Sat, Jul

According to the sixth Drupa Global Trends Report, the global print industry as a whole is in a stable condition - but there are plenty of caveats. It’s well worth reading beyond the headline to get a fuller idea of where the winners and losers are - not that you’ll be very surprised I daresay. The data just might help with your business planning though. And not long now until you’ll be able to get an in-depth look at how large-format print businesses in the UK specifically see things - Widthwise 2019 will be with you in early June!

Yay, nearly chocolate time! Hoping you all manage to at least see something of the sun over the Bank Holiday weekend. Our normal enewsletter service will resume on Thursday 25 April. Will be Fespa before we can blink!

When you read that the likes of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is rolling out non-PVC branding and trackside signage at race events to slash its plastic usage, you’ve got to think that the tide is really turning and that eco-friendly print is climbing up the agenda again - don’t you?

So the big ‘B’ date is now Halloween - seems apt. If the UK remains in this state of uncertainty until then, will it impact your business more than if we came out with a No Deal scenario any earlier?

Are you going to the Fespa UK hosted ‘A Passion for Print’ textile conference on Wednesday? Sadly, I can’t be there so I’d appreciate hearing the thoughts of attendees - especially if it impacts your decision on whether or not to move into textile print. Thank you.

OK, if there’s one thing that really stood out for me at Sign and Digital UK on my visit to the show earlier this week, it was that kit and consumables suppliers are finally getting on board with the applications showcase thing that we’ve been going on about for so long as a necessity for broadening the appeal and expanding the customer-base for digital print - there were some fab examples, and I’ll even name Antalis and CMYUK specifically for their efforts. The thing is, wouldn’t they be better off doing this at shows that draw a bigger creative and potential end specifier audiences? Actually, Antalis was doing so at the VM Show in London this week too. After all, doing so at print trade shows is surely telling people what they already know isn’t it? Not, that knowing the various print possibilities necessarily gets PSPs to enter new niche applications areas - we’ll provide data on how the UK and Ireland’s large-format print companies are approaching various vertical markets in the soon-to-be published Widthwise Report 2019 – you can get a heads-up on the key findings right now. But, if you are doing something whacky and wonderful, please let me know.

Will today’s raise in the minimum wage impact your business? It seems hard to believe that any large-format PSP is paying staff anything as low as the new £8.21 an hour (up from £7.83 for those 25 or older - a 4.9% rise), but who knows? And what about apprentices - is anyone in this sector really paying as little as £3.90 an hour (up from £3.70 - a 5.4% rise)?

Keep your eyes open for the new issue of Image Reports - it should be landing on your desk any minute, and includes all the pre-show info you need ahead of Sign and Digital next week, and of May’s Fespa Global. What’s more, it gives you a sneak preview of the findings from the annual Widthwise survey - very handy ahead of any anticipated investment you might be thinking of making!

With a marketing email from the YPP Group inviting me to order personalised Toblerone (other brands of chocolate are available!) for Mother’s Day, I’m wondering what the oddest thing is you’ve ever personalised using digital inkjet printing technology. Let me know - tell me what you used to handle the print and send me a pic if you have one - they will all get put onto our Think Bigger website and Pinterest board to get creatives salivating at the myriad digital print possibilities.

Just had an email from One4allRewards.co.uk - which sells the One4all multi-retailer gift card - reminding us that last year HMRC announced bonuses or benefits of up to £50 per employee could be given tax-free. Never having had a bonus in my life (that’s journalism for you) I was wondering it you give bonuses, and if so, to what staff – just to board members and perhaps ‘sales’ people?

Thought I’d point you in the direction of the bursary being offered by The Stationers' Foundation - and funded by The Printing Charity - in case you have staff that, given a bit of financial help, would like to undertake the BPIF’s MSc in Management.

How do you feel about webinars? Are you likely to take part in discussion groups regarding large-format print issues? What topics would make you get onboard? I'm plotting and planning…

Here’s a thing - the organisers of 100% Design are looking for project submissions to its ‘Designer Kitchen and Bathroom Awards’. There are categories for designs of different budgets, as well as categories recognising best use of materials. Could print be one of them? Might be worth a look see - it’s a good way of getting in front of creatives even if you don’t bag a dust gatherer. The entry deadline is 31 May.

Are you exhibiting - or even just - attending Retail Expo at Olympia in London on 1-2 May? If so, please make yourself known to me ASAP - I’d love to speak with you.

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