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Looking good on paper

South African designer and photographer Robin Sprong has partnered with PressOn to market a bespoke wallpaper service. Walter Hale talked to him about the evolving marketplace and considers whether it’s worth you taking a punt?E - OB Room02

The most famous soundbite about wallpaper is by Oscar Wilde who, while lingering on his deathbed, is reputed to have said: “This wallpaper is dreadful - one of us will have to go.” Until recently, wallpaper is something that Britons have largely taken for granted, it’s sheer ubiquity condemning it to be overlooked. Yet attitudes - a shift possibly inspired by the popularity of style bible magazine ‘Wallpaper’ - are changing and influential South African designer and photographer Robin Sprong, in alliance with large-format printer PressOn, hopes to capitalise on that opportunity.

Time for a team talk

Your people are one of your greatest resources. But do they work well together? Walter Hale looks into successful team building strategies and techniques.

One great difficulty about creating successful teams is that we are dealing with one of the most unpredictable forces in the universe: the mysterious interaction between human beings. So methods that are right in one context can be disastrous in another. To make matters worse, almost every aspect of a team can vary – how big it is, how long it exists for, the scale of the challenge being tackled, even the physical proximity of members – so the mystery is magnified. As a manager, once you accept this uncertainty, and look beyond such moronic simplicities as “There’s no ‘I’ in team”, you have a better chance of creating and running a team that achieves its purpose.

Talking textiles

Where you at the Fabric Printing Now conference last month, or planning to go to upcoming Itma or B-  from Premier TextilesHeimtextil textile shows? If not, are you missing out?

When did you last hear about tie dying fabrics and multiplex laser surface enhancement (MLSE) at the same conference? How on earth can they be connected? It was Fabric Printing Now organised by the Fespa UK Association that was the platform for these and many other textile orientated topics. If you did not attend, and you are a member of the association, you will soon be able to access all the presentations at But it’s worth flagging up the main messages that came from the conference.

IR talks to ….. Debbie McKeegan, Founder, Digetex

On the first day of the recent Fabric Printing Now event, Digetex co-owner Debbie McKeegan gave the A - Debbie McGeeganpresentation ‘A Commercial Designer’s Journey Through Digital’.

Given her design background and knowledge of textile production, customised digital manufacturing, product development and sales, she is well placed to comment on how to profit from digitally printed textile possibilities for the interiors market. I asked her how Digetex is doing so, and how she thinks other PSPs can also benefit.
By Lesley Simpson

Designs on designers?

If you want to influence creatives you’ve got to get into their space. So will you be exhibiting at events A - 140918 SF2118like 100% Design?

At Image Reports’ recent ‘Think Bigger’ Round Table (p16) the participating creatives (debating with PSPs how we can better work together to grow the reach of inkjet large-format) all expressed the view that design-based shows are the best melting pots for ideas and inspiration. One in particular was singled out, 100% Design. So are you going – not just visiting, but exhibiting? Should you be? Should you perhaps even be going so far as to speak at one of its ‘Talks with 100% Design’?

Thinking Bigger: Amari

Jamie Manifold, Amari product development manager, explains why it’s changing its communications H - Jm Press shotstrategy to wow designers.

As a relative latecomer to supplying the world of print with substrates Amari has had to look to innovate, the result being products that enable printers and designers both to fully express their ideas in POS /POP applications. Think Falconboard, which Amari brought to the UK market, and Bubbleprint board, the polypropylene based lightweight sheet - and latterly PET films that provide a non-PVC option for in-store displays.

Not for mass media

It has been said that with inkjet, any surface is a possible medium. So how’s that impacting substrate E - soyang Alumigraphics-mapdevelopment? John Taylor asks ‘where now?’It has been said that with inkjet, any surface is a possible medium. So how’s that impacting substrate development? John Taylor asks ‘where now?’

What problems do you as a PSP have in terms of getting the right substrates for the right job? What niggles do you have with your substrate suppliers? These were questions put to print companies prior to research for this article. The upshot? Not a lot. It seems the printable substrates market deserves applause. Things like getting hold of the right roll lengths, widths, sheet sizes, thicknesses et al seem no longer be significant problems. And in terms of actual substrate offering, partnership and dialogue between printers and suppliers is certainly paying off.

IOT: the mother of all MIS?

