Graph Expo 2014 still popular but much smaller each year Print

Graph Expo 2014 still popular but much smaller each year

Posted Oct 6, 2014

We at FLAAR recommend attending Graph Expo in Chicago if you are interested in the five top brands of wide-format printers, or if you want to see office printers and mailing systems. But APPPEXPO in Shanghai had 90 brands of UV-cured printers alone (not counting the scores and scores of eco-solvent printer brands and lots of textile printer brands).

Plus, sadly, the wide-format pavilion of Graph Expo was too empty: too much PR made you expect a BIG fancy area. Instead it was just aisles of double width, empty unoccupied booth areas, other booths which were given free just to try to fill space, and lots of tables and chairs to cover over the fact that not many brands wanted to exhibit here.

The expo itself is fine, just that the PR releases are exaggerated, so you come to see what is claimed is available: and instead you see empty areas; empty floor space, in every part of the hall (since Heidelberg pulled out and not even Agfa is here any more).

But HP is here; Canon and Xerox had large and popular booths. EFI had a big and popular booth and had excellent coverage every day in the "Show Daily" newspaper.

So if only the PR releases could be totally toned down, and if claims of BIG wide-format pavilion could be muted, then everyone can enjoy what is still present (and not be looking for everything which was claimed but was embarrassingly missing).

Chicago is a great place to visit; and Graph Expo still has lots of brands for office printing, commercial printing, and mailing of what is printed. Just that for wide-format inkjet, it is safer not to claim too much, since APPPEXPO in Shanghai had 171 booths of media and printable substrates. I did not notice more than three or four booths of media at Graph Expo, and mostly just for office printers.

If you attend only Graph Expo you can be content; but if you travel all year to expos everywhere, your vision is a tad better rounded. Even Sign Istanbul had more wide-format everything than Graph Expo (two of us from FLAAR attend Sign Istanbul every year). Then we flew to Photokina: smaller every year but still big enough to attract massive crowds; this is the busiest expo I have visited in the entire world all year (even though it is smaller each time). We want all expos to be successful, but if no one admits to reality, and if PR releases make claims which show they are not familiar with the wide-format printer industry, misleading expectations arise.

I hope that Graph Expo can co-locate with another expo (more than just a tiny packaging aisle) so that Graph Expo can continue. Six years ago even FLAAR had a booth, and the wide-format pavilion had inks, media, printers and everything.

IPEX is one good lesson. VISCOM Spain is another (Sign Madrid; they never could brand themselves understandably). Their web sites do not even explain why they don't exist any more: yet for years their PR releases claimed each VISCOM was so great, so big, so filled, so many attendees! (fortunately VISCOM Paris was actually well attended this year, so there is still hopeā€¦but only if organizers wake up and don't hide under excessive PR claims).