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ISA International Sign Expo 2018 exhibitor list, Preview Print E-mail
ISA 2015 wide-format printers inkjet inks media substrates CNC FLAAR Reports PRINT

Some printer, ink, media companies offer Road Shows; other companies offer an Open House. We are asked to lecture at such events, so we are familiar with these options. But where you (as an end-user, a distributor, or manufacturer) get to experience the most options is at a trade show. This next ISA international sign expo (ISA 2017) will be in Orlando and it is definitely worth attending.

What makes a printer and/or signage trade show worth attending?

Some expos have lots of lectures. Some expos have lots of products on exhibit. We like trade shows with a good mix of both.

IAAPA 2014 had the most lectures of any major international expo that I have attended (this is in the theme park, amusement park industry; they also use printable materials, so this is why FLAAR attends; plus we have a research division on zoological gardens, botanical parks, theme parks and festivals, as part of our division on children's books on Maya and Aztec culture).


ISA general view 5914
Because of the thousands of attendees, ISA Sign Expo 2017 is a great place for networking.

So how can you figure out which expos to attend?

The best way to make sure which printer trade show is worth the time and airplane ticket is to test each expo, one by one. So we at FLAAR have flown, year after year (over 15 years) to every expo which we consider worth evaluating. So today in 2015 and 2016 we know which expos are NOT worth attending (VISCOM in Europe) and which expos ARE worth attending (APPPEXPO in Shanghai, SGI aka Sign Middle East in Dubai, FESPA Africa and AFRICA Print in Johannesburg, Sign Istanbul, GOA (Graphics of the Americas in Miami) are examples of printer trade shows which we recommend.

And I have attended some real dogs: the GlassBuild America expo in Atlanta about 4 years ago was the biggest waste of time I have experienced. China Glass in Beijing three years ago was also a waste of airfare (but I attended another expo the next week in Shanghai which was spectacular).

IEC booth distributor 5770
Booth after booth after booth allow you to see a wide range of products.

So you can save a lot of your own money by looking at our reviews and evaluations of printer expos around the world.

For example, in Europe, in past years, we attended every single VISCOM Sign expo: VISCOM Madrid, VISCOM Paris, VISCOM Milano, and VISCOM Duesseldorf or Frankfurt. But in 2013, 2014, and 2015 we skipped all four. That's because you can find 90% of what you need at one single expo: FESPA Digital (the 10% you are missing are the local distributors of your own home country; these will be easier to find at a nearby VISCOM sign show). But in 2016, FESPA 2016 is same days as APPPEXPO 2016 in Shanghai: and APPPEXPO 2016 exhibitor list is so many times larger there is no comparison.

To see our full discussion of why some expos are NOT worth attending, we have a frank and open list of what makes some trade shows no longer meaningful. We definitely consider ISA 2016 as worth attending. You can register today, Use this code when registering: FLAAR

ISA general view 5801
Booth after booth after booth allow you to see a wide range of products.


Our experience of 15 years in the world of wide format inkjet, giclee, fine art photography printing, RIP software, etc has taught us that the best way to know fact from fiction is to treat most PR releases as entertainment

Every expo claims to be the biggest and best (just like every printer claims to be fastest). Usually these claims are to cover up what is missing. The printers which are the slowest tend to claim “lightning speed.”

So if an expo claims they “had more attendees than expected” this is jargon for “we had an awful year previously and finally we got a few more people.”  Or it could mean “we cleverly predicted 12,000 attendees and we got 13,000, so “we exceeded expectations” (even though rival expos had even more (this is what they don’t tell you)).

The newest pathetic claim is to say that your expo has booths not present elsewhere. Does this mean they have lots of local brands, which, because they are local obviously do not exhibit elsewhere around the world?

What counts is knowing how many kinds of printers, how many models of printers, how many brands and kinds of media & substrates. FLAAR Report keeps count of each product class and what is available worldwide.

This is how we know which expos are worth attending (and for which applications, since for glass, the world’s best is Glasstec in Duesseldorf: Glass Build America was (sorry) so pathetic I left after the first day and never wasted time at this expo ever again.

So it is less expensive to have a Subscription to FLAAR Reports, or have Dr Nicholas as a consultant for your company, so you can discuss all these topics personally.

