But this is not in fact the aim of the show’s jet-setty look. As anyone who attended last year’s smaller digital-only show in Barcelona or perhaps 2011’s show in Hamburg, will know, Fespa is all about the themes. And this year’s? You guessed it: ‘Your Destination for Print’.

This new motif very much builds on the previous three shows’ themes of revolution, evolution and then application, explains Neil Felton, managing director of exhibitions and events. “First there were revolutionary new technologies, and then they evolved, then people became very much focused on applications and looking at the vast array of ways wide-format print could be used,” he says. “Now people are actually solidifying further what the revolution and evolution means to them so they’re deciding where the destination is.”

Many of the show’s new features are geared around helping people understand how to apply the innovations of recent years to their own businesses, explains Felton.

First there’s the new Jet Set Conference schedule. This will address key areas of opportunity for printers including those in digital textile, digital printing, business building skills and industrial printing, and has a confirmed line-up of industry figure-heads such as Paul Noble of Banner Box, Nick Del Verme of Advanced Digital Textiles, Nick Devine (AKA The Print Coach) and Melanie Bowles from Chelsea College of Art.

Then printers would be well-advised to take a stroll down the show’s new Inspiration Runway, says Felton, where they‘ll see examples of innovative print, along with case study details of how they were created in a whole range of formats, including interior design, garments, printed electronics, outdoor, screen print effects, instore and augmented reality. “There’s going to be a massive array of different types of applications there; some really interesting things,” promises Felton.

On-hand to offer more specific inspiration will be the Pilot’s Briefing Zone and Fespa Fabric, both providing expert advice for those considering branching out into garment production.

Inspiring exhibits

But it won’t all be about printers gaining application advice. Many of the show’s features are also geared towards inspiring brand owners about what sorts of innovative print they might harness to enhance their brands. Joining the Inspiration Runway in doing this will be the Creative Corner area it leads into, where a range of seminars on packaging, instore graphics, interiors, outdoor and super large-format print will aim to inspire designers, creatives and brand owners and open up relationships between them and printing companies.

“Our biggest frustration as a federation is that often creatives don’t realise there are so many different ways print can be used,” says Felton. “So the Creative Corner is where we as a federation are trying to engage with the printer’s customer and the wider market out there to say ‘print can be inspiring, there are so any fascinating ways you can involve print.’ We’ve got Coca-Cola, Unilever, TBWA, some really leading agencies talking about how print can be used.”

Fespa’s aim, then, is that no one -whether printer or brand owner – leave the show without renewed faith in innovative print. Hopefully really sealing the deal will be the more entertaining aspects of the show, the Wrap Cup Masters Series and Fespa’s Hall of Fame. The former will see vehicle wrappers from around the world go head to head. The latter will include inspirational details about those such as Rich Thompson, credited with the idea of perforating vinyl for graphic application purposes.

Of course while the Hall of Fame celebrates printing legends, there’ll be plenty of printing history made each day in the exhibition halls. While the show theme might have moved on from ‘revolution’ some time ago, there’ll as ever be no shortage of -hopefully revolutionary- product launches.

Many of these are still under wraps until show kick-off. Press launches that are already creating a buzz though, are a new Screen Truepress Jet wide-format printer, two new additions to the Agfa Anapurna and Jeti families, and a new Skyjet UV Flatmaster flatbed Model 3020.

And there’ll be plenty of new and recent launches on show elsewhere. Zünd will no doubt as usual be creating a stir, this time around with the introduction of the Zünd Cut Center 2.0 software suite. And fellow post-press vendors Graphtec will be introducing new additions to its Silhouette desktop cutter range.

Though there’s always a danger that presses will steal the show, those showcasing consumable wares should also be given a look. Lightbox acrylics, laser transfer paper, wall fleeces and fluorescent inks: the list of new ink and substrate developments is pretty much endless, and could prove key to satisfying particularly ambitious and creative clients.

Taking stock of all of this, printers will be starting to get a sense of the scale of the show. “The main show is an absolutely massive event. Barcelona was pretty big, but this is almost double the size so it’s a different type of event,” confirms Felton.

“It’s also going to be bigger than last time we did a big, not-just-digital show, in Munich,” he adds, reporting that visitor registration is currently up 8% on 2010’s show.

Particularly large crowds are expected thanks to the show’s handy location, he adds. Though UK printers might have welcomed the chance to jet abroad for this year’s Fespa, a London location has apparently helped secure a genuinely international crowd.

“London is truly international because it’s so easy to get to from so many places,” says Felton.

