Personalized print product market to grow


The overall market for personalized printed products in the U.S. is estimated to grow from around 113 million units in 2012 to nearly 158 million units by 2017, InfoTrends reports.

Due to the popularity of products like photo books, photo calendars, and photo cards, the photo merchandise market has experienced strong growth over the past few years, the research firm adds. But its latest study examines new printed products that are personalized, with a focus on developments in custom printed cards, stationery items including products like contact cards and journals, and photo-based home décor.

These printed products are growing due to a rising installed base of digital printing presses that allow for short-run production of a wide range of products, InfoTrends says, as well as new creative tools and software that give consumers the ability to customize printed products with elements such as text, borders, graphics, and personal photos.

The multi-client study, Next-generation Personalized Printed Products, finds that “the growth in the market for personalized printed products is driven largely by getting consumers to think of traditional products in new ways, which is encouraged not only by the ability to personalize products but also by the availability of new designs and new ways to create and order these products.”

Also, InfoTrends adds, “Personalized printed products are an excellent option for photo merchandise vendors looking to expand their reach, as these products are less vulnerable to seasonality issues and are typically printed on the same equipment, allowing for greater production efficiency.”

More information is here.



ICanHasCheezburger? RPI to print internet memes


Today, “people crave a connection with tactile objects to accompany their virtual experiences,” says private-label photo printer RPI. And personalized products fill that craving, extending the content experience into the physical world.

Now, to meet growing consumer demand in the online greeting card, pet humanization and mass customization categories, RPI partnered with leading humor website Cheezburger to offer personalized “ICanHasCheezburger” cards.

More than 20,000 photos and videos are uploaded to Cheezburger’s properties every day, the company says.

Seattle, Wash-based RPI (Reischling Press, Inc.) produces personalized photo books, greeting cards and stationery products for mass and specialty retailers. Through its embedded storefront service, RPI says it can offer Cheezburger and other brands a new way to monetize the social photography experience.

The two companies are working with The Madison Park Group, a manufacturer and distributor in the specialty stationery and gift industry.

The companies say the partnership “demonstrates how companies can further their existing brands, drive additional revenue and increase customer loyalty through personalized products.”

RPI CEO Rick Bellamy explains why social imaging will prove increasingly important to photography and printing in our interview here.



Replacing silver halide? HP offers new solutions, Facebook photo printing

HP reports 70 percent of all photo specialty products — including photo books, calendars, photo cards — are printed using HP Indigo technology. Now the company is more directly pursuing traditional markets as well, offering new solutions for professional portrait and consumer photo prints that it says let them replace traditional silver halide with its Indigo Digital Press technology.

“HP provides solutions that allow photo labs to print both high-quality photo prints and merchandise,” the company says. “The new silver halide replacement offerings create a unique opportunity for photo labs to provide photo prints at a lower cost than traditional silver halide and with a clear environmental advantage.”

The new Indigo photo prints solution, HP says, brings its liquid electrophotographic printing technology to the professional portrait and 4×6-inch consumer prints markets, with the same quality as silver-halide. The company quotes one photofinisher that switched to its systems as saying, “We get a wider color range, and we are getting better results with six-color printing compared to the silver halide machines. Plus, our costs are approximately 60 percent lower.”

The printers include the Indigo WS6000p, for high-volume production, and the sheet-fed Indigo 5600 and 7600, for low- to mid-volume printing.

Also: By offering photofinishers direct access to photos stored on Facebook, as well as plug-in connectivity that allows shoppers to immediately download photos from their iPhone or Android smartphone, HP says it is “unlocking the billions of photos stored on social networks and mobile devices, making them available for in-store photo and photo creative merchandise purchase.

The new Photo Center 7 software also allows retailers to compete with online photo publishing services, HP adds, “by offering an expansive portfolio of photo creative merchandise including photo books, greeting cards, posters and calendars.” HP is also now offering canvas and mounted print products. Finally, a new “Faux Canvas” is an affordable alternative to real canvas that is lighter weight and easier to hang, HP says.
More information is here.



PhotoBin Announces 1,238% growth

“Even during these economic times, people are choosing to use discretionary dollars to create photo books and more, as well as digitize their prints, slides and videos,” says Internet photo products and services provider PhotoBin — and the company profited from those choices with a 1,238 percent revenue growth for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012, making it the best quarter in its history.

