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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 401-500 of 4535 articles

Around the Web: Paper Pigments. Athletic Air. Graphene Growth. Modern Medicines. Stamp Cipher. Tape Technology. Music Mural. Cover Catastrophes. Reflective Reindeer. Distasteful Dessert. Taco Trade.

Published July 16, 2021

Electronic paper can now have as many colors as an LCD display. The US Olympic Team will sport wearable air conditioners. What will be in the medicine cabinet of 2030? Decode the latest Forever Stamp. A roll of tape featuring programmable QR-like codes. A repository of horrible sci-fi book covers. Painting reindeer antlers with reflective paint to prevent traffic collisions. A treadmill for hamsters. Mac and cheese ice cream, for some reason. McCormick is hiring a “Director of Taco Relations.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Shipments: An Evening Out

Published July 16, 2021

May 2021 printing shipments came in at $6.59 billion, a slight downturn from April’s $6.87 billion, and the second consecutive month of decline, but is consistent with the pattern we have been tracking over the past five years.

Greeting Card Publishers—2010–2018

Published July 2, 2021

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 10,258 employees in NAICS 511191 (Greeting Card Publishers). Over the course of the decade, employment has been up and down, reaching 13,690 in 2018. In sort of macro news, Las Vegas tourism traffic rose substantially in May 2021, as conventions were poised to reopen.

Around the Web: Paper Press. Tricky Typography. Excellent Electrode. Problematic Poultry. Silk Sensors. Augmented Art. Bottle Boards. Fireworks Fail.

Published July 2, 2021

A meticulously detailed paper model of a Heidelberg letterpress. “Algorithmic typography.” Graphene’s latest triumph. Birds aren’t real!! A new approach to wearable tech. An outdoor art installation is all AR-based. Cutting boards made from upcycled bottlecaps. A candy-pushing robot will stalk you in supermarkets. A model of Jabba the Hutt’s internal anatomy, for some reason. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

The Digital Label Factory

Published June 30, 2021

In this video sponsored by HP Indigo, Gershon Alon, Head of PrintOS, talks about leveraging advanced technologies on the HP Indigo V12 to streamline the digital label production workflow and maximize overall efficiency. The goal is for the HP Indigo V12 to be able to replace two flexo presses,

May Graphic Arts Employment—Getting a Little Better

Published June 25, 2021

In May 2021, all printing employment was up +0.7% from February, production employment up +1.4%, and non-production printing employment down -0.8%.

Around the Web: Cardiac Capture. Color-Coded COVID. Marvelous Mapping. Talented Titler. Cinematic Spectacles. Games Galore. Munching Mona. Thwarting Thieves. Crater Cuisine.

Published June 25, 2021

Graphene gets to the heart of the matter. Colored bracelets for wary shoppers. Data visualization studio turns street maps into watercolors. A look at Saul Bass and how he changed movie titles. New smart glasses designed as portable movie screens. A new archive of game show memorabilia to open in Rochester. A petition for Jeff Bezos to buy and eat the Mona Lisa. An app to help catch art thieves. A round up the latest fad: volcano-based cooking. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Directory and Mailing List Publishers—2010–2018

Published June 18, 2021

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 41,489 employees in NAICS 51114 (Directory and Mailing List Publishing). Over the course of the decade, employment had plummeted to a low of 14,379. In macro news, new business creation has been at record highs.

Around the Web: Plexiglas Problems. Hat History. Dream Disturbance. Magnificent Material. Peace Portal. Hungry Humpback. Cocoon Calculator. Food Follies. Silly Slippers.

Published June 18, 2021

What is to be done with all those Plexiglas barriers when they come down? The history of the dunce cap. In-dream advertising? Graphene sensors can quickly detect COVID-19. A lobsterman is nearly eaten by a whale. Facemasks made of bread. When will you reach the Brimley/Cocoon Line (if you haven’t already)? An umbrella that converts into a poncho. Dyson’s new laser vacuum cleaner. The history of processed foods. Monty Python Dead Parrot slippers. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

The Year of Frank: Many Happy Returns

Published June 18, 2021

We interrupt Frank’s weekly video to bring these birthday wishes from the team at WhatTheyThink and Inkjet Insight. Happy 80th, Frank!

Meet This Year's #1 Small Commercial Printer: Strategic Factory

Published June 16, 2021

Each year, WhatTheyThink | Printing News invites small commercial print business owners to participate in our Top 100 Shops Survey, and respondents are then ranked according to their 2020 revenues. This year's #1 Top Shop is Owings Mills, Md's Strategic Factory. Keith Miller, President and CEO of Strategic Factory, talks about how the company coped with the COVID-19 crisis and what its plans are for 2021.

Around the Web: Outage Outrage. Toy Typing. Entomological Eating. Martian Melons. Sonar Strolling. Safe Strolling. HOV Hack. Sponge Songs. Regular Rejoycing.

Published June 11, 2021

Who was responsible for Tuesday’s Internet outage? LEGO launches a working model typewriter. Restaurant prevented from locally sourcing cicadas. The NYT reports that watermelons were found on Mars. Anyone can learn echolocation. An inventor creates a third eye for mobile phone addicts. The finalists in this year’s UK Shed of the Year Competition. The laziest carpool lane violator. Sponges that look like old cassettes. Three short videos by The Residents. Next Wednesday is Bloomsday. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly cicada-eatin' miscellany.

Shipments: A New Season?

Published June 11, 2021

April 2021 printing shipments came in at $6.80 billion, a slight downturn from March’s $6.98 billion, but is consistent with the pattern we have been tracking over the past five years.

