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Trends in Outdoor Graphics: A Discussion with Industry Leaders

(September 2008) posted on Wed Sep 10, 2008

Veterans in the outdoor-graphics industry discuss how their companies have dealt with changes in the market and how other recent issues, such as the economic recession and the push for sustainability, have impacted their businesses.


By Lori Leaman

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NORRIS: These changes all lend themselves to a proliferation of vehicle wraps. The improvements in vinyls make it easier to get a quality installation, and the improvement in speed and quality of printers have brought pricing down and made wraps more economically available to more and more customers. And it just feeds upon itself. The more attention getting the graphics become, the more attention getting graphics they beget. And you probably should throw in the computer revolution as an important change and trend as well. The more powerful the computers get, the bigger the files they can handle, and the designers use it as fast as they can get it. The result is really big graphics with really big punch, impact, or wow factor.

MCDANIEL: It has caused us to ask ourselves two questions. First off, “Do we want to get into digital printing?” That decision was made pretty easily as our customer demand continued to grow. Second question was, “How far into digital printing did we want to get?” Years later, our answer is “as far as customers need us to.”

GARCIA: It has allowed us to make recommendations for new products/applications to existing and potential new customers.

 

SP: Have new printing equipment or materials had an impact on the kinds of outdoor graphics jobs you produce or the amount? Please explain.

NORRIS: We have added an inline screen-printing press and an HP TurboJet printer to our production line. Both have increased our capacity and lowered our costs. They also give us the ability to compete for differing job sizes. The Turbo, in particular, gives us a much greater agility. A 53-in. trailer has up to 28 panels to completely wrap it. These are often each full color and individually unique. It takes a huge order to make that cost effective to screen print. The turbo can spit out a 4 x 12-ft panel every minute, and it doesn’t care if the next one is a different graphic or not. It becomes affordable to wrap a smaller fleet.


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