“Our second quarter sales numbers provide solid evidence of the demand we’ve seen to provide ways for people to create life stories with their photos in photo books versus traditional albums,” the company says. “Much of our future growth will be based on the growth of camera phones. We plan to make is easy to get those millions of photos into engaging personalized formats, from mobile apps to new and unique print alternatives.”

Launched in 2008, San Diego-based PhotoBin says it focuses on custom photo products, personal photo websites and digital conversion services, particularly a variety of photo books. PhotoBin adds that its “digital conversion services help people preserve and recreate their past while memorializing family legacies.”



Mediaclip goes mobile

New software from Mediaclip instantly leverages the ubiquity of mobile devices and provides retailors with an opportunity to engage with consumers at the moment they capture the fun and important moments in their lives,” the company says. “Since smartphones have become the camera of choice for so many of us, and with the emergence of WiFi cameras using mobile operating systems, mobility is a key component to Mediaclip’s solutions portfolio.”

Version 2.9 of the Mediaclip Photo product creator suite provides more flexibility in the way of customization, the Montreal company says, enabling licensees to fully rebrand the app in the style of their corporate identity.

The iOS and Android app enables users to order prints, photo enlargements, greeting cards, postcards, and posters. It’s part of the line of white-label online, desktop and kiosk software solutions for retailors, printers and web service providers wishing to offer photo product personalization.



PhotoAffections frees prints

PhotoAffections has developed a iOS app with which users can order photo prints directly from their iPhone — and get up to 85 free 4×6 prints per month, up to 1,000 per year.

Shipping costs start at $1.99 and are never more than $9.99, “no matter how many prints are ordered.” Additional 4×6 prints are $0.09; 5×5 prints are $0.49; 5×7 prints are $0.69; and 8×10 prints are $2.79 — “extremely competitive prices,” the company says.

FreePrints accesses photos stored on the iPhone as well as Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and Picasa Web Albums. Users can select, crop and order photos from any of the albums.

With facilities in California and Texas, PhotoAffections is an online provider of printed custom photo cards, including birth and wedding announcements, and photo invitations.




Instacanvas funded $1.7 million for Instagram prints

Instacanvas calls itself “a marketplace allowing users to buy and sell Instagram photos as beautiful physical art pieces,” and adds that it’s “one of the fastest growing startups in Southern California.”

Well, that growth is likely going to accelerate with an additional $1.7 million its gained in angel funding, as reported by TechCrunch.

The company says it has “grand visions for empowering photographers and artists across the world, and changing the way people everywhere discover and purchase beautiful design objects.”

The funding will partially go towards launching new products such as desktop art pieces crafted from 1-inch thick acrylic photo glass, TechCrunch reports, which are available this week at prices starting at $39.




Instaprints markets Instagram photos

Instaprints says its online marketplace, which lets Instagram users sell their photos as canvas prints, framed prints, acrylic prints, greeting cards and posters, “was designed for anyone who wants to turn their Instagram photos into an online business.”

With a free account, users can “begin selling their photos in a matter of minutes.” The company cites its “highly competitive pricing structure, a broad range of product choices, a simple user interface and engaging community features.” Instaprints sets a base price for each available product, and sellers add a markup to each base price. When a sale is made, sellers keep their entire markup. Instaprints processes each order on behalf of the sellers, including, printing, framing, matting, packaging, shipping, collecting payments from the buyers and sending profits to the sellers.

Each print is manufactured at one of Instaprint’s three U.S. production facilities and delivered “ready-to-hang” with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pricing ranges from $25 for an 8×8- inch canvas print to $58 for 20×20.



RPI offers Personalized Printing storefronts, on the Imaging Executive podcast

RPI launched its new personalization storefront, offering print products made by RPI and branded by the retailer and consumer. RPI says its personalization make-on-demand platform can be seamlessly embedded into any retailer’s existing website.

In this episode of the Imaging Executive podcast, RPI chief executive officer Rick Bellamy details what the new service provides store owners, photographers, and brands big and small: a no-risk, no-inventory step into the personalized printing business.

The full interview is available here.



Instacanvas prints and sells Instagram images

Billing itself as an “online marketplace for buying and selling Instagram photos as canvas art pieces,” start-up Instacanvas “connect artists with buyers worldwide.”