“India is prominent in the pre-registrations; the Asian region is very prominent; the US is very prominent because they see the UK as a stepping stone into Europe. So it’s a very broad church with regard to visitors compared to what it has been before.”

UK printers should, then, be feeling pretty excited about this international extravaganza happening right on their doorsteps. For Felton, this brings a certain other recent high-profile event to mind.

“UK printers have the opportunity to come and see the number-one show in this field in the world,” he sums up. “You’ve finally got something like the print Olympics coming to London.”


Date 25-29 June
Location ExCel London
Price Pre-register for free entry at www.fespa.com (otherwise entry is £55 on the door)
Opening times 25-28 June, 10am-6pm; 29 June, 10am-4pm
Exhibitors 600-plus
Key attractions

  • The Printing Hall of Fame will give details on the most innovative and inspiring figures in print today, many of whom will be available to talk to at the show
  • The Jet Set Conference schedule will place particular emphasis on identifying the skills SMEs need to grow their businesses. All seminars are free
  • The Creative Corner free conference schedule will give tips on design for particular print applications, including instore, textiles, outdoor and extra wide-format. It will also feature a VIP day for advertising creatives and brandowners
  • The Pilot’s Briefing Zone will offer insight into advanced garment design and decoration techniques with free presentations, demonstrations and hands-on interactive workshop sessions
  • The Wrap Cup Masters Series will see vehicle wrappers from around the world come together to compete for the highly acclaimed title of global ‘Wrap Cup Master’
  • The Promotional Product Business Academy will be a special section dedicated to offering insight, demos and advice on this sector
  • The Print Inspiration Runway will be an exhibition of particularly inspiring prints in a wide range of print sectors
  • Visitors to Fespa may well also want to take a look at European Sign Expo, running alongside Fespa between 25-27 June

Tuesday 25 June, 6.30pm
Tompkins 4 Pan Peninsula Square, Canary Wharf (nearest station: South Quay, DLR)
10% discount on food and drink on producing a valid exhibition pass

Wednesday 26 June, 6.30pm
Brodie’s Bar 43 Fishermans Walk, Canary Wharf (nearest station: South Quay, DLR)
20% discount on all products on producing a valid exhibition pass

Thursday 27 June, 6.30pm
Be At One Monument 28 King William Street (nearest station: Monument, Tube)
Two cocktails for £9.50 on producing an exhibition pass

Thursday 27 June, 7.30pm
Fespa 50th Anniversary Gala Old Billingsgate, London (nearest station: Monument, Tube)
This networking event will feature a Martini reception, three-course dinner, music and entertainment. Book at www.fespa.com/london/en/gala-night. Places are limited

Friday 28 June, 6.30pm
Rum and Sugar No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, Canary Wharf (nearest station: West India Quay, DLR)
10% discount on food and drink, during the evening, on producing an exhibition pass


Tuesday 25 June

Fespa Flight Briefing B75N
11-11.30am Fespa Flight briefing
11.30am-12pm Slovak SDPA activities – education and training
12-12.30pm Together we are stronger
12.30-1pm Panel session

Sustainability Conference B75N
2-2.30pm Sustainability – what does it mean to you?
2.30-3pm Planet friendly
3-3.30pm ISO 16759: calculating the carbon footprint of print media products
3.30-4pm Knowing your supply chain: a timber industry perspective
4-4.30pm How emphasising ‘sustainability’ can deliver profits for your organisation. A case study
4.30-5pm Making ‘sustainability’ work for your business
5-5.30pm Panel session: How to become more efficient

Packaging and instore Conference Q100N
11-11.30am Opening remarks
11.30am-12pm Shopper engagement Study: Lessons in shopper currency, instore decisions and neuroscience
12-12.30pm Design and delivery for instore
2-2.30pm Creating desire within constraint
2.30-3pm Instore displays and packaging
3-3.30pm Innovation that leads to cost reduction through change in structural pack design
3.30-4pm Panel session: packaging and instore
4-4.30pm Pantone colour communication seminar
4.30-5pm GWG 2012 specifications

Screen Printing Conference K65N
11-11.30am Introductory tutorial for screen printing
12-12.30pm Setting up a raster file
2-2.30pm Integrated registration system
3-3.30pm Working in layers

Wednesday 26 June
Digital Textile Conference B75N
10.30-11am Digital textile printing-increasing opportunities for the printer
11-11.30am Digital technologies: the right choice
11.30am-12pm Sublimation vs direct-to-garment – a technology reality tour
12-12.30pm The true cost of digital textile printing
12.30-1pm Differentiation, a path to clients
2-2.30pm Diversification – adding digital decoration (or sublimation) to an existing business
2.30-3pm From catwalk to consumer
3-3.30pm How digital technology affords screen printing sustainability
3.30-4pm Using social media to drive a printing business
4-4.30pm Air your views in a creative way
4.30-5pm Meeting the challenges of a new generation – a glimpse into the textile printing industry of tomorrow
5-5.30pm Panel session: opportunities and barriers in digital textile printing

