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WhatTheyThink is the global printing industry's go-to information source with both print and digital offerings, including WhatTheyThink.com, WhatTheyThink Email Newsletters, and the WhatTheyThink magazine. Our mission is to inform, educate, and inspire the industry. We 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 201-300 of 4535 articles

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.

Around the Web: Paper Passion. Skin Sensor. Browser Bier. Future Furniture. Global Glee. Tub Trouble. Finger Fromage.

Published June 24, 2022

Welsh artist Polly Verity folds paper into “into elegantly suggestive sculptures.” A graphene-based e-tattoo measures blood pressure. Just-discontinued Internet Explorer gets a gravestone. Ikea has a new AR app to delete your furniture and replace it with Ikea’s. How to laugh online in 26 languages. The short-changed designer who created Nike’s Swoosh. Hacking into a “smart Jacuzzis.” A British photographer captured a transit of the ISS across the Sun. Velveeta launches cheese-scented nail polish, for some reason. A guitar made out of French fries. Kate Bush’s welcome return to the charts. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Support Activities for Printing Annual Payroll—2010–2019

Published June 24, 2022

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, US establishments in NAICS 32312 had an annual payroll of $1.4 billion. Payrolls declined steadily over the course of the 2010s, closing out the decade at $1.0 billion in 2019. However adjusting for inflation, payrolls declined by -38% over the course of the decade. In macro news: AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) indicates that demand for design services remains strong, boding well for commercial real estate construction and thus signage projects.

April Shipments: Returning to Regular Seasonality

Published June 17, 2022

April 2022 shipments came in at $6.67 billion, down from March’s $7.03 billion. The general trend in all but two of the last seven years has been for April shipments to decline from March’s. That’s not really good news but suggests we’re at least getting back to normal.

Around the Web: Tome Tok. Joyce Joy. Paper ’Puter. Lionfish Leather. Robust Rugs. Solar Satellites. Wonder Worms. Gas Goof. Seat Suffering. Canine Comfort.

Published June 17, 2022

BookTok has caused a “print book revolution.” Modern online brands reinterpreted as their old-school forebears. Yesterday was Bloomsday—and the 100th anniversary of the publication of “Ulysses.” A prototype of a laptop that uses an e-paper-based display. Florida’s invasive lionfish is an excellent source of “fish leather.” Graphene makes wigs more durable. Adding robotic insect legs to household objects. One step closer to space-based solar energy-collecting satellites. Polystyrene-eating beetle larvae could hold the clues to dealing with plastic waste. Fired gas station manager accidentally charges 69¢ a gallon for gas; may become local folk hero. A new airplane seat design looks horrifying. A dog bed for humans. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Amplify Opens in Minneapolis

Published June 15, 2022

Kelley Holmes talks to APTech President Thayer Long at the inaugural Amplify event, presented in conjunction with the FSEA, a show dedicated to finishing and embellishment technology.

Strategic Factory Is the WhatTheyThink/Printing News Top Small Commercial Printer for 2022

Published June 13, 2022

Kelley Holmes visits Strategic Factory’s Owings Mills, Md., facility to talk with president and CEO Keith Miller about the company’s second straight win as Top Small Commercial Printer—and help celebrate its 22nd anniversary.

Book Printing Annual Payroll—2010–2019

Published June 10, 2022

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, US establishments in NAICS 323117 had an annual payroll of $1.1 billion. Payrolls declined over the first half of the 2010s, at least on a current dollar basis, but started to rise again, closing out the decade at $993 million in 2019. However adjusting for inflation, payrolls declined by -25% over the course of the decade. In macro news: what’s going on with the real estate market?

Around the Web: Eschewed Entries. Password Parting. Loony Logos. Get Graphene Gear! Dog Detection. Big Birds. Canny Cane. Taking Tokens. Steak Saga.

Published June 10, 2022

What are the least-read articles in Wikipedia? With any luck passkeys will replace passwords. When AI tries to recreate famous brand logos. WearGraphene’s graphene-enhanced jacket is now available. COVID-sniffing dogs may be more accurate than PCR tests. Proto-chickens and giant demon ducks. “DRM wheelchairs.” A high-tech cane for the elderly. Bored Ape Yacht Club avatars are getting stolen with monotonous regularity. The fascinating history of Salisbury steak. A giant giraffe sculpted out of chocolate. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

swissQPrint Showcases Its Neon Inks

Published June 9, 2022

Kelley Holmes talks to Carmen Eicher of swissQPrint about the company’s wide-format printer portfolio. The ISA Sign Expo was the first showing of the company’s recent product releases, including a set of neon inks and its Generation 4 printers, including the Nyala 4, which features new printheads and smaller drop sizes.

