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For someone who didn’t really want to joint the family print business Mark Simpson has stuck at it longer than his late father and company founder could ever have imagined. It’s 32 years since the man, who since the start of the 1990s been at the helm of the Simpson Group in Washington, Tyne and Wear, first joined what was then Simpson Print.

Catherine Cresswell, industry analyst at InfoTrends, provides stats and commentary on the opportunities for graphic arts PSPs within the burgeoning textile print markets.

Digital textile printing is now firmly on the path to strong double-digit growth - in excess of 30%. This is evidenced by a record number of exhibitors at textile print shows worldwide, and InfoTrends is also hearing stories of growth from printing companies on a global basis in graphics communications as well as fabric manufacturing (denoted here as ‘decorative textile printing’).

Charlotte Graham-Cumming is a director at Ice Blue Sky, an inbound content marketing agency. She works with CMOs and business owners to help them develop marketing strategies, brand positioning and making the shift to inbound marketing. Here she provides tips on how to best allocate your marketing budget.

PressOn has become a high-profile company within the large-format sector having made a number of ‘firsts’ in terms of kit investment over the last few years, and having taken a decision to make more noise about what it can do. It’s a strategy that has put co-founder Andy Wilson centre stage, but is it paying off? I went to the firm’s new home in Chatham to find out.
By Lesley Simpson

Knowing when to merge and move on is something Graham Clark knows something about, having done it throughout his career, most latterly integrating McKenzie Clark with Icon under Chime Communications parentage. Understanding that bigger can make for better business has been a cornerstone of Clark’s career.

Lesley Simpson joined over 300 PSPs in Belgium last month as Agfa attempted to wow them with its scale and scope. Here’s the upshot.

Last issue’s Top Tips feature focused on how to manage change. Here Dr Colin Thompson, managing partner, Cavendish, delves into the data behind the need for such actions to deliver lean business transformation.

When the printing press was invented in 1450, the population of Europe was 50 million people. The literacy rate at the time has been estimated at 1%, equal to 500,000 people capable of reading what was printed at that time. It took over 100 years to raise the literacy rate to 50%. By then the population was about 70 million people, so it took 100 years for the number of people who could read what was printed to hit 35 million people. Therefore, it took more than 100 years for the number of `users` of print to reach 50 million people. It took the iPad less than one year years to reach 50 million people. And Facebook added 100 million users in just nine months, highlighting the vastly disruptive nature of digital technology.

As a wide-format PSP that runs a W2P service, the Simpson Group is well placed to offer advice on how to successfully integrate the offering. The group’s online print manager Rachel Tait explains.

Raccoon, in Kent, has been going since 1992 and has become synonymous with vehicle wrapping. But it is branching out. A few years ago it introduced Promohire - a promotional vehicle hire service. Now it’s launched www.bigprintfast.com for creatives and trade work. So why has such a specialist print company decided to diversify and is it yet paying off? I asked founder and MD Richard Clark.
By Lesley Simpson

Las Barrow keeps his poker face when asked what he thinks makes him a managerial ‘Leading Light’, which he undoubtedly is having turned a £2 stake in a new business venture back in the mid ‘60s into the £53m turnover Augustus Martin of today.

As Image Reports distributes its eighth annual Widthwise Report on the state of the UK and Ireland’slarge-format digital print sector, Richard Gray of Printfuture, considers the global state of print in general.

48% of printers from across the world expected their companies’ economic performance to improve in 2015 when questioned last autumn, with just 7% expecting things to get worse. Would you describe your prospects so positively? I look forward to reading the detail in the full 2015 Widthwise Report due to be published with this issue. But it is useful to set those findings against the bigger picture of the global print market.

Walter Hale looks to the past to help you face a future where change is all around.