Sat, Jun

From the Midlands to Munich

The NEC in Birmingham is just about to open its doors to Sign and Digital UK visitors, and Messe Munich is preparing for Fespa Global. So will you be attending either exhibition? Here’s a precis of the key attractions at each.

If it’s April it must be time for a trip to the Midlands for Sign and Digital UK, and if it’s May a trip to Munich for Fespa Global - nothing like back-to-back trade shows to make you realise it’s spring!

In our news pages we’ve been carrying info on who intends to launch what at each show - well, at least from those who have been spilling the beans - so, we won’t go through all that again here. You know there’ll be those who keep surprises up their sleeves too in the hope of making a big splash at the shows themselves, and again, we’ll bring you those announcements as they come in, so here we’ll concentrate on highlighting the key features of each event.


Sign and Digital UK 

Where: Halls 3 and 3A, NEC, Birmingham.

When: 2 - 4 April 2019

Times: 10am - 5pm, Tuesday - Wednesday, 10am - 4.30pm, Thursday

Cost:         Free. Pre-register online at: https://www.signuk.com/plan-your-visit#/


Fespa Global

Where: Messe Munich, Germany

When: 14 - 17 May 2019

Times: 10am - 6pm, Tuesday - Thursday, 10am - 4pm, Friday

Cost:         Free with promotional code FESH904 or 40 Euro online, 70 Euro at the door



April comes before May so we’ll start with Sign and Digital UK, which this year may not have nabbed someone as familiar as Mary Portas as keynote speaker, but has nevertheless done a good job of getting Coffee Republic founder Sahar Hashemi on board to do the honours. 

In keeping with its 2019 show theme ‘The Face of Innovation’, Hashemi - an entrepreneur (and OBE!) will deliver her talk at the Main Stage Theatre at 11am on 2 April, explaining how she and her brother grew Coffee Republic to 110 stores and a £30m turnover before exiting in 2001, and also grew the confectionery brand Skinny Candy that she sold in 2007. 

She’ll run a Q+A session before touring the show floor, so the event organisers are urging visitors to come with their questions at the ready.

Also come with some means of note taking, as the Main Stage Theatre will be home to a programme of talks throughout the show. 

As a heads-up, here’s a run-down of the main seminars - all free to attend:


Tuesday 2 April

Signage for Buildings and Interiors: Noon - 12.45pm

A look at digital print possibilities with Chris Green, head of visual communications at Antalis; Lindsay Appleton, architectural marketing manager at William Smith Group; and Phil McMullin, sales manager, prographics, Epson UK.


Industry Focus - Textiles: 1 - 1.45pm

Berni Raeside chairs a discussion on textile printing and the opportunities therein.


Focus on Finishing - Laminating, cutting and more: 2 - 2.45pm

Colin Gillman talks with providers of finishing products on how the market has developed and what you should be looking for.


The End of Day Review: 3 - 4pm

An informal look at the events of the day 


Wednesday 3 April

Focus on Personalisation: 11 - 11.45am

How the small-format flatbed printer has played a key part in the personalisation market explosion - with Brett Newman of UK Mimaki distributor  Hybrid Services and Alex Granat of Livewire Consultancy


The Path for Commercial Printers into Wide Format: Noon - 12.45pm

Does what it says on the tin - with Bobby Grauf from Agfa 


Industry Focus - Retail: 1 - 1.45pm

A look at some of the technologies/ strategies in modern retail and how sign-makers can adapt to meet these demands. With James Beattie, CEO and Founder, Xanita


The Business Case for Sustainability and the Environment: 2 - 3.15pm

Manufacturers/suppliers talk about the sustainable products and strategies that make good business sense in the print and signage industry. With Chris Green from Antalis and Phil McMullin from Epson UK


The End of Day Review: 3.30 - 4pm

An informal look at the events of the day 


Thursday 4 April

Focus on Digital Signage: 11 -11.45pm

A panel - which will include hardware and software providers - looks into the installation and creative development of digital screen technologies.


The Print Workflow Part 1 - Colour Management and Rips: Noon -12.45pm

With David Evans of CADlink, Paul Bromley of GMG and Graham Clark from Agfa.


The Print Workflow Part 2 - Managing your Business: 1 - 1.45pm

How software products can help you on your efficiency drive. With Andy Allister of Clarity 

And Dan Tyler of Vism.


The End of Show Review: 2 - 3pm


Beyond the Main Stage there will be two live demonstration areas at the event - Retail is Detail and Decor Live. 

Retail is Detail (in partnership with ArtSystems) will host three demonstrations each day to show how you can make retail and POS much more effective via tips and tricks that will make a real difference to your productivity. Decor Live (with Antalis Academy) will run two sessions - ‘Retail Solutions with Vinyl and Magnetic Demonstration’ and ‘Hotel Solutions with Wallcovering Demonstration’.

Other key features include the Adobe and Corel Theatres (go to https://www.signuk.com/adobe-timetable#/ and to https://www.signuk.com/corel-timetable#/ respectively for events lists), The Signmakers’ Workshop (sessions listed at: https://www.signuk.com/signmakers-workshop#/) and the Hexis Battle Wrap Contest, with a grand final at the show on Thursday 4 April.



