Print shows promise at Print Show

Written by Peter Davidson on 24 October 2016.

Photo322793 resizedThis year has been a little different for me, instead of exhibiting at shows, my knees and back have had a well earned year off and I’ve spent some time visiting a selection of digital and design shows in search of some new ideas and marketing ideas.

I didn’t attend The Print Show last year, probably because of my disappointment with IPEX the previous year. So I braced myself and visited on the 1st day. 

The show had made some real efforts to generate interest even to the point where I had received a “Golden” ticket inviting me to win some prizes, Willy Wonka would have been proud. It would have been even better if the organisers had printed the hall number of the entry tickets as I fancied a walk from the car park of a lovely sunny morning.

The bus was surprisingly full on way from the car park to the halls so I had a positive feeling that some of my misconceptions were going to be put to rest. Getting off the bus the group of us made our way to the hall however, to my concern, quite a few peeled off to visit the Dementia Show which was very busy in the hall next door. 

On entering the show I was pleasantly surprised to see how busy the front stands were and more surprisingly inkjet solutions such as OKI and Mimaki were to the fore in what I had assumed would have been a litho and digital dominated exhibition. 

I did my usual trip around the perimeter stands which in the main were the typical small booths with service orientated companies. A couple of companies did stand out as they were offering sales and marketing training and consultation services. I haven’t seen this for a while and found it refreshing that real people are making a difference in what has become a business world where self tuition via the internet has become the norm.

There were a few last minute stands, one had a lonesome bewildered salesman with a only pad in hand and one poster on the wall but in the main the show was colourful and very professionally presented. As I delved further in to the aisles it became even more apparent how inkjet hardware and supplies companies had made a real effort and making the show a really good mix of digital and traditional print processes. It may be a little early for this show to provide these companies with a good return but as with the inkjet growth in the screen/sign market their attendance must have been worth the effort.

I have a lot of history with the NEC having worked there at numerous exhibitions in the past, including more than one IPEX. Their food halls have always left a lot to desire in terms of atmosphere. After a couple of hours on my feet I was really grateful to find the Printer’s Arms and be able to sit down and have a beer and sandwich in an environment which for a change didn’t feel like a school dining hall.

I was at the show for nearly four hours and it was busy throughout that time. I have to say I actually enjoyed my time there. You rarely hear me say that about a show although I have to be honest that some of my enjoyment came from seeing some of the companies from my Litho past along with some old faces still plugging away with enthusiasm. 

On leaving the show I reflected back on my misinformed assumptions of what I was about to experience. When I got back to my office I had a look at the show website again just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything and while sifting through the details I read about the relocation of the show next year due to the date conflict with IPEX. 

It will be a terrible shame if the outcome of the show’s move to the International Centre in Telford damages the show’s impetus as did IPEX’s disastrous move to the Excel in London, a last venue for many ex-shows. I’m sure there will be quite a few people keeping their fingers crossed for them.

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