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Fri, Jul

Oh to be perusing gorgeous photography by the seaside! While thoughts of the large-format printed sea creature images at the Baltic ‘horizonte Zingst’ photography festival have me daydreaming, the work also highlights the realities of what can now be achieved that would have been impossible until very recently. As the horizons continue to expand for large-format inkjet, keep me abreast of your ventures into new waters.

Drupa is no sooner finished than we all need to start thinking about autumn events! It will be interesting to see how new shows like Cross Media and EcoPrint fare in this busy show year. Given that they are unlike anything that has gone before they should stimulate interest among that part of the print community that understands the need to look beyond the normal parameters of business. I’ll be at both so let me know if you will be. I’d be interested in hearing your reasons.

With Drupa over for another four years and show season now slowing down, printers can perhaps focus a little less on the technologies they covet and more on exploring and fully utilising the capabilities of the technologies they’ve got, both in technical and strategic terms. The Out of Home DrupaCube session on Monday highlighted the need for print to become a more ‘vital’ part of the media mix. We have the technology…

It will be interesting to see how the print landscape has changed by the end of Drupa, with print companies looking for technologies that will not only make them more efficient in the processes they already use, but provide them the ability to strategically reposition themselves in markets that have higher margins and more growth potential.  There’s certainly plenty of evidence form orders placed at the show that screenprinters and commercial litho companies continue to see inkjet wide-format in that light.

As you’d expect there’s been a rush of news given that Drupa is in full swing, and despite it being far from a wide-format orientated event it is being hailed as an ‘inkjet show’ for the second time running. In the four years since the last show the technology has embedded itself as a core printing method, which is being witnessed by the breadth of its adoption across the mainstream as well as niche sectors as highlighted at this year’s Drupa. If you’ve not made the trip to Dusseldorf there’s still time…

 

Well, Drupa has opened its doors and my senses are already being bombarded by all things print. Wide-format inkjet has its place here of course and I’ll keep you abreast of interesting developments as the show – and my journey around it – progresses. In the meantime, drop me a line if you see anything that catches your imagination so I can go and investigate…

As the UK member of the EDP it’s great to be able to announce the winners of the association’s annual awards and to applaud all those manufacturers who continue to push the envelope. No doubt Drupa will bring contenders for the next EDP awards!

Do any printers still take their partners with them when they go to trade shows abroad? Details of the scope of this year’s drupacity have left me wondering because it seems other halves could have a fab time indulging themselves in Dusseldorf while the rest of us slog it out in the Drupa halls. Otherwise, who’s going to benefit from all this?

It’s great to see companies involved in this sector winning Queen’s Awards, proving that there is plenty of innovation both in terms of product and strategic development. This year’s Widthwise Report focuses on innovation and what that means in business. You’ll find an overview in the soon to be published May issue of Image Reports magazine, with the full report available online in early June. If you think your company is highly innovative please get in touch.

What do you understand ‘sustainability’ to mean in terms of your company ethos? For so many printers it seems to mean little more than offering print using greener inks and materials, and perhaps offering a waste collection scheme. It may even stretch to monitoring and trying to reduce energy use in-house but that’s about as far as it goes. If you’re one of the still relatively small number of companies being more proactive than that please get in touch.

With little over a fortnight to go before Drupa I’m wondering whether the spurt of investment we’ve seen in finishing equipment for the wide-format arena in the last couple of years has slowed with a bigger injection of cash now stimulating high levels of pre-press/design product take-up? Let me know your thoughts.

Are we about to see a price war? Noting Graphtec GB’s move to cut the costs of its FC8000 and CE5000 plotter/cutters by up to 30% one wonders if it’s a sign of things to come among other manufacturers and suppliers - or just a lucky break for those that want one of the Graphtec machines!

Textile is still way down the list of capabilities offered by UK wide-format print companies according to data collected in the new Widthwise 2012 poll. And textile printers are way down the new kit wish list of the sector too – so what’s holding us back? You can read the full report when it’s published just in time for Drupa on 3 May. A downloadable PDF will be available at: http://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/widthwise2012

It’s always great to see companies awarded for outstanding work, so well done to those who clinched a Sign and Digital UK Award last week. Please remember that we run a gallery of unusual and thought provoking wide-format print in Image Reports each month. If you have recent jobs that you are particularly proud of, please send me a 300dpi JPG of the print ‘in-situ’ and a few lines explaining what was so unusual about it and the chances are it will make it into the gallery.

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