Making a Sustainable Impact for Print

Published June 10, 2021

HP’s corporate citizenship values go back to the founding of the company, and HP has been recognized as one the world’s most responsible and sustainable companies. The company has more than 100 staff worldwide dedicated to HP’s Sustainable Impact programs—including product stewards assigned to every product line to work hand-in hand-with product development and support functions to guide sustainability and compliance activities. HP recently announced bold 2030 Sustainable Impact goals that will move the company towards becoming the world’s most just and sustainable technology company. What are some of those goals, and what initiatives is HP pursuing to achieve them? What role is digital printing playing in transitioning commercial, industrial, and packaging printing to the circular economy? Sustainability is central to the value proposition of HP PageWide presses—how does that help HP’s direct mail customers, in turn, become more sustainable businesses?

Around the Web: Service Signage. Infrastructure Imperative. Guardian Goofs. Transparent Tree. Faux Forest. Kafka Collection. Auto Aggravation. Cow Concerto. Cereal Cyborg.

Published June 4, 2021

The park ranger who designed the iconic National Park signage. A report on the need for apparel recycling infrastructure. The Guardian looks back at its best typos. Making transparent wood. 3D printed wood. Franz Kafka’s letters, sketches, and other materials are now online. Coming soon: in-car advertising. Danish cellists play for cattle. Kellogg’s develops a cereal-making robot, for some reason. FDA warns about eating cicadas. Jell-O mold lamps. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s Brood X weekly miscellany.

Book Publishing Employees—2010–2018

Published June 4, 2021

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 81,511 employees in NAICS 51113 (Book Publishing). Over the course of the decade, employment had dropped to a low of 64,085, but climbed back up to 73,108 in 2018. In macro news, the Great Rebound is underway.

HP Indigo’s Thermal Offset Transfer Technology

Published June 2, 2021

In this video sponsored by HP Indigo, Alon Gazit, VP of R&D, takes us into the HP Indigo 100K Lab to demonstrate HP’s thermal offset transfer technology, which allows the HP Indigo digital press to maintain an offset look and feel, as well as the advantages of offset printing.

Around the Web: Growing Graphene. AR Aroma. Captcha Carnage. Literary Lycanthrope. Functional Footwear. Jittery Jeans. Snitching Stilton. Towel Tribute.

Published May 28, 2021

Watching graphene grow. Smell-O-Vision comes to virtual reality. Doom-inspired Captcha. John Steinbeck wrote a werewolf novel. Google is opening a physical store. Telescoping high heel shoes. “Optical illusion jeans.” A drug dealer is captured thanks to a picture of cheese. Last Tuesday was “Towel Day.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s super blood moon weekly miscellany.

Two Macroeconomic Indicators

Published May 28, 2021

This week’s Friday data dump looks at two macroeconomic indicators that will give us some sense of how we are bouncing back from the pandemic—the Industrial Production Index, and Retail Sales.

Predictive Press Care—An AI-Driven Solution to Avert Problems

Published May 26, 2021

Deisy Kapon, WWTS IST Product & Content Dev. Manager, talks about Predictive Press Care on the HP Indigo presses, an artificial intelligence-based system that collects press data as the press is running, analyzes it, anticipates errors, and alerts the operator that an error is about to happen.

Periodical Publishing Employees—2010–2018

Published May 21, 2021

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 134,432 employees in NAICS 51112 (Periodical Publishing). By 2018, employees had decreased to 84,424. In macro news, ecommerce as a percent of retail sales has dropped almost back to its pre-pandemic level.

Around the Web: Glorious Graphene. Crafty Captchas. Criminal Cookies. Robotic Writing. Android Art. Entomological Epicure. Bugless Bulbs. Floating Frankfurters. Perilous Pedaling.

Published May 21, 2021

A graphene-enhanced jacket for sailing. Why are Captchas getting harder? A bakery creates essentially a cookie-based wanted poster. AI writes bleak and depressing stories. AI paints “self” portraits, raising all sorts of existential questions. A cicada cookbook, for some reason. LED lightbulbs attract fewer insects than incandescents. Perfect for BBQ season: a levitating hot dog roaster. Learning to ride a penny farthing bicycle. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly miscellany.

Process Control for Ultimate Quality on the HP Indigo V12 Digital Press

Published May 19, 2021

Roi Liraz, Indigo V12 Program Manager, demonstrates process control on the HP Indigo V12. Using sensors, smart cameras, algorithms, and other forms of automation, the high-speed press is able to ensure consistent high quality.

Shipments: We Told You

Published May 14, 2021

Last month, we said that “shipments can only get better from here”—and we were right. March shipments roared back from a historical low of $6.39 billion in February to $7.44 billion in March, the second best March in the past five years.

Around the Web: Tax Trouble. Corona Cards. Vampire Vaccination. Graphene Garment. Teflon Textiles. Measuring Micturition. Ephemeral Exhibits. New Notebooks. Wing Worries.

Published May 14, 2021

The IRS’s broken printer problem. A coronavirus-themed pack of Tarot cards. Get vaxxed at Dracula’s castle. Thermally regulated jeans, thanks to graphene. A Teflon coating for textiles. Monitor your hydration with the Pantone Pee Chart. The Museum of Plastic is going to be recycled. A jumpsuit for the “new normal.” The great chiken wing crisis. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly post-vaccination miscellany.

Focus on Innovation: How HP Engineers, Chemists, and Architects Create

Published May 14, 2021

That’s why they’re committed—in every department from engineering to chemistry—to ensure that their solutions grow with their customers over time. So how does HP do it?

