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PRINT 13 Preview: Casting a Wider 'PRINT' Net

August 2013 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
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This year's PRINT 13 trade show extravaganza emphasizes the trend toward the Great Diversification Movement being felt in the industry. Like a dynamic college football team, today's printer is expected to use a spread offense that provides a multitude of looks that can help your team outperform the opposition.

To take it a bit further, time of possession is critical. You don't want to turn jobs over to the opposition because a certain piece of equipment or capability is not in your playbook.

The quadrennial PRINT show comes at a most interesting time. The printing industry is enduring some violent changes from a technology standpoint. With the decade-long trend toward shorter runs continuing; digital printing, especially inkjet, stepping up its game; and electronic alternatives continuing to harvest market share, diversification is on the lips of many shop owners as they prepare their trek to Chicago for the Fall Classic, which takes place Sept. 8-12 at McCormick Place.

This show continues to take a page from today's printers by offering a program that is high on diversity and light on heavy iron. Gone are the days where an exhibit next to an offset press manufacturer's booth meant bringing a bottle of aspirin; the loud clatter of the 40˝ sheetfed beasts will not be piercing the air.

Nor will you be in danger of getting lost in a vendor's booth. Also gone is the time when a booth was the size of a junior college campus. In fact, the show is confined to a smaller footprint these days, notes Ralph Nappi, president of the Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC), which runs PRINT and its sister exhibition, Graph Expo.

"The days of taking huge booths, just to appear big, are long gone," he says. "That's not just in the United States. At China Print, it was obvious that booths of noteworthy size were not to be found."

What the show will have is a greater variety in the printing garden. For example, the Converting & Package Printing Expo (CPP) has the distinction of becoming the first co-located show in PRINT/Graph Expo history. Admission to CPP is inclusive with PRINT 13 registration. Among the other new wrinkles:

  • Two new pavilions have been added. The Photo Finish is dedicated to photo imaging and the popularity of photo books, wide-format imaging and related services. Sidelines, the expanded revenue streams pavilion, is aimed toward new money-making sources from a wide variety of specialty printing.
  • The mailing and fulfillment pavilion, Deliver, has been renewed and "re-imagined." The U.S. Postal Service and the Association for Marketing Service Providers (AMSP) were both highly instrumental in helping to give the pavilion a makeover.
  • The educational platform shifted its focus, taking a "how to" approach for implementation and execution of products and services for its 70-plus sessions. There will also be "ask the experts" stations on the floor and in the theaters geared toward enabling printers to actuate new and ancillary capabilities.
  • Co-located events continue to billow inside the McCormick Place confines. Four years ago, GASC logged 22 events, a figure that has climbed to 34, 49 and, now, 64. Nappi feels it not only validates PRINT/Graph Expo as the central industry event; it is truly wide-ranging, covering the full gamut of today's marketing services providers while offering a little something for neighboring professions (newspapers, designers, creative professionals).

Nappi strongly feels the increase in show attendance is largely due to the success of the co-located events, and he anticipates the upward tick to continue with the exhibition this September.


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