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Graph Expo 2012: Shakin’ it up in Chicago

I hope you’re ready for the main event because Graph Expo 2012 is right around the corner. The biggest graphic communications trade show in the Americas takes over the South Hall of Chicago’s McCormick Place from October 7-10.

This is your chance to see the latest innovations from the top vendors in our industry. Looking for a new idea or a way to give your company an edge on the competition? You’ll find it at Graph Expo 2012. Many of the industry-changing introductions that were rolled out at drupa last May will be at Graph Expo 2012 for their North American debuts.

Because the show floor is so massive, it is sectioned according to industry and/or equipment segments. These segments are most easily recognized as the by now-familiar pavilions: the Marketing Pavilion, GREENspace (products and services that promote sustainability), News Print (for the newspaper crowd), Mailing & Fulfillment Center, Future Print (featuring Printed Electronics and RFID), Education Main Street, and Prepress/Software. The latest product introductions in wide-format printing/imaging and package printing will be demonstrated throughout the entire show floor. For the first time, in-plant professionals from will be able to take advantage of their own dedicated space at the In-Plant Place.

The Global Channel Partners Summit is new this year. It is a show floor hub for dealers to network with manufacturers and customers. Also new: the CPP Zone, a converting area for package printing exhibitors, and the PrintMediaCentr where attendees will be able to experience the “Printerverse” and test drive groundbreaking communications tools that are changing the face of the graphic communications industry.

Educational Program

Professionals from all segments of the graphic communications industry will find a comprehensive slate of educational sessions at this year’s show. The 50-plus seminars and workshops will cover 12 diverse market segments including: commercial printing, inplant printing, transactional printing, quick printing, packaging and specialty printing, photo imaging, mailing and fulfillment, book printing and publishing, wide-format printing, newspaper printing and publishing, marketing and creative services, and media/print buying.

The educational opportunities actually begin before Graph Expo even opens. The pre-show Executive Outlook Conference will kick off at noon on Saturday, October 6. This year Executive Outlook will be in a different location than in past years. The new location for Executive Outlook is Room S102, which is conveniently located adjacent to the bus drop-off area on the first floor of McCormick Place South.

Themed “Using Marketing and Technology to Innovate and Thrive,” the half-day pre-show event will feature an impressive lineup of top industry experts and conclude with presentations of the 2012 MUST SEE 'EMS Best in Category awards and Legacy Award. This will also be the venue for the announcement of the Positively Print program awardee. Saturday afternoon will also see the first of several computer labs, this one focused on “PDF File Preparation for Success in Color Printing.”

The seminar sessions will begin in earnest on Sunday morning and continue through Tuesday, October 9, featuring presentations and workshops by top industry professionals and educators. Start off your Graph Expo experience at 11:00 am Sunday, October 7 by attending “Pathways to Profits and Productivity: An Interactive Event”, sponsored by Quick Printing and in Room S102. It will feature an audience-interactive “shoot-out” between QP columnists and contributors. This is your chance to go one-on-one with your favorite industry experts.

Follow up that experience with the sessions being presented by Quick Printing columnists Mitch Evans, Dave Fellman, Sandra Long, Stuart Margolis, Joe Rickard, and Tawnya Starr throughout the show.

Mitch Evans: October 9, 10:30 am, Empowered Leadership for Quick and Small Commercial Printers

Dave Fellman: October 8, 8:30 am, Sales Management Savvy: How to Hire, Motivate, and Compensate Top Performers

October 9, 2:00 pm, How to Talk ‘Marketing’ with Your Customers & Prospects

Sandra Long: October 8, 12:30 pm, Free Seminar: Optimize Your Mail, Grow Your Business—Let’s make it Personal

Stuart Margolis: October 9, 8:30 am, Profitable Pricing: Surefire Ways to Boost Sales from ‘Marginal’ to MEGA!

Joe Rickard: October 8, 10:30 am, Advanced Selling: 6 Essential Strategies to WIN in Challenging Times

Tawnya Starr: October 7, 12:30 pm, Free Seminar: Discover How the Best Printing Companies/MSPs Dominate Their Markets


Of course, the MUST SEE ‘EMS awards are always a major highlight of Graph Expo.  This competition has the graphic communications industry's top vendors and vying for the top spot in 11 individual categories. Winners were selected by a panel of industry experts, journalists, and consultants who based their choices on the impact they believe these technologies will have on the industry. This year’s winning entries are:

Sales and Order Entry: EFI DSFdesign Studio for EFI Digital StoreFront (Booth 2000); EFI M500 Self-Service Copy and Print Station (Booth 2000); and XMPie uStore Facebook Connect (Booth 1200).

Prepress and Premedia: Dalim Software - ES 3 (Booth 229); EFI Fiery SeeQuence JobMaster (Booth 2000); Esko Suite 12 (Booth 427); Ricoh Clickable Paper (Booth 2600).

Pressroom – Analog Presses: Heidelberg USA Prinect Image Control Next Generation (Booth 1214).

Pressroom – Digital Presses: Eastman Kodak NexPress Gold Dry Ink (Booth 1221); Hewlett-Packard HP Indigo 10000 Digital Press (Booth 1227); Hewlett-Packard HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press (Booth 1227).

Pressroom - Wide-Format: Epson America SureColor S50670 (Booth 636); Hewlett-Packard HP Designjet L26500 Printer (Booth 1227); Xante Corporation Excelagraphix 4200 (Booth 2449).

Postpress Finishing – Digital and Small-Format: MGI - JETvarnish 3D (Booth 3623); Xerox IntegratedPLUS Finishing Solution for Booklets (Booth 1200).

Postpress Finishing - Wide-Format: EFI Layout Option for Fiery Wide-Format Solution (Booth 2000); Esko Kongsberg XN (Booth 427).

Imprinting, Mailing, Shipping, and Fulfillment: Avanti Computer Systems Advanced Fulfillment V12.4 (Booth 864); Bowe Systec North America Fusion Cross (Booth 3627); Pitney Bowes Mailstream Wrapper Inline Envelope Converting Module (Booth 1238).

Management Systems: Eastman Kodak INSITE Prepress Portal Software Version 6.5 (Booth 1221); EFI PrintFlow Dynamic Scheduling - Employee & Tool Constraints (Booth 2000); XMPie Circle (Booth 1200).

Future Print – Technology Demonstrations: Eastman Kodak FLEXCEL Direct System (Booth 1221); PadPublisher Company PadPublisher and PadCloud (Booth 4836); Pageflex Dynamic Media (Booth 867).

This year, for the first time, Best of Category selections will be named. Another first is the inaugural Legacy Award, which was created to recognize one past MUST SEE ‘EMS winner that has had a lasting influence on the graphic communications industry. The winners of these new honors will be announced at the conclusion of the Executive Outlook Conference on October 6, prior to the opening of Graph Expo.

Get Going

So whether you are in search of equipment, services, information, or networking opportunities, hop a plane to Chicago and get yourself to Graph Expo 2012. Don’t let the big show pass you by!