Color Calibration on the HP Indigo 100K Digital Press

Published May 12, 2021

Basil Verdene, Color Group Manager for HP Indigo, talks about the advanced color management capabilities of the HP Indigo 100K Digital Press, including its ability to manage color while printing. Learn more about color management on the HP Indigo 100K in this video sponsored by HP Indigo.

Around the Web: Freeway Font. Pollution Printing. G-Man Grammar. Safety Subscription. Car Conference. Novel Noodles. Carp Carrier. Tossing Trousers.

Published May 7, 2021

A new highway sign typeface. A cybersecurity expert’s adventures in book publishing. Air Ink makes ink out of carbon emissions. Are you cheugy? Replacing ads on disused phone booths with art. A subscription-based motorcycle safety vest. The CIA has a grammar stylebook. An Ohio senator in a Zoom meeting tries to hide that he’s driving. The latest in pasta technology can save on packaging waste. An attaché case for live fish. Today is No Pants Day—and for a good cause. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s miscellany.

Printing 2021 Quick Look: Top Investments

Published May 5, 2021

According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, one-fourth of print businesses have no major investment plans for 2021.

Around the Web: Flammable. Typo Tamer. Documenting Distancing. Pantone Pilsner. Criminal Codes. Terrific Tube. Lying Landscape. Peel Portraits. Tomato Toppling. Demented Documentary.

Published April 30, 2021

Print newspapers will survive—if only to light barbecues. A tribute to forgotten inventor Bette Nesmith. A photographer is documenting COVID signage for posterity. Beer can designs using the Pantone color the beer most closely matches. A man is banned from carrying “loose QR codes.” SVA students design post-pandemic New Yorker magazine covers. A new toothpaste tube lets you extract all the toothpaste. Coming soon: deepfake satellite imagery. Two words: “Banana artist.” Citizen Kane is no longer “100% Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. When Dr. Demento ruled radio. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s miscellany.

Newspaper Publishing Employees—2010–2018

Published April 30, 2021

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 264,833 employees in NAICS 51111 (Newspaper Publishing). By 2018, employees had decreased to 153,060. In macro news, Q1 GDP was up 6.4%.

Enhanced Productivity Mode (EPM) with HP Indigo Explained

Published April 28, 2021

Alon Gazit, VP of R&D at HP Indigo, brings us to the HP Indigo 100K lab to talk about the benefits of using just three colors vs. CMYK when using Enhanced Productivity Mode (EPM) on the HP Indigo 100K Digital Press. EPM can increase productivity by 33% vs. printing in CMYK. Learn more about this approach in this video sponsored by HP Indigo.

Around the Web: Alien Aviation. Selling Snoop. Additive Abode. Lab Lumber. Fashion Fission. ’Ammer Artist. Problematic Placement. Propitious Potable. Fish Feud. McGoohan Mania.

Published April 23, 2021

We flew a helicopter on Mars! Has the pandemic changed book publishing, part the infinity. Now being shown: a 3D-printed house. Could lab-grown wood be the future of furniture? “Could the solution to fashion pollution be…tiny nuclear reactors?” Turning plastic back into oil. An artist who “draws” portraits by smashing glass with a hammer. Digitally adding product placement to classic films. Alton Brown on the history of the gin and tonic. “The crime-ridden global market for eel.” The new number two on our wish list: action figures for the 1967 TV show The Prisoner. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s miscellany.

Shipments: They Can Only Get Better from Here

Published April 23, 2021

We didn’t kick off 2021 very auspiciously, with January printing shipments coming in at $6.57 billion, down from December 2020’s $7.17 billion, and then a further drop in February to $6.34 billion.

Printing 2021 Quick Look: Top Challenges

Published April 21, 2021

According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, recovering business lost to COVID and national economic conditions dominated printers’ top challenges—but traditional challenges will gain prominence post-COVID.

Golan Landsberg on the New HP Indigo LEPX Architecture

Published April 21, 2021

Golan Landsberg, R&D Director, Future Products Platform at HP Indigo, provides a technical overview of the new HP Indigo LEPX architecture and "why it's possible to print faster with Indigo's LEPX technology" in this tech talk video sponsored by HP.

Publishing Employees—2010–2018

Published April 16, 2021

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 907,152 employees in NAICS 511 (Publishing Industries—except Internet). By 2018, employees had increased to 1,015,946. In macro news, retail sales were up 9.8% in March.

Around the Web: Google Gutenberg. Bye-Bye-Broadband? Record Recollection. License Litigation. Quantum Quire. Paraboloid Pringles. Clever Cooling. Runaway Rabbit.

Published April 16, 2021

Google’s Gutenberg Doodle perpetuates a sartorial anachronism. 5G may let you ditch wired broadband. A deluxe, expensive collection of Philip K. Dick stories. Remembering the Columbia Record Club. The contentious free-speech history of license plates. Mind-blowing paper cutting and folding. The mathematics of Pringles chips. Alexa can now share songs. This summer, instead of A/C, try the Sensu Punkah. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s virtual miscellany.

Differentiate With Direct Mail - Appealing to all the Senses

Published April 16, 2021

Thriving in the print industry isn’t just about what you can do, but how you can do it even better. Delivering high-quality prints is a start, but standing out requires going the extra mile. And that means kicking creativity up a notch with enhanced, high-value direct mailers that appeal to consumers on a multi-sensory level. In fact, stimulating consumer senses has been proven to increase response rates, brand awareness and emotional bonds to products

A Tour of the HP Indigo V12 Lab

Published April 14, 2021

Maya Poleg and Roi Liraz from the HP Indigo team take us on a behind the scenes tour of the HP Indigo V12 Digital Press R&D lab in this video sponsored by HP Inc. The first in a series of short videos which bring to light HP Indigo technology advancements, advantages, and an insider’s view from Indigo’s top technology experts.

