The Weave Factor Signals Business Rebound
“There’s no ink companies here!” exclaimed a guy from a company for whom I’d shot video at drupa. We happened to be staying at the same hotel and we would talk on the bus ride back to the hotel at the end of the day. The company manufactures and sells offset printing plates, but it had no booth at the show. He and a couple of colleagues were there to cruise, schmooze and take the pulse of the changing industry—which from their point of view probably seemed discouragingly weak.
“Well, OK, there’s one or two that sell inkjet inks, but no offset ink guys,” the plate guy continued. “But there’s only a couple who sell plates.” He was visibly discouraged to see this fundamental change in the direction of the industry. He’d been very upbeat at drupa where the offset/digital balance is much different, but GRAPH EXPO was showing him a view of the future in which digital presses and software would dominate. One can understand the guy’s emotions.
But that’s just one snapshot. There was a lot of positive energy at McCormick Place and most booths were generally busy. My sense from vendors was that business is (finally) coming back.
- Their prospects and customers are saying it’s time to make investments in software and equipment that will increase efficiency and productivity.
- They are seeing print as a medium that continues to change, but is still alive and well, being reinvented, and becoming increasingly related to electronic media in ways where each can support the other.
Next September, the fall show will be PRINT 13—which promises to be bigger and, hopefully, even more vibrant.