About Wide Format Online
|Andy McCourt (L) and Brian Stickland (R) shake on the ownership transfer in 2018|
Wide Format Online was started in 2005 by Graphic Arts Publisher Brian Stickland, who had moved from South Africa to Australia. In SA, Brian was a well-known publisher of Graphix magazine. In late 2018, approaching retirement, he sold Wide Format Online to former Print21 editor, writer and industry analyst Andy McCourt, who had met Brian while working in the UK in the early 1990s, on the IPEX exhibition and PR for print industry suppliers such as Xerox, Heidelberg, Fujifilm, DuPont and the 1993 world launch on Indigo (now HP Indigo). Andy also wrote for Graphics magazines globally and his articles have been published on every continent in many languages. As the 1990s dawned, he was one of the first to advocate adoption of RIP-driven wide format printers - then just Encad and HP and dye-ink-based - and visited factories, trade shows and software developers in the USA to report for World Graphic Arts Technology annual.
In the 13 years Brian ran this online publication and newsletters, he built a loyal following of Signage and related industry subscribers totalling around 15,000 across Australia and New Zealand - and quite a few globally. During this time, wide format grew from a proofing, CAD/GIS/AEC drawing and poster printing niche into an industry that now addresses, in addition to Signage, short-run manufacturing, labels and folding cartons, corrugated, textiles and product decoration. The overriding print technology that enables this is inkjet.
Andy teamed with a former colleague from Print21 magazine, journalist Graham Osborne, to make news and technology as the main driver. As we don't print a magazine, selected content is also published by syndication in Australian Printer Magazine. Andy also writes regularly for its sister publication, ProPack.
We publish industry newsletters every Tuesday and Thursday, plus the 24/7 website. With Covid from 2019, the subscriber list has gone up and down but this has been balanced by more Commercial and Packaging printers getting into Wide Format technology. Also, a recent drive into the Pacific Islands where Signage, Display and Textile producers are rapidly adopting the latest technology and producing great work, has increased readership.
While we sometimes touch on the general printing and packaging industry and its trends and players, our primary passion is what's happening with Wide Format and the AUD$4 billion A-NZ Signage Industry.
Wide Format Online is a free publication to industry members. We also strongly support industry associations such as ASGA, NZSDA, FESPA Australia, the LIA and others.