Fespa: global expo takes flight

Nick Mansley
Monday, April 23, 2018

Fespa’s flagship event, its global print expo, will be held at the Berlin Messe this year, the first time since 2007 the German capital has hosted the expo.

For this edition, the organisers have gone with a tagline of ‘Where print takes off’, although the enduring popularity of this show and steady growth in numbers suggest this is a sector that cleared the runway and reached cruising altitude some time ago.

The show will occupy 10 halls of the Messe building and is expected to bring in more than 20,000 attendees from over 125 countries. Fespa says visitors hail from all corners of the wide-format world and include sign-makers, garment producers, screen printers, vehicle wrappers, marketers, print buyers, repro houses, graphic and design agencies, visual merchandisers and interior designers. The organisers say Berlin’s central location in Europe makes it an ideal host city.

Taking place alongside the main event is the European Sign Expo, a specialist show for the non-printed signage industry, now in its sixth year, and said to be the largest edition yet. This will showcase the latest product launches and innovations in formats such as illuminated displays, channel lettering, dimensional signage, engraving and etching, digital signage, display systems, out-of-home media, neon and LEDs and sign tools.

For many visitors, the main reason for attending Fespa will be the opportunity to see new kit on the show floor – and there is plenty to see (see p27 for more information in our stand highlights guide). 

HP’s head of marketing, Michael Smetana, says this show coincides with many printers’ upgrade cycles: “One of the trends we’re seeing at HP is that a lot of customers have equipment that is seven, eight years and older, and they’re coming to Fespa to learn what’s new.”

In terms of trends, the increasing use of digital print technology in virtually all markets, will be high on the agenda. Not the least of these are the packaging and corrugated markets, which is why the show organisers have created the Digital Corrugated Experience, an “educational and experiential” area that will showcase digital’s benefits in this area. According to Fespa’s figures, digital adoption is currently less than 1% in the packaging market, and the organisation says corrugated in particular is ripe for growth. This can be attributed to a number of factors, such as the growing popularity of corrugated POS materials and the huge jump in e-commerce, which is using more corrugated boxes than ever.

There are plenty of manufacturers working in this sector – EFI, Durst, HP, Barberan, Inca, Erajet and Fujifilm all offer machines for decorating corrugated sheets and more will be joining them. Systems range from printing rolls of paper used as a top liner in the corrugated production process, to printing directly on to pre-cut corrugated boards.

Digital technology will also be driving Fespa’s ‘Print Make Wear’ feature, which will cover the creation of attire from concept to final garment and incorporate catwalk demonstrations of the garments and accessories produced, as well as presentations and discussions featuring leading designers, brand owners and producers.

Fespa chief executive Neil Felton says: “Our work with Smithers Pira highlighted two opportunities for Fespa to deliver tangible value to our visitors. Firstly, helping PSPs and packaging converters dive deeper into the potential opportunities in digital printing of corrugated board and, secondly, delivering a focused educational experience around garment printing. 

“Together with more established Fespa features, this newly expanded educational programme gives visitors a broad spectrum of opportunities to explore potential paths to business growth.”

There will also be a focus on smart textiles, which are enabling innovative new applications in garment design - showing the latest technologies and the possibilities afforded to designers and brands by coupling these materials with the latest digital production technologies.

Fespa’s printed interior décor feature, Printeriors, will this year take the form of an immersive space primarily in the entrance hall of the Messe Berlin. Visitors will be able to explore and interact with the growing selection of home items that are now being printed.

The Printeriors exhibition will also feature the winning designs in this year’s Printeriors competition, which challenged designers to create a pattern to be realised in every element of the ‘Airport Lounge of the Future 2030’. The final three designs will be used on furniture, walling, flooring, windows and soft furnishings. This year’s winners were Linn Warme from Sweden, Freya Richmond from the UK and Anne Krogh Tolstrup of Denmark. 

Fespa’s ‘textile ambassador’ Debbie McKeegan says: “The quality of entries for our first Printeriors competition was exemplary and a tribute to the talent of the next design generation. After careful consideration, and much deliberation, three designers offering a unique vision were selected.”

The winners of the 2018 Fespa Awards will be revealed at a ceremony at the Messe on the evening of 16 May, and UK companies are expected to be well represented. UK nominees include print and large-format firm McGowans, based in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and Egham-based signage company Signbox. POS and outdoor specialist Augustus Martin secured nominations for four categories, and Harwood King Printmakers from Newhaven was shortlisted in two. 

Need to know

When 15-18 May

Where Messe Berlin (South Entrance), Berlin, Germany

Opening times 15-17 May: 10am to 6pm; 18 May: 10am to 4pm

Entry fee online registration: €40; onsite registration: €70. Or use code FESF810 before 14 May for free entry. Entry is also free for ‘Club Fespa’ members

For more information www.fespa18.com

Fespa Awards2018 gala dinner 16 May

Features Fespa says it has tailored the features programme for this year’s show to ensure it delivers relevant and interactive content. 

New this year is ‘Print Make Wear’, an interactive feature intended to replicate a fast-fashion factory, complete with live production, to help the wide-format community exploit the opportunities opened up in bespoke on-demand printed attire. Every step in the screen and digital printing production process will be demonstrated, from initial design to finished product.

Also new for 2018 is the Digital Corrugated Experience, which Fespa describes as an “educational and experiential” area that will showcase the commercial and production advantages of digital print for corrugated packaging and retail display applications. Its aim is to highlight the benefits of integrating digital technology to packaging converters and box-makers and includes a schedule of workshop sessions.

Returning features will include the World Wrap Masters, the Fespa Awards, and Printeriors, which this year will take the form of an interactive visitor experience located in the atrium of Messe Berlin and themed as ‘The airport lounge of the future 2030’.

Fespa Daily

PrintWeek is proud to be producing the FespaDaily, the official daily newspaper of Fespa Global Print Expo.

In partnership with the leading German title, Druck & Medien, we will be sending a team of English and German journalists to Berlin to produce the dual-language FespaDaily live from a specially built newsroom on the show floor.

The 24-page newspaper will cover all of the show news as it happens: the deals, the launches and everything in between. In addition, it will offer insightful and thought provoking analysis of some of the key trends at the landmark event. The five-strong editorial team’s key objective is to ensure that no delegate’s visit to the show is complete without securing their copy of FespaDaily, which will be available at all of the hall entrances, registration points and other high-traffic areas.

As well as producing the FespaDaily, the team will also create a special daily Fespa news email bulletin that will be sent to more than 40,000 key players in the wide-format sector, which, along with the Daily, will ensure maximum penetration of the global marketplace and ensure that latest news and views of the world’s largest wide-format show will be broadcast to the global industry’s leading players.

To register to receive our daily Fespa 2018 bulletins during the show, you can sign up to our exhibitions bulletin at: www.printweek.com/email_bulletins

And to receive your copy of the FespaDaily, simply make sure that you’re in Berlin between the 15-18 May – because we will be.


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