Interiors Conference Q100N
11-11.30am Digital print and interior style, a designer’s perspective.
11.30am-12pm How Spoonflower serves fabric over the web
12-12.30pm Get real – be fake
12.30-1pm Digitalising the fine art market
2-2.30pm Catering for corporate spaces
2.30-3pm Migrating from screen to digital for home furnishing and apparel: a UK manufacturer’s experience and perspective
3-3.30pm Pioneering floor printed vinyl
3.30-4pm A tour through interior design
4-4.30pm Interiors keynote: back to the future
4.30-5pm Panel session: opportunities and barriers of printing for interiors

Screen Printing Conference K65N
11-11.30am Adding type on a path
12-12.30pm T-shirt treatments – spraying and dipping demonstration
2-2.30pm Innovations in screen chemicals
3-3.30pm Designing for black shirts
4-4.30pm How to change colours in an image

Thursday 27 June
Digital Conference B75N
10.30-11am Trendspotting in digital
11-11.30am Digital business leaders at work – how to grow a digital wide-format business
11.30am-12pm The digital blueprint – business planning for a digital environment
12-12.30pm How to grow added-value digital sales
12.30-1pm Going for gold at London 2012
2-2.30pm Workflow – the key to digital efficiency and growth
2.30-3pm Creating a digital value proposition
3-3.30pm Panel session: digital debate; futureproofing

Brand and Creative Day Q100N
10.30-11am Registration and welcome
11-11.30am Audience measurement and advertising effectiveness
11.30am-12.30pm The power of printed media
12.30-1pm Panel session: Creative day
2-2.30pm Printing for gold at London 2012
2.30-3pm Personalisation in print
3-3.30pm The real cross-media revolution
3.30-4pm Creative Corner keynote
4-4.30pm Panel session: print in the marcomm mix
4.30-5pm Print inspiration runway

Screen Printing Conference K65N
11-11.30am Special effect inks: high-density, discharge and others – demonstration
12-12.30pm How to separate an image
2-2.30pm Panel: innovative advances in emulsions
3-3.30pm Removing art from a flattened background
4-4.30pm Working with discharge ink
4.30-5pm How to save a DCS2 file

Friday 28 June
Business Building Conference B75N
10.30-11am Demystifying cross-channel marketing
11-11.30am Driving better business performance
11.30am-12pm Business growth systems
12-12.30pm Social media tutorial
12.30-1pm Panel session: business building skills in sales and marketing
2-2.30pm The importance of partnerships in a digital world
2.30-3pm Website tutorial
3-3.30pm Implementing web-to-print and taking your services online
3.30-4pm How to build sales teams
4-4.30pm Building and sustaining a successful business
4.30-5pm Mergers & acquisitions and strategic partnerships
5-5.30pm Panel session: business building skills

OOH Conference Q100N
11-11.30am Will digital signage in outdoor media significantly reduce the amount of print produced?
11.30am-12pm Operational excellence in wide-format production
12-12.30pm ‘Xtreme OOH’
12.30-1pm Panel session: OOH conference
2-2.30pm How mobile engagement technologies transform print into a digital media enabler
2.30-3pm The changing face of outdoor
3-3.30pm How mobile platforms can harness the power of print and continue brand conversations
3.30-4pm Online advertising going mainstream, big data and what it means to our industry
4.30-5pm Panel session exploring out-of-home

Screen Printing Conference K65N
11-11.30am Panel: screen printers panel – what are you doing that is new and innovative?
12-12.30pm Panel: innovative advances in textile printing equipment
12.30-1pm Using clip art to create full-colour images
2-3.30pm T-shirt printing world record attempt
3.30-4pm Four colour process – part 1
4-4.30pm Four colour process – part 2
4.30-5pm Turning full-colour into one and two colours

Saturday 29 June
Industrial Screen Printing Conference B75N
10.30-11am Could you add value with printable electronics and other functional materials?
11-11.30am Industial screen printing for glass
11.30am-12pm Industial screen printing for plastics
12-12.30pm Printed electronics: what does it have to offer?
12.30-1pm Panel: industial screen printing

Screen Printing Conference K65N
11-11.30am Getting the most out of your artwork
12-12.30pm Documentation