Wed, Jun

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….

Well, this is my last enewsetter of the year, so let me wish you all lots of festive fun. Hope you had a successful 2017 and that 2018 will be all you can make of it. Go enjoy…

Do you need help in dealing with workplace stress at Christmas? I ask because I was contacted by North East Counselling Services (NECS) recently, telling me that it is extending its services to local businesses to help support stressed employees over the festive period. The Gateshead-based operation provides counselling for individuals, couples and young people in the region, but its works business development officer, Carol Walker, said: "Bosses often hear about their employees' problems but often feel unable to provide much in the way of assistance. They're not trained to help staff resolve or deal with these issues. We're offering local businesses a lifeline. We work with individuals, groups and teams to get a workforce back to optimum efficiency and improve their resilience to further problems.” Of course there’s a charge for these counseling services, so being sceptical, I am wondering if this is nothing more than a timely marketing tool from NECS, or whether you might find services like this really helpful. Your thoughts please….

A memorial is being held in central London today for industry guru Sophie Matthews-Paul. For many years an editorial contributor to Image Reports, Sophie was well-known throughout the large-format print sector for her technical grasp on all things inkjet. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.

Does a ‘Made in Britain’ label make a difference to consumer brand perception? Attest, a brand intelligence and consumer insights platform, surveyed 2,000 British and 2,000 American people, and found that three in four are more likely to buy a product with a ‘Made in Britain’ label. 39% of Brits feel more positively towards British brands and products post-Brexit vote, and though one in three Americans admit they don’t know any British brands, nearly 40% of them said they find ‘Made in Britain’ products ‘desirable’. Is this attitude likely to impact your business?

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