Photo: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann
The day has finally arrived once again as it does every four years. I landed late last night and, after a lengthy stroll back and forth along the side of the Rhine to find the boat hotel that is my home for the next ten days, I checked in, pulled down my cabin bed, put on my sailor pyjamas (joke!) and slept for a few hours. Then rising early, I headed off to that big kahuna of international print shows: #drupa 2016.
And what a first day. You forget just how much innovation there is in this industry – and how the print industry of today is somewhat hamstrung by its definition. ‘Print’ just doesn’t do the ‘print industry’ justice any more. Think ‘print’ and we think brochures, books, documents, newspapers – and there’s nothing wrong with any of them – but do all of us – or at least the general public – also think sofas, surfboards, suits, car dashboards, personalised wallpaper, 3D prototypes, car wraps, banners the size of buildings, thermoformed lights? Take a moment to look around you right now – I think you’d be amazed at what has been created using technologies from the print industry.
Print in all its many, many guises is today a highly creative, engaging and dynamic medium, a critical part of the modern communications and manufacturing mixes and, I believe, more incredibly diverse than ever in its history. Seventeen halls, thousands of exhibitors and tens of thousands of visitors will attest to this over the next ten days.
There are lots of catchy little phrases out there that aim to crystallise what’s going on at the show and in the industry more generally – ‘print’s back’, ‘the renaissance print’, ‘print’s found its way again’ and so on. But really what I’ve seen around the halls today is all just confirmation that print never lost its way, it just continues to change and evolve, the way it always has. And that’s great news for all those in the industry and all those it comes into contact with. So at the end of day one, let’s add another one to the collection – let’s be proud of print.