The Spanish printing industry is starting to recover from the economic recession and the far-reaching technological and industry changes that, over the course of seven years, have forced 40% of their companies to close. Falling printing volumes and sales margins, the fierce price-driven competition, the generalization of digital communication and new consumer habits are forcing the industry to look for alternative formulas to reinvent their business model and offer graphic products and services that provide added value.
“Nobody questions the continuity and effectiveness of paper, which will continue to be the printed communication medium par excellence”, assures Ángel Artola, president of Graphispag, although he added that “40% of what is currently printed in Europe will use other types of substrate by 2018.”
This is the context in which Graphispag will be held from 24 to 27 March at Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via Exhibition Centre. Printers will find technological solutions at the show to upgrade their businesses and create graphic products that cannot be replaced by Internet and digital devices, to improve printing processes, to be more sustainable, to cut costs and increase efficiency. They will also discover new finishes and applications that give added value to their products, differentiating them from the traditional graphic product, and also inks, materials, papers and new substrates for printing virtually everything under the sun.
This year, Graphispag is featuring three areas (Print All Experience, Print Innovation Zone and Print Conference Corner) designed to showcase new techniques, printing services, innovations and applications with which to create and/or improve printed products.
With an attractive mise en scène, Print All Experience is set to be the focus of attraction for visitors who want to see and touch print applications in a real-life setting. The area will recreate an apartment, a shop and a bar in which everything is printed using different techniques, substrates and formats. Here you’ll find catalogues, leaflets, books, magazines, merchandising items, signage, walls, floors, furniture, textiles, canvases, tiles, rugs, screens, POP elements, packaging, labels, business cards, menus, crockery, clothing, vehicles and more. The products in this area are supplied by the exhibitors at Graphispag. “These will be new graphic applications that will show how to generate value with printing and arouse the interest of new demand sectors such as interior design, decoration, textiles, advertising, fashion or packaging,” says Aleix Planas, Graphispag’s director.
Towards smart graphic products
Meanwhile, the Print Innovation Zone will showcase and explain a score of projects and products on which some of the leading technology centres, universities and companies in Spain are currently working, based on functional printing, printed electronics and 3D printing, as well as smart graphic products, inks and materials. This area, which looks towards the future and could offer an alternative option for turning around a graphic business, will feature printed alarms for the electronic surveillance of articles: sensors for touch-operated devices; sports clothing that can monitor vital signs; flexible LCD screens, packaging treated with functional varnishes that prolong foodstuffs’ shelf life, packaging that emits light, anti-counterfeiting devices, RFID antennae, 3D printers, inks for printing on ceramics, and bracelets for monitoring patients during surgery, among others. This space will provide a venue for holding meetings with investors interested in taking these new printed products from the laboratory to the market and also a programme of lectures.
At the same time, the Print Conference Corner will host about a dozen sessions each day on subjects related to printing equipment and technologies, finishes, improving sales and management systems, financing, customer analyses, the connection between printed products and digital channels, and examples of success stories. In addition, Adobe will give several daily theory and practice masterclasses at Graphispag to explain 3D printing, design 3.0 and the latest software trends in image processing and editing.
Financing + internationalization + networking
As a complementary feature, Graphispag will offer for the first time a financing and internationalization advisory service geared especially for visiting companies. Consultants from PIMEC – the Catalan small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed workers association – will attend individually to visitors’ queries and help them choose the best financing options on the market or draw up an export plan.
At the same time, in partnership with the leading printing industry associations, Graphispag will facilitate networking among the professionals visiting the show. At the Print All Experience, meetings will be arranged using the “speed dating” format to expand the network of business contacts and meet prospective suppliers or partners for new business alliances. It is also expected that more than 1,300 graphic arts and design students from all over Spain will come to the show to take part in the various Jornada Joven events targeting student audiences. Lastly, the Anuaria Graphic Design and Letra Marca Digital Visual and Graphic Communication Prizes will be awarded at the show.
Printing, substrates and finishes
Attended by 200 direct exhibitors who will represent more than 400 brands, Graphispag 2015 –organised by Fira de Barcelona in partnership with Graphispack Asociación– will bring the leading printing machinery and accessory suppliers and distributors in different systems (offset, inkjet, flexography, rotagravure, screen printing), who make up 40% of the show’s offering. A quarter of all exhibitors come from the finishing and processing machinery sector, with a growing presence of companies specialised in printing materials and substrates, which now account for 20% of the stands. Closing this list of specialities are colour and design management tools (6%); inks, varnishes, plates, consumables and chemicals (4%); printing services (2%); and consultancy firms, the trade press and industry associations (3%).
Most of the exhibitors are from Spain although there are also 28 foreign exhibitors from Germany, Belgium, China, USA, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom and Sweden.
Barcelona, 19 th March 2015