Mutoh Shows Off Its New Products at the ISA Sign Expo

Published June 8, 2022

Kelley Holmes talks to Brian Phipps, President and GM of Mutoh America, about the company’s return to industry events, and some new product launches, including the new eco-solvent XpertJet Pro line with a new printhead and 25% faster speed, and the XpertJet 661, a 24x19-inch flatbed UV printer.

Jim Raffel Geeks Out with Caldera’s Joey Phillips

Published June 7, 2022

Resident Print Geek Jim Raffel talks with Caldera’s Joey Phillips about the latest updates to Caldera’s software. Version 15 of CalderaRIP will see improvements to the cutting algorithm, new drivers, and updates to existing drivers, amongst other new and upgraded features. PrimeCenter, Caldera’s prepress software, also gets a major upgrade to Version 2.

April Graphic Arts Employment—Print Production Up from March, Non-Production Down Slightly

Published June 3, 2022

In March 2022, all printing employment was up +0.6% from March. This time, it was production employment that was up (+1.6%) and non-production employment that was down (-0.9%).

Around the Web: Wallpaper Warming. Painting Pastried. Grim Game. Daily Disruption. Mechanical Maids. Robot Roommate. Hamster Horror. Font Feeling. Bee Befuddlement.

Published June 3, 2022

Graphene-based, self-heating wallpaper. The Mona Lisa is attacked with cake, for some reason. A hyper-realistic first-person writer video game in which you try selling short stories to magazines. Morningstar’s latest update on “supply chain disruptions.” Is there any point to recycling plastic? Dyson is closer than ever to robot housekeepers. NY State program distributes robots to the elderly to combat social isolation. A hamster genetic engineering project goes awry. Monotype studies how typefaces affect emotions. 3D printing a human ear from the patient’s own cells. Bees are now fish, at least in California. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Canon Prisma: What's New

Published June 2, 2022

WhatTheyThink contributors Pat McGrew and Ryan McAbee dug deep into Canon Prisma in a recent WhatTheyThink Product Spotlight. In this video, Bob Barbera, Canon USA Marketing Director, hits the high points on Prisma, its value to a production operation, and the new tools the company has added.

How to add value – and profitability – to ink on paper (Audio)

Published May 31, 2022

New technologies, like digital embellishment, allows printers to embrace the power of touch by creating enhanced, desirable, memorable and valuable brand experiences. And when there is perceived value, there is a willingness to pay a premium.

Press On & Rock On (Audio)

Published May 31, 2022

RMGT’s rock-n-roll themed “Commit to Print” World Tour, celebrating heavy metal and sheetfed-offset printing, kicked off earlier this month.

Farmers and Mechanics (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

What do farmers and mechanics have in common? The reason I’m asking is that I drove past the Farmers and Mechanics Bank last week. It struck me as a strange combination, but then I started thinking about the way the term “farmer” is used to describe salespeople. In that context, the sales universe is made up of hunters and farmers, but now I’m thinking there’s a role for mechanics as well.

Top 100 Small Commercial Printers (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

Each year, WhatTheyThink | Printing News invites small commercial print business owners to participate in our Top 100 Shops Survey. The key word is “small.” The upper limit for participation at $25 million in annual revenues.

Technology Outlook: Labels and Packaging (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

Labels and packaging went through the pandemic strong, and came out of it even stronger. Some of that growth was a movement from analog to digital production to address the shifting consumer purchasing behaviors, including an increase in product segmentation, mass customization and personalization.

Technology Outlook: Software & Workflow (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

The Art and Science of Data in a Workflow

Technology Outlook: Digital Printing (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

Overcoming challenges through efficiency

Technology Outlook: Wide-Format & Signage and Textiles & Apparel (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

In our annual Technology Outlook, we tend to group wide-format and signage, and textiles and apparel together, as there is a bit of overlap—maybe not in terms of end users, but certainly in terms of equipment and manufacturers. Soft signage is perhaps the best example of where the two segments overlap, but companies like Mimaki, EFI, Durst and others are active in both wide-format and textiles.

Raspberry Creek Fabrics Patents Unique Process for Digital Textile Printing (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

In July 2020, in the heart of the pandemic, we wrote about how Utah-based Raspberry Creek Fabrics implemented automation into its fabric printing process to streamline operations and increase profitability. Now the company has gone a step further, receiving a patent for a unique web-to-print software for roll-to-roll fabric printing. This automates the step-and-repeat process in a way that creates the smallest possible file, speeding the printing process for a company that prints thousands of step-and-repeat designs on more than 30 different fabric types with orders ranging from a half a yard to more than 100 yards.

