Day one at #signuk: a perfect storm
What do you think?
POST A COMMENT
By James Matthews-Paul
28 March 2012
Toby Burnett of GMG UK and Doug Gilbertson from CWES agree a distribution deal reflecting the importance of precision in wide-format colour replication
Attending an exhibition with a stand that is designed to impress is no mean feat. From the cornucopia of empty boxes, trestle tables, exposed wiring and empty coffee cups of Monday, Tuesday morning saw the polishing of fascias and the squirreling of boxes and unneeded parts into darker corners. Yet, as ever, the exhibition opened at ten o'clock to a strident public baring to do business.
Sign and Digital UK promoted itself last year as 'the place the industry does business', a theme continuing to this year, with some 16 HP latex engines going to new homes by mid-afternoon and Quantum UV Technologies signing for an InkTec Jetrix 2030FRK from second-time exhibitor DPI. A couple of superwide owners reported to me that this is a show the punters attend with 'fat wallets' and an appetite to drive deals; from the brisk trade around the first layer of the hall I am inclined to agree.
With Hexis, Hybrid Services, Océ, Grafityp, Fujifilm, and HP barricading the front of the hall with a rich array of colour and applications, there is a display of consistent optimism. A balance of space between digital print and core sign manufacturing brings visitors back through the halls, and there has even been a stream of other exhibition organisers, each intrigued by today's developments at the NEC in Birmingham.
The themes from FESPA are in evidence here: colour and workflow gurus GMG signed a distribution deal with City and West End Solutions (CWES) on the day of its UK début. The multi-faceted Andy Wilson of Press On Digital – who is probably best described with the blanket title 'entrepreneur' given his various business interests – claims his installation of GMG's productionSuite last year has saved him ten percent in ink costs and is even specified by his top brands, including Harrods; for those who see brand as a narrative, the development of serious colour repeatability is a major trend this year.
Halls 3 and 3A are, apparently, where the event started 25 years ago, but encountering artisan printer Lynne Blackburn of Hippo Screenprinters reminded me that five years ago the exhibitor cross-section was very different. Sign fabrication is still present, albeit without the massive distributor names of yesteryear. Yet screen-printing is practically eradicated, replaced with wide-format digital ink-jet and its related consumables or applications partners. This is probably a reflection of the modernisation of the industry, and although I think more could be done to represent the breadth of this market in the UK, it's apparent that this is a sector evolving energetically.
In its original sense, a 'perfect storm' was a positive event, whereas now we see it as aggravating. I believe that Sign and Digital UK 2012 is provocative; it represents a market desiring bullishness and commerce. But it is also one that is accomplished with marketing messaging and is better prepared for an approach that is both creative and educational – and I believe this move is seen as a show of strength for our market.
Comments in chronological order (Total 0 comments)
There are no comments yet for this article.