Profits: Back to the Tale of Two Cities

Published April 9, 2021

We’ve long been calling it “a tale of two cities”—large printers and small/mid-size printers and the profitability gap between them. The pandemic interrupted this ongoing narrative temporarily, but back in Q3 2020, we started to return to normal, at least in terms of industry profits trends, which continued into Q4.

Around the Web: Graphene Gear. Sweater Spectrum. Mad Memories. Mysterious Muons. Flipboard Fans. Vexing Vehicles. Hobby History. Restaurant Replicas. Poultry Pummeling. Ketchup Crisis.

Published April 9, 2021

Graphene-enhanced shoes and concrete—it’s a bad time to be a mob informant. Ralph Lauren aims to make cotton less water-intensive. A chart of every color cardigan worn by Mister Rogers. Soap products whose packaging is itself soap. A wall-mounted E Ink display for newspapers. A video history of Mad Magazine. A Fermilab particle experiment may completely upend our understanding of the universe. Install old-time train station flipboard signage in your home. The electric vehicle charging situation is a nightmare. A Brooklyn steakhouse partners with Madame Tussaud’s to help enforce social distancing. Can you cook a chicken by slapping it? The latest national crisis: a ketchup shortage. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s cinnamon shrimp tail-flavored miscellany.

Sabine Geldermann Previews Next Month’s virtual.drupa

Published April 8, 2021

Kelley Holmes talks to drupa and Messe Düsseldorf’s Sabine Geldermann, about this month’s virtual.drupa, which currently has 180 exhibitors from 28 countries, and several major event partners. Virtual.drupa also features keynote speakers and a robust conference program.

Printing 2021 Quick Look: 2020 Profits

Published April 7, 2021

According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, print businesses reported a -9.1% decline in profits from 2019 to 2020.

Pre- and Postpress Employees—2010–2018

Published March 26, 2021

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 32,906 employees in NAICS 32312 (Support Activities for Printing). By 2018, employees had declined to 22,855. In macro news, Q4 2020 GDP was revised up.

Around the Web: Damaging Deadlines. Sartorial Smarts. Crazy Crypto. Green Gabbing. Turing Tribute. Façade Fissure. Creepy Craft. Star Sewing. New Noodles.

Published March 26, 2021

How outsourcing newspaper printing is helping kill local journalism. Smart clothing is evolving. John Cleese twits the NFT fad. A new study suggests that turning off your camera on a Zoom call may be more environmentally friendly. The UK’s new £50 note will honor Alan Turing. A 3D mural “opens up” a Florence art museum. They Might Be Giants launch hardcover book/CD combo. Realistic handblown glass spiders. Light-up constellation embroidery. Pasta technology evolves. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s cinnamon shrimp tail-flavored miscellany.

The Power of Perseverance - HP's Colorful Road to Brilliant Ink

Published March 25, 2021

HP has spent the past four decades not simply investing in inkjet ink research and development but perfecting it. Its five world-class teams of international chemists have worked to create custom inks for a range of different markets. They’ve partnered closely with hardware and writing systems engineers to develop the best integrated technology for its inkjet devices. In this Tech Talk, HP R&D Chemist Saba Lotfizadeh shares stories of the significant challenges and exciting breakthroughs in ink development that enable printing on a wide range of media.

Printing 2021 Quick Look: Anticipated 2021 Jobs/Orders

Published March 24, 2021

According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, print businesses expect print industry jobs/orders to rebound +9.0% from 2020 to 2021.

Around the Web: More Fungible Fun. Denim Denial. Guilty Garamond. Zoom Zapper. Tattoo Technology. COVID Concert. Gallbladder Gambling. Culinary Compulsion. Legume Limo.

Published March 19, 2021

Charmin’s (oy) toilet-paper themed NFTPs. The environmental impact of jeans. Will graphene save us from the pandemic? The DC Circuit Court cancels the typeface Garamond. Social and mobile media-themed classic artworks. A new web widget that gives you excuses to exit a Zoom meeting. Light-emitting OLED tattoos. Yo-Yo Ma performs at his vaccination site. Doctors get in trouble for “Guess the weight of this organ” Instagram posts. Precision cutting boards for obsessive chefs. The Planters NUTmobile is looking for drivers. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s unfortunately not canceled miscellany.

Graphic Arts Employment—February 2021

Published March 19, 2021

In February 2021, all printing employment is down -0.5% from January, production employment down -0.4%, and non-production printing employment down -0.8%.

Printing 2021 Quick Look: 2020 Jobs/Orders

Published March 17, 2021

According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, the average number of jobs decreased -10.8% from 2019 to 2020.

Around the Web: Fungible Fanatics. Cotton Conundrum. Clever Corsets. Screen Surfeit. Capricious Cartography. Tent Trumpeting. Healthy Handle. Trial Terror. Munster Meteorology.

Published March 12, 2021

A JPG file sells for $69 million, for some reason. Cotton and polyester have their environmental downsides—but neither is going away any time soon. A new company converts discarded sneakers into corsets. A new laptop prototype has seven screens. How to fool AI using “typographic attack.” A non-existent town on a map briefly becomes real. A high school band practices in individual tents. A self-disinfecting door handle. A Zoom assault trial reveals that the defendant is actually in the same house as the alleged victim. Grampa Munster once did a real weathercast. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s non-fungible miscellany.

