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The Print Show 2017 took place alongside sister show SignLink Live, a new event focused specifically on the sign-making industry .

After this year’s edition of The Print Show was hailed a success by organisers, exhibitors, and visitors alike, it has been confirmed that the event will return to the NEC in Birmingham from September 18th to 20th 2018.

The 2017 event delivered on the promises of its organising team and ran from October 11th to 13th at the International Centre in Telford, a venue new to the print industry, and attracted a total of 5,335 visitors across the three days. As ever, The Print Show was praised for both its high-quality and number of visitors across the three days, with the middle day seeing a significant proportion of the overall total.

Reflecting on this year’s show, event director, Chris Davies, comments: “Moving to a new venue was a challenge that we relished—selling both the merits of the show and a new venue. However, as the hold-up in figures show and the warm feedback we have had from exhibitors and visitors alike, The Print Show has now stamped its mark for the long-term. And is widely accepted as the UK’s must-attend national exhibition.

“This achievement could not have been made possible without the support and backing of the UK print industry and I would like to thank all our exhibitors and partners for their contribution. Together we once again delivered an event to be truly proud of, and I for one am excited for the future.”

The Print Show launched at the NEC in 2015 and remained at the Birmingham venue for 2016, before switching to Telford this year. Davies said the return to the NEC offers another “exciting” opportunity for the event to expand and grow.

“Telford was fantastic for us this year and from the feedback we have had from exhibitors and visitors, it seems the feeling was very much mutual,” Davies said, adding: “Never before has the International Centre hosted an event of this size and scale in terms of working machinery, and we can only thank the team at Telford for their fantastic hospitality.

“It was a finely balanced decision, but moving back to the NEC for next year is the latest step in our ongoing growth strategy, as we seek out new exhibitors and work with returning companies to deliver exactly what they want out of appearing at the show.”

HP commits to 2018

Although plans for next year’s event are still being drawn up, on the final day of the 2017 show, organisers were handed a major boost when HP opted to sign up for next year’s event. HP, which exhibited for the first time this year, signed up shortly before the end of the third day, confirming a 140sq m stand for the 2018 show.

Davies adds: “It’s fantastic to have such a huge company declare its support for next year’s show already. We had a similar situation in our first year when a number of exhibitors signed up for year two while exhibiting at the show, and this commitment from HP demonstrates just how highly print’s biggest brands value our event.”

Speaking on the final day of the 2017 show, Charlie MacGregor of Brand Management Group, a business partner of HP, said that the event was a big success for the company, adding that there had been plenty of footfall on the stand.

MacGregor adds: “We’re very pleased with how the show has gone; we’ve got a lot of good leads, but perhaps more importantly, we have got people thinking about what HP can do for their print business.”

Positive feedback from major brands

Another company that had success at The Print Show 2017 is Konica Minolta, the digital print heavyweight that has supported the event since year one. Bernard Cassidy, senior marketing manager, says the manufacturer was able to attract plenty of interest in its new kit at the event.

Cassidy says: “It’s been a really good few days for us. We’ve had plenty of positive conversations with new and potential customers, and we’ve had a lot of interest in our new kit, particularly the AccurioPress C6100. People have been blown away by what the machine can do.”

Meanwhile, Mark Szeliga, national sales manager at Canon UK, says the company generated a high level of interest in its new UVgel technology, which was shown on an Océ Colorado 1640. Canon also displayed an Océ VarioPrint 6000 Titan monochrome printer alongside other kit.

Szeliga comments: “It’s been nice to see a lot of familiar faces but also to meet people that we haven’t spoken with before and make them aware of our technology. We have had a steady flow of visitors on the stand across the three days and we have been able to get plenty of good leads.”

Elsewhere, OKI opted to take a different approach to The Print Show this year by taking a smaller stand in order for a number of reseller partners to have a larger presence at the event. Andrew Hall, marketing and PR manager, says the strategy paid off, with its partners reporting a number of key sales at the show.

Hall expands: “We have had sales during the show, including a number of the ColorPainter E-64s models. We’ve also had a lot of interest in the Pro9542 and spoken to plenty of people that are genuinely thinking about investing in OKI kit, and that’s great for us.”

One of OKI’s resellers is RGBuk, which has confirmed sales of OKI Colorpainter E-64s eco-solvent 60” printers and Graphtec FC8600-160 60” cutters, among other kit. The firm also reported strong interest in the Canon iPF Pro 6000, which launched at the show together with the Roland TrueVIS VG and SG range of print and cut solutions.

Chris Hope, marketing director for RGBuk, says such was the success of the event this year that the company will definitely be returning in 2018. Hope says: “It is always hard to predict the amount of interest you may get at a show, but The Print Show has yet proved again it is important to get in front of companies that are interested in purchasing new equipment.

“The Print Show allows you to demonstrate the benefits customers can expect to enable increased innovation, quality, and production. We’ll certainly be returning to The Print Show in 2018.”

Similarly, printMAX, a partner of Hybrid Services, the exclusive distributor for Mimaki in the UK and Ireland, had a successful event, selling the first Mimaki UCJV300-160 in the UK to Environment Protection Limited.

In addition, Your Print Specialists (YPS), another partner of Hybrid, became the first company in the UK to finalise a sale of the new Mimaki UCJV150-160. YPS made the sale to long-term customer Printmaster, which had staff attending the show.

Garry Brown, managing director at YPS, comments: “We’ve known George Dowd at Printmaster for some time now and have had a lot of dealings with him. But what we didn’t know was that he was coming to The Print Show this year.

“I went over to speak with him and he said he was looking for a new laminator for some work, and I suggested he take a look at the new Mimaki. It only took ten minutes from mentioning the machine for him to decide to buy one then and there at the show.

“I’m not just saying this, but I really believe the UCJV150-160 is going to be a game changer for the industry. We are going to see printers do great things with this piece of kit.”

Charity to benefit from gala dinner raffle

While much of the action was on the show floor, the evening of the middle day also saw The Print Show stage its special gala dinner. Attendees were treated to a three-course meal with entertainment from a jazz band and an after-party that went on into the early hours.

A charity raffle also took place and the top prize of a racing experience day at Silverstone, the UK’s most famous motorsport venue, went to Richard Fyson, director of Smart Print. While Fyson can look forward to following in the footsteps of Lewis Hamilton when he takes to the track, the money collected from the raffle will go to a charity of Fyson’s choice.

Fyson has selected Keech Hospice Choice as the recipient of the charity raffle funds, which totalled £1,560. Fyson says: “It is always difficult to select a particular charity as there are so many deserving causes. Keech Hospice is a project my wife has supported over the years, providing care for both young and old with terminal and life-limiting illnesses in our local area.”

Speaking about Smart Print and its attendance as an exhibitor at The Print Show this year, Fyson adds: “From an exhibitor’s perspective, we met a high proportion of people looking to make business investments over the next 12 months. Nearly all of the people were engaged and enthused by print, which is refreshing.

“It's also nice to catch up with a broad diversity of exhibitors who service our industry, many of whom are long-term friends.”