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Sun, Feb

The Creative Industries Federation has just announced the line-up of its 2018 Council – and it’s a very impressive list. No-one on it from print mind you. Hardly a surprise, but disappointing nevertheless. I talked to the federation’s CEO John Kampfner back in 2015 when it was still in its infancy (http://bit.ly/2BueZwH) – and he was happy to talk with the printing sector about involvement. Seems that hasn’t happened. Perhaps we don’t think print should be considered a ‘creative industry’? Seems a shame if that’s the case - could be part of the reason why the sector as a whole isn’t making the most of its creative potential…

Are you going to Fespa 2018? I’m currently at Fespa Fest, a pre-event briefing for journalists on what we can expect at the show with presentations by the Fespa team and various exhibitors, so I’ll bring you as much heads-up info as I can, when I can. But I Have to ask whether trade shows are as crucial to you as they once were. At the launch of its P5 technology last week Durst pointed out that it wouldn’t be at Fespa 2018, preferring to show its wares to potential customers at events at its own site and in its own timescale. And of course EFI used its Connect conference recently to show off new products… more and more are following suite. Is this a welcome trend for you as a PSP?

Yes, I’m at work on a heavy snow day, but then I don’t mind as I’m in Lienz at the launch of the new Durst P5 inkjet technology. The ‘P5’ apparently stands for “the paradigm shift” in digital printing technology that it will bring. We’ll see… watch this space - and the IR website - for more information.

In times of uncertainty it’s important to have solid research upon which to base decision making - which is exactly why, in this pre-Brexit turmoil, I’m urging you to take part in our 2018 Widthwise Survey of the UK and Ireland’s wide-format print providers. To take part go to: https://www.surveymonkey. co.uk/r/IRWW2018 Please be quick - the closing date is Friday 16 February.

I see InfoTrends has a new report out, based on 300 companies involved in sign, display, and specialty graphics. Funnily enough, we’re aiming for a similar number to take part in our annual Widthwise Survey of the UK/Ireland’s large-format PSPs. I know many have you have already taken part, but as the poll closes this month I just wanted to take the opportunity to urge the rest of you to do so. You’ll set a sector report in early summer – and it’s free! Go to: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/IRWW2018

OK, so most PSPs won’t have a specialist in cyber security, but perhaps it is indicative of the trend towards more companies taking on such staff that The Robert Walters 2018 Salary Survey has just come out showing that salaries for IT professionals specialising in this area will rise by 7% in 2018. According to Ahsan Iqbal, associate director at Robert Walters, “At this point, salaries for IT professionals are highly inflated. In addition to technical skills, employers are keen to secure professionals who can demonstrate communication and project management skills as they look to more closely integrate their IT function into the wider business.” Perhaps nothing you didn’t already know, but interesting to see the impact the employment trend is having on the numbers. Just makes me wonder how the profile of your highest earners is changing.

Just flagging up one for the diary perhaps – ‘Millennial 2020’, 13-14 March at the Old Truman Brewery in London. The marketing spiel is around the strapline ‘The top 2018 predications you need to know’ for retail, marketing and commerce.

EFI user’s conference, Connect 2018, is always good ground for discussion as well as a launchpad for new products. But perhaps you’ve not been part of the conversation at the Las Vegas based event and I’m wondering where you also want to see development in the large-format print space. Drop me a line if you have any biting niggles that you think need resolving.

… that the Widthwise 2018 survey is now open at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/IRWW2018 If you’ve not already taken part in what is the biggest annual survey of the UK/Ireland large-format print sector - this being its 11th year - can I urge you to do so now. The information will be used by me on an anonymous basis to provide an analytical report in the early summer. Of course you’ll get that free when it’s published. Thank you.

My old school motto, Per Unitatem Virtus - strength through unity - comes to mind on the latest gen from the US on the multi-association support for new show Print United Expo. I tend to drone on about how much better off the print industry would be if it had a more cohesive voice. In the UK the Graphics and Print Media Alliance (representing the likes of Fespa UK, BPIF, BAPC etc) is having a go, but is there more that could be done to bring together all strands of print and present them to the outside world with one voice?

Just thought I’d flag up the Materials for Architecture conference and exhibition in London on 25 - 26 April as I’ve received news that speakers have been confirmed from architectural practices PLP, dRMM, and Studio Seilern Architects, plus engineering practices Buro Happold, Ramboll. And there’ll be contributions from universities and industry associations. Might be worth a trip to the ILEC Conference Centre if you want to boost your contacts list in the architectural sector.

It’s good to see youngsters getting on in industry - and to see them being supported from within. In the US the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) has just opened to 2018 applications for its annual scholarship programme in conjunction with the Specialty Graphic Imaging Foundation (SGIF), while here in the UK the Printing Charity does a sterling job of providing financial support for youth training. It would be great to establish a list of financial training options on our website - a quick reference for those just starting out and needing a helping hand. If you know of UK-based financial incentives/scholarships please drop me a line and we’ll do what we can to make them as obvious as possible to those that may benefit.

I need you! Please help me collate stats so I can deliver you a stonking - and free - report on the state of the UK/Ireland’s large-format print sector this year. Last year over 240 of you responded to my annual Widthwise poll. I’m hoping even more will take part- anonymously of course - this time around. My fab right-hand woman Debbie Nethercot may well call you to run through the questions, but it would be great if you could beat her to it by doing the survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/IRWW2018

Happy New Year! Let’s make 2018 a good one. To do that we’ll have to continue thinking outside the box – so what about learning more about NRF? Just think, you could even make a case for getting over to New York later this month to investigate. NFR 2018 takes place at the Jacob Javits Centre in the city on 14-15 January. Might at least be worth a scroll through the show website….

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