Book Printing Employees—2010–2018

Published March 12, 2021

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 28,935 employees in NAICS 323117 (Book Printing Establishments). By 2018, employees had declined to 21,976. In macro news, inflation was soft in February.

Printing 2021 Quick Look: Anticipated 2021 Revenues

Published March 10, 2021

According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, print businesses expect print industry revenues to rebound +9.1% from 2020 to 2021.

January Printing Shipments—They Can Only Get Better from Here

Published March 5, 2021

We kicked off 2021 inauspiciously with January printing shipments coming in at $6.61 billion, down from 2020’s $7.17 billion. It's the worst January in at least the last five years, but already things are boding well for the rest of 2021.

Around the Web: Cephalopod Selfie. Locked Letters. Evolving Expression. Silly Surgeon. Traumatic Toy. Touch Termination. Myopia Mask. Titanic Television. Plush Paintings.

Published March 5, 2021

An octopus’ selfie—but, unfairly, not the octopus—won a photography award. Using X-ray microtomography to read secret letters. Videoconferencing is changing American Sign Language. A plastic surgeon joins a Zoom call—while in the middle of an operation. Fisher Price’s My First Home Office for preschoolers is perhaps a sign of the apocalypse. Holographic keypads for touchless devices. A face mask specifically designed to prevent fogging. A $400K television that folds down into the floor. Classic works of art rendered in fur.  All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s miscellany.

Around the Web: Lockdown Lyrics. Poet Praise. Sneaker Snafu. Tinseltown Typing. Expensive Ephemera. Art Aging. Prying Pixels. Picturephone Promo. Transdermal Transponder. Busy Beaver.

Published February 26, 2021

The musical British family who wittily chronicle lockdown life. Marking the bicentenary of John Keats’ death. Adidas seeks to ditch its acquired Reebok brand. “Hot typewriter action” scenes from top movies. The booming market for “nonfungible tokens”—digital art, ephemera, and media. An oil painter who specializes in lenticular art. The “spy pixels” in email messages that track you. A promotional film for 1964’s pre-Zoom Picturephone, a commercial dud. Why “Zoom fatigue” is a real thing. The aptly named DangerousThings lets you inject chips and sensors into your body, for some reason. A “rescue beaver” is compelled to dam up open spaces—indoors. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s Martian miscellany.

Commercial Screen Printing Employees—2010–2018

Published February 26, 2021

In 2010, there were 57,674 employees working in US screen printing establishments (NAICS 323113). By 2018, that number had increased +12.4% to 64,840. In macro news, seven “recovery indicators” for parts of the economy most acutely impacted by the pandemic.

December Printing Shipments—One Last Unexpected Twist for 2020

Published February 19, 2021

In December 2020, in one last, end-of-the-year rally, printing shipments grew from $7.0 billion to $7.17 billion.  

Around the Web: Mars Meeting. More Monoliths! Wicked Wheels. Safe Socializing. Modular Mask. Vegan Vestments. Ovine Ovation. Carbon Conundra. Textile Traffic. Saloon Sounds. Audio Oracle. King Cat.

Published February 19, 2021

A new monolith appears—briefly—in Congo. A guy replaces his bicycle wheels with giant sawmill blades. The latest in “mask tech”: the egg mask. First, they came for the silkworms—and now…the sheep? Sheep Inc. says one key to carbon sequestration is…wait for it…sheep. Some other potential solutions for dealing with carbon and carbon dioxide. Textile and apparel imports are on the decline. A website lets you simulate the ambiance of your favorite bar. RIP Rupert Neve: the inventor of the mixing console. A housecat joins “Godzilla vs. Kong” and the related carnage. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s carbon-heavy miscellany.

Around the Web: Cat Court. Color Creation. Sustainable Suds. Apt Appliances. ’Acked Aquifer. Manufactured Meat.

Published February 12, 2021

A Texas attorney tries to prove he is not a cat. A brand-new shade of blue is now available for painting. A new business makes sustainable laundry detergent. A handy visual aid to help you determine which appliance is best for which use. A water treatment plant gets hacked—with almost disastrous results. 3D-printed steaks. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s kitten filter miscellany.

Commercial Printing Employees (Less Screen and Books)—2010–2018

Published February 12, 2021

In 2010, there were 380,107 employees working in US establishments in NAICS 323111 (Commercial Printing–Except Screen and Books). By 2018, that number had declined -13.5% to 328,845. In macro news, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.3% in January, or 1.4% over the last 12 months.

EFI’s Jeff Jacobson on the New Way of Doing Business

Published February 9, 2021

Jeff Jacobson, CEO of EFI, talks to Kelley Holmes about some of the bright spots for EFI in 2020, and expands upon his EFI Engage keynote in which he discusses how the pandemic has affected the way EFI engages with its customers, and how the way we do business has changed.

Around the Web: Spamming Spinach. Novel Novel. Glorious Graphene. Sleeping Sacks. Gargoyles Galore. Sawing Celebration. Calculating Carsey. Weird Waking. Amish Auto. Disappearing Doll.

Published February 5, 2021

Spinach can now send emails. A novel only uses the words spoken by Ophelia in Hamlet. More graphene news! Recycling potato chip bags into sleeping bags for the homeless. Colgate introduces new aluminum toothbrush with replaceable heads. The origin of gargoyles. 100 years of the “sawing a woman in half” trick. “A Lego white noise” playlist. A “smart toilet seat” for measuring vital signs. A teen, in a coma since March 1, 2020, is about to wake up to a strange new world. Attaching buggy wheels to a Dodge Challenger, for some reason. Texas issues an Amber Alert for Chucky from “Child’s Play.” All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s emailing vegetable miscellany.

