro news: Yesterday was Q4 GDP Day!

Around the Web: Graphene Galore! Blood Book. Sayonara, SATs. Salacious Solving. Bad Bedding. Suspense Sting. Top Tales. Dairy Devices. Compromised Cars. Robot Restaurant. Retro Runners.

Published January 28, 2022

Graphene-Info updates all its graphene market reports. Saddam Hussein’s “Blood Qur’an.” The SATs to go all-digital in 2024. Sweary and lewd versions of Wordle. Due your research before naming bedroom furniture products. Where did the “three notes of suspense” originate? A new book looks at Haruki Murakami’s T-shirt collection. Here we go: “wearables for cows.” A teen hacker gained remote access to Teslas around the world. Inside the Beijing Olympic Village cafeteria. Sneakers designed like old VHS tapes. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.