This year you can find Dr Hellmuth at ISA with key members of his team (first time with a video person also). Plus at GOA he will be presenting three lectures. At APPPEXPO in Shanghai we fly five of us there. We also look forward to Sign Istanbul, and FESPA Africa + Africa Print in Johannesburg (this year in the autumn). Plus ceramic expo, plus digital photography expo. We also can suggest what 3D expo(s) to attend.


What about the sign shows in the USA?

One dramatic way to answer this is to state that we will be sending at least three of our staff to ISA 2016 sign expo in Orlando.

Why would we spend the time, the money, the hotel, the restaurant bills, and the airfare? Because ISA 2016 has a varied exhibitor list for 2016 and hence is worth attending, not only for the FLAAR Director, but also for key members of our staff. Plus we usually bring at least one intern to at least one expo a year, so they too can learn.

So if you have new employees, or interns, it is essential that they visit an expo so they can learn the jargon.

To register to attend ISA 2017 just go to:
Use this code when registering: FLAAR

ISA Sign Expo 2017 teal.58a5af16684cd
ISA International Sign Expo in past years documents it's worth attending in 2017

What about other printer and signage expos in USA besides ISA?

We also attend GOA in Miami (we are invited to lecture there every year, one or two wide-format inkjet topics in Spanish; one or two in English). We naturally attend SGIA every year (since at least 2001).

Here is a list of a sample of the other expos we attend elsewhere in the world:

  • SGI 2016, aka Sign Middle East, in the awesome city of Dubai.
  • APPPEXPO 2016 in the impressive city of Shanghai.
  • SIGN Istanbul 2016, in the historical city of Istanbul, Turkey.

Plus we also attend:

ISA 2015 wide-format printers inkjet inks media substrates CNC FLAAR Reports PRINT
This FLAAR Report on ISA 2015 is available Simply CLICK via Subscribe and you enter a page where you can download LOTS AND LOTS of FLAAR Reports
  • Textile trade shows (décor companies and print shops ask us to be consultants on printing on fabrics).
  • Ceramic printer trade shows (since our background is architecture, we are also asked to be consultants on printers for ceramics).
  • Glass printer trade shows (lots of glass companies ask us to be consultants for them).

We keep track of label printing expos and definitely attend the major textile, ceramic, and glass printer trade shows. If you would like to attend any of these expos with Dr Nicholas, and/or if you would like our list of all trade shows around the world, you can ask for consulting services from FLAAR Reports.

Dr Hellmuth can come to your headquarters, or can walk the expo with you and your team. But be sure to reserve time with him in advance by email FrontDesk "at"

Banner ISA covers 2014
Here are pertinent publications for exhibitors (distributors, manufacturers, etc) and also full-color PDFs for attendees.

If your company requests a full Subscription, then FLAAR Reports would send these plus all other pertinent FLAAR Reports to you fresh every month. To ask for price and what you receive, write FrontDesk "at"

 ISA 2016 offers the key parts of the wide-format inkjet printer workflow

We select the expos with the most equipment and the most diversity of what is exhibited: it takes a lot more than just a printer to produce graphics or signage. So ISA has the RIP software, the cutters: you will tend to need both.

Plus it is crucial to learn what are the new trends in wide-format printing. For example, what about MEMS printhead technology? And what are the pros and cons of Memjet vs HP PageWide technology. FLAAR Reports has tested both, so we are familiar with the pros and cons of each.

Even if you presently do not need or want MEMS technology, it helps to know what your competitors may be using (and if they buy the wrong new technology this also affects competition in your area!).

Indeed you can request in-person consulting from Dr Nicholas at ISA 2016 (or at any other expo in the world).

Most recently updated April 12, 2017
Previously updated December 2014, October 15, 2015, Oct. 28, 2015 and February 8, 2016.
First posted Dec. 13, 2013



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As of June 2019, Dr Nicholas and FLAAR had 3,662 contacts in LinkedIn (and over half a million readers worldwide on the FLAAR network).

Wide Format Inkjet printers, inks, trade shows, consulting.

Covers digital imaging, wide-format inkjet, inks, printable materials, digital photography, printer and/or signage trade shows around the world.

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