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Should we be taking heed of decisions by print companies like Pureprint on greening-up our offering? As the first printing company in the UK to be certified to ISO 14001 in 1993, Pureprint maintains that sustainability is at the heart of its business, and as such it’s now offering clients a way to balance the carbon emissions of their paper-based print. Director Richard Owens - talking of the benefits of Carbon Balanced Paper - said recently: “It is good to see our customers becoming more environmentally conscious. I am sure it is a combination of programmes like Blue Planet and the increasing evidence of climate change through weather events and natural disasters that is persuading more people to care about the environment.” That attitude must be filtering through to non-paper based print - isn’t it? See what the data from the 2018 survey of UK/Ireland large-format PSPs indicates! You can download the newly published report here: https://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/widthwise2018. It’s free! Find our other environment focused articles at: https://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/features/environment

Antalis has taken on an ‘innovation and creative consultant’. Have you? I know some PSPs have indeed done something similar in a bid to reach out to creatives and better educate them about the possibilities of large-format digital print. But it’s not a cheap option. So what about somehow pooling resources and employing a number of ‘artistic ambassadors’ who will work on behalf of the whole sector? Just a thought - might seem a naive idea but could it be a workable option?

News that Cawston Press is about to run its first ever outdoor ad. campaign has me wondering how shifts in media spend are impacting large-format PSPs in the UK. Figures on national spend do little to provide any real insight. How are you finding that market?

Well at least have your say - and hope the relevant people listen. I’m talking about the threat that Print Scotland’s Iain Robertson says new procurement measures could have on PSPs. As he says: “It is heartening that Scottish Procurement is going to the trouble of asking the sector for its opinions. It would be even more gratifying if it listened to what the print industry had to say.” Then again, you can’t be heard if you don’t say anything - so perhaps now is the time to do so….

Just wondering how many large-format PSPs have now bought into Web-to-print. If you have, can you please drop me a line – I’d love to talk to you about the pros and cons. If you haven’t, but want to tell me why, I’d be more than happy to get your point of view too. But don’t try and get hold of me next week – I’ll be on my hols – yay! So the next ebulletin from me will be 11 June.

Well we had thunder and lightening here last night, but that’s not what I’m referring to in this blog header – of course I mean the ‘news’ lull after Fespa 2018 last week. And I’m not complaining – it’s good to have a bit of thinking time and to digest what was a torrent of info around showtime! And we have a long weekend in which to do it – hope the sun shines on you.

Yay, already looking forward to Fespa 2020 – maybe in March, but still, Madrid! Somehow it seems so much more attractive than Drupa is Dusseldorf in June.

Well, I have to say, if you needed to put a bit of a spring in your step, Fespa 2018 must have done it. And perhaps the findings from Fespa’s 2018 Print Census will do so too! That provides a not too shabby global picture of where wide-format is at and where it’s going. Not long to wait now until you also get the full findings of our own UK/Ireland specific poll of the wide-format sector. It will be interesting to see how PSPs here fare in comparison to those elsewhere. The Widthwise Report will be out with the June issue of Image Reports - meanwhile, you can start the comparison by having a read of the already published key findings at: http://bit.ly/2JwZWDJ and/or register for the free downloadable version of the full analysis at: http://bit.ly/2m0mLoK

You know my thoughts on the need for large-format to better ‘sell’ its potential to the wider creative community – heck, we even introduced a Think Bigger campaign some years ago now to get possibilities in front of designers etc. who might never have even thought about digital print as having anything to do with them. So it’s great to hear that the first Pure Digital event – developed to bring both ‘sides’ together – was a success and that the model will be developed on for 2019. Lets think bigger and get behind events that put creative possibilities directly in front of those we want to buy into it.

Heading to Fespa 2018 next week? A word of warning regarding travel planning following this advisory from Eurowings about Tegel airport: “Dear Guests, due to the delayed opening of the capital’s new airport BER, Berlin-Tegel Airport (TXL) has been operating far above capacity for some time now. The airport infrastructure dates back to the 1970s and was therefore not designed for the passenger volumes we are seeing at the airport today. The impact is becoming increasingly noticeable. A growing number of airlines are having to share the limited infrastructure available. You should expect considerable waiting times, particularly at the security checks. These bottlenecks are affecting passengers flying with all airlines.” Worth bearing in mind for the return journey. Hopefully, I’ll see you at the Messe not stuck in the airport lounge!

So, Cestrian has been bought out and Phill Reynolds is off to pastures new, but nice to see he’s keeping the wide-format sector close to his heart with the launch of OPOC and software that could revolutionise many a PSP’s operations. Do you use anything similar to this project management system?

Heard that It Has To Be Brilliant is now selling cakes online? Talk about diversification - that’s some stretch from print delivery. What are your thoughts on business development strategy? Are you doing anything quite so alien?

Well done again to Sign and Digital UK for nabbing Mary Portas, ‘Queen of Shops’, to speak on the opening day of the show this week. “There’s no doubt about it – retail space has got to have AI,” she directed, pointing out also that: “harmonising technology and creativity is the way forward”. She added: “There can be no separate silos anymore. Good retailers are creating spaces where people want to hang, and that means delivering an experience.” And her tips for PSPs trying to get integrated print possibilities in front of those retailers and their minions as they look to rebrand their high street stores to meet this vision? “Get great jobs and associated stats in front of people - go where creatives expect to discover stuff so they think they’ve made a great discovery!” We’re making a start - look at the increased number of PSPs at the VM and Display Show last week. But we still need to get more up close and personal with would-be ‘creatives’ as a sector to maximise our potential don’t you think? We need snazzy ‘ambassadors’ who will grab the imagination of creatives by delivering scintillating talks in their own networking spaces. Or am I the only one thinking that?

Stats from the the 2018 Widthwise Survey of the UK and Ireland’s wide-format PSPs show that when it comes to greening-up operations it’s a very mixed bag, yet if there’s one thing the whole waste plastics controversy has made clear, it’s that consumers are beginning to eschew obviously non-green ‘consumables’. We know where that leads - to brands doing likewise. And how many PSPs do work on their behalf? Perhaps we can learn something from the winners of this year’s SGIA Sustainable Business Recognition Awards…

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