Adrienne Palmer. The Big Picture in Print.
Adrienne Palmer joined Big Picture magazine in 2012 after graduating from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism with a BA in magazine journalism. During her time with Big Picture, she has held the roles of assistant editor, associate editor, and managing editor, and is now serving as editor-in-chief of Big Picture magazine and sister publication Screen Printing magazine. She is a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media; spearheads Big Picture’s annual Women in Print Awards and Best of Wide Format Awards and Screen Printing’s Rising Stars Awards; is on the board of SGIA’s Women in Print Alliance, and represents the Big Picture and Screen Printing team at numerous industry events year-round.
How did you get into print? Had you intended to become part of the printing world?
Seven years ago, when I joined the Big Picture magazine editorial team as assistant editor I had no idea the world of wide-format existed. Sure, I passed digitally printed applications daily, but I had no connection to or knowledge of the people, technology, innovation, and passion surrounding this industry. Now, I feel like it’s all I know.
In 2012, I graduated from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism with a BA in magazine journalism. I spotted the open position at ST Media Group via LinkedIn; craving a career in magazine journalism, I jumped at the opportunity despite having zero expertise in the industry. I quickly learned terms like wrap film, water-based inks, and RIP – and fell in love with the unique designs, prints, and installs members of the wide-format community were creating for so many markets around the globe.
The best part about my job, and this industry is the continuous chance to learn something new, whether that’s at tradeshow booths, during conversations with experts and researchers, or via print service providers’ Instagram posts. In April, I added editor-in-chief of sister publication Screen Printing magazine to my resume and am getting to know a completely unfamiliar industry (to me) with new players, products, and history.
What are the defining trends impacting printing in your view?
The four trends discussed in every press conference, webinar, and white paper are personalization, social media, e-commerce, and sustainability. While it sometimes feels like I’m in the movie “Groundhog Day,” OEMs and industry experts are right. These top demands are shaping what PSPs print and how they’re presented and delivered to clients.
The tried-and-true wide-format applications, such as billboards and vehicle wraps, are definitely here to stay, but with the quality (and quantity) of emerging digital printing capabilities, there’s a giant demand in sectors like interior décor, soft signage, printable textiles, and wide-format 3D printing. These four areas will continue to grow at a rapid pace; the applications are endless (think carpets, backlit graphics, couch cushions, and massive props pairing with P-O-P) and the ability to customize and personalize – what every person in 2019 and beyond wants – is easily attainable with digital printing.
What would you see are the opportunities?
“What can’t you print on?” I find myself asking this question after attending events around the globe, checking engagement on Big Picture’s social media channels, and during phone calls and emails with PSPs, including our Editorial Advisory Board members. I haven’t found an answer because if you can’t print on it, you can wrap it. I’m consistently amazed by the unique output created by wide-format print shops, like vibrant wedding dance floor graphics, psychedelic hoverboard wraps, even public bathroom graphic takeovers. The wide-format digital print possibilities are endless. Print shops should take advantage by expanding their application offerings in order to stand above their competition.
What needs to happen in order for new printing tech such as Inkjet to grow into new markets?
It all starts with education. The best ways to learn are by attending tradeshows and niche events, meeting with PSPs who are utilizing new technology in their shops and reading trade publications like Big Picture. Manufacturers need to be better with presenting information surrounding new products, trends, and applications. Print service providers need to be more receptive to these emerging trends and tech, as well as seek guidance and training for themselves and their staff. This will help them not only grow their own businesses but the industry as a whole.
Does it bother you that younger people, and women, are still in the minority within the printing sector?
Although the numbers – and even the visuals on show floors – show the white, middle-aged man as the majority player in our industry, there are growing populations of female, minority, and under-age-35 print service providers. I’m thrilled to announce the fourth-annual Big Picture Women in Print Awards winners in our October issue and at Printing United in Dallas; to be a member of SGIA’s Women in Print Alliance, and to spearhead the second-annual Screen Printing Rising Stars Awards honoring six of the brightest young minds in specialty printing. These talented leaders exist within our community and we need to recognize their involvement and their contributions.
As the pendulum swings and more and more young adults choose to attend trade schools instead of receiving undergraduate and post-graduate degrees, I believe there will be an influx of skilled printers applying for jobs at shops, specifically across the US. The same will happen for women who see associations like ISA and SGIA creating groups for women in the industry to grow professionally, network, receive mentorship and find a seat at the table.