As well as being co-located with Cross Media 2014, which will run from Tuesday 25 to Thursday 27 March and feature its own seminar programme, Ipex will play host to The World Print Summit, which will feature a 250-seat auditorium on the show floor.

“The whole idea is that over five and half days we’ll host a superb conference, with speakers including leading figures from print, business and the creative and marketing communities. These will be iconic figures, real thought-leaders,” said Ipex 2014 event director Trevor Crawford.

Ipex is targeting around 25 inspirational speakers for the Summit. Eight months out from the show, 10 have already signed up including: Polestar chief executive Barry Hibbert, St Ives chief executive Patrick Martell, Benny Landa, Rochester Institute of Technology professor emeritus Frank Romano, futurologist Richard Watson, Clive Humby, one half of the company that created the Tesco Clubcard, and Rory Sutherland executive creative director OgilvyOne London and vice-chairman Ogilvy & Mather UK.

“I think print is being revitalised and is being shown to be the real heartbeat of a marketing campaign and it’s important to hear how people like Rory see print’s role. Clive will be able to talk about everything that sat behind the Clubcard, the data and print’s role in creating one of the world’s most iconic customer engagement programmes,” said Crawford.

“These are the kind of people that you could pay a lot of money to hear talk, and we’re providing all this for free. I think it’s going to be inspiring,” he added.

To build on the theme of inspiration, another new feature will be the Inspirational Avenue in the boulevard area between the North and South halls of Excel.

Organised by former Kodak UK marketing manager Pat Holloway, it will highlight “clever applications” of print, ranging from 3D printing through to the latest developments in inkjet.

“The idea is to champion print’s role across the whole marketing mix,” said Crawford.

Also new for 2014 will be the Ipex Masterclass seminar programme, organised by former Infotrends senior consultant Barney Cox, which will look at wide-format, digital print, sustainability and packaging.

“Barney will develop a seminar programme to look at the trends impacting the industry today, but also tomorrow,” said Crawford.

Ipex will also launch the Make Ready Challenge for 2014, where teams of printers will compete against the clock to makeready a “mature” five-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster SM74. Heats will be run thoughout the show, with a winner revealed before the final day.

“This will be the fun part of the show and we’ve already received interest from a lot of potential entrants,” said Crawford.

The final new feature, and possibly the most ambitious, will be the Future Innovations programme. It will run on “substantial islands” on the show floor, featuring printed electronics, photo and ‘emotional’ products, digital packaging and digital printing. Each island will feature kit running live producing innovative examples of each of the four product types.

Ipex 2014 runs from 24-29 March 2014, for more information, click here.

For more on Ipex 2014, read PrintWeek’s in depth interview with Crawford, where he talks frankly about his aspirations for the show, the challenges it has faced and why those challenges will help sculpt it into a ‘must-see’ event for visitors. To read the interview online, click here.