From a Seed, a Mighty Tree
In my nearly 30 years on the staff of SGIA, I’ve seen profound change within the industry, and within the core printing segments SGIA has long represented. I remember back in the early 90s, when small inkjet plotter devices began to appear on the floor of SGIA’s annual expo. As with all new technologies, some saw the possibility inherent in their use, while others viewed them as a threat to the status-quo. Over the years since, “the shock of the new,” has become “the new normal.”
This industry is all about change: This first PRINTING United event is built on the foundation of industry convergence — where printing companies are exploring opportunities in adjacent segments as a way to expand the possibilities for their businesses. Anyone who has been operating in the signage, graphics, and display segments knows that where inkjet started for us is now a tiny sliver of the diverse offerings available to our customers. What started as aqueous inks on coated papers has exploded into digitally printed textiles, vehicle wraps, printing on diverse substrates, and applications that were unforeseen “back in the day.”
It has been astounding to see the kernel of a new technology grow, expand, and become what it is today, and it provides a strong framework with which to view the many products that can be found on the PRINTING United expo floor. The diversity found here gives us the fuel (and the opportunity) to consider new paths to move forward with thoughtful intent. While not every new option is a good fit for your business, considering a wide variety of options gives you the best chance for the right fit.
The ongoing development in printing quality and throughput has been consistently changing the wide-format playing field. At the same time, the continued refinement of color management, workflow, and job management tools; the ongoing expansion of media and lamination products; and the growing capabilities of finishing technologies have transformed the signage and graphics space into a place of ideas, possibility, and great diversity. That, coupled with opportunities to expand into nearby areas like short-run packaging (a great flatbed opportunity) or apparel printing (for those already using dye-sublimation for other applications), shows why and how industry convergence can provide new opportunity. What to do? It’s your call, but you’re in the right place to figure it out.
During your time in Dallas, I urge you to keep in mind the concept of the seed and the tree. Your company, presumably, was started with a seed, an idea, a singular motivation to grow. And as your business has grown, it has produced its own seeds — planting new directions, access into new market areas, expansion into as-yet-untapped product areas. These trees are nurtured — and your forest thus expanded — with information and knowledge. Fortunately for you, these are abundant resources here at PRINTING United.