Q3 2020 Profits—Back on Track…Sort Of

Published February 5, 2021

Annualized printing industry profits for Q3 2020 rose from -$1.92 billion to -$1.19 billion. That’s still really low, but at least it’s headed back toward positive territory.

Behind the Scenes with HP PageWide

Published February 1, 2021

HP has spent the past four decades not simply investing in inkjet research and development but perfecting it. Hear from subject matter experts on timely topics, including a customer spotlight on the new HP PageWide Web Press T250 HD.

Around the Web: Color Quest. STEM Stamps. Cool Codes. Retro Railroad. Clothing Computations. Tea Tints. Sleepless Science. Blade Becalming. Missing Monarchy. Disgusting Dessert. Pasta Passion.

Published January 29, 2021

In search of the original “Apple Beige.” The USPS launches Star Wars stamps to promote STEM learning. How COVID made QR codes cool. A Chinese railroad was derailed when Adobe killed Flash. A man quantifies his wardrobe. Beautiful tea bag art. First Night Effect: why it’s hard to sleep in a strange place. “Chinese Knife Massage.” Gender-neural playing cards. “Everything bagel-flavored ice cream.” Perfect for Valentine’s day: pink, candy-flavored mac and cheese. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s stock shorting miscellany.

Commercial Printing Employees—2010–2018

Published January 29, 2021

In 2010, there were 499,622 employees working in US establishments in NAICS 323. By 2018, that number had declined -12.2% to 438,516. In macro news, real GDP increased at an annual rate of 4.0% in Q4 2020.

Graphic Arts Employment—December 2020

Published January 22, 2021

In December 2020, all printing employment was up +0.7% from November, production employment up +0.1%, and non-production printing employment up +1.9%. So, basically, a holding pattern—although it’s nice that there are no negative numbers…for almost everyone.

Around the Web: Foodie Franklin. Typo Typography. Monospaced Menace. Dense Darkness. Velcro Volume. Visible Vermeer. Tech Toys.

Published January 22, 2021

Ben Franklin introduced tofu to the US. A new font designed to facilitate proofreading. Comic Sans…Monospaced! Inside the blackest room. Inventors develop a quieter Velcro. Journey inside an amazingly high-res scan of a classic painting. Fisher Price’s “new” retro gadget toys. A van-based office pod for the work-from-anywhere crowd. Holographic chocolate. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s winter miscellany.

US Copy Center Establishments—2010–2018

Published January 15, 2021

In 2010, there were 6,026 establishments in NAICS 561439 (Business Service Centers [Including Copy Shops]). By 2018, that number had declined to 5,305. In macro news, weekly initial unemployment claims were at 965,000, an increase of 181,000 from the previous week.

Around the Web: Fungal Fashion. Crustacean Craze. Plague Prescriptions. Can Conundrum. Pharmaceutical Favors. Pig Painting. Nacho Narrative. Mesmerized Mantises.

Published January 15, 2021

2020 was the “year of the mushroom,” apparently—and lobsters, too. A 16th-century doctor’s plague prevention manual is relevant to COVID. The company out to replace plastic packaging with metal. A collection of the weird swag pharmaceutical reps used to give to doctors. Researchers recently unearthed the oldest painting of an animal. Balloon-based pizza delivery. The history of nachos. Praying mantises watch TV. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s New Year’s miscellany.

Around the Web: Picky Preview. Green Gatsby? Correcting Coinage. Programmed Poetry. Programmed Pictures. Cultural Coupon. Satellite Solution. Priapic Programming. Barf Burger. “Chicken Chamber.”

Published January 8, 2021

An honest preview of the year to come. The Great Gatsby is now in the public domain—and there is already clamoring for a Muppets version. A new H.G. commemorative coin has a couple of errors. Google’s Verse By Verse uses AI to help us write a poem. DALL·E uses AI to generate images from text prompts. An oral history of Bed Bath and Beyond’s big blue coupon. The origin of the Pez dispenser. The AR version of the New York Times crossword. An often hysterical mashup of North By Northwest and Star Wars. Denmark’s…bizarre idea for a children’s cartoon. McDonald’s China launched a Spam and Oreo burger, for reasons passing understanding. KFC has a combination game console/chicken warmer. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s New Year’s miscellany.

November Printing Shipments—It Was Nice While It Lasted

Published January 8, 2021

In November 2020, after rising for five straight months, printing shipments plunged from $7.63 billion to $7.0 billion.

Stationery Product Manufacturing Establishments—2012–2018

Published December 18, 2020

In 2010, there were 496 establishments in NAICS 32223 (Stationery Product Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 359. In macro news, retail sales for November took a dip.

Around the Web: Fashionable Fit. Glorious Graphene! Printed Pollen. Code Creator. Plastic Pets. Quantifying Quotes. Kitten Concert. Machinery Making Modern Music. Festive Fire.

Published December 18, 2020

Amazon launches made-to-measure T-shirts. 3D printing with graphene. 3D printing pollen grains. Checking in with the inventor of the QR code. Are robot pets a solution for COVID-induced loneliness? A “find the fake written language” visual test.” A European map of different forms of quotation marks. The dispute over Cap’n Crunch’s rank. Sax kittens. ELECTRONICOS FANTASTiCOS! Poems based on A Christmas Carol. Replace the Yule Log with this Dumpster fire video. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s blizzard of miscellaneous items.

The New Canon imagePRESS C10010VP Digital Press

Published December 15, 2020

Canon’s Matthew Poliniak talks about the new Canon imagePRESS C10010VP digital press, which features enhanced media handling capabilities. The imagePRESS C10010VP can handle media up to 400 gsm and also supports running on synthetic media, allowing you to offer new and customized applications to customers.