Photos are printed on stretched canvas. Photographers can set up a free online gallery “in just a few clicks,” Instacanvas says, and use “a social toolset that allows photographers to transform their social networks into powerful distribution channels.”

Prices start at $40 for 12-by-12 inch framed print. Instacanvas passes on to artists 20 percent of the sale price for each item sold. “We handle the printing, boxing, and shipping, so all you have to worry about is taking more awesome photos.”

The site says it takes photos directly from Instagram, at  the standard 612 by 612 pixel resolution. “They look fantastic on canvas, due to our print sizing technology.”

The company says millions of Internet users enjoy beautiful photography online across various social networks, “but until now there wasn’t an easy way to buy and display the art they love offline.”

Instacanvas claims to “already power over 25,000 galleries for photographers in 30 countries.”



Kodak App prints to CVS, Target

Kodak says that with its improved Gallery app, you can “order prints using the one thing you always carry with you: your iPhone” for same-day pickup at a CVS or Target stores.

The Gallery app lets users upload, share and collect photos with friends in a group album. “Ever been to a party or taken a trip where a bunch of friends took pictures that you never saw?” Kodak asks. “Problem solved — just start a Group Album, invite your friends to add their photos and voila! Everyone’s photos are in one place. “ The app can also share images by email, text, Facebook, or hundreds of other social networks.

Version 3 is free at the App Store.




CanvasPop prints enlarged Facebook photos

CanvasPop claims its new service “allows customers to print Facebook photos at any size.”

Users of the social network store some of their “best and most cherished photo memories” on Facebook, the company says. “The biggest problem from a printing perspective has been dealing with the very low resolution the files are stored at. CanvasPop spent the last two years developing a process that allows customers to print Facebook photos at virtually any size without having to worry about anything technical. The images are guaranteed to look great.”

Also, Facebook users can send a photo gift “without spoiling the surprise.” After accessing a friend’s Facebook photos in which they themselves are also tagged, or for which they otherwise have viewing permission, “they can create the perfect gift of highly personalized art without the headache.”

The service includes 24 by 72-inch canvas prints.

More information is here.




New picture printing products from Fujifilm

Fujifilm’s latest addition to its line of dry minilabs, the Frontier DL650, has a 6-color ink system “to produce vivid images with enhanced grain and gradation.”

The system prints from 3.5-by-5 inches up to 12-by-48, at speeds up to 950 4×6 prints per hour, and at resolutions up to 1440 dpi.
The inkjet printer solution can be optimized for the diverse needs of retail, commercial, and professional markets, the company says.
Also, Fuji adds, production flexibility is improved with the addition of variable paper thickness printing: The DL650 is able to print on Fujifilm’s new Thicker Dry Photo paper and Standard weight Dry Photo paper.

Fujifilm also introduced the Multi-Service Kiosk solution, saying it’s “ideal for retail photofinishers looking to drive additional revenue streams and offer more to their customers without giving up valuable floor space.”
“Multi-Service” means it does more than make 4×6 prints: the new kiosk also allows consumers to pay for domestic and international telephone bills, and prepaid tolls and cellular plans; or order ring-tones, music videos, and event tickets.
The kiosk can also pull images from online sources such as Facebook and Flickr, and connect directly to an iOS device.

Fujifilm says its ASK-300 thermal dye sublimation printer “offers all of the benefits of Fujifilm’s industry-leading commercial photo printing technology in an economically priced device. The ASK-300 is the ideal low-cost photo printing solution for retailers with limited counter space, at just over one square foot.”
As it weighs 26 pounds, the ASK-300 “is also the perfect traveling printer for event photographers,” the company adds, “allowing them to offer a variety of print sizes in seconds, on-site.”

With Xerox, Fujifilm introduced the Phaser 6270 Photobook Printer, which “provides the capability to produce stunning photo images on a variety of paper products, at a low capital investment.” It produces photobooks, folded cards, calendars, photo business cards, full color brochures, flyers, and direct mailers.

More information is here.



Mediaclip personalized printing turn-key

Personalized printed products solution developer Mediaclip is offering UsimplyPrint, a new turn-key solution integrating Photo Product Creator Suite into a complete e-commerce platform.

“USimplyPrint allows every B2C and B2B2C companies to offer personalized photo products online without having to setup and manage costly IT infrastructures,” the Montreal-based company says. “This cloud-based solution is fully extendable and is as flexible as the original Mediaclip API.”

