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Event Spotlight

The Print Show 2019 Review

With The Print Show 2019 now over, there was much to celebrate but also some room for improvement in 2020. Genevieve Lewis looks back at the eventful show this year

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The Print Show 2019 has closed its doors for another year

Against all odds

It would be very easy to wax lyrical about how great The Print Show was this year, and only mention all the fantastic things about it but that would be unfair. This year was a tough year – Brexit has screwed many things since the beginning and this is not just because we are leaving, but because of the uncertainty that shrouds decision making.

However, despite all of that, The Print Show did have a successful year – made even greater by the presence of three very different and inspirational celebrities that walked the hall. Yes, numbers were down slightly from last year, but that was always going to happen unfortunately. People don’t have the time or the resources like they used to. But sometimes, it’s quality over quantity, right?

O Factoid:  The Print Show hailed 5,445 visitors over the three days  O

What was amazing to hear was that companies were still enjoying a number of leads, and even better, sales. Vivid Laminating, which has already signed up to return to the 2020 edition of The Print Show, enjoyed a record number of sales on the first day, spurred on by the Velo Blade – a sheetfed digital die-cutting system. Lewis Evans, product manager at Vivid Laminating Technologies, said that Vivid enjoyed numerous sales with the Velo Blade and continual sales with the Matrix systems.

Vivid Laminating Technologies enjoyed a number of sales on its stand this year

It was also great to see that The Print Show was used as a platform for UK, European and international launches for Mimaki on the Hybrid Services stand. This demonstrates the gravitas that the show has gained since its inception in 2015.

Of course, worthy of a mention are the great Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the very funny Gregg Wallace and the charismatic Chris Eubank.

Rob Fletcher, consultant editor for Print Monthly interviewing Sir Ranulph Fiennes on the Business Seminar Theatre

The celebrity book signing in conjunction with Fujifilm was a great success. Books are such a key printed product in society, and it was lovely to celebrate that. The Print Show had to try something new this year, and it will continue to try something different every year.

Chris Eubank was one of the celebrities at The Print Show this year, signing copies of his book and speaking on the Business Seminar Theatre. It was great to meet him.

Always greener

In the exhibition industry, there can be a lot of waste – banners, graphics, carpet. All ready to be thrown away. This year, Soyang Europe, which recently announced its partnership with Blue Castle Group and its PVC banner recycling scheme, offered exhibitors the opportunity to recycle their banner waste for free. It was a storming success.

Elsewhere and industry champion Two Sides was also highlighting its continuing campaign to educate on the use of paper and print in marketing, communications and in many industries not directly linked to print. Jonathan Tame, managing director, comments: “For Two Sides, it is a really important opportunity for us to talk to printers and people who are interested in print about the sustainability of paper and print as a renewable material, and actually as a really effective means of communication opposed to email and other digital applications.”

He continues: “Increasingly we are getting contacted, not just by printers but actually also by brands directly, since David Attenborough’s focus on climate change and Blue Planet and also the media focus on packaging and anti-plastics. The opportunity for paper-based alternatives to plastics, I think now more than ever before, and corporate companies reducing their impact in mind of the environment, is as high on the business agenda as ever.”

Speaking of storming success, Encore Machinery, which is a regular exhibitor at The Print Show, secured its highest number of leads as well shaking on deals on the stand. Encore is able to use the show to demonstrate its machinery, which this year included a Pit Stop Butterfly machine for creasing and folding. It also used the occasion to push its efforts in the luxury packaging market and were pleased with the level of interest in its Samed, Sumbel and Peroni short-run luxury box making solutions. And as an admittedly smaller company compared to some of its competitors, the show can reflect Encore’s hands on approach with customers.

Our level of enquiries was up on last year, plus we secured several orders on the stand

Paul Davidson, managing director of Encore Machinery, comments: “Our level of enquiries was up on last year, plus we secured several orders on the stand. It’s a well organised event which provides us with a great opportunity to network with a relevant audience.”

