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Sat, Apr

Surfacing from the depths

Do enough would-be customers know what you can print onto? If not, perhaps the Surface Design Show would be a good place come out from the gloom to enlighten them.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to tell more potential customers about the creative possibilities of digital inkjet print, the Surface Design Show could be a good place to put your self-made promises into practice.

The London-based show - which runs at the Business design Centre, 7-9 February to be precise - has the strapline ‘where surfaces come alive’, and just think what you could do with that theme! Yet, would you be surprised to find that at the time of writing there were no printers on the list of exhibitors? Methinks not, yet this is a show where architects, designers, specifiers, clients and contractors who are actively sourcing new surface materials and ideas congregate.

Take a look at the numbers from the last year’s show, which attracted 5,669 visitors, 86% of which were architects and designers. Visitor breakdown by company activity showed that 33% came from interior design practices, 21% from architectural operations, 12% from multi-design outfits and 5% from lighting specialists.

Bear in mind that on top of these were representatives from retailers (Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser, Bentley Motors, Next, Yo! Sushi etc.), visitor attractions (Museum of London, Natural History Museum) and the likes of London Underground.

What’s more, 57% of visitors said they had purchasing power. And 14% of those said they had a spend of over £1m.

Visitors’ five top most sought after products? - wall coverings, flooring, solid surfaces, tiles and lighting - enough said.

The 2017 Surface Design Show promises 150 exhibitors showing off innovative interior and exterior surface solutions, materials and products, with individual sections focusing on specific markets. For instance, there will be Materials for Education and Materials for Hospitality areas with themed stands, features and seminar hubs to help educate architects and designers in the latest thinking.

The Inspiration Centre, restricted to new companies and designers, is one to watch, as is Designer Row. And then there’s Light School – you’ve guessed it, for all things lighting orientated – and the Stone gallery.

Apart from the show proper there are various add-ons and seminars, kicking off with a preview evening and live debate from 6pm on 7 February. Details can be found on the show webpage: http://www.surfacedesignshow.com/whats-on

Of course The Surface Design Show isn’t the only event in 2017 that could give you the opportunity to show-off all that your company can deliver - there are design orientated shows aplenty, notably Retail Design Expo and 100% Design. Over the course of 2016 an increasing number of PSPs seem to have realised that getting into those spaces where customers and potential ones gather is as key to business development as attending print trade shows. Will 2017 be the year yours decided to get more involved? Or is it just too cost/time prohibitive as a stand-alone company and would a sector-wide showcase pavilion of print possibilities be more workable? If that’s the case, make your voice heard…