If you had a southbound view down Lake Shore Drive this morning, you may have seen half-marathoners racing along the lakefront. Today also is opening Sunday for the 2013 National Football League season. Between the Chicago Bears-Cincinnati Bengals noon kickoff at nearby Soldier Field (listen and you’ll hear the raucous fans) and the long distance runners who took off from Jackson Park on the South Side, there is a lot going on in the Windy City on this late summer’s day.
September 8 also is Grandparents’ Day, a “Hallmark holiday” that bodes well for printed greeting cards. But let’s get one thing straight before halftime of the Bears’ home opener: This isnot your grandfather’s print industry, or even your uncle’s, for that matter. To prove it, let the quadrennial PRINT show begin! This edition of the industry event of the year (North America’s largest of its kind, by the way) is about more than print media in 2013—more so than ever before, according to Ralph Nappi, President of show manager the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC). (SeeNappi’s complete interview below.) There are big online and mobile presences on the show floor this week, to be sure. (See sidebar.)
Make no mistake: Ink and/or toner on paper and other substrates are here, too, of course— all kinds of print—offset, digital, inkjet, flexo, and hybrid. For a full breadth of converting, label, and package printing exhibitors, technologies, and offerings, PRINT attendees can walk the co-located Converting & Package Printing (CPP) Expo. And the Future Print pavilion, sponsored by FlexTech Alliance,returns, featuring today’s hottest technologies such as printed electronics, radio frequency identification, and 3D printing.
For a large-format print focus, there is the new “BIG” Wide Format Pavilion sponsored by the International Sign Association (ISA). “ISA is excited to partner with GASC to provide relevant information on the growing sign industry,” comments Lori Anderson, ISA President and CEO.” This partnership will enable both organizations to reach out beyond our existing customers to help the industry grow and prosper.”
With the involvement and resources of ISA, print professionals from sign and display shops have their own “one stop shop” here at the show. Meanwhile, commercial printers can learn about the latest applications and opportunities in wide format direct from industry “gurus” in the Ask the Expert station sponsored by The Big Picture magazine. For the next five days, education ISA Innovation and Application Theater will focus on new entries and veterans in the sign market with individualized guidance on why and how to diversify and grow their business into signs/displays. See the technology in action in the Inkjet Candy Store and at other locations throughout the show floor.
“The growth in co-located events and special-interest pavilions at PRINT 13 means that the diversity of showgoers will be greater than ever,” says Hal Hinderliter, coordinator of the MUST SEE ’EMS program, which has responded to that change by adding additional judges to its selection committee. “We’ve grown to a roster of 32 experts in the fields of newspapers, packaging, flexography, gravure, design, and other specialties.”
Hinderliter adds that this broad spectrum of knowledge gave him the confidence to encourage many first-time entrants for 2013. “As a result, we enjoyed our highest-ever number of entrants—141, an increase of 28% from last year—as well as our largest number of participating vendors. I’m proud to say that these efforts were not in vain,” he continued. “The 2013 MUST SEE ’EMS include quite a few smaller companies with exciting new products. This year also saw our first flexo winner, as well as a UV coating, a retrofit curing module, technology for the newspaper, packaging, and mailing industries and several small-format digital printers.”