The Print World Comes to Chicago

Print13 will showcase the latest graphics technologies and profit opportunities.

Big Picture

“Innovate, integrate, communicate.” That’s the tag line for Print13, the graphics extravaganza that replaces Graph Expo every four years and is the largest North American print show. And indeed, the event – which takes place September 8-12 at Chicago’s McCormick Place – is designed to prod graphics professionals to take just those steps in finding success and profitability.

One way it does so is by providing show segments for just about every type of specialized graphics. The 2013 version of the Print event, produced by the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC), will feature: a dozen show areas devoted to graphics specialties; more than 60 co-located industry events (including the Converting & Package Printing Expo); a Print13 Conference Program comprising 70 educational sessions; a variety of show-floor theaters and market-segment presentations; “ask the expert” stations located around the show floor, and much more.

And, of course, there’s the technology. This year, nearly 600 exhibitors will be on hand to demonstrate their latest printers and presses, software, equipment, supplies, and so on. To help show attendees more quickly find products and technology, the show floor offers a variety of niche areas: Wide Format, Photo Imaging, Prepress/Software/Design, GreenSpace, Marketing, Converting & Package Printing, Deliver (mailing and fulfillment), and others. (A complete exhibitor list is available on the Print13 website,; visitors can search by product category or by exhibitor name/keywords.)

Going big on the show floor
Print13 welcomes a new “Big – Wide Format Pavilion” to the show. Sponsored by the International Sign Association (ISA), this section of the expo floor will feature the latest wide-format output equipment, media, inks, finishing, equipment, and more.

In addition, the Wide Format Pavilion will include:
• Ask the Wide-Format Expert, sponsored by The Big Picture magazine: Here, attendees will be able to garner detailed information on the wide-format marketplace, and be steered in the right direction for future profits. Please stop by Stand 3590 and meet the editors and staff of The Big Picture.
• Wide-Format Application and Innovation Feature, produced by ISA: “For display and sign professionals – and also those looking to enhance their range of offerings with the next big thing – they will find here the hottest trending wide-format applications on different media/substrates, plus the tricks on how to sell, create, and finish them,” says Ralph Nappi, president of GASC.

Looking beyond wide-format? Other specialized show areas at Print13 include: the Photo Imaging Pavilion, showcasing services for photo, photo book, and photo creation; Future Print, including RFID, printed electronics, 3D printing, and other emerging technologies; GreenSpace, devoted to eco-friendly products, services, and education; Expanded Revenue-Streams Pavilion, specialty-printed products and advertising specialties; the In-Plant Place, for corporate, government, and educational in-plant professionals; the Marketing Pavilion, aimed at marketing education and resources; and others.

And if package printing is your thing, or you’re intrigued with the idea of perhaps bringing package applications in-house, you’re in luck: the Converting & Package Printing Expo (CPP Expo) has co-located with Print13. The premier event for the converting/package printing marketplace, the expo addresses flexible packaging, folding carton/boxmaking, corrugated converting, tissue converting, narrow web/tag and label, and more. The registration fee for Print13 enables attendees to also attend the packaging event.

The bottom line? “You will see convergence here, demonstrated by Print 13’s many show-floor attractions, which is another important value for busy professionals who must justify the expense and time away,” says Nappi. “Here, they will see everything in one place at one time.”

Fine-tuning your brain
Print13’s educational offerings actually kick off a day before the show-floor opening, with the Executive Outlook program, a special technology-trends conference. Held on Saturday, Executive Outlook provides economic and marketing information, technological reports, and print trends and forecasts.

In addition, the Executive Outlook conference is the presentation home of Print13’s Must See ‘Ems Awards. The product- and technology-recognition program is designed to provide an industry-wide roadmap to the most compelling introductions on the Print13 show floor, as selected by a panel of industry experts. Even if you can’t make the program itself, note that award-winners are identified on the show floor over the course of the event with descriptive “Must See ‘Ems” placards.

Once the show begins, attendees can take in a variety of educational opportunities. See page xx for a sampling of the 70-plus educational seminars that GASC is making available. In addition to those seminars, attendees can also take advantage of the following types of free educational sessions:
• Free Industry Segment Presentations: Including “The Big Challenge in Package Printing,” “Think MSP,” “A 2013 Multi-channel Communications Industry Perspective,” In-Plant Best Practices,” and others.
• International Days Program: Free seminars on Asia Day (Monday) and Latin American Day (Wednesday).
• Exhibitor Presentations: Free to all attendees; visit the website for updated information.

Plus, the Converting & Package Printing Expo brings with it its own educational offerings, including: “Digital Printing for Packaging and Labels,” “Technologies for Flexible Packaging,” “Three-Dimensional Digital Decorating for Packaging,” “Developments in Food Packaging Inks,” “The Future of Flexible Film Packaging,” and others.

Exchanging ideas
More than 60 events are taking place parallel with Print13, including conferences, meetings, and user-group meetings – providing attendees a perfect opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices over the course of the show.