A premier show

Elsewhere, and Premier Paper also enjoyed a busy Print Show this year, with a number of leads to take home and devour. Brad Goldsmith, marketing executive for Premier Paper, explains: “Each year since its launch, The Print Show has proved to be a good investment of time and resources for Premier Paper and 2019 was no exception. The Premier stand was busy from the moment the show opened and this continued until the doors closed; we met with scores of new and existing customers and generated a good number of new sales leads.”

He adds: “The Print Show is an excellent event that provides a platform for the print industry to meet with suppliers and for companies to feature some of their latest product developments.”

One thing that can be appreciated about The Print Show, is that it is quite inclusive – big and small companies and major manufacturers come together all under one roof to woo visitors. Based down in Poole in Dorset, Intec has also supported the show since the beginning. For this company, which openly and honestly admits that without the presence of companies such as Ricoh or Canon, Intec could take advantage of that.

Intec and Premier Paper have highlighted a positive show, while Solopress also shared its happiness on social media on its debut year at The Print Show

Kerry Button, Intec Printing Solutions sales director, explains: “The show’s been very good for us. It’s all about the customer experience. It’s an opportunity for people to come and get hands on experience with our products, to have a look at the advantages that we offer.

The show’s been very good for us. It’s all about the customer experience

“I think it very much does [favour the smaller businesses]. You notice this year that Canon’s not here and Ricoh’s not here, and it gives us the opportunity to showcase what we’re all about, rather than being swamped by these big stands; the global companies.

“I think over the years we’ve managed to put ourselves about so to speak. Over the last five years, people have seen us here on a regular basis too. We have to work quite hard to ensure that our voice can be heard amongst all the noise and marketing noise in the industry and I think we’ve done a pretty good job with that.”

Fight a good fight

Lucy Jermyn, marketing executive at printMAX says: “It’s been better than we had expected. We’ve seen a lot of our existing customers which has been really nice, but also some potential customers and new ones. It’s just been a really pleasant and enjoyable experience. Everyone [was] pretty positive and we’ve all come away feeling really happy and really satisfied which has been really nice.”

With the political backdrop a worry going into the event, having already made it difficult which was evident through some of the missing faces at the show, some expectations had dropped. However, Jermyn says that The Print Show 2019 surpassed those expectations and quashed any previous worries. She explains: “With the political circumstances and everything like that […] our expectations were quite low. Not because of the event because obviously we come all the time, we know it is a good event. I think with everything going on with Brexit, we thought no-one was going to buy a machine, but actually people are coming, and they’re making the most of show offers and snapping up a deal.”

Rounding off the show was the final Golden Ticket draw, which signalled the winning of the pinball machine. The lucky winner was Ace Wraps Customs in Taunton, Somerset. Kyle Martinez, who owns the company says that he has been to the show a few times, with a previous company and now with his own business, showcasing the event to his staff. “I want the guys to keep up to date with what’s going on the world, with new products and it’s also good to keep good relationships with all of your suppliers,” says Martinez.

On winning the grand prize of The Print Show pinball machine, Martinez adds: “It’s going to go in the office so that all the boys can come in and play on it.”

Next year’s show will be joined by a new venture – The Sign Show, which will be held in Hall 7 at the NEC, alongside The Print Show in Hall 8. The two events will also run on a Sunday, making it easier for those working from smaller businesses to attend. 

Chris Davies, event director for The Print Show, concludes: “Thank you for everyone’s continued support, feedback from both exhibitors and visitors has been excellent.

“In 2020 The Print Show is evolving and will be co-located with our brand-new event, The Sign Show in the adjacent hall.

“I look forward to seeing everyone next September, details and information to be released in the coming weeks.”

Greg Wallce on the Business Seminar Theatre

 Ace Wraps Customs in Taunton, Somerset was the winner of The Print Show pinball machine

Hybrid Services, UK and Ireland distributor for Mimaki, showcased a UK, European and a worldwide launch on its stand this year

Visitors enter Hall 9 text text text

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