PRINT 18 Chicago by Theo Pettaras


 

PRINT 18 was an inspiring adventure for informed print and marketing professionals. This highly regarded and credible three-day conference packed a punch with over eighty innovative and problem-solving, educational sessions to assist in all print matters. There were nowhere near enough hours in the day to fit it all in…

I was fortunate enough to have won an all expenses trip thanks to the Konica Minolta Specialised Print Awards where our self-published book, a collaboration with Tim Jetis of A Cabinet of Wonder studio, “A Meeting of Words” took top prize.
 

 
My learning experience at PRINT 18 kicked-off with the opening keynote address by bestselling author and speaker Seth Godin. Godin delivered a most interesting address looking back on a century of marketing, industrialism and print, painting a picture of how we can each make a dent in the future with the work we do in our industry. Godin imparted the audience with actionable takeaways that can shape our personal and professional lives into the future.

Later I met up with Professor Frank Romano. He is one of the industry’s foremost keynote speakers with over fifty years in the printing and publishing industries. Many know him best as the editor of the International Paper Pocket Pal or from the hundreds of articles he has written for publications from North America and Europe to the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Meeting Frank was a privilege and I was extremely impressed with his humility and wealth of knowledge. I attended one of his talks on the current state of the industry. Romano outlined his interesting expert opinion on where the industry is and where it is heading, including democratic, communication, technology, age and information consumption trends. What struck me most was that direct mail seems to be making a strong comeback as it has proved to be one of the most effective forms of marketing. Other interesting trends include short run bespoke packaging, in Romano’s words; “everyone loves unboxing a package if it’s presented well” and wide format printing; “Practically every wall can be covered in print”. These are trends we sensed, so it is great to know they are backed up by expert opinion and data. Check out this great podcast.

Other key speakers included Pat McGrew, Senior Director at Keypoint Intelligence, who talked about the ongoing disruption from technology processes, sharing her perspective on where the industry is, what the future holds and how vendors can bring success to their customers.
 

 
Deb Corn, {pictured above} an impressive industry stalwart, well known for her mammoth LinkedIn profile, principal at PrintMediaCentre host of #printchat, #PMCpodcast and founder of International Print Day, did a stellar job hosting many chat forums which included a session “Girls Who Print”. These inspiring women graced us with heartfelt, personal stories of their print experiences and put a spotlight on a very important sector of the print industry. Please check out her amazing website packed with so much incredible information.
 

 
A chance meeting with Sabine Lenz was a total bonus and Blessing Sabine is the founder of PaperSpecs she is passionate about paper, print and great design. She shares her passion and knowledge with other designers, print buyers and printers. Through her videos, webinars, blog posts, speaking engagements and more her team provide inspiration, insights and access to crucial, hands-on tools and resources to help designers create printed pieces that WOW. I recommend you sign up to her newsletter.
 

 
Valuable time was spent time with existing vendors, engaging with their managers, vice presidents and research and development experts from various world headquarters. This gave me firsthand information on our current technology and an insight into future upgrade paths such as Xerox Iridesse, Konica Minolta KM1 B2 Inkjet Press and the MGI Digital Foiling UV Press.

Lots of new and interesting technology was explored which can further enhance our bespoke suite of services, as well as the ability to produce work more efficiently and cost effectively. Cloud-based technology was also a standout factor at the show and it was clear there will soon be the release of very distinct, game-changing cloud-based programming that will see very exciting developments in our industry. I am very excited with what I saw with Chili Publish web to print, and possibly the world’s best print MIS system Print IQ – both perfectly integrated with very exciting plans for the future.

“I am a firm believer that knowledge is power.”

 

 
Here I am {above} sightseeing with Devan Nair from Konica Minolta. I feel so fortunate and glad to have made the trip to Chicago for Print18, the things I learned are invaluable and without doubt by sharing my findings will benefit not only our business but our clients and the print industry as a whole.

Chicago is real America, you have to add it to your bucket list!

Thanks, Theo