What You Shouldn’t Miss at PRINT 17
PRINT 17 is a massive show, and it is easy to miss some of the best products, vendors, sessions, and information on display. When it comes to substrates and media, however, there are a few “must see” things to do and see.
“It is so important for printers to look for alternatives to paper, and learn as much as you can about them,” says Steve Fleming, VP, CSP Inc. (Booth 3243). “Printing directly on plastics may cost more initially when compared to paper, but in many cases, some finishing costs are eliminated, or the life of the material in the field can be extended. This can save your customer money. Before choosing a material, bring a loop and look at the dot on plastic. In many cases, the dot has more integrity on plastic than on traditional paper. The reason for this is that the ink sits on top of the plastic sheet, whereas with paper, there is some distortion as the ink is absorbed into the paper fibers.”
“The top few things I would suggest for PRINT 17 attendees, specific to substrates and media regarding industry standards and quality,” notes Lynn Leppo, Media Sales Manager at CGS Publishing Technologies International (Booth 631). “Proofing media can tend to be a bit of a ‘set it and forget it’ within a prepress department. So often when I speak with printers about why they are using a specific media option, they tell me ‘we’ve been using it forever.’ Keep an open mind to where the industry is moving, and what comes next for your business. Secondly, quality. Your proof is the customer-facing first impression of your ability to achieve repeatable color. The media you print your proofs on isn’t an area where you want to completely sacrifice quality for affordability.”
This is also an opportunity to compare vendors and their offerings, in a way that just can’t be easily done outside of a trade show floor. “Research as many vendors as you can,” says Cory Sawatzki, Director of Digital Print Technology, CGS Publishing Technologies. “Check on things like white point (and their acceptable variance). Ask them about coatings on their papers. Talk about how their papers are resourced, stored, and delivered. All of these things will affect speed of delivery and quality of the product. If it is stored improperly it could be affected by temperature and humidity.”
David Conrad, Director of Sales and Marketing, Mutoh America (Booth 4241), agrees that what you shouldn’t miss at PRINT 17 is the rare chance to do a lot of market research in a very short period of time. “Gather data. Fact find. Do your homework. The show will be a great venue for education, so take advantage of all the knowledge that will be present. Talk with the hardware vendors and media manufacturers, and gather as much data as you can on the markets you are interested in. Look outside your traditional space into areas you are thinking about growing into, and do your homework.”