October Printing Shipments—The "Best" October in Five Years?

Published December 11, 2020

In October 2020, printing shipments rose to $7.63 billion—the fifth straight month of increasing shipments, as the industry rebound from the depths of the spring continues.  

Around the Web: Current Color. Word Weary. Jarring Jargon. Curtailed Catalog. Bicycling Bookseller. Expanding Everest.

Published December 11, 2020

Pantone announces its color(s) for 2021. Various dictionaries announce their “words of the year.” A lexicon of annoying marketing buzzwords. Sigh: IKEA discontinues its print catalog. The IOC adds breakdancing to the 2024 Olympic Games. Get books delivered the same day by bicycle (offer only available in Milan). Know your US states—or lack thereof. Mt. Everest gets bigger. The Immortal Bard gets vaccinated. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s continuing to get into the seasonal sprit miscellany.

Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2012–2018

Published December 4, 2020

In 2012, there were 348 establishments in NAICS 322219 (Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 290. In macro news, highlights (if you want to call them that) from the most recent Federal Reserve “Beige Book.”

Around the Web: Electronic Epidermis. Plunging Profits. Lovely Landscapes. Monolith Mystery. Ersatz Ebenezer. Festively Financial. Simulated Santa. Merry Mask.

Published December 4, 2020

Why get a smartwatch or some other wearable when you can get electronic skin? Global fashion industry profits are expected to plummet precipitously this year. Winners of this year’s International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards. One word: monolith. Theaters get creative in staging “A Christmas Carol.” Gift ideas for designers and type lovers. A bank turns its building into an Advent calendar. Good grief: Zoom Santa. Get your Santa mask! All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s slowly getting into the seasonal sprit miscellany.

Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018

Published November 20, 2020

In 2010, there were 825 establishments in NAICS 32222 (Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 725, despite a spurt of growth in 2012. In macro news, initial unemployment claims were 742,000, an increase of 31,000 from the previous week's revised level. 

Around the Web: Fabric Felony. Cinematic Simoleons. Top Technologies. Glorious Graphene. Foul Fiction. Prescient Painting? Curious Cannonballs. Calligraphic Colognes. Baffling Block. Turkey Toque.

Published November 20, 2020

The knitwear industry is particularly susceptible to money laundering. Movie money looks pretty genuine—but it shouldn’t look too real. Graphene! The annual Bulwer-Lytton Awards. Does a 19th-century Austrian painting depict a smartphone? It’s one of the most iconic war photographs ever—but was it staged? Colognes that smell like ink. Blow your mind with the "Block Universe Theory." All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s wrecking ball miscellany.

Around the Web: Fungal Fashion. Connected Clothing. Fision Fitting. Green Graphics. Maddening Mystery. Eel Economics. Piano Producer. Geyser Gourmets. Marvelous Mammals.

Published November 13, 2020

Two words: mushroom leather. Sustainable wipes. Fashion meets the Internet of Things, for some reason. German e-commerce company acquires body scanning technology developer. Coroplast campaign signs can and should be recycled. The world’s most difficult murder mystery/puzzle—“Cain’s Jawbone”—is solved for only the third time in almost 90 years. The eel as a unit of currency in Medieval Britain. Nannette Streicher, a “mechanical wunderkind,” was an 18th-/19-century piano builder who made Beethoven’s pianos. The world’s most Instagrammed train stations. PSA: don’t cook a chicken in Yellowstone’s hot springs.  All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s raccoon-menaced miscellany.

Graphic Arts Employment—October 2020

Published November 13, 2020

October 2020 employment figures are at least moving in the right direction from September, albeit slowly; overall printing employment in October was up +0.8% from September, with the gains predominantly in production staff continuing to come back. Let’s not look at year-over-year changes in graphic arts employment.

Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018

Published November 6, 2020

In 2010, there were 491 establishments in NAICS 322212 (Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 440, despite a spurt of post-recession growth. In macro news, the BEA’s advance estimate of 3Q GDP saw it increasing +33.1%—a climbing out of Q2’s -31.4% hole.

Around the Web: Postal Performance. Fictional Fragrance. Ballpoint Bio. News Negation. Java Jacket. Canvas Cosplay. Cetacean Savior.

Published November 6, 2020

A street-corner performance artist writes and mails “pick-me-up” letters. Powell’s Books is selling the smell of its bookstore. A history of the ballpoint pen, the “smartphone of its era.” The controversy over “unpublishing.” AI-enabled camera mistakes a ref’s head for a soccer ball. New Kickstarter for a coat made from “coffee yarn.” A malfunctioning 3D printer inspires a new form of textile. At “The Bob Ross Experience,” fans can dress up as and paint along with the PBS art instructor. A 3D art “performance” at the Brussels airport. A whale sculpture prevents a train from plummeting to its doom. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s post-electoral miscellany.

Around the Web: Frightening Figurines. Kooky Costumes. Mouse Mastication. Table Talk. Tracing Textiles. Poll Posters. Lunging Leopards.

Published October 30, 2020

Precious Moments figurines repainted for Halloween. A photo gallery of some of weirdest and/or ill-advised Halloween costumes ever. New eco-conscious automotive wiring is eaten by rats. A new app and connected tablecloth tells you what’s on your table, for some reason. A new book traces the history of textiles. RIT opens a digital exhibition of suffrage posters. Classic jazz album cover designs. Some questions about Burger King’s reusable packaging. Never pay for a “full contact experience” with a leopard. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s spooktacular miscellany.

