Upcoming 34th Annual Graphics of the Americas to Provide Educational Sessions, Print Buying Boot Camp, Winter Reprieve

Those of us who have been enduring a brutal Northeast winter don’t need the countdown clock on the Graphics of the Americas Web site (www.graphicsoftheamericas.com/); some of us have been packed since New Year’s Day. Run by the Printing Association of Florida and now in its 34th year, Graphics of the Americas—to be held February 26–28 at the Miami Beach Convention Center—is the premier trade show for the printing and publishing industry for North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

The last 12 months have been tough within and without the printing industry, so what could be a better way to kick off the proceedings than a keynote presentation on February 26 by Pulitzer Prize winning humorist and author Dave Barry? (For a very funny taste, you can read Barry’s 2008 Year in Review at www.miamiherald.com/living/columnists/dave-barry/story/826965.html.)

Educational Opportunities

Closer to our own industry, the three days are slated to be packed with educational sessions, product demonstrations on the show floor, and a variety of networking opportunities.

Amongst the myriad educational sessions to be conducted at Graphics of the Americas, are:

    * Brand Protection Conference (see WhatTheyThink’s coverage of last year’s Brand Protection Conference at http://members.whattheythink.com/allsearch/article.cfm?id=37638 and http://members.whattheythink.com/home/080222rromano.cfm).
    * “Supervising Print Production” workshop conducted by Printing Industries of America
    * Hands-on computer lab for data management and variable data printing with John Leininger, Clemson University
    * Sixteen seminars for the art/design community from Aquent Graphics Institute
    * Eleven Spanish-only seminars with instructors from Spain and Latin America
    * Trend Vision: The Future of Print Symposium and the Ink Jet Printing Academy, presented by Frank Romano
    * “How to be the Quality Shop that Gets the Jobs,” presented by David Zwang
    * And many more.

There are 44 additional seminars with tracks on prepress, production, digital/inkjet, management, sales and marketing.

“GOA’s educational program is geared toward the realities of today,” says George Ryan, President of Printing Association of Florida and Graphics of the Americas. “Our objective, as always, is to help ensure healthy and positive tomorrows for the printing and allied industries. To this end, we’ve tailored our program to respond to today’s economy, emphasizing real solutions attendees can put to work on behalf of their customers and their business.”

Print Buyers Workshop

One of the most highly anticipated events at this year’s Graphics of the Americas is the Print Buyers Workshop, conducted by Margie Dana, founder of Print Buyers International, and Frank Romano, Professor Emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology. This workshop— aimed at print buyers, designers, sales and marketing professionals, customer service representatives, and others involved with buying print for their organizations—will comprise a double-session, half-day on Thursday, February 26. The Print Buyers Workshop will focus on the latest technology and new media, and how these will affect those involved in buying print. It will cover the major printing processes, paper issues, proofing options, industry terminology, and current trends, and will also educate buying professionals on how best to work with printers today.

Dana and Romano have conducted several highly-regarded previous “Print Buyer Boot Camps.” At Graphics of the Americas, workshop session topics will include:

    * Understanding the printing landscape
    * Buying print: start here (how to source print cost-effectively)
    * Everything you must know about proofs
    * Good job specs—the why and the how
    * Paper information for new buyers

The workshop is designed not only for those new to print buying, but also veteran print buyers who need to understand the latest trends in a dynamic and fast-changing media landscape.

“I want to give a lot of credit to the folks behind Graphics of the Americas—George Ryan of PAF, in particular—for the wisdom of introducing print buyer programming this year,” says Margie Dana. “What’s exciting to me and Frank about the workshop is that it will be a fast-paced and interactive. To our knowledge, no other programming exists for print buyers. We’ve done similar sessions before, and the feedback has consistently been off the proverbial charts for the value of the content, the chance to interact with me and Frank, and to hear comments from other participants.”

Adds Frank Romano, “The Print Buyers Workshop is a great introduction or refresher course to make you a better buyer. Give us one day and Margie and I will cover the most important trends and technologies for you.”

To complement and supplement the Print Buyers Workshop, Margie Dana will convene a panel of print buyers on Friday, February 27. Designed to educate printers on how best to work with print buyers today, four print buyers from four different industries will offer their views on the latest printing technologies, as well as new media and how it will affect them. The panel will include an open conversation about buyers’ biggest challenges in today’s environment—and what they’re doing to make themselves recession-proof.

The guest panelists include senior print buyers Jim Fellows, Pearson Education; Alan M. Hamil, Fortegra Financial Corporation; Lynn Hamilton, Oceania Cruises; and Zarie Lorow, Starmark International.

Brand Protection Conference

2008 marked the debut at Graphics of the Americas of the Brand Protection Conference, the latest showcase of technologies and strategies for printers and their clients stem the tide of illegal and forged coupons, vouchers, prescriptions, product and medicine labels, financial instruments, IDs, tags, labels origination and authorization documents, passports...you name it.

Conference sessions feature a host of speakers covering the latest technologies and techniques for protecting packages, labels, and documentation from counterfeiting. Keynote presentations will highlight innovations from the pharmaceuticals industry as well as the U.S. Government, highlighting the top overt and covert anti-counterfeiting techniques.

Individual Brand Protection Conference sessions will cover myriad topics, such as security printing techniques, security inks, nanotags, coatings, security substrates, photonic crystal chemistry, silicon “biometric” electronic DNAs for RFID, new ePrescribed Rx CMS mandates, risk management providers and services, worldwide design considerations for ePedigree-compliant pharmaceutical, health and beauty products, and packaging and labeling mandates.

Don’t understand what half of those are? Then you need to attend these sessions!

The conference will be moderated by Richard Warner, Security Printing Consultant.

The Brand Protection Conference is sponsored by Graphics of the Americas, the Printing Association of Florida, and Package Design, RFID Product News, and Converting magazines.

WhatTheyThink will be covering Graphics of the Americas and the Brand Protection Conference, and will be liveblogging throughout the show at the PrintCEO blog, http://printceo.com/. Live tweeting of the show can be followed via Twitter at http://twitter.com/goa2009