Sun, Mar

Are you reading this newsletter in Atlanta as you walk the halls of the SGIA Expo? If so I’d be interested in hearing whether you think the trip has been worthwhile, and what the US show delivers that perhaps European shows do not.

It’s November so you’re thinking Christmas shopping right? Well plenty are, and I’m not just talking present buying, but getting the house ready for the festivities with a new sofa here, seasonal throw there. What we can expect in both instances is that customisation/personalisation will play a significant role – just look at the upsurge of such gift and homewares offerings online. Accepting that ‘bespoke’ product demand is one of the most notable consumer trends, the question has got to be, how/when will the large-format digital inkjet sector really profit from it?

Image Reports is holding its annual Widthwise Round Table this week, with leading PSPs discussing the state of the wide-format print sector and how to do better business within it. The Fespa Global Summit next month will do something similar on a bigger stage. The great thing about both is that they get people knowledge sharing, which has got to be good. See the upcoming December issue of Image Reports to benefit from the Round Table debate. The Fespa Global Summit will be covered in the following issue.

News of the BPIF’s formation of an Apprentice Council has me wondering just what the wide-format inkjet sector can do to make sure the apprentices within it get their voices heard - and how doing so can help in the development of appropriate sector-wide training programmes. Any ideas?

Are we at the point where some PSPs are actually looking at replacing their first generation UV flatbeds? If your company is doing so, what’s your investment criteria? Or are you looking to benefit from an emerging secondhand market for the kit? It’s a situation I’ll be looking into in the 2016 Widthwise survey and report but it would be good to get a heads-up.

I don’t mean are you handy with your digits and mobile phone – more whether you have got it nailed when it comes to digital textile print? I’m compiling a gallery of the most eye-catching and unusual fabric print jobs that I can upload to the magazine’s Think Bigger Pinterest site for designers – so if you have images of jobs that will get them talking, you know where to email them (along with a few words of explanation!).

The ‘Urban Jungle’ kaleidoscopic effect achieved by SignAway’s bespoke printed carpet and mirror structure for the walkway between London Waterloo train station and the South Bank wowed commuters. This is what the sector needs, more stand-out works that show off its capabilities to a wide audience. Shout if you’ve done anything recently that stretches the boundaries and makes an impact.

Let me know what your thoughts are on the Ipex situation following news that it will move forward from 2018 to 2017, that it will now happen every three years, and that it will return to the NEC.

What would you say to an independent body collecting wide-format print related data on an anonymous basis for public dissemination? I’m talking about suppliers providing information on the number of various inkjet printers they sell, the amount of ink sold, vinyl shipped etc. Then there’s the more difficult to track stats from PSPs relating to volume of digitally printed wallpaper produced, POP/POS materials handled etc. I get contacted all the time for this kind of information so I know it would be a valuable resource. In an increasingly metrics-based world we’re expected to know this stuff – and to be able to quote figures. What’s your take?

I’ll be brief - do you still outsource much large-format digital inkjet print? If so, why? I’m pulling together a national picture of trade work across the sector so please drop me a line if you sub-contract – I’d be interest in hearing the what’s and why’s!

Should the print sector be making more noise at events like The Skills Show, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham on 19 – 21 November? We make plenty of noise about our skill’s shortages, so shouldn’t we doing more to resolve the problem by getting our potential in front of youngsters!

At Pack Expo in the US, Printpack has debuted a proprietary process that allows for photochromic ink to be hidden within standard graphics and remain invisible until exposed to sunlight. The company is using it in flexible packaging applications, but what a fab concept for all manner of graphics! Just thought I’d bring it to your attention.

It’s time to plan the annual Image Reports Widthwise 2015 roundtable discussion, and this year I thought I’d put out a direct invite to those of you running large-format digital print businesses. If you think you would like to take part in what is always a lively and frank discussion on the state of the sector please drop me a line. The event will take place in London at the start of November. Previous roundtable event write-ups can be found at: http://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/features/special-report/round-tables

You know what, the ‘Think Bigger’ Round Table hosted by Image Reports this summer made my heart glad.

The intention was to bring together a number of PSPs and creatives to discuss how both ‘sides’ could work together more effectively to push the boundaries of large-format digital inkjet print. And that they did – you can read an exploration of their various views in this issue (PX). But what really hit home was the willingness to debate, and the realisation that that there are no ‘sides’ here. Communication may have some way to go before print is fluent in creative speak, and vice versa, but there’s definitely an eagerness to learn. Now is the time to harness that, and work out how best to move forward so that large-format digital print can live up to its full potential…and so that the businesses that use it/supply it, live up to theirs.