Sat, Nov

At the risk of channelling Richard Wilson’s TV persona Victor Meldrew, the phrase “I don’t believe it” springs to mind when I consider that the Widthwise Report accompanying this issue of Image Reports is the tenth in the series - yes, it’s a decade since we embarked on the annual project to garner grassroots data on the state of the UK and Ireland’s wide-format digital print market and provide you with a sector and geographically specific report.

I’m liking this ‘Pledge for Print’ idea from the BPIF. It might be useful to know who’s actually signed up before the polls open on Thursday!

If you’re thinking of embarking on the BPIF MSc in Management course in September but are hard strapped for funds, look to the new bursary fund set up by The Stationers’ Foundation. Great to see this sort of support. More please!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the headline pun - think the two minutes’ sun has got to me! A reminder to those of you thinking of diversifying into glass print that GlassPrint 2017 will take place on 29 - 30 November in Düsseldorf, Germany. 13 technical presentations (covering digital and screen printing) are now confirmed and more are expected to be added shortly. GlassPrint Live! will meanwhile will present topical group discussions.

Following a recent visit to Octink by PM Theresa May, CEO Will Tyler says he draws confidence from her commitment to keeping the interests of all SME's firmly on her agenda. What would you flag up to those hoping to secure the country’s top job if you had the chance?

The bright things at Insite Graphics have developed an offering that combines its dye-sub print specialism and a rented, illuminated tensioned fabric exhibition stand. The rental part of this ‘Brightbox’ offering has got to turn heads as much as the actual stands made with it. Good on you.

It was good to see a few UK companies take gongs at the 2017 Fespa Awards – I’ll make sure they are included in the next Think Bigger Gallery of work in Image Reports and online. Remember that I’ve always got my eye out for unusual/impressive large-format print jobs to show the world – so keep sending me your ‘wow’ visuals!

Here’s the latest from Fespa 2017 in Hamburg. An in-depth look at the technical developments and trends highlighted at the show will appear in the June issue of Image Reports, but if there’s anything you’d particularly like to flag up, drop me a line – though I daresay you’re more likely to want to keep any real business changing discoveries close to your chest!

By the way, the next Fespa is at Messe Berlin, 15 - 18 May 2018

I’ll be walking the halls of Fespa 2017 by the time this falls into your inbox. I’ll feed through info from the event as I get it. But, if you heading to the show, I’d love to hear what you think of the developments you see here, so stop me if you see me – otherwise I’ll look forward to the emails and calls when I get back! 

How is your business faring in these times of continued uncertainty? The Scottish referendum in 2014, a general election in 2015, the Brexit vote in 2016 and now another general election – and who knows, another Scottish referendum to come – have caused plenty to plump themselves down on top of their investment chest with a ‘wait and see’ attitude. Will what’s on offer at Fespa 17 in Hamburg this month convince you it’s time to open it up?

If you’re going along to Fespa 2017 in Hamburg next week make a point of popping along to the ‘Be Widthwise’ panel discussion that I’m chairing at 11.30 on Tuesday 9 May. UK print chiefs will be looking at the soon-to-be-published Widthwise 2017 survey findings, so get along and see if you agree with the data, and with them!

As I write this no-one from the Graphics and Print Media Alliance (GPMA) has come back to me in reference to a press release from the BPIF updating ‘UK Printing - The Facts and Figures’. Given that the GPMA was set-up to provide the industry with a single voice, I find it interesting that the data - which the BPIF has said it will “be sending it to all MPs and Lords so they can see the value that the printing industry has to the national economy” - has not come from that umbrella organisation to which it and other print associations (including the Fespa UK, BAPC, IPIA, Picon, Apcom, Two Sides etc) belong. I worry that we are still not presenting a coherent voice to Government. Is that just me?

Are you managing to find the designers you want to employ in your business? As more and more PSPs seek to build their design capability the question has got to be, ‘as an industry do we have the right image to attract the right creative talent?’ Does print as an industry need to ‘rebrand’ to do that – it’s what I’m hearing time and again. But how to do that???? 

What are your thoughts these days on the use of third-party inks in your large-format inkjet printers? I ask as we’re bound to see many new developments at Fespa 2017, no doubt each supplier promising that their inks are ‘fully compatible’ with printheads and machines from various manufacturers. Is it a chance worth taking? 

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