All Signs Point to Growth

At the conclusion of any trade show, attendees and exhibitors alike want to walk away with the feeling that the time and money spent attending was well worth it. From the news on the show floor of equipment sales and all the new hardware debuted in Las Vegas to the multitude of educational sessions, I think it's safe to say that the 2011 ISA Sign Expo was a huge success.

According to Brandon D. Hensley, vice president of marketing & sales, ISA, this show was best it has been in years—and the second largest in ISA history. What do the numbers say?

The Mandalay Bay Convention Center hosted 19,000 attendees, an increase of 13 percent over 2010. The Expo floor boasted 195,350 net square feet, up 14 percent over 2010. Participating companies was up 12 percent. Out of the 558 exhibitors, 132—or 24 percent—were new to the show. On the education side, the number of education seats sold was up 92 percent over 2010.

"Each year, ISA International Sign Expo proves to be the place for sign industry professionals to network, learn the latest information about their industry, and see the latest products on the exhibit floor," said Lori Anderson, ISA president and CEO. "This year proved to be all of that and more."

Sign Expo Highlights

This year's ISA Sign Expo has a number of new things on the show floor—from events to new products. These are a few that stood out to me over the course of the three days.

HP introduced two new models of their Latex printers—the LX820 and LS850. The new Latex printers use a new ink set—LX610 Latex Scitex Inks—to get improved water-fastness, deeper blacks, and better gloss characteristics.

ISA and Epson partnered on a Harley Davidson drawing, offering a FatBoy to one lucky ISA attendee. The winner was Gary Johnson from Great American Sign Company.

Roland introduced the LEJ-640, a $68K 64-inch wide-format UV-curable hybrid inkjet printer, supporting a broader range of media—both thicker and thinner—and offering three different ink modes.

Seiko I Infotech introduced two new light solvent inkjet printers—the ColorPainter W-64s and W-54sAccoridng to Seiko, the IX ink these printers use is the first low-solvent, low odor ink without HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants). This new “green” ink and the re-loadable cartridge holder design are provided for preserving the environment by eliminating HAPs and environmental waste.

ISA offered a social media integration on the trade show floor. In large screens, attendees could view current Twitter postings, Facebook postings, and LinkedIn postings based on the #ISA2011expo hash tag. According to Hensley ISA had a 75 percent increase in social media participation on-site this year.

Oce introduced new versions of its Arizona series called the Arizona 360XT and 360GT. Make sure to check out the demo video Oce's Randy Paar shot during ISA. You can link to it here:

EFI talked a lot about workflow during ISA this year and introduced the EFI VUTEk GS3250LX, which features a new “cool cure” technology and seamless printer integration to EFI's Web-to-Print and MIS solutions with native JDF connectivity.

Agfa Graphics' :Anapurna M1600 made its North America debut at ISA. It is designed for applications that use some of the on the latest rigid substrates including mirrors or plexi-glass and roll-to-roll substrates that demand more flexibility including banners and exhibition graphics.

In order to better assist attendees at ISA, the association accepted text questions during the show –versus having a help desk in a static location. This allowed attendees and exhibitors to have their questions answered real time no matter where they were located on the show floor.

Onyx Graphics announced that, as part of the Wide-Format Workgroup in CIP4, they are now starting to address market demands for automation and color management specifically with the support of JDF and G7 with their software. Stay tuned for more information on this later in the year.

Multimedia Content

In addition to press conferences and press meetings, during this ISA Sign Expo I had the opportunity to sit down and interview a dozen industry leaders in a series of Industry Trends Video Interviews. Interviewees included:

  • Leon Gateno, director general of Target Graphics based in Mexico
  • Roger Lackey, the regional vice president of ARC-Southern California and the 2011 Green Reprographer of the Year
  • Tim Greene, director of wide-format printing for InfoTrends
  • Gene Chambers, vice president of marketing for Vision International one of WFI's Top Shops of 2011 and the shop who produced the awesome cover image on our April issue
  • Jittu Sarna, president and owner of Inkjet International and a WFI 2011 Top Shop
  • Duncan MacOwan, Head of Events and New Media for FESPA
  • Terry Corman, CEO of Firehouse Imaging and a WFI 2011 Top Shop
  • Joe Thompson president of Philadelphia-based Berry & Homer and a WFI 2011 Top Shop
  • Lori Anderson, president and CEO of ISA
  • JR Kraft, co-founder and owner of
  • Patrick Morrissey, director of Sales, Americas, for EFI Inkjet
  • Matt Richart, owner of Digtial EFX Wraps and Roland DGA's featured "Wrapper" at ISA

Be sure to check them all out in the Media Center on and via the Weekly eNewsletter. A new video from ISA will be featured each and every week.

Mark Vruno, the editor for and Printing News, also had the opportunity for some "face-time" at ISA, interviewing the winner of the 2011 American Wrap Star. You can check out that video via this link:

Are you pumped and ready to grow your business in 2011? After this show and all the buzz—an sales—it generated, I certainly hope so.

Mark your calendars now. Next year's ISA Sign Expo is scheduled for March 21-24 in Orlando, FL.