Discovering the ‘Next Generation of Print’

Explore the full spectrum of the graphic arts at Graph Expo 2010

Graph Expo is known in the print community as the place to be when it comes to press, pre-press, and post-press technologies and imaging products, and this year’s event will be no different. Running October 3-6 at McCormick Place in Chicago, the 2010 expo is slated to feature 500-plus exhibitors in more than 300,000 square feet of space, and the show’s organizers, Graphic Art Show Company (GASC), are expecting attendees from throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.

On the heels of its successful sister show last year, Print 09—which drew 28,678 participants—Graph Expo 2010 (graphexpo.com) will offer the latest graphic communication technologies in live equipment demonstrations across the show floor and education on the most in-demand products and profit-making opportunities. The show’s theme, “The Next Generation of Print,” reflects a focus on emerging trends in the industry.

“Just as the next generation of print is about going beyond ink/toner on papers to offer personalized business solutions to customers’ problems, Graph Expo 2010 is far more than a standard commercial printing trade show,” says GASC president Ralph Nappi.

“Graph Expo providers a valuable forum in which attendees can evaluate the full spectrum of printing-related technologies, discuss their needs in consultations with a range of manufacturers and suppliers in a neutral environment, glean new profit-making ideas and network with like-minded professionals,” continues Nappi. “The equipment, education and ideas at Graph Expo 2010 reflect the diversity of the graphic-communications industry, allowing for a completely personalized and valuable experience for each attendee.”

The wide-format connection
Watching a machine run and participating in one of many hands-on demonstrations available on the show floor gives attendees exposure they just can’t gain in a conference room or by looking at a brochure—and the opportunities to do so are abundant. Graph Expo 2010 offers the largest display of “live,” running equipment in the America’s this year, reports the show’s marketing materials.

And there will be plenty of opportunities for wide-format professionals to kick the proverbial tires on equipment specific to their industry niche.

“Wide Format is going to be prevalent in the press finishing area, but there’s also going to be wide format all across the show floor,” says Debbie Vieder, director of communications and marketing for GASC. “We used to have a specific wide-format pavilion—it was a great incubator that was really successful beyond our original vision. Because it’s such a booming product, it spilled out, and now we have so many exhibitors that have a variety of products they wanted to display in the wide-format pavilion and also in their booth, that we thought this year it would be most productive to have it be represented all across the show.”

Many of the wide-format sector’s heavy-hitters are listed among the exhibitors, and Vieder expects more companies will join their ranks before the ribbon is cut on opening day of the show. For a complete and current exhibitor list, visit the Graph Expo website.

Focus on education and trends
The Graph Expo experience doesn’t end in the exhibit hall, however. GASC has partnered with the Graphic Communication Institute of California Polytechnic State University (grci.calpoly.edu) to produce the accompanying conference program, featuring nearly 50 seminars spanning 20 subject areas. The in-depth, executive-level sessions and hands-on workshops address the needs of 11 distinct sectors within the print marketplace, including print providers working in wide format.

“This year’s program is second to none,” says Vieder. “Of the 50 plus sessions that are being offered, 23 of them are directly relevant to the wide-format group, so there’s a tremendous section of education they can look forward to.”

Graph Expo participants can also get a jump start on the week’s events during “Executive Outlook,” a day-long technology briefing and conference held annually on the day prior to the show’s opening. With a theme of “The Challenge of Change in the New Era of Print,” this year’s symposium, sponsored by Xerox, provides economic and marketing information, technological reports, and print trends and forecasts designed to help visitors gain the greatest benefit from their attendance at the show, as well as practical information on how to utilize technology to gain a competitive advantage in today’s recovering economy.

A recognized highlight of the Executive Outlook Conference—the “Must See ’Ems” technology and product recognition program—returns in 2010 to focus the print industry’s attention on the most compelling and survival-critical technologies, services and products exhibited at Graph Expo. Conducted independently for GASC by the PrintCom Consulting Group, a panel of industry experts review hundreds of applications for the “Must See ’Ems” program to identify and select the products that show-goers simply “must see.”

“Positively Print,” a new print advocacy program designed to promote the power of print in the media mix, debuts at this year’s Executive Outlook Conference. The program recognizes companies involved in the print production process that market, through their company-branded promotional activities, the value and effectiveness of printed products to marketing executives, print buyers, businesses and the general public.

“Although sometimes overlooked in the flurry of e-marketing, print has always been—and continues to be—a vital component of today’s integrated marketing campaigns. These ‘Best of the Best’ examples of print promotional campaigns recognized by the ‘Positively Print’ program will feature the various types, unique attributes and effectiveness of this essential media,” says Nappi.