The service offers photographic and business products alike including: photo books, calendars, canvas prints, cards and many other and photo gifting and promotional items. The software is also available as a self-hosted API and as an SaaS model.

More information is here.




IncrediMail buys Smilebox

Tel Aviv-based email software vendor IncrediMail acquired photo sharing developer Smilebox for $25 million, with additional payments of up to $15 million.

Smilebox offers a desktop application that allows consumers to use personal photos and videos to construct greeting cards, invitations, slideshows, scrapbooks and photo albums. Redmond, Washington-based Smilebox was founded in 2005 and claims more than 15 million users.


Canon prints fast for pro photo products

Canon says its “inaugural entry into the production photo printing market,” the DreamLabo 5000 inkjet, “combines exceptional photo and text quality together with high productivity… and offers the retail photo printing and the high-end print-on-demand markets a new alternative to traditional silver halide processing technology.”

Canon says its FINE (Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering) print-head technology achieves color representation rivaling that of conventional silver halide processing, with high-speed printing of high-quality photos and detailed text to support a variety of value-added output, from premium photo albums, photo calendars, photo collages and other merchandise.

Also, new high-density print head enables output up to 12 inches wide, and requires a single pass of the paper while the print-head remains in a fixed position, Canon says.

The DreamLabo 5000 can print a 20-page A4-size (8.27 by 11.69-inch) photo album in 72 seconds, or 40 4 by 6 prints in one minute.

The printer is slated for to be available in early 2012.





SizzlPix prints big and bright

Online photo service SizzlPix claims “exceptional  realism, detail and depth never seen on the wall… a display comparable to the luminance of a properly calibrated back-lighted computer display.”

The company says its photo prints are “not merely printed upon the surface of paper or cloth, but infused to an environmentally-friendly substrate, atop a durable lightweight aluminum base,” and use environmentally friendly materials. The result is scratch- and flame-resistant, stain- and waterproof, and can be cleaned with a damp cloth.

Sizes range from 18 inches to 5 feet in height or width, and prices are from $200 – $1,500.

Photo industry consortium promotes prints

“Photo Gifts are Fun: Make One.” That’s the word from a new consortium of photo imaging industry suppliers that aims to emphasize “the emotional appeal and value of getting a printed photo item.”

The Innovations in Photo Imaging group says it will remind consumers of the importance and convenience of creating keepsakes at retail or online that are uniquely personalized with a photo. “There is no substitute for the emotional connection achieved through the cherished memories of people, events or scenes revived every day through products featuring photographs.”

Founding companies include Fujifilm North America, Hewlett-Packard, IPI – Independent Photo Imagers, Kodak, Noritsu America, PMA, Unibind/Peleman Industries, and Xerox.

More information is available here.

PhotoShelter launches print vendor network

Online service PhotoShelter says its new Print Vendor Network” enables serious photographers to sell prints and products via their PhotoShelter websites while assigning fulfillment to a print vendor of their choice, virtually anywhere in the world.”

The program creates more options for photographers to choose a specific print vendor according to their individual quality specifications or custom needs – and helps photographers honor longstanding personal vendor relationships while handling sales online, the company says. The network also gives photographers more control in the sale of their photography – from product selection, to pricing, to fulfillment via their print partners.

The initial Print Vendor Network launch includes 27 print vendors.

PhotoShelter claims 65,000 member photographers

DNP acquires Sony’s Dye Sub print business

Dai Nippon Printing Co, Ltd. acquired Sony’s professional dye- sublimation photo printer business.

While Sony will continue to manufacture the printers, DNP will “establish a working framework in which dye-sublimation print media is supplied without interruption throughout the business transfer proceedings to the instant photo printing kiosk and printers for ID photography currently installed by Sony.”

DNP manufactures dye-sublimation print media, and says it now supplies media to professional printers used in photo stores and large retailers throughout the world, in addition to consumer printers.

Sony has provided thermal transfer dye-sublimation for instant photo printing and photo IDs since 2001, but has now “decided to concentrate its efforts on select businesses…” including medical use.

Memjet launches high-speed printing for… packaging

Memjet garnered lots of attention in the photography industry three years ago with claims it had developed very fast color print printing technology.

Now the company says it will launch its on-demand printing… for the labels and packaging markets, with “new technology that brings cost-effective, on-demand color printing to the manufacturing floor.”