Q2 Profits Unchanged from Q1—But Still Bad

Published October 30, 2020

Given the lag time in the release of quarterly profits, we have to time travel back to Q2, much as it pains us to do so, where we see that annualized profits for Q2 2020 stayed steady at -$4 billion.

EXCLUSIVE: EFI Chief Revenue Officer Frank Mallozzi Provides Details about New Nozomi C18000 PLUS

Published October 27, 2020

EFI launched its digital direct-to-corrugated press, the Nozomi C18000, at drupa 2016. Since that time, the company has placed a number of units, and at least two companies have purchased two units. Now, based on market experience and customer feedback, EFI has launched the second generation, the Nozomi C18000 PLUS, available as a field upgrade. Hear what Frank Mallozzi has to say.

Around the Web: Candy Cruise. Academic Apparel. Novel Notions. Susceptible Satellites. Listing Letters. Sustainable Sandwiches.

Published October 23, 2020

Candy chutes for social-distanced trick or treating. The International Library for Fashion Research set to open in Oslo. Clever but strange inventions from the early 20th century. What would we do without GPS? A new book traces the history of alphabetical order. (No, really.) Burger King tries out reusable packaging. RIP Ed Benguiat. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly track-and-tracing miscellany.

Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018

Published October 23, 2020

In 2010, there were 2,205 establishments in NAICS 32221 (Paperboard Container Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined -11% to 1,961. In macro news, the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score was up in September. This is a leading indicator for the economy in general, but also for the signage market in particular.

Around the Web: Tracking Typefaces. Maximum Multiverse. Paying Paintings. Computerized Comics. Trolley Trade. Tormented Tourist. Cyber Saint. Softer Sparrows.

Published October 16, 2020

A new type specimen project. A typeface for people with poor vision. Tommy Hilfiger helps make fashion more sustainable. The Large Hadron Collider may be about to locate a parallel universe. Large paintings of medical bills are sold to pay those same medical bills. Can robots be funny? Qantas sells off fully stocked drinks carts. A tourist steals “cursed” relics from Pompeii. The “patron saint of the Internet” is a millennial who is on the verge of canonization. San Francisco’s birds got quieter during lockdown. Thirteen centuries of English in two minutes. Two words: fruit ninja. Remembering Dave Chandler. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly autumnal miscellany.

August Printing Shipments—The Rebound Continues

Published October 16, 2020

In August 2020, printing shipments rose to $6.90 billion—the third straight month of increasing shipments—and while it’s still well below August 2019’s $7.52 billion, given where we came from, that ain’t bad.

Converted Paper Product Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018

Published October 9, 2020

In 2010, there were 4,128 establishments in NAICS 3222 (Converted Paper Product Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined -12% to 3,547. In macro news, the unemployment rate drops, but not entirely for the right reasons.

Around the Web: Apt Art. Fish Fashion. Sailing Sweets. Bones’n’Brands. Terrifying Telegram. Faux Font. Rocketing Roof. Biting Bot. Google ’Glyphics. COVID Christmas. Brutal Bugs.

Published October 9, 2020

RIT’s exhibit of early 20th-century political cartoons. Leather made from fish skin.  A zipline candy delivery system for COVID-era trick or treating. Home Depot’s giant skeleton barges its way into other brands’ social media. Send a “Screaming Telegram” to that special someone? New Tarot card decks for the 21st century...and beyond. Don’t use Arial for, you know, real design. Tesla invents the “inadvertent convertible.” A dental training robot goes rogue. Google’s machine learning-based hieroglyph translator. Santa will be social distancing this year. Who is surprised that the murder hornets have a “slaughter phase”? RIP Eddie Van Halen. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly autumnal miscellany.

Q2 Publishing and Advertising Revenues

Published October 2, 2020

From Q1 to Q2, book, periodical, and newspaper publishers, as well as advertising and related markets, saw quarterly revenues drop, some quite abruptly. For some of these markets, the pandemic only accelerated trends that had been long-ongoing.

Around the Web: Waist-Up Wardrobe. Glorious Graphene. Frank Financials. Lovely Letterpress. Missing Manual. Tenacious Trash. Terrifying Tattoos. Yay for Yurts! Periodic Pantone.

Published October 2, 2020

Fashion brands are designing for the Zoom generation. New face mask technology from Georgia Tech. Why Costco’s hot dog and soda combo only costs $1.50. The “United States of Letterpress”—a collection of letterpress samples from across the country. The user manual for the world’s oldest preserved digital computer has finally been found. A national park in Thailand mails trash back to litterers. The most tattooed man in France frightens small children. What may help New York City restaurants get through the winter? Yurts. Geeking out on the number 42. David Mitchell defends a broadband-killing television. Strippers try to get out the vote. All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly autumnal miscellany.

Around the Web: Budding Basil. Canadian Crime Wave. Silk Sensors. Postponed Postcards. Fotomat Finishing. Television Trouble. Type Trek. Marvelous Mountain. Squirrel Saloon.  

Published September 25, 2020

Canadian thieves target hot tubs and beef, for some reason. Silk-based ink can be used to create wearable sensors. A Michigan woman receives a postcard mailed in 1920. The rise and fall of the iconic Fotomat. An old TV causes trouble for a Welsh village. The typography of Star Trek. What is the best time zone? The Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle is back! All that and more in WhatTheyThink’s weekly autumnal miscellany.

Direct Mail Advertising—2010–2018

Published September 25, 2020

In 2010, there were 3,088 establishments in NAICS 54186 (Direct Mail Advertising). By 2018, the number of these establishments had dropped to 2,341. In macro news: initial unemployment claims rise again.