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Tue, May

Following a recent visit to Octink by PM Theresa May, CEO Will Tyler says he draws confidence from her commitment to keeping the interests of all SME's firmly on her agenda. What would you flag up to those hoping to secure the country’s top job if you had the chance?

The bright things at Insite Graphics have developed an offering that combines its dye-sub print specialism and a rented, illuminated tensioned fabric exhibition stand. The rental part of this ‘Brightbox’ offering has got to turn heads as much as the actual stands made with it. Good on you.

It was good to see a few UK companies take gongs at the 2017 Fespa Awards – I’ll make sure they are included in the next Think Bigger Gallery of work in Image Reports and online. Remember that I’ve always got my eye out for unusual/impressive large-format print jobs to show the world – so keep sending me your ‘wow’ visuals!

Here’s the latest from Fespa 2017 in Hamburg. An in-depth look at the technical developments and trends highlighted at the show will appear in the June issue of Image Reports, but if there’s anything you’d particularly like to flag up, drop me a line – though I daresay you’re more likely to want to keep any real business changing discoveries close to your chest!

By the way, the next Fespa is at Messe Berlin, 15 - 18 May 2018

I’ll be walking the halls of Fespa 2017 by the time this falls into your inbox. I’ll feed through info from the event as I get it. But, if you heading to the show, I’d love to hear what you think of the developments you see here, so stop me if you see me – otherwise I’ll look forward to the emails and calls when I get back! 

How is your business faring in these times of continued uncertainty? The Scottish referendum in 2014, a general election in 2015, the Brexit vote in 2016 and now another general election – and who knows, another Scottish referendum to come – have caused plenty to plump themselves down on top of their investment chest with a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Will what’s on offer at Fespa 17 in Hamburg this month convince you it’s time to open it up?

If you’re going along to Fespa 2017 in Hamburg next week make a point of popping along to the ‘Be Widthwise’ panel discussion that I’m chairing at 11.30 on Tuesday 9 May. UK print chiefs will be looking at the soon-to-be-published Widthwise 2017 survey findings, so get along and see if you agree with the data, and with them!

As I write this no-one from the Graphics and Print Media Alliance (GPMA) has come back to me in reference to a press release from the BPIF updating ‘UK Printing - The Facts and Figures’. Given that the GPMA was set-up to provide the industry with a single voice, I find it interesting that the data - which the BPIF has said it will “be sending it to all MPs and Lords so they can see the value that the printing industry has to the national economy” - has not come from that umbrella organisation to which it and other print associations (including the Fespa UK, BAPC, IPIA, Picon, Apcom, Two Sides etc) belong. I worry that we are still not presenting a coherent voice to Government. Is that just me?

Are you managing to find the designers you want to employ in your business? As more and more PSPs seek to build their design capability the question has got to be, ‘as an industry do we have the right image to attract the right creative talent?’ Does print as an industry need to ‘rebrand’ to do that – it’s what I’m hearing time and again. But how to do that???? 

What are your thoughts these days on the use of third-party inks in your large-format inkjet printers? I ask as we’re bound to see many new developments at Fespa 2017, no doubt each supplier promising that their inks are ‘fully compatible’ with printheads and machines from various manufacturers. Is it a chance worth taking? 

Given that it’s Easter weekend coming up - yay! - there will be a day of enews rest on Monday, so normal service will resume on Thursday 20 April. Hope you get the chance to enjoy the April showers - I mean sunshine - over this mini-break! 

It will be interesting to see if Roland stretches the concept it’s exploring with Custom Gateway into large-format territory. We’ve been talking for many years now about how large-format PSPs have great personalisation/customisation capability, but to fulfill the potential they need either a W2P portal to reach the huge potential consumer customer base – or for them to have the nouse to forge relationships with retailers that can act as the 'middle man’ - showing consumers the possibilities and taking orders instore but perhaps having professional PSP ‘partners’ doing the production. What do you think?

Yes, you can tell we’ve just had Sign and Digital UK and that Fespa 2017 is just around the corner because the substrates suppliers are bombarding us with new media updates. The possibilities they now afford the digital large-format print sector is mind blowing – but are there areas where you would still like to see more innovation? 

You’ll see I’ve flagged up that the first Global Digital Signage Conference takes place in London next month. I’ve done so because in my conversations with PSPs it seems few are yet integrating print with moving screen technologies, despite what seems like an obvious diversification. If you want to prove me wrong I’d be happy to hear from you.