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Audio versions of Select Articles, Interviews with Industry Executives, Commentary & Analysis from WhatTheyThink Contributors, and Videos.

Conversation on Estimating Digital Embellishment

Kevin Abergel and Simon Eccles interview Bowen Griffitt of Post Press Specialties about estimating digital embellishment projects. Post Press Specialties in Kansas City, MO are a specialist print finisher that offers conventional foiling and embossing/debossing embellishment alongside folder-gluing, binding and mailing services.

Get On the Same Page (Audio)

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

Teleporting Print Into The Metaverse (Audio)
Teleporting Print Into The Metaverse (Audio)

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

Ai In The Produce Section
Ai In The Produce Section

Listen

Increasing Print Business With Augmented Reality (Audio)
Increasing Print Business With Augmented Reality (Audio)

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

Shipments: It’s The Time Of The Season (Audio)

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

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

Interactive Signage: An immersive discussion (Audio)
Interactive Signage: An immersive discussion (Audio)

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

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

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

Spoonflower: One Year Later (Audio)
Spoonflower: One Year Later (Audio)

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

Americas Print Show 2022 Preview (Audio)

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

AMPLIFY Print Minneapolis (Audio)
AMPLIFY Print Minneapolis (Audio)

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

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

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

Inkjet Integration: Flexible and Sustainable (Audio)

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

A Matter Of Responsibility: Know why you're checking in on your clients (Audio)

A Matter Of Responsibility: Know why you're checking in on your clients (Audio)

Modern VDP – What, Why, How, and What’s Next (Audio)

Harnessing the Power of Proactive Maintenance (Audio)

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

Opening to the Realities of a Remote Workforce (Audio)

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

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

The Art and Science of Data in a Workflow

Technology Outlook: Digital Printing (Audio)

Overcoming challenges through efficiency

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

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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

Grow Your Own (Audio)

Get creative to find new talent.

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

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

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.

Shroud of Turin (Audio)

When IT Drives Operational Decisions (Audio)

Needed: Quick-Turn Labels

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

Print Franchise Review 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

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

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

Innovative Fibers Are Set To Improve Textile Sustainability.

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
Pre-Call Prep Leads To Better Prospect Meetings

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. Listen

HP Indigo Brings New Products, New Energy to DSCOOP 2022
HP Indigo Brings New Products, New Energy to DSCOOP 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. Listen

The Cat and Mouse Game (Audio)
The Cat and Mouse Game (Audio)

A Marketing Lesson from Walter the Cat Listen

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

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. Listen

A Creative Journey in Fashion (Audio)
A Creative Journey in Fashion (Audio)

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. Listen

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

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)
How To Use Augmented Reality To Generate Revenue (Audio)

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. Listen

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

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. Listen

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

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. Listen

How To Educate The Next Generation In Apparel (Audio)
How To Educate The Next Generation In Apparel (Audio)

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. Listen

Did We Learn Anything?

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

Up with Higher Education (Audio)
Up with Higher Education (Audio)

Finding signage opportunities in academic applications. Listen

Self-Service Resistance in the Print Industry (Audio)
Self-Service Resistance in the Print Industry (Audio)

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. Listen

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

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. Listen

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

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. Listen

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

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. Listen

Sign Design UX Dos & Don’ts (Audio)

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)

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.

Put on your Smart Glasses: Remote Equipment Monitoring Is Here to Stay (Audio)
Put on your Smart Glasses: Remote Equipment Monitoring Is Here to Stay (Audio)

Remote monitoring of all types of equipment used in printing operations has been around for some time. However, its value became even more evident during the pandemic, when it was not possible – or at least difficult – to send technicians on site when a customer had a problem. Listen

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

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

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

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. Listen

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

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. Listen

Automation Starts with Your Print MIS/ERP (Audio)
Automation Starts with Your Print MIS/ERP (Audio)

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. Listen

Packaging Boom and What it Means for PSP's
Packaging Boom and What it Means for PSP's

Listen

Ceramic Tiles & the Recirculation Revolution (Audio)
Ceramic Tiles & the Recirculation Revolution (Audio)

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. Listen

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

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

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

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? Listen

Talent and Culture as a Competitive Advantage (Audio)
Talent and Culture as a Competitive Advantage (Audio)

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. Listen

Resizing our Carbon Footprint - Is Sustainability in reach for Textiles and Apparel? (Audio)
Resizing our Carbon Footprint - Is Sustainability in reach for Textiles and Apparel? (Audio)

Listen

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

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. Listen

Observability 101 - Audio
Observability 101 - Audio

From the halls of MIT to the command lines of Silicon Valley, observability has morphed to include tools and techniques that take system monitoring, such as how long a process takes to complete, exceptions, errors and failures, to a new level that creates a single source of truth and instrumentation to provide actionable insights and business intelligence. Listen