Fri, Aug

Breaking down boundaries?

Start Googling flight prices. Viscom Frankfurt organisers promise you’ll be rubbing shoulders with all sorts of potential new customers at this year’s ‘marketplace of ideas’.

"If it can be imagined, it will be shown here. This is the place where digital printing providers demonstrate design applications in a realistic environment - always with the aim of inspiring visitors.” That’s the claim being made by the organiser of Viscom Frankfurt 2014, and if that resonates with potential visitors as expected, brands will be rubbing shoulders with architects, window dressers with sports facility managers, retail display specialists with interior decorators. 

You get the picture - you only need go to the show website (http://www.viscom- messe.com) to see the range of anticipated visitors, and exhibitors, and to realise that this is a show doing just what it claims it will do: provide a 360 degree overview of visual communications via a mixture of traditional trade fair and application-oriented special areas. 

The event, which boasts 350 exhibitors and expects in the region of 13,000 visitors, is being ‘sold’ as a marketplace for ideas. “Viscom illustrates the print industry’s creative potential,” says event director Petra Lassahn: “Three questions are central. What is possible? How is it done? And who can do it? Best practice examples and presentations will play a major role. We want to turn visual communication into something that can be experienced, provide visitors with an opportunity to broaden their horizons.”

There are six themes within this year’s event: large-format printing, sign making, object design, digital signage, POS display and POS packaging. The first three come in the ‘Technologies and Materials’ area, where organisers are targeting machinery and materials buyers, signmakers, print service providers and interior designers. The latter three are in the ‘Applications and Marketing’ area where brands, retail and industrial marketing managers, agencies, creative artists and designers are the target audience.

The thing to bear in mind is that there’s huge scope for visitor/exhibitor crossover and networking. Take one of the special show features. The second ‘Viscom World of Inspiration’ is an 800m2 area that plans to attract brand owners, marketing and product managers, trade marketing managers, agencies, creative artists and designers, object and shop designers etc. via a cleverly designed space split into technology and materials, design and development, products and applications, and instore and object design. And every day of the show, one-hour lectures and discussions will take place at a ‘lunch and learn’ area. So if you want to network with potential customers...

Viscom also hopes to pull in creatives via its 3,000 Euro prize money ‘designmaker’ competition, which seeks design ideas that can be realised on many different media. The best concepts will be awarded at the show, where the sixth European Wrap Star will also be crowned following an on-site battle of the best.

If all of the above has not yet convinced you to book your flight for Frankfurt, then maybe the free seminar programme will just swing it. The full programme will be online, but to give you a flavour, it includes topics like ‘POS meets mobile’, ‘the future of customer loyalty’, ‘think digital, act analogue’.

Viscom is predominantly a German show. At the 2013 event about 20% of the 13,578 trade visitors were from outside the country. In terms of large-format exhibitor profile, it does not perhaps have the international breadth as say a Fespa, but you’ll find major players like Agfa Graphics, Canon, Epson, Fujifilm, HP, Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland etc. Plus you’ll find companies that tend not to exhibit outside of Germany and a bunch on new start-ups. But the real reason perhaps for going to Viscom Frankfurt this year is to see if it’s the melting pot it hopes to be, with real interaction between printers, vendors and creatives.

At a glance:

Where: Exhibition Centre, Frankfurt.

When: 5 – 7 November Times: 10am – 6pm 5/6 November, 10am – 5pm 7 November

Cost: Varies from 15 – 95 Euro


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