Screen Printing - June/July 2018 - 6
INAUGURAL WFX: WIDE-FORMAT EXCHANGE SPARKS
DISCUSSION, EDUCATION AMONG INDUSTRY LEADERS
WFX: Wide-Format Exchange brought together leaders in the
wide-format printing community for two and a half days of education, networking, and discussion focused on the present and
future of the industry. Attendees gathered at the Renaissance
Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot, May 21-23, for the inaugural
event, which was hosted by SGIA and ST Media Group (publisher of Screen Printing, Big Picture, and Signs of the Times).
In addition to speakers and moderated panels, WFX
attendees were encouraged to network throughout the event.
Industry-related lunchtime roundtable discussions, an evening
cocktail hour, and a dinner reception at the historic Mill City
Museum complemented the lineup of 18 educational sessions.
Along with presenters who are wide-format industry experts, WFX boasted an unusually strong focus on the buyers'
perspective, with panels featuring four major program
decision makers as well as three brand-facing agencies.
Word from the Buyers
What can you do to better serve major clients and prospects?
The decision makers responsible for the signage and graphics
programs of three top corporate brands - REI, SuperValu, and
Wells Fargo - provided insight into how their needs are changing and what they want from PSPs in a panel discussion led by
ST Media Group's Senior VP of Content, Steve Duccilli. Kevin
Manion, Wells Fargo VP branded environments leader, said with
the size of their locations shrinking, the company is exploring
"how do we create a customer experience in a scaled-down
environment?" This often means the use of longer-term, changeable displays. Although REI has a strong online presence, the
physical stores for the outdoor outfitter are a vital part of eliciting customer inspiration, said Suzanna Eversole, REI's print
production manager. "I'm looking for a printer that cares as
much about my signage as I do," Eversole said. The buyers also
mentioned they are seeking longevity and a strong relationship
with vendors, efficiency, and problem-solving skills.
Kraig Kessel, co-founder of Kraido, a retail design and
branding firm, shared "Why the Retail Store Is Evolving, Not
Disappearing." Kessel stressed the role signage and graphics
play in helping retailers transform their environments. Despite
the grim-sounding news about retail, Kessel mentioned that
more retailers plan to open locations this year vs. close them.
Customers want brick-and-mortar retail to be an experience,
which opens the door for creative displays that present highermargin opportunities for PSPs.
Soft signage and on-demand printing are hot topics at many
industry events, and WFX continued the trend. A panel of
experts discussed how textiles could fit into the wide-format
digital print shop. Ron Gilboa, group director, production
technology, Keypoint Intelligence; Kerry King, VP of research
and development, Spoonflower (spoonflower.com); and Kirk
Green, CEO of Ferrari Color (ferraricolor.com), presented
"From Soft Signage to Fashion, the Opportunities in Textile
Printing Are Boundless." Gilboa said textile printing is a growing market, though finishing is a challenge to entry for some
PSPs seeking to integrate textiles into their print shops. "If
you can't sew or finish the printed textiles, that's a problem."
Let's Talk Production
Ray Weiss, director of digital print programs, SGIA, led a panel
discussion on "Meeting Your Clients' Color Expectations,"
which featured Terence Wyse, OPS R&D color specialist at
Shutterfly, and Hayes Holzhauer, bluemedia (bluemedia.com)
executive VP of operations. The panelists discussed how they
tackle standardizing color in their shops, which often includes
calibrating multiple machines. Holzhauer said they operate
from a single, customized RIP and limit the number of people
RIP'ing files to have standard operating procedures and eliminate the potential for error. Weiss advised getting all machines
on the same color target in order to achieve consistency and
accuracy. "Good color management is all about reducing variables," Weiss added.
SGIA's Marci Kinter, VP of government and business information, led a panel discussion on "Why Sustainability and
Profitability Go Hand in Hand." Panelists from Snowball Print
Marketing (snowballpm.com), MillerCoors, and Modernistic
(modprint.com), shared their dedication to sustainable print