Adapting to Change: GRAPH EXPO Rebranded, Reimagined

DANICA TORMOHLEN, EDITOR-AT-LARGE

RESTON, Va. — The former GRAPH EXPO has been rebranded from a trade show to a transformational experience according to its organizers. The show, PRINT® 18 (www.PRINTevent.com,) is scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Previously a quadrennial trade show, PRINT last year drew 22,000 attendees and 491 exhibiting companies covering 232,500 net square feet to Chicago.

Historically, GRAPH EXPO was held during the years between PRINT. In reviewing show metrics and other industry indicators, the team decided it was time to shake things up. As the print industry has evolved, the need for a separate and distinct quadrennial event has shifted, said Kelly Kilga, CEM, Vice President, Meetings & Events for the Association for PRINT Technologies’ (APTech).

“PRINT® 18 may have a new name, a new schedule and a new floor layout, but the event still has the same message — print is alive and thriving,” Kilga said.

Another sweeping change for the long-established association was changing their name earlier this year from NPES to APTech— The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies. The process started two years ago as the group noticed how the industry and the organization were evolving, APTech President Thayer Long said. “The new identity builds on the strength of its community as the association celebrates 85 years.”

APTech designated its PRINT brand as the name of the annual event. The name used to alternate between PRINT and GRAPH EXPO. “We wanted to quickly acknowledge to our members that print is still the focus of the event,” Long said.

PRINT® 18 marks 50 years since the first PRINT event took place.

In 2018, PRINT is launching several new features, including a Virtual Reality Experience, a Student Career Fair and the RED HOT Technology Recognition Program. Exhibit floor tours will also be introduced as a way to bring buyers onto the event floor and connect them with the products and processes they have learned about in the seminars.

“I have a strong feeling that the trade show model is evolving,” Kilga said. “We believe in industry events, and strongly believe solutions will be found on the exhibit floor that tie directly to the education in our Learning Experience. We also have a great opportunity to learn from experts outside the industry, all of which will promote growth in the industry.”

Reach Kelly Kilga at (703) 264-7200 or kkilga@aptech.org