2012 Graphics of the Americas : Latin Influence Sparks GOAJanuary 2012 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
After 36 years of existence, one might figure the people who produce the Graphics of the Americas Conference & Expo (GOA) might be running out of ideas to keep the annual show fresh and inventive, but that's simply not the case. In an era that admonishes printers to think differently when it comes to their product and service offerings, GOA's mission is to provide attendees a blueprint of the future.
The 2012 edition, slated for March 1-3 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, aims to at least match last year's attendance of 9,800 with a strong mixture of expo exhibitors and a diverse educational session roster that attracted 2,100 people in 2011. Attendees will have 10 educational conference tracks from which to choose: prepress/production; digital printing; sales/marketing; management; wide-format; illustration and design; Photoshop; Web and interactive; InDesign; and Acrobat and PDF.
With the 37th show just two months prior to Drupa 2012, GOA President George Ryan doesn't anticipate the European show limiting the number of feet on the Miami Beach Convention Center floor. About 60 percent of show-goers hail from the states, primarily the Southeast, with the balance being represented by Latin America.
"I visited several Latin American countries (in 2011) and they feel like (GOA) is their show," Ryan observes. "They're going to be buying this year because the economies down there are very robust, experiencing about 4 percent to 5 percent growth.
Some of the GOA show floor extras emphasize the industry's migration from the days as dyed-in-the-wool printers to versatile marketing service providers. In the expo theater, exhibiting companies will proctor 10 future-oriented sessions geared toward the latest marketing trends. A number of centers dedicated toward ancillary/niche offerings include the direct-to-garment center, the Wide-Format Print Shop Live! and the vehicle wrap center.
Direct-to-garment, which debuted in 2011, is a desktop offering aimed at small- to medium-sized printers. The center proved quite popular in its debut, with strong applications for the Caribbean and tourist cruise destinations.
Wide-format digital printing continues to draw a lot of attention, both from a printing and finishing standpoint. This year's attraction will demonstrate the same job being sent to three different printers—aqueous, UV and solvent-based—giving attendees insight into the differences. Attendees are being asked to pre-register, to limit sessions to 25-30 people.
The mixture of highly competitive, new technologies, combined with affordability, should certainly pique the curiosity of show-goers, according to Ryan.