Don’t Gift the Business (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

There are many pitfalls in transitioning ownership of a small business to the next generation. I know. I’ve seen many owners over the past 30 years deal with just that. Probably the biggest misconception is that the business should be gifted. It shouldn’t. It should be sold. Here’s why.

Future Workforce (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

Supply chain issues abound. While the immediate focus is on the paper shortage, the other crisis is the labor supply chain.

Technology Outlook: Finishing (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

There’s something pretty fascinating going on in the finishing category. For the (many) years that I’ve been following advancements in the industry, this is the year that I’ve seen finishing automation really hit its stride in a new way.

Is there an easy button for digital embellishment design? (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

Emotion. When you are adding embellishments to print, there is only one goal in mind, and that is creating emotion. Whether it be through a tactile raised effect that makes the bark on the tree you just printed feel like a real tree, a hypnotizing foil effect that mesmerizes, or a metallic or fluorescent toner that is artfully woven into a design for maximum visual impact, the idea is the same: to make you feel something more than just CMYK.

First Graduates Of The Mariano Rivera Foundation Printing Vocational Training Program (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

The first graduates of the Mariano Rivera Foundation Printing Vocational Training Program are ready.

Grow Your Own (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

Get creative to find new talent.

Bringing a Dream to Life: SpeedPro Project of the Year (Audio)

Published May 28, 2022

SpeedPro partnered with St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Arena Partners on the immersive "Dream Chicago" event, which raised more than $1.7 million for the cause and landed SpeedPro Chicago Loop the highly-coveted title of "Project of the Year" in first place out of 122 SpeedPro locations.

Association Insights - FTA - Flexographic Technical Association

Published May 28, 2022

Since 1958, Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) has been enabling flexographers to grow their skills, connect with likeminded individuals, expand their reachable markets and drive flexography to package printing dominance.

Around the Web: Robot Retailers. Clothing Commerce. Cutting-Edge Car. Crossword Computer. Bye-Bye, Booths. Equine Email. Crater Critters. Asteroid Antics. Sacred Seltzer. Fiction Flames.

Published May 27, 2022

Yelp and Chasing Paper introduce wallpaper supporting small local businesses. Robotic “stores on wheels” can chase you around public spaces. Amazon opens a physical clothing store. A graphene-enhanced supercar. AI wins the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. NYC’s last phone booth is removed. Have an Icelandic horse respond to your email. A volcano…full of sharks. A “potentially hazardous” asteroid passes by Earth tonight. Hard seltzer made with real holy water. Go out in style (if that’s the word to use) in the Kiss Kasket. Margaret Atwood takes a flamethrower to an unburnable copy of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Commercial Screen Printing Annual Payroll—2010–2019

Published May 27, 2022

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, US establishments in NAICS 323113 had an annual payroll of $1.8 billion. Payrolls were generally unaffected by the Great Recession and rose over the course of the 2010s, at least on a current dollar basis, finishing out the decade at $2.3 billion in 2019. However adjusting for inflation, payrolls declined by -10% over the course of the decade. In macro news: Q1 GDP revised down.

Xanté Keeps Pushing the Envelope

Published May 24, 2022

Kelley Holmes talks to Robert Ross, President and CEO of Xanté about the future of print. The traditional commercial printer still has a role to play in helping customers grow their own businesses, regardless of what physical print products are involved. Xanté also specializes in envelope printing equipment, and has been seeing that segment grow strongly.

March Shipments: It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

Published May 20, 2022

March 2022 shipments came in at $6.91 billion, up from February’s $6.14 billion. So far, it looks like 2022 is closely mirroring 2021—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Around the Web: Martian Mirage. Product Placement. Solving Superhydrophobicity. Robot Ramble. Bonding Burritos. Erased Entries. Painter Play. Cliffside Convenience. Machine Mirth.

Published May 20, 2022

Did the Curiosity rover photograph a doorway on Mars? Product placement is set to go to the next level. Self-shading windows. Researchers accidentally discover graphene-based water-repellent coatings. A delivery robot goes for a leisurely stroll in the woods. Edible tape for securing burritos and other wraps. Deleted Wikipedia articles live on in the Deletionpedia. Artle, a fine art-based version of Wordle. The world’s most inconvenient convenience store. “Strollers as a service.” Google’s AI can now get jokes. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

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.

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.

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.