Why Designers Don't Attend GRAPH EXPO
The landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years for sure, but visiting GRAPH EXPO (which took place last week) must be every print-service provider’s dream come true: the latest and greatest printing technology as far as the eye can see.
One recent change that became immediately apparent: The loud offset presses that once torpedoed the chance of meaningful conversations on the show floor have given way to the soft humming of digital ones. At last, you could hear the person beside you! Unfortunately, if you were a designer, the chances of being able to have a chinwag with one of your peers were not good; only five of the people I met on the show floor were in that trade.
It was a topic of many discussions with PSPs: Why do designers not come to GRAPH EXPO? Perhaps it’s because:
- Given the choice of having to travel great distances and spend three days anywhere, a designer would rather go to an inspiring design conference and hang out with their peers.
- To 99 percent of designers, the exhibitors and attendees at GRAPH EXPO speak a different language, and they do not come with subtitles.
While the press, binding and prepress manufacturers want to talk size, speed and impressions, a designer’s eyes will glaze over before they frantically search for the nearest exit—not an easy task in such a vast exhibit area. While you are excited about your newest purchase—and rightfully so—they selfishly only care about what new creative avenues this opens up for them.
Or to borrow a fabulous analogy from print consultant and good friend Matthew Parker: When you go out to a restaurant, you do not care what kind of oven the chef uses. All you care about is the fabulous meal he creates.
That said, if you have roamed the floor, here is your chance to shine. Tell your creative clients about the newest options, which ones you are considering bringing in house, and others you deemed irrelevant.
Start the conversation. It might help you greatly in deciding what equipment to purchase next. If you show them the right oven and explain what dishes are suddenly possible, chances are they will start to salivate then and there.
Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.
Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.
Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge.