A big Visual Impact

Michelle Henry visited the recent Visual Impact show in Sydney and reported back on what caught her eye

Visual Impact Sydney was held from 3rd - 5th May 2023, bringing together the sign industry across Australia, New Zealand and beyond
Arlon are once again producing coloured vehicle wraps.
Letter Tech and Bounce LED offered lessons on manufacturing acrylic illuminated letters. Melissa from the NZSDA had a go and did a great job!

Michelle Henry reporting for Eye on Display in Sydney

Spicers really used the expo to push sustainable alternatives. They even produced a sustainability pack which displayed their statement, targets, and practices. This pack highlights all of their suppliers’ sustainable products in an easy to compare and contrast way, allowing the sign company and their customers to make informed choices.

This pack is very detailed, and they must have spent a lot of time putting it together. But I think that this demonstrates the change in mindset and is very encouraging and exciting to see.  I think that when suppliers see themselves pitched against others within this book, they will be motivated to try harder.

It was great to see that Arlon are once again producing coloured vehicle wraps. This was my favourite wrapping film, so I was gutted when they stopped producing coloured films. They are launching these in NZ in July but have already launched them in Australia.  I am assuming that they are already supplying to the UK.

Dyno Series have launched a PPF (paint protection film) that is coloured or has a pattern. Previously these have always been clear. It’s very hard to apply – I have tried and failed on a couple of occasions, but I think that for those that are trained it will be a game changer.  This product is also a healing product. By this I mean that if it gets scratched, you can apply heat to it and the scratch will disappear.

Letter Tech teamed up with Bounce LED and offered lessons on manufacturing acrylic illuminated letters. The lessons were very popular and fully booked. Melissa from the NZSDA (New Zealand Sign and Display Association) had a go and did a great job!

Trends down under

I would say that the trends and technologies here in Australia and New Zealand are pretty much the same as in the UK. However, there is not as many options for illumination. I asked around at several LED stalls to see if anyone was selling the E14 led fairground lights. No one had seen them before. I used these quite a bit back in the UK, so I found this surprising.

I spoke to quite a few visitors who attended the show and what their thoughts were about any differences. They said that they often attend the ISA show as they feel that New Zealand and Australia often get forgotten when new products are released and are the last to discover them. I have no idea if this is true.  There certainly weren’t too many printers or CNCs on display. I also didn’t see any 3D printers.

The Visual Impact Show says it was created as an antidote to shows that are all about profit and taking from the industry, and I think on the evidence I saw, I would agree with this. There was definitely more of a ‘no frills’ look to the setup. But it was well laid out, very informative and more personable than other shows that I have attended. It was also very well organised.

As a working end user, my main reason for attending the show (apart from reporting for Eye on Display of course) was to look for new sustainable products. Many of our clients are asking for this, and we want to encourage them to take this route as part of our new brand. The expo definitely delivered on this. I was amazed at how many suppliers had offerings.

We also wanted to find new suppliers for vinyls etc. Outside of the usual suspects, we have possibly found one. We just need to test out the samples.

My colleague, Jolene was very excited by a company (tintdesign.com.au) that not only sells Braille and Tactile signs (braille is mandatory on all directional signs in Australia) but also prints onto acoustic panels. As we are working more and more with interior designers, we could see a value in this product. They sell to trade only, which is a bonus.

About the Visual Impact Sign and Digital Print Exhibition

Visual Impact Exhibitions, combined with Image Expo, hosts bi-annual exhibitions to showcase the latest and greatest in the Visual Graphics Industries, which include signage, digital printing, engraving, routing, awards, vinyl application, design, airbrush, screen printing and display solutions.

These trade shows are widely considered to be the best opportunity to see new products, meet leading suppliers, learn about new technologies and network with like-minded individuals.

In the early 1990s, the Visual Industries Suppliers Association, owners of Visual Impact, began organising these successful exhibitions and, to this day, continue to host the largest trade show for the Visual Graphics Industries.

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