When I first started at Corel, I was told that I would be organizing and attending the SGIA Expo in New Orleans. Given that it’s one of the largest graphics tradeshows which caters to screen printing, digital printing, embroidery, sublimation and pad printing; it felt pretty momentous (and getting a free trip to New Orleans is certainly a nice perk in your first couple of months on the job!)
After organizing the booth and planning our free giveaways for the show, 5 colleagues and I boarded a plane for the Big Easy. We were also joined by the winner of the 2011 CorelDRAW International Design Contest, Joe Diaz.
Many of the products on the show floor were awe-inducing. There were printers the size of bedrooms pumping out graphics for muscle cars, canvases, and even yo-yos. The coolest part of it (at least from a Corel perspective) is that many of the exhibitors were using CorelDRAW graphic design software for their designs.
Our first day started out with a trickle of folks that grew throughout the day as attendees worked their way to the floor towards us. Attendees were very excited to see us, as it was the first time we’d had our own booth at the show in several years.
Many attendees using older versions of CorelDRAW stopped by to ask what was new in CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5. The feature that got the most “ooh!”s was the latest enhancements and overall capabilities of PowerTRACE, the bitmap-to-vector conversion tool. One of the most common issues brought up by attendees was the amount of time they were spending re-drawing graphics node by node, a common task when they received a graphic from a client scanned from an old business card or from a website. PowerTRACE helped speed up their workflow drastically by redrawing images into vector graphics in just a few clicks.
Our 2011 CorelDRAW International Contest winner Joe Diaz was also in attendance at the Corel booth. Since Joe comes from the specialty printing world, he was definitely in his element. Joe was a patient instructor, and even taught us Corel employees some new tricks in CorelDRAW! We also had a couple of our own CorelDRAW experts, Roger Wambolt and Adrian Garcia, providing product demos and helping attendees improve their designs.
New Orleans was a fantastic host to an informative tradeshow. When we weren’t on the floor demonstrating how CorelDRAW can empower graphic design, the city kept us fed and entertained. New Orleans comes alive when the sun sets; we danced in the streets, ate the best pecan pie we’ve ever tasted, and shared more than a few wall-rattling laughs.
We want to thank everyone who visited us, as well as our partners at Wilcom, who joined us at our booth and garnered strong interest in their newest product, DecoNetwork. And big props to Joe – if you ever find yourself in Pontiac, Illinois, check him out at Diaz Sign Art. We hope to see you at the next SGIA Expo 2012 in Las Vegas!
If you made it out to New Orleans for the SGIA Expo, what was your favourite part?