Five experiential trends emerging from Drupa 2016

Kim Myhre, the senior vice-president and managing director at Freeman XP EMEA, takes us through some of the key experiential trends he has picked up while attending the current Drupa exhibition (31 May-10 June).

The Drupa exhibition is currently taking place in Dusseldorf, Germany
The Drupa exhibition is currently taking place in Dusseldorf, Germany

It’s all action here at this year’s Drupa event in Dusseldorf, the traditionally every four – now every three – year gathering of the global print industry. The forces of change in the world of print have got this year’s Drupa participants actively searching for answers and looking for ways to innovate and grow their businesses.

The sense of urgency to re-invent and re-fire opportunities in print is palatable at the event, and clearly articulated in this year’s ‘Touch the Future’ tag line. 

Drupa is a ‘big’ event with 17 halls of the Messe Dusseldorf crowded with over 300,000 visitors. It feels busy and the participants appear to be very enthusiastic about what is here to experience. So, what trends have got everyone fired up? 

Show and tell – One of the things about an event like Drupa is that you can see the products – in some cases printers as big as a bus – in action. Brands’ printers are printing, their sorters are sorting, and their cutters cutting. It’s noisy, engaging and frankly pretty fascinating to see these big machines in action. 

Intersectional integration – It seems pretty clear to the print industry that some of the best future opportunities lie at the intersection of traditionally siloed industry segments. This year exhibitors are working hard to demonstrate that integrating these segments like 3D printing with product packaging or functional printing on new, previously unprintable substrates can create compelling new opportunities.

Brand worlds – Exhibitors that create experiences where attendees enter into a ‘brand world’ in which they are completely immersed in the brand, its products, its people and even its culture are becoming much more effective and, importantly, more popular. At this year’s Drupa, brands such as HP, Kodak and Agfa have done a really great job of creating powerful brand worlds that are well designed and very engaging.

3D me – Fancy having a 3D printed model of yourself to sit on your desk? If so, you can get one of these at the show. Much like virtual reality (VR) at mobile industry events, 3D printing is the stand candy at Drupa. Let’s face it – it’s fascinating, it can be fun and more importantly it is changing how products will be prototyped and even produced in the future. What’s not to get excited about? 

Transformational content – The conference programme at Drupa, known as the Drupa cube has been designed so as to focus on the intersections of print industry technologies and market segments. The cube’s keynotes were delivered by Frans Johansson, CEO of The Medici Group and author of the The Medici Effect. The programme’s more than 40 sessions brought print leaders from within the industry’s different sub-sectors together to discuss where intersectional opportunities might exist in the print industry. 

The most interesting thing about Drupa is how the 60+ year old event is still able to re-invent itself. Drupa and its exhibitors are well aware that the print industry is undergoing a radical transformation, and they are embracing the future head on.

FreemanXP devised a bespoke conference programme for the Drupa cube at Drupa 2016.

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