Organisers say there will be 700+ exhibitors at this year’s Fespa Global, which again has the non-print visual communications European Sign Expo running alongside it with another 100 stands.

Within the main show, the Showcase Theatre promises to be a real draw, being somewhere to sit and be fed good info while resting your feet. At the time of going to press, the following talks had been confirmed:


Tuesday 14 May

Trends/Forecast session - Printed Electronics: Status, Applications and Opportunities: Noon

With Raghu Das, CEO, IdTechEx, UK


Trends/Forecast session - Workflow Solutions and Print Automation: 12.30pm                        

With Ryan McAbee, Keypoint Intelligence, USA


Working for a Living in Print - Talent, Location and Next Gens: 1pm                                  

Panel including Billmann of Dommer and Patrik Piecha of Onlineprinters ask ‘how can we attract young talents for the printing industry?’ 


Wide Format Application Trends and Aftermarket Supply: 2pm

Lightwords Imaging MD Peter Mayhew provides core numbers and talks about environmental matters, grey imports and clones, warranty issues.


Environmental Management and Cost Control: 2.30pm

With consultant Clare Taylor.


A Plastic Free Future: How Creative Brands Can Save the Planet and Create New Innovative Consumer Experiences: 3pm

With Andrew Gibbs of The Dieline, USA


Wednesday 15 May 

Trends/Forecast session - Wide Format Market in Sign and Display Graphics: 11.30                 

With Eric Zimmerman of Keypoint Intelligence, USA


Trends/Forecast session - Textile Industry Trends for Sign and Graphics: Noon     

Again with Eric Zimmerman


Trends/Forecast session - Decorative Industry Segments - Wall Coverings Market, Woodworking Applications and Technology: 12.30pm

With a speaker from Keypoint Intelligence, USA


Mind the Label - Interior Decoration and Certificates: 1pm

A panel discussion with Sharon Donovich of Kornit, Jo Rees of  Multiplot Europe,  Heather Kendle from Epson Europe and Rene de Heij from Probo.


Multi-Substrate Printing: 2pm

With Marco Olivotto


Interior Design Trends: 2.30pm

Jennifer Castoldi, UK


Moving into Digital Signage: 3pm

A case study from Alberto Masserdotti, owner of Gruppo Masserdotti  


Thursday 16 May

Trends/Forecast session - Market Opportunities in Corrugated Print:  11.30am                            

With Ron Gilboa of Keypoint Intelligence, USA


Corrugated Business: Noon

Panelists Sean Moloney, Sun Automation, UK Xanta discuss the issue


Trends/Forecast session - Workflow Solutions and Print Automation:  12.30pm                         

With Ryan McAbee of Keypoint Intelligence, USA


Automate or Die - From Printing industry to  Industry 4.0: 1pm                                                     

A panel discussion including Uwe Niklas from Mimaki


Keynote - BMW 3D Printing Futures: 2pm

Delivered by Dr.-Ing. Dominik Rietzel, head of additive manufacturing, Non-Metal, BMW 


Smart Industrial Printing: 3pm

With Peter Buttiens, CEO, ESMA, Belgium


Friday 17 May

Wide Format Application Trends and Aftermarket Supply: 11am

See same talk 14 May.


Trends/Forecast session - Wide Format Market in Sign and Display Graphics: 11.30am        

With Eric Zimmerman, Keypoint Intelligence, USA


Trends/Forecast session - Textile Printing Industry Trends for Apparel, Decor and Industrial: Noon 

With Catherine Cresswell, Keypoint Intelligence


Trends/Forecast session - What’s Next in Inkjet?: 12.30pm

With Dr Tim Phillips, IMI Europe


How to Create a Future for Printing Companies: 1pm

Panel discussion with Ken Halulac of  EFI and Michael Krieger of PPS Imaging


Print Leaders: 2pm

A look at disrupters and next generation buyers, Web-to-print, resourcing etc. A panel session moderated by Frank Tuckmantel.


Other special features of note at Fespa Global 2019 include the first iteration of Colour L*A*B* - a technology showcase and conference programme designed to help you improve your business’s colour management practices. A walk-through showcase (Hall B4) will feature representative technologies from various suppliers, while test files will be used for live demonstrations illustrating different printed outcomes across a range of media. You can pre-book a guided Colour L*A*B* tour with colour management consultant Paul Sherfield, and free to attend presentations will run in an adjacent conference area.

If garment printing is your thing note too the Print Make Wear section of the 2019 show. This has been developed as a fast fashion factory feature and will be double the size it was when it first appeared a last year’s event. 

Fespa organisers have also beefed up Printeriors, that part of the show designed to show creatives (and anyone else passing by) what is possible with digital print. As in 2018, the walk-into showcase of interior decor applications will be placed at the entrance of the Messe, but new are outside applications (deck chairs and signage).

And yes, there will of course be a daily showcase of wrapping finesse, with the Fespa World Wrap Masters - and those of you not taking part can enjoy free wrap workshops at midday, every day of the show.


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