What Is the Current Level of Industry Optimism?

Looking forward at the wide format print market



Eric Zimmerman


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 This quote resonated with me for a few reasons while I was walking the floor at the International Sign Associations Sign Expo (ISA) and FESPA’s Global Print Expo (FESPA). First off, after not attending a tradeshow in almost two years, I was definitely “a slow walker” by the end of each day!


More importantly, I was a cautious “slow walker”…not sure what to expect after a tough two years. Wide format is a resilient industry, though, and from the moment I entered each of these shows, I could feel the incredible amount of optimism leading me to believe I was only one of many, if not all, that will “never walk back”.



As public events continue to open back up in full force, it’s no wonder that these shows were so busy. ISA broke records for sales of devices shown on the floor and FESPA was extremely busy for all four days. After not being able to see and compare products live and in person for an extended period, the attendees were not just passively window shopping. They were out in force, ready to purchase new equipment and seek advice.



The days of just showing the latest device and discussing feeds and speeds are well in the past. While we are well down the road to recovery, the path is not a smooth one. Labor shortages, supply chain issues, and demand for “greener” solutions are just a few of the challenges that print service provides are facing. Manufacturers (recognizing this) were showing solutions to allow for automated start to finish workflows and increased ease of use. Additionally, many manufacturers were showing partnered solutions with media companies offering non-PVC solutions, as well as openly discussing their sustainability philosophy and strategy as they move to become more environmentally sound.


With this level of commitment from manufacturers, and the enthusiasm of the print service providers, the future of wide format print (while continuously changing) is looking to be filled with very high levels of optimism!


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