PRINT 18 may have a new name, a new schedule and a new floor layout, but the event still has the same message—print is alive and thriving. The annual printing conference returns to Chicago’s McCormick Place Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. Registrations are still coming in, but if last year’s attendance numbers are any indication (the 2017 show had more than 22,000 visitors), the event will once again be packed with printing professionals and vendors from around the world.
Earlier this year, NPES—The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies announced a name change to the Association for Print Technologies. According to Association for Print Technologies president Thayer Long, the process started two years ago as the group noticed how the industry, as well as the organization, was changing. They also spent time conducting in-depth interviews with industry executives, printers and suppliers. Long said the new identity now builds on the strength of its community as the Association celebrates 85 years.
In addition, the Association also designated its PRINT brand as the name of the annual printing show held in Chicago (the name used to alternate between PRINT and Graph Expo).
“We wanted to quickly acknowledge to our members that print is still the focus of the show,” Long said. “It was a strong message to send back to the industry.”
Once a four-day event, PRINT 18 will now instead be held over three days. The shorter show, according to Long, fits with the market and the needs of vendors.
“I have a strong feeling that the tradeshow model is evolving,” Long said. “We believe in industry events, and strongly believe solutions will be found on the exhibit floor and in learning lessons. We also have a great opportunity to learn from people outside the industry.”
One of them will be keynote speaker, Seth Godin, an entrepreneur and best-selling author.
“He is definitely going to wow the crowd,” said event marketing director Sherry MacDonald. “He promises the audience will leave with actionable takeaways that can shape their personal and professional lives into the future. He is an expert on a century of marketing, industrialism and print.”
Education will be a top priority this year. More than 50 sessions on business growth are on the schedule, and seminars will also be offered on the exhibit floor.
“The industry has been great at telling its customers ‘what’ they need to do, but fallen short on showing them ‘how’ to do it,” Long said. “This year, we want to focus our efforts on the ‘how’ because we measure our success on if our attendees can grow their business.”
New this year is a virtual reality experience, career fair and a technology guide to the exhibit floor, which was redesigned to highlight small vendors and put more emphasis on networking.
PRINT 18 also marks 50 years since the first PRINT event took place, and as the industry continues to evolve, so will the show. “We don’t believe in doing the same thing,” Long said. “We believe in innovation and creating community building events infused with vibrancy.”
For more information, visit printevent.com.