Graphispag 2011 reactivates the graphic communication market

According to the president of the International Print Media Show, Miquel Heredia, talking about the recent edition held in the Gran Via exhibition centre from the 22nd to the 26th of March, “Graphispag has been a catalyst, an injection of optimism for the reactivation of the graphics industry, which has already started to recover”. The good attendance figures, the sales leads and the signing of some orders at the stands exceeded expectations of exhibitors, who were very satisfied with the denouement of the fair.

This year’s Graphispag attracted 38,600 trade visitors, 7% of them international, mainly from  Portugal -who accounted for 43% of foreign visitors-, followed by Italy, Germany, Andorra, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands and Morocco. With regard to national visitors, around 64% came from Catalonia, 8% from the Comunidad Valenciana; 7% from Madrid; 4% from Andalusia; 3% from the Basque Country and the remainder split among the other autonomous communities.

The show’s director, Xavier Pascual, said that the main reason for 45% of them was to discover new products and market trends while 28% were looking for new suppliers. In keeping with the economic situation and credit restrictions, only 6% of visitors stated that their main objective at Graphispag was to make purchases.

Over a quarter of trade visitors were owners of graphic companies; 12% technicians; 11% directors or managers; 10.5% department heads; 8.5% sales persons; and 7% designers, among others. By activity sector, 30% of interest was in printing, followed by digital printing, graphic design, materials and consumables, screen printing, manipulation and finishes.

Over 5,500 graphic arts and design students from around Spain visited Graphispag, which continues to be committed to making the show a nexus between the educational world and business. A fourth of these students participated in the Youth Workshop sessions, which presented the new products and trends seen at the show.

The word repeated the most among the 280 direct exhibitors that presented the products and services of 668 brands was “satisfaction”. Miquel Heredia explained that: “Supplier companies made a huge effort to participate and were pleasantly surprised by the excellent response and interest of the sector’s professionals to continue to be innovative”, adding “this Graphispag has demonstrated that the graphics industry is still alive and has a long future ahead “.

For the managing director of Agfa, Ángel Artola, “it has been a very comforting Graphispag, the results of which have dissipated our initial doubts about the impact the economic crisis would have on the fair, since we have seen that professionals are looking for alternatives to face the technology change and respond to the new needs of graphic communication clients”.

Canon’s Product Manager of Professional Printing Solutions, Andrés Ferrer, highlighted the high number of visitors from all over Spain wanting to discover the opportunities offered by digital printing and confirmed the sale of equipment at the show.  The Marketing Manager of Konica Minolta Business Solutions, Alicia García, emphasised the quality of visitors to their stand in search of short run printing equipment complementary to offset. For his part, Borja Henche, executive from Henche Tecnologia Gráfica Industrial, stated that the show made a very positive impression because “the most representative professionals turned up in search of solutions to give graphic products more added value”.

More speed and resolution in printing equipment; interaction with the Internet and use of web tools to improve graphic management and productivity; increase in the possibilities of formats, effects, textures and finishes of printed products; more sustainability in inks, substrates and processes were some of the trends featured at this year’s Graphispag.

Coinciding with Sonimagfoto&Multimedia, Spain’s leading photography and imaging show, was also very well received by exhibitors and visitors, since it increased the commercial proposals and the synergies between graphic arts and imaging, sectors that use similar technology and processes. Together, the two shows -which were opened by the Infanta Cristina- attracted almost 80,000 visitors.

Opportunities for growth
This Graphispag presented solutions to reinvent the graphics industry. The sector defends the position that, despite the advance of digital contents, printing of traditional graphic products will continue, such as for books, magazines, newspapers, advertising leaflets, catalogues and posters, but the unanimous opinion is that these will have to provide added value.

In this sense, the Graphispag Congress sessions and around twenty side events promoted by associations and exhibiting companies, in which over 3,500 people participated, were the perfect complement for debating and identifying growth opportunities for the graphics industry, which lie in allying with technology and getting a better idea of the needs and tastes of end users, who should be taken into account as creators of “printable” consumables.

Experts forecast that demand will increase for high-quality graphic products printed on demand, bespoke publications, personalised contents, packaging and wide-format printing. Digital printing, web-to-print, augmented reality, functional printing, investment in specialisation and sustainability and the combination of techniques to improve finishes are some of the keys of the future.

45 years, providing value to the sector
This year’s Graphispag celebrated its 45th anniversary as the Spanish graphics industry benchmark event. The acts programmed for the occasion had a two-sided objective: On the one hand, to recognise the backing and loyalty of the sector towards Graphispag and, on the other, to support the claim that printing and graphic communication still has a future.

In this sense, Graphispag organised an emotional act to thank 16 exhibiting companies that were already participating in 1966: Agfa Gevaert; Beca Grafic, S.A.; Böttcher Ibérica, S.A.; Comexi S.A.; Dugopa; Durst Image Technology Iberica, S.A; Henche Tecnología Gráfica Industrial, S.A.; Ibérica Ag; Kodak S.A ; Lapeyra&Taltavull; Luciano Aguilar, S.A.; Maquinaria Artes Gráficas Hartmann, S.L.U; Talleres Llorens-Planas, S.L.; Talleres Morató S.L ; Torraspapel, S.A and Vilarnaucart S.L.

Recognition was also expressed for the work of the Graphispack Association and of various significant people in the history of the show, such as the presidents emeritus of Graphispag, José María Henche Villamide and Lluís Maria Ginjaume; the Salesian Euniciano Martín who has dedicated his professional life to teaching graphic arts; and the former president of FEIGRAF, Millán García.

Graphispag also hosted the premier of an exhibition of 46 posters on the values of graphic communication, work of some of the best Spanish designers, including various National Design Award winners, who visited the exhibition and were able to see the possibilities that technology and modern substrates offer to create new graphic products.
Graphispag has also published a book that explains the tradition of graphic arts fairs in Barcelona and the evolution of the graphics sector through different editions of the show. The book also features reproductions of the 46 posters in the exhibition.

Institutional activity
During the show, the Catalan Generalitat’s councillor for Business and Employment, Francesc Xavier Mena, met with around twenty companies and suppliers to find out the problems faced by the graphics industry. A more stable regulatory framework in which to be innovative and enterprising, more work flexibility and adaptation of vocational training to the needs of companies were some of the sector’s demands from the Administration.

The show also hosted the “Marco de Oro” Awards for s