Printing Predictions: Expected Industry trends from SGIA Expo

The Specialty Printing & Imaging Technology’s SGIA Expo begins tomorrow and we couldn’t be more excited. This Las Vegas trade show is where the most qualified and educated print professionals convene to check out the printing world’s best products, methodologies and applications. The Material Men from Custom Color will be there to explore the exhibits and take part in a bit of large format fun. 

It’s important to recognize that customers don’t just want a print service provider. Clients, regardless of their industry, are looking for a print solutions provider: 


With that sentiment in mind, I thought it’d be fun to make some predictions about what I think we’ll see at the show:


WhatTheyThink recently published a commentary that addressed automation as the hot topic for this year’s trade show season. “Automation has become an integral part of general commercial printing, with more and more parts of the printing workflow more or less completely automated.

I think we’ll see automation in two different avenues: software and equipment. Everyone in the industry is looking for ways to streamline the standardized parts of printing. Furthermore, printing companies want to ensure that there is as little error as possible prior to printing and in the final product.

While we already automate our prepress process and sewing, we will be on the lookout for more ways to include automation in our preparation and production procedures.


Show attendees will definitely be on the lookout for the latest and greatest in printing technology. It’s a given that the floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center will be filled with printers and finishing equipment – many times these mammoth machines are the spotlight of the show. Software technology will also be a pretty big deal for many print shop owners who are looking for automation and process efficiency. 

Both machines and software work hand-in-hand to enhance print output – print owners want consistency in software technology and in machines. All production devices should work together to provide reliable results – this is what we’ll be checking out. While we have a pretty robust collection of software and equipment, we are always looking for technology that can enhance our output uniformity and speed.


Doing a quick scan over the SGIA Exhibitor List and #SGIAExpo on Twitter makes us really excited about the many mediums that we’re about to encounter.

I’m seeing quite a few new large and grand format fabrics that will make their debut at the expo – I’m predicting that fabric will be the substrate show-stealer.

Print shops are always seeking out ways to clarify prints and provide more deep and vivid colors. The dye-sublimation process is the provider of the clearest prints and most bold and vibrant colors currently attainable. A variety of exhibitors at this Expo will flaunt this capability.

As a shop that has been printing on fabric for the past twelve years, we’re looking for the next advent in the fabric forecast.

Final Thoughts...

In effort to be the best print solutions provider that we can be, we’ll be on the watch for integrations that incorporate into our current processes and technology. While I’m not a prophet, I am confident that automation, technology and substrates will happen in Vegas, but won’t stay in Vegas…because they’ll come back to our Color Castle in Lenexa, Kansas with us. 

Next week on our Positively Printing blog, I’ll let you know how accurate my expo envisions were. In the meantime, I’ll be in Vegas, baby. 

Jason Milbourne is the Vice President at Custom Color Corp. A designer, pre-press connoisseur, and Royals fanatic by day and a fantasy baseball pro and taco and craft beer arbitrator by night, Jason loves all things fun and crazy….just like his hair. Connect with him on LinkedIn, but don’t follow him on Instagram, because he won’t follow back.