FESPA Americas 2011 Sneak Peek

This February will mark the first time FESPA--a traditionally European trade organization--has hosted a convention and trade show on US soil. FESPA Americas (February 24-26 2011, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando) is shaping up to offer printers a multi-dimensional visitor program to set them up for success in 2011 and beyond.

FESPA Americas will run alongside the established regional print show Graphics of the Americas, as well as ISS Orlando, which caters to decorative apparel printing, covering embroidery, screen printing, sublimation and direct-to-garment. Visitors to any one show will automatically gain access to the other two events free of charge.

"This unique three-way combination of events adds up to a fascinating festival of print, offering one-stop access to more than 500 exhibitors. By coming together side by side on one site, in an appealing and accessible location such as Orlando, we can promise printers from North America, central and south America and the Caribbean the most interesting, rewarding and enjoyable experience," said FESPA Exhibitions Director Frazer Chesterman.

A brand new FESPA event feature launching at FESPA Americas is Screen Masters, a hands-on screen print 'boot camp', run by FESPA regulars Michel Caza, Bhargav Mistry, Charlie Taublieb, Scott Fresener, and Ad Versteeg. These screen gurus will offer expert close-up tutorials on all aspects of the process, with an individual focus on sign and graphics, garment printing and fine art, appealing to everyone from apprentices to screen print pros and all stages in between.

Production personnel will he interested in Print Shop Live (Booth 1301), a multi-vendor touch-and-try zone with a live end-to-end workflow. For the first time at a FESPA event, Print Shop Live sets out to allow printers to get their hands on an array of print output engines using different technologies and inks, working with real job files to see for themselves the different qualities of output that can be achieved on a range of substrates.

Print Shop Live will be moderated by independent wide format industry consultant Sophie Matthews-Paul, who works with print businesses the world over to optimize production efficiency and quality, and to devise workflows to handle innovative substrates and applications.

Additionally, a Global Business Forum on site at FESPA Americas will help visiting print shop owners and general managers to explore the trends affecting their business and devise strategies to build their businesses in the wake of the global financial crisis which continues to impact many PSPs. The forum will be chaired by print entrepreneur JR Kraft, CEO of BuildASign.com, with input from FESPA research partner InfoTrends.

Print service providers with a specific interest in digital textile applicationscan also attend the FESPA Digital Textile Conference running alongside FESPA Americas, organized by John Scrimshaw, textile expert and editor of Digital Textile (inkjet printing), International Dyer and IMPACT (environmental and ethical concerns in textiles). American wide-format printers will find this the ideal place to learn more about the technologies, tips and tricks that can make them a success in textile print, whether for flags and banners and soft signage or decor and home textiles.

Some of the event features from FESPA 2010 in Munich will also be brought to life for printers visiting FESPA Americas, including the FESPA Wrap Cup, a competitive high-speed vehicle wrapping event organised with the support of a range of media vendors.

"2011 looks set to be an important year for printers worldwide, who recognize the need to invest in their businesses again after the challenging trading conditions that dominated the last three years. Technological innovation is racing ahead, and with no other wide-format events on the east coast of the US until Spring 2012, FESPA Americas will be a springboard event for digital wide format and screen-plus-digital printers, as well as offset or small-format digital printers looking to broaden their horizons, and anyone looking to boost their capabilities in textile and apparel printing," said Chesterman.