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In 2011 long-time graphic designer David Hyams founded Talking Print - a company that provides audio and video implanted print services. Image Reports interviewed him a couple of years later, excited about the dynamism his services could bring to print and how they could stimulate new opportunities. Over the years Talking Print has grown significantly, with David now employing another two staff and turning over £900,000.  But he’s still to crack large-format print. Why?

By Lesley Simpson

The print industry - and the large-format sector specifically - has bemoaned the lack of women running businesses for as long as I can remember. Signs Express is witnessing an increase in female franchisees - up 40% in the last 20 months. So I went to talk with the Sara Jeffery, the network’s head of brand and recruitment, to ask: “Is franchising the route to getting women into print management?”

By Lesley Simpson

With a turnover of 200m Euro and over 1m customers, Onlineprinters is one of Europe’s biggest Web-to-print providers. CEO Dr Michael Fries has said that “print companies that embrace industry transformation” will do well, and that he expects online print shops in Western Europe to continue a two-digit growth in turnover over the coming years. So should you be looking to W2P? Given the group’s bold expectations for continued growth, I met with Simon Cooper, MD of UK-based subsidiary Solopress, to talk strategy – and find out where wide-format fits in.

By Lesley Simpson

Fespa UK Association has been around (in various guises) since 1934, providing business, technical and legal guidance, educational services and events and networking opportunities to digital wide-format, screen and specialist PSPs - and to suppliers. Carol Swift took over the helm from Peter Kiddell last summer. Now she’s settled into the role - and given it’s show season - I took the opportunity to ask her how the association is representing the large-format sector, and to comment on hot topics like business confidence and investment plans.

By Lesley Simpson

Money talks. So what have you been hearing about R&D Tax Credits? That it’s an incentive out of your reach? Don’t be too dismissive. Innovation can and does pay, as the likes of Signbox and Augustus Martin will testify. So can you too get a tax rebate on your development work, or is it too much hassle for the pay-back? I met with Adam Kene, MD of London-based R&D tax incentive advisory Kene Partners for the heads-up.

By Lesley Simpson

It’s Heimtextil in January, an event that gets those involved in textiles all excited. But you don’t have to go Frankfurt to do that crucial job of networking - you can go online to TexIntel, Never heard of it? Well perhaps you should because it was founded by Debbie McKeegan, a designer with more than 25 years experience in textile design, buying, sales and manufacturing - including an in-depth knowledge of digital print. Her aim is to bring creatives and PSPs together. Sound useful? I met her to talk about the project, and how she thinks the relationship between creatives and printers can be improved. 

By Lesley Simpson

On 10 October Fespa UK is hosting the conference ‘The Future of Print i4.0’ at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry. But who will be there, and should you be? Image Reports’ own Widthwise Survey - conducted among 151 of the UK and Ireland’s large-format PSPs at the start of this year - showed that only 5 of them had invested in i4.0 technology over the last 12 months. Those who hadn’t were asked if they would be doing so in 2018. The answer? A big fat 0. So, what’s going on? I spoke with Fespa UK Association’s Peter Kiddell for his take.

By Lesley Simpson

Earlier this year Huddersfield-based Leach was acquired by French-owned Chargeurs, a materials manufacturing and services group based in 34 countries across five continents and operating in four segments - temporary surface protection, garment interlinings, technical substrates and combed wool. So how’s that going to impact Leach as the Brexit deadline looms? I asked Richard Leach who, as head of what was a family firm, was responsible for finding the new owner.

By Lesley Simpson

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