Walter Hale explains why you need to be keeping your eye on the Internet of Things.H - Fotolia 79387054 M

Clothes that adjust to the temperature, vacuum cleaners operated by text messages and cars that drive themselves … these are some of the much-hyped innovations that could be spawned by the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT). Yet uber-management consultants McKinsey suggest that the media have misunderstood this revolution. Innovations aimed at the consumer generate plenty of headlines, but they argue that the IoT could have a more profound impact in the B2B world, where it will rewrite the rules of competition, create new business models, and transform the way companies use technology. To take one example relevant to wide-format printing, every printer could be fitted with sensors that predict when maintenance will be required and analyse workflows to improve efficiency. We’re starting to see the beginnings of it, but before we look too far ahead, let’s take a step back.

ON TEST: Mutoh ValueJet VJ-1626UH

Mutoh is targeting this entry-level LED UV printer at the quality end of the market, but how well does it B - M1626 Front DC18416 PQdo in our test? Nessan Cleary investigates.

The ValueJet 1626UH is a 1.6m wide UV hybrid printer, designed to produce high quality prints for entry level volume printers, as well as prototypes for packaging. It uses LED curing and so Mutoh has marketed it as a speciality and industrial printer, to distinguish it from its range of solvent printers, which are also called ValueJets. It takes a standard range of media, including vinyl, canvas and wallpaper, as well as most rigid media up to 15mm thick, and up to 15kg in weight.

Round Table - Thinking Bigger

This summer Image Reports brought together four PSPs and four creatives to discuss how best toA1 - All exploit the opportunities offered by large-format digital print. The upshot is the following message to market…

Over to you...Steve Hallett, MD, Repropoint

Steve HallettA - Steve Hallett
MD, Repropoint

What’s having the greatest impact on your business at the moment?

Our strategy to use traditional selling tactics combined with targeted marketing. It’s all about the personal touch, adding value through consultation and relationships. It is rewarding for our business, customers and our staff.

More than a label

Fujifilm recently announced that it had gained Nordic Ecolabel certification for its Uvijet UV inks. ButA - Fujifilm Uvijet packaging this is much more than an environmental tick box exercise; it’s about corporate responsibility. So does that matter to you?

How much do your suppliers’ CSR programmes matter to you? The recent announcement by Fujifilm that it has received Nordic Ecolabel certification for inks within its Uvijet range has prompted the question not only because it’s a move that in itself is significant, but because of what it says about the company’s overall CSR vision. And what that in turn suggests about the need for others to be more proactive.

POP music…

… or high street dirge? Walter Hale looks at the recent retail sector figures and wonders what mood Graphathey will put you in.

You can’t have a silver lining without a cloud. As good as digital technology has been for British wide-format printers, it could impact the volume of work generated by one of the industry’s biggest markets – the retail sector – in the next five years. Britons are the most frequent online shoppers in Europe. This year, we will spend roughly £1,174 per head online, according to the Centre of Retail Research (CRR). It estimates that online accounts for 15.2% of all retail spend in this country. And, with online sales per shopper increasing by 9.6% this year, online’s share of the total spend will keep growing. This is worth note if you print in-store POP/POS.

It’s all in the mind

As Head of PR for Contra Vision Jo Bentley understands the demands of the print and graphics business, and as a qualified mindfulness trainer she also knows techniques for combating workplace stress. Here’s her advice.

You may have heard of mindfulness and have a sense it’s something out there, wild and woolly, a bit like yoga or navel gazing or some sort of cultish thing. It is none of those things. Simply put, mindfulness is a way of learning how to work more effectively with the most fantastic piece of kit you could ever own - your own mind.

IR talks to ….. Greg Craigen, Founder, SignAway

Talk about making a statement! In June, Surrey-based SignAway, produced a 250m x 5m multi-A - Greg Craigencoloured carpet and laid it the entire length of London Bridge.

I went to talk with company founder Greg Craigen about this eye-catching job, and about inkjet printing carpet in general as a viable business proposition.
By Lesley Simpson

Mark Simpson, Chairman, Simpson Group

For someone who didn’t really want to joint the family print business Mark Simpson has stuck at it longer than B- Mark Simpsonhis late father and company founder could ever have imagined. It’s 32 years since the man, who since the start of the 1990s been at the helm of the Simpson Group in Washington, Tyne and Wear, first joined what was then Simpson Print. Over that period he’s overseen its transformation from what was formed in 1972 as “a jobbing screenprinter that would take on any work that local litho printers couldn’t do” to become a £12m turnover POP/POS specialist with around 110 permanent staff across the main Washington site and another in Slough. Now he’s looking at succession planning to ensure the group continues to evolve and grow.