Predictions 2011 Part 1 from Josh Ellsworth

Stahls' pre-cut lettering remains a heat printing essential for 2011

Welcome back to reality everyone! Time to get back to work. This weekend I was reading in various places about general predictions for 2011 in the design industry and some trends to watch for include the colors gray and hot pink in fashion and home decor…yada yada, yada, who cares?  But the one item that caught my eye was a trend for WORDS. You see personal or mass customized messages on a lot of places these days, on people’s walls, on pillows and of course, on t-shirts. Which brings me back to reality, the reality of the continued demand for lettering. It’s hard to believe that we still sell as many letters as we do but it’s proof that there is always a need to put messages on shirts. Even with all the different types of heat printing available, from CAD-CUT to CAD-Printz to Player Names to transfer letters, we’re still packing up the pre-cuts and sending them out in record numbers.

And now on to some of the heat printing industry predictions from Josh Ellsworth that I promised you last week…here is what he has to say about what’s coming your way in 2011!

Josh Ellsworth of Stahls' CAD-CUT Direct shares some of his predictions for 2011. More coming soon.

From Josh Ellsworth

Personalized Promotions: The promotional products industry will feel the push towards mass customization of promo products.  The orders of 500, 1000 and 5000 will still thrive, but opportunity exists for incorporating variable data printing into promo graphics, especially when decorating for businesses and schools where there is a defined list of names who will receive the promo product.  Knowing this, digital print technologies capable of automating variable data graphics for promo products will become increasingly popular as will heat transfers as a staple of a promotional products shop.  Variable data printing is widely used for direct mail pieces and yields increased responses, there is no doubt it will do the same for printed promotional products for the businesses that use them.

Customization Enters Business Casual: Screen printing fashionable graphics on dress shirts and sweaters is relatively new in the grand scheme of decorated apparel.  In any department store you’ll see tons of dress garments with abstract graphics for trendy business people or for “night out” wear.  With new customizations technologies, offering customization options on these types of garments will expand.  With the higher ticket prices on sweaters it will yield a lucrative niche opportunity for those who know how to decorate them.

 Mixing Technology Enters Mass Customization: The highly sought after internet models like Café Press and Zazzle will continue to set the bar for where decorators want to be online.  These companies will keep expanding their focus to other saleable items outside of apparel.  At least one new company will emerge that reinvents customization for apparel by offering an online generator that allows you to mix decorating techniques.  For instance, designing with DTG, Heat Applied Foil, Flock and Rhinestones on the same garment…this mixed media presentation is extremely popular with retail decorated garments, why not with customization?  New heat transfer technology makes screen printed looks possible without having the barrier of a minimum quantity…this will reinvent mass customization.

Thanks for sharing your insight Josh! I’ve saved a few more for tomorrow’s blog…don’t want anyone’s eyes to get tired. Now get back to work everybody!

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