Through this program, Graph Expo organizers aim to strengthen the entire print industry by encouraging print providers to devote part of their ongoing marketing campaigns to a generic advocacy of print as a communications media.

Simultaneous events
For the first time, Graph Expo will be co-located with a selection of other industry events, to expand the value the event offers attendees who specialize in more than one area or vertical market.
“This year, a lot of organizations have decided that, because they’re going to come to the show anyway, or maybe they’d had their event in Chicago a little earlier or a little later, it just made sense to be there during Graph Expo,” explains Vieder. “The networking opportunities, both within segments and crossing segments are there like never before. It’s also noteworthy to mention that we are in discussions with two wide format-related franchises—so stay tuned for updates on additions to our ‘co-located’ list.”

Current Graph Expo 2010 co-located events include: NAQP 2010 Owners Conference (National Association of Quick Printers), Xplor International/Xplor Document University, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM), and others.

An Educational Sampler
Here are just a few of the educational seminars attendees will find at Graph Expo 2010:

  • Executive Outlook Conference—The Challenge of Change in the New Era of Print
  • Practical Profit-Makers: Digital & On-Demand Printing
  • Six Essential Strategies for Sales Success in a Tough Market
  • Inkjet Technology: The Evolution...and Revolution in New Business Opportunities
  • Cross Media Marketing “pecialists: Inside an Evolving Model
  • How to Win the Competitive Pricing Game
  • Not Your Average “State of the Industry”
  • Rock-Solid Ways to Leverage Satisfied Customers into More Revenue...Services...and Referrals
  • Color Managing Your Digital Press
  • Lunch Session: Status of Printing in the U.S.
  • Computer Lab: Color Management—Mastering the Essentials
  • Customer-Centric Marketing: Reap the Rewards
  • The “Secret” to Selling to Anyone: Personality Types Revealed
  • Harnessing Change: Rock-Solid Steps to Control Your Destiny and Improve Your Bottom Line
  • High-Octane Prospecting: Strategies to Increase Sales and Profits
  • Drive Sales by Maximizing Your Best Relationships
  • Transforming from “Print Service” to “Marketing Service” Provider
  • One Size Doesn't Fit All: Picking the Right Marketing Mix for Your Company
  • Future of the Printed Product
  • Slashing Production Costs: Simple, Smart Solutions
  • High-Octane Coaching for Sales Team Success
  • Printer-Marketer Magic: A Plan for Growing Your Business
  • The Digital Landscape in 2010 and Beyond

If You Go
Graph Expo takes place at the sprawling McCormick Place—one of North America’s largest exposition center. Centrally located near downtown Chicago, the facility is easily accessibly by complimentary shuttle from any of the expo hotels.  Graph Expo has negotiated the lowest hotel and air travel rates and, for the first time ever, guarantees the best hotel rates for participants who book through the show’s housing vendor.

Being There
The pre-show Executive Outlook Conference (see main text) kicks off the event on Saturday October 2 at 8:00 a.m. Here are the official show dates and hours:
• Sunday, October 3, 10 am - 5 pm
• Monday, October 4, 10 am - 5 pm
• Tuesday, October 5, 10 am - 5 pm
• Wednesday, October 6, 10 am - 4 pm

Exhibits-only registration costs $45 ($30 if before September 3). Fees for educational seminars range from $150 each ($125 each if registered before September 3) to various multi-session prices, including a “value package” of $349 for three sessions ($299 before September 3). A full-access pass (unlimited sessions plus access to exhibits) is $999 ($849 before September 3). Visit graphexpo.com for more details.

Virtual Sneak Peek: August 19
With just a few weeks to go before the curtain rises on Graph Expo 2010, GASC hopes to drum up some enthusiasm for the “live” event with a Virtual Preview, held online August 19. Free to registered attendees, the Web-based trade show will include an interactive tour of new products and exhibitors who will be on-hand in Chicago, live networking and chat opportunities with exhibitors and other attendees, and even a selection of educational webinar sessions.

Vieder calls the virtual event “a great opportunity to meet some of the people who are going to be at the show—exhibitor-wise and attendee-wise—and to start making some of those connections, to set some appointments and, then, when they get onsite, they can hit the ground running.”

Graph Expo is expecting attendees from throughout the Americas and, as such, will offer simultaneous translations and discussions in English and Spanish.

“This isn’t designed to replace the show,” says Vieder. “It’s actually just to open the door a little bit so you can get a look inside at what’s there.”

The event will be archived and available to registrants until the “live” show opens.


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