Sat, Jul

Anyone else find it somewhat ironic that Messe Dusseldorf - the home of the Drupa - has swapped a swathe printed signage for digital at its head office? Just brought a wry smile to my face…

News that Roland has extended printer range compatibility for its cotodesign design and print management software for in-store personalised print services has raised that recurring question – why don’t we see more partnerships between retailers/wide-format PSPs? We’ve talked about the possibility of kiosk/pop-up style booths within high street stores whereby customers could personalise products, and in some instances have them printed on-site, in other instances (depending on product) have them printed off site by a wide-format print partner, which returns them to the retailer for dispatch. Uneconomic?

Who’d have thought it - today is apparently World Television Day according to a programme on the ….radio! Anyway, it got me thinking about moving images – and static ones – and whether this sector could be doing more to embrace digital/print integration. We’ve written loads on the possibilities over the years, but I don’t hear much about it actually happening. Is it?

The findings of the latest BPIF Printing Outlook survey are somewhat disheartening - but again, I have to ask, do you feel they reflect the state of business in the wide-format sector specifically? We’ll be taking a much more formal health check in the New Year via our 2020 Widthwise survey - but I’d be happy to be told more immediately that the BPIF’s wider print industry figures are not representative of this sector. Here’s hoping!

InPrint Munich 2019 ends today. As a show highlighting industrial inkjet applications it’s not directly aimed at this sector – but no doubt some of what is being shown/discussed will have implications for professional large-format graphics PSPs. Always good to get a wider perspective (no pun intended!), so is it worth noting the date of the 2020 event?

Are you a follower of fashion? Having very recently had chats with the organisers of both Fespa Global and SDUK, much of the talk is about textile printing and how the shows are going to highlight that – and not in relation to soft signage and exhibition type applications, more in terms of fast fashion and décor. Over the years large-format PSPs have told me those are not areas they intend to target because of the change in business strategy required for those applications/customer-bases. Our Widthwise survey at the start of 2019 supported that. Is your thinking changing? (Oh, by the way, you might want to have a read of this article we published a bit earlier: http://bit.ly/2x3APUo)

I’ll be at Fespa Fest as you read this - the annual gathering of trade journalists ahead of the next Fespa Global event (in this instance, the one slated for Madrid on 24 - 27 March 2020). Keep your eye on our website and Twitter feed for any ‘news’ that may emerge from the meeting. When I get back I’ll be starting the plan the show preview so let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to ask ‘the powers that be’ at Fespa ahead of its publication in the New Year.

Yes, it’s time for me to be pulling together the ‘longlist’ for the 2019 Angel Awards - the accolades Image Reports bestows upon those innovative/novel products launched throughout the year that we think will make a real impact in the large-format print sector. Happy to have you tell us if anything specific has caught your eye and we’ll have a look at it. Many thanks.

OK, so how many of you thought this would be our last day in the EU? Plenty of owners and directors of large-format print companies just want the job done, yet I know some who think it’ll never happen - never mind on the extended deadline of 31 January 2020. Now we have a General Election on 12 December to confuse the picture too. What do you think?

Where do you want to see R&D spend going when it comes to inks? HP’s ploughing significant sums into water-based technologies. Is everybody else doing the same? Have a read of our latest feature on inks trends and developments at: http://bit.ly/2BhLGMw

Are you in the US at Printing United? Do UK print companies still attend trade shows across the pond? We print journo’s tend to let our fingers do more of the walking nowadays - but are we all missing out somehow on getting a wider perspective on the industry in which we work?

To what extent are you doing digital textile printing - beyond soft signage/lightbox displays that is? I’m pulling together info for a future feature in Image Reports, but my understanding – based on info from the last Widthwise Survey – is that few large-format PSPs are getting into fashion or homewares (other than wallpapers). Are garment printing machines something you are looking into for instance? Would love to hear from you…

Well, in her speech at the House of Lords on Tuesday, the Queen referenced what we all knew was coming - the Environment Bill, set to be brought forward in the next parliamentary session. It basically advances the circular economy, which is going to have implications for most of you. At our annual Round Table just last week, print chiefs from this sector where talking about environmental concerns with a new immediacy. The recent Grenfell Report also had them talking about fire safety regs and responsibilities too. Are environmental issues climbing up your agenda?

Well done to Roland and Ricoh for clinching Buyers Lab awards for their large-format printers. Which brings me nicely to the topic of our very own upcoming annual Angel Awards - for wide-format products/services introduced to the UK market in 2019. It’s my editor’s pick basically - but I’m happy to hear from you if there’s something you want to flag up because it’s a significant innovation for the sector.

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