Here are just a few of the organizations that will be holding networking events:
• Dscoop ( a cooperative of HP graphic-arts users, including Scitex and Designjet users.
• International Sign Association ( devoted to supporting, promoting, and improving the sign industry through government advocacy, education and training programs, technical resources, and industry networking events.
• In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association ( dedicated to the needs of in-house professionals providing graphic-design, copy, print, mail, and distribution services to their organizations.
• Xplor International ( members engage in the design, production, and distribution of variable-data documents, ranging from high volumes of bills, statements, insurance policies, direct mail, and customized marketing materials delivered via print, Web, and mobile devices.
• International Newspaper Group ( organization comprises newspaper operations executives and industry suppliers; group meets yearly to explore the latest technology and processes impacting newspaper and print production.
• Imaging Network Group ( members are involved in variable imaging and digital printing; meet to discuss key business and technical issues facing their companies.
• NPTA Alliance ( association for the paper, packaging, and supplies distribution industry.

“What these meetings, conferences, and networking events offer is a tremendously multifaceted show-going experience for attendees in every key segment of our industry,” says Nappi. “For those in the wide-format space this means more peer-networking and information-sharing opportunities than ever before – from the Dscoop event to the Agfa Apogee User Group meeting, to the EDSF Gala, EFI’s PrintStream User’s Group, and Imaging Network Group’s Workshop, and others. So whether visitors come to make or evaluate future purchases, gain new productivity and profit-boosting solutions, or to renew or make new business connections, Chicago is the place to be to actively participate in our industry community this fall.”

Times + Registration
Print13 (, produced by the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC), takes place at McCormick Place in Chicago. The show officially opens Sunday, September 8, but the pre-show Executive Outlook Conference takes place Saturday, September 7.

Cost: $55 for an exhibits-only registration fee for all five days of the show ($40 advance registration by August 9). Seminar fees start at $125 for one session and include access to the exhibit show floor.

Here are some specific dates and times; for more information, visit the show’s website:

• September 7: Executive Outlook Conference, Noon – 6 p.m.
• September 8: Print13 opens, Expo floor opens, Noon – 5 p.m.
• September 9: Expo hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
• September 10: Expo hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
• September 11: Expo hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
• September 12: Expo hours are 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

With so much to see and do at Print13, “visitors should make the best use of their time by creating their show plan in advance using the online My Show Planner,” says Nappi. “It’s the best way to schedule booth appointments, meetings, and the various sessions that will take place throughout the show.”

An Educational Sampling
Here are just a few of the more than 70 educational sessions being offered at Print13. Visit the show’s website ( for information on these sessions and others; you can search by educational track, type, and speaker:

• InkJet Wide Format: Peak Print Profits per Square Foot
• High-Speed Wide Format: Trends and Opportunities
• Piloting Brand Color Through the Media-Supply Chain
• Wide-Format Wondering: Choosing Technology That’s Right for You
• Printed Electronics: How to Implement Your Next Profit Opportunity
• 21st-Century Print Technologies Explored
• The Future of Print
• Print Reinvented: Steps to New Product Development
• Beyond QR Codes: Newfangled Print-Integrated Technologies
• G7 Qualified: Sell the Benefits to Boost Your Bottom Line
• VDP Design Essentials
• Digital Direction: Color Presses
• Web-to-Print: Are We There Yet?
• Printer Strategies for Global Consumer Packaging Clients

Fine Art, Strong Heart in Chi-Town
“Fine-art work is not for the faint of heart,” says Jon Scott, owner of JS Graphics, a custom-print studio located just about five miles from McCormick Place.

In business since 1983, the shop has re-invented itself every three or four years, says Scott, in order to keep the revenues coming in. “We’re graphic artists – we’ve learned to digitize anything, for whatever needs – from offset to inkjet, for any process,” he says. “But fine art is our passion.”

JS Graphics ( offers a plethora of services, including museum-quality digital printmaking, image restoration, retouching, image compositing, a variety of prepress services such as high-end scanning, and more. Its clientele range from photographers and fine artists to magazines, hospitality clients, and various high-end customers including museums and galleries. Most customers hail from the Chicago area, although the shop has succeeded in garnering some clients from out of state, “primarily because of our quality work and customer service,” Scott reports.

The shop’s output is executed on various printers, including a couple of Canon imageProGraf models (iPF9000 and iPF8300) as well as a trio of Epsons (Stylus Pro 9800, 4880, and 4800). JS also has invested in several scanners: two Screen Cézannes, two Epsons (4870, 1640XL), and its most recent acquisition: a previously owned DiCoMed digital scanning back, which has been modified in-house.

“Some of the older technology and machines can still work – new doesn’t always necessarily mean better,” says Scott. “If a machine just needs a minor tweak, we’ll evaluate it and make a decision on whether or not to purchase. Producing good prints isn’t just about the hardware – it’s also about the operator. So even though our equipment might be older, we can provide better output than many of our competitors.”

Particulars from Scott on the fine-art side of things:
• On media: “We typically use fiber-based papers because of their quality and longevity, but they’re sometimes difficult to get through the printers. Fiber papers tend to warp and cockle, so we modify the machines slightly to get these papers through the machines.” The shop will typically source media from LexJet, Hahnemuhle, Harman, and others.

• On the artistic mindset: “Artists are very picky, especially when it comes to media. We experiment with different papers and try to mix it up a bit. We also run lots of tests, on 8 x 10 and 11 x 14 proofs, to allow the client to get a feel for the print before final output.”

• On competitors: “For fine-art work, our competition is often the artists themselves – those who buy their own equipment.” But, Scott points out, those artists soon realize they’re spending so much money on ink and supplies while selling so few prints that their printer investment has been for naught – “and they typically still aren’t producing the quality work that we can do.”

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