Memjet’s design delivers more than 700 million drops per second of color ink through more than 70,000 nozzles on a single, stationary printhead. The core technology consists of 8.77-inch printheads, custom ASICs, software and ink that OEMs incorporate into their printers.

“We believe that Memjet technology is disruptive and will have a dramatic impact on how color printing is used in packaging activities,” the company says. Memjet provides the core technology that allows original equipment manufacturers to deliver new value to their target markets with fast and affordable color printers. A Memjet-powered printer can provide high-speed, variable-data, color printing for localized on-demand label runs and many other trans-promotional marketing activities. Printers that are powered by Memjet can “produce a color label or impression in seconds, and a full roll or stack of labels or impressions in minutes,” the company says.

Don’t think this is the only area in which the company is directing its technology… we’ll have more on Memjet next month, at the 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference in San Jose, Calif., on November 15-17.

Lexmark printer scans fast with built-in camera

Rather than a standard flatbed scanner, Lexmark’s $400 Genesis printer’s “FlashScan” feature uses a 10 megapixel digital camera with a fish-eye lens to produce 4800 by 1200 images in three seconds.

The printer translates the fish-eye photo into a flat image.

The company boasts “time-saving instant preview, quick copies and unmatched speed when scanning content to the cloud.”

The all-in-one has a 4.3-inch color touchscreen, and built-in WiFi.

A demonstration is here.

Print photos on Glass

Want a new look for your pictures? A new service prints your photographs on glass.

Fracture says its glass photos provide vibrant, rich and glossy colors, for an “HDTV look for photos.”

The glass plates range from 5 by 7 to 11 by 14 inches; prices range from $8–25.

The company says that under normal conditions the glass prints evidence no fading “for almost a decade.”
What if you want to have the plates backlit with daylight?
Under continuous exposure to direct sunlight, the company says, Fractures are guaranteed to last at least 3-5 years.

Epson speeds large format printers

The latest Stylus Pro photo printers from Epson produce high quality prints at speeds about twice as fast as their predecessors, the company says, “redefining the future of wide-format printing.”

Features include automatic media loading, spindle-free roll media loading, a roll media tracking system, front control panel with 2.5-inch color LCD, rotary cutter, fabric catch bin, and printer stand.

Also, Epson says its latest ink-repelling coating and auto nozzle verification technologies “virtually eliminate clogged nozzles.”

The 7890 (24-inch) and 9890 (44-inch) are priced at $2,995 and $4,995 respectively.

HP speeds up large-scale photo printer

HP rolled out a number of new printers this week — and standing out among them is the Designjet Z6200 photo printer, billed as the fastest professional-quality large-format photo printer in its price class.

The new model is 50 percent faster than its predecessor, the Z6100 Printer, with speeds up to 1,500 square feet per hour, HP says — and with a resolution of 2,400 dots per inch.

New inks offer improved scratch resistance, gloss levels and gloss uniformity, and a wider color gamut with deeper blacks than previous HP inks, the company says.

The printer is aimed at photo labs, digital print shops, advertising agencies, design firms and commercial printers, HP says. “The Z6200 is a true workhorse, delivering high speed and productivity on every application, including those that demand the best quality.”

The price for the 42-inch model is $8,995; the 60-inch model is $15,995. More info is here.

• HP says it will later this year launch “Wall Art,” personalized wall decor that is “fun and easy to mount.” The first Wall Art available will feature images from Nickelodeon shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. More partners and options will be added in 2011, including television characters, movie heroes, music stars and even personal photos.

• HP also confirmed the earlier-reported Photosmart eStation, a $399 all-in-one with a control panel that is also a removable 7-inch touchscreen. The tablet runs the Android OS [not the WebOS for which HP acquired Palm] to do web browsing and e-mail, as well as provide some music and video features.

• Also making it debut is the Envy 100, billed as a sleek, slim-line printer designed to complement modern home décor. It has a color touchscreen and is $249.

• Among HP’s offerings for the office are the $449 LaserJet Pro CM1415, which prints from the web and mobile devices, and has a 3.5-inch touchscreen control panel, and the $229 LaserJet Pro CP1025NW, billed as world’s smallest color laser at 15.7 by 15.7 by 8.8 inches.

• HP also touted its ePrint technology, which permits driverless printing from phones, tablets, and other device that send e-mail attachments.

More information is at