FESPA 2017 was in full swing at the beginning of the month in Hamburg. While our PR team was on the ground supporting our client Inca Digital with their communications programme, we sent one of our creative designers, Edward Stone, to see what the digital printing heavyweights have to offer. And what he saw surprised, intrigued and inspired him…

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With the growing ubiquity of AR, VR and other screen-based experiences, it’s become only too easy to get bogged down in digital info overload. Even though technology has made it easier to access information (and inspiration) on the go, it can only provide a virtual experience that simply can’t replace reality itself. At OrangeDoor we believe that in order to maintain a finger-on-the-pulse on the latest industry trends, it is essential we stay connected - and not only on a digital level - to what is going on outside the orange door. 

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From a creative point of view, going to an exhibition is about so much more than just walking the floor. It’s about processing the experience in a way that goes beyond the visual. If you’re a bit of a print enthusiast like we are, you can’t help but get carried away with the buzz of the machines churning away, the vibrancy of the colours and the feel of the different substrates as they come off the press. From printed soft furnishings, textiles and signage to bespoke and flexible packaging and the highest quality print graphics, you can’t help but be  taken on a multi-sensorial journey that leaves a long lasting impression. When you walk through the halls and around the myriad of structures and shell schemes, each one has their own approach to creativity; different ways of showcasing their product and the samples (all the samples!). All of this gives an immersive brand experience that is far more compelling than any computer screen or device could possibly convey.

Many of the industry’s printing giants brought incredible stands to FESPA this year. Polarised in their approaches, some companies showcased the different possibilities and applications achievable with their products, creating immersive areas to explore, touch and see; others focussed on showcasing printers in action and relied on their brand power alone to sell their machines. As a visitor, the immersive stands felt perhaps more immediately compelling as they depicted a real life demonstration of what products could do, they provided a tangible experience and brought to life the company’s vision.

It is exciting to witness this shift from product-centric to experience-centric stands. This is where exhibitions (and exhibitors) are headed, and for a good reason. In a world constantly flooded with images and messages, where everything is accessible literally at our fingertips, audiences have become more and more difficult to excite. Trade shows need to offer something more to stay fixed in memory and FESPA 2017 was a good example of this. From a creative point of view, we know the inspiration for winning ideas comes from different places: a great book or magazine, a really exciting design, a stunning building. However it is also important to take the creative journey outside the office and open the mind to completely new experiences that can spark unexpected ideas.

Words by Sara Poloni | Images by Edward Stone