contributed by Fatima Harami

Printing United, a sold-out event held on October 23-25, 2019 at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas was exactly that “the unity” of women and man coming together to share the print technology knowledge. The 724,000+ sq print exhibition floor made up of over 650 suppliers, displayed technology across multiple print sectors like Apparel Decoration, Business Intelligence, Color Management & Workflow, Commercial Printing, Digital Print & Graphic Production, Digital Textile Printing, Functional Print, In-Plant Printing, and Packaging Printing. The 3-day print convention also packed the halls with educational sessions. Over 100 speakers were part of free educational sessions across 3 amphitheaters inside the exhibition floor, 96 educational sessions with the purchase of an educational pass, and the choice to purchase tickets to attend a special breakfast event, luncheon event and/or workshop. For print gurus, the exhibition floor was a one-stop-shop to evaluate a purchasing investment. For the newbies, it was an endless surprise of what print has to offer to the consumer.

To visualize all the innovative print capabilities, a 4,000-square-foot exhibit called the Experience Zone was created. The “Day in the Life” print exhibition showcased over 100 printed applications across 7 sections: an entrance, in-home, out-of-home, a retail exterior, a sports bar & grill area, a recreation room, and a convenience store. The entrance experience showcased floor graphics, a custom-printed patio umbrella, a welcome mat, a lemonade stand, and a Koi pond. The in-home experience displayed upholstery on the chairs and sofa, curtains, rug, wallpaper, coffee table book, magazines, catalogs, magalogs, and direct mail. The out-of-home experience had billboards, vehicle wraps, transit graphics, sidewalk graphics, floor graphics, and a bus shelter. The sports bar & grill area displayed print applications on the walls, floors, shelving, tabletops, windows, jerseys, sports hats, on art & photography, menus, and on packagings like food carriers, beer, spirit, and wine labels, and craft beer boxes. The retail store experience was in apparel, floor graphics, and window display backdrops. The recreational room offered decorative printing for the home and businesses, like upholstery, floor graphics, movie poster, and frames. The convenience store had lots of different packaging across store shelves, in-store coupons, weekly circulars, posters, and window graphics. After being inspired and examined the Experience Zone, attendees had the opportunity to reach out to the sponsors on the expo floor to learn more. Sponsors involved in this amazing experience where: Drytac, Top Value Fabrics, Kornit Digital, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc., Ricoh, Canon, Oki Data Americas, EFI, UltraFlex, Fujifilm, Stahls’, Fisher Textiles, S-One Holding Corp. and Xeikon. More information can be found in the Inaugural Issue | 2429 Printing United Experience Zone guide magazine!.

Aside from the Experience Zone, to indulge in more finished products, an Awards Gallery exhibit was set up in Lobby F based on competition entries worldwide. The SGIA Golden Image Award which is the most prestigious in the print world was distributed amongst 30 print categories, honoring a bronze, silver and gold winner. There was also Product of the Year, honoring over 60 winners across different technologies. Students studying at an SGIA Educational Institution Member School also had the opportunity to compete for the Tom Frecska Student Printing Competition Award of Excellence, Best of Show, and Certificate of Merit awards. And for those who love the adrenaline of competing with a 2 person team on the expo floor for 2 days installing a quarter panel of a car, a rivet wall, rough texture surface with a two-panel graphic and a non-air-egress acrylic application, a PDAA Pro Team Relay award was granted.

The Printing United mobile app was extremely helpful navigating through sessions, events and the expo floor. Much kudos to the mobile app team on the user-friendly app!. The project management team behind this convention had lots of moving pieces and the way it was organized shows how dedicated and articulate they are in managing such a large event. It was exciting to see different nationalities coming together, for the love of print. Languages like German, Japanese, Portuguese, Mandarin, Spanish were just a few amongst others. Lastly, attending the Women in Print Alliance Breakfast and seeing women in the industry share optimistic stories goes to show how the industry has grown and how women leadership is here to stay so we are more print united.

Fatima Harami, aka – Fat-i-mah, Fatma, Fat·i·mah, Fá·ti·ma.
Obsessed with business workflow processes, self-improvement/motivational books, project management, and traveling. Fluent in English, Spanish and conversational Arabic, Fatima has led collaborative teams from different cultures to increase project productivity by streamlining business processes through workflow automation for the printing industry. Fatima has been with Rex Three Inc. in Florida for the past 19 years and leads the Variable Data team as the Creative Services Manager.