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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.

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By Lori Leaman

MCDANIEL: Yes. Some of the new pieces of equipment in both screen and digital that PSP installed have allowed us to provide customers with outdoor graphics that we could not previously produce. The digital equipment has allowed us to be able to compete for small test-market signage, and this ability has opened the door in screen printing for large national campaigns.

RENDA: Again, I think it is the evolution of digital machines becoming faster and cheaper has had an impact. Of course, large-format inline screen printing is still important, and you need a combination of both to be able to satisfy customer requirements.

GARCIA: The technological advance in the digital-printing industry (print quality, speed, and price) enables printers like us to offer our customer quicker turnaround on products that require customization by region for national campaigns.


SP: Can you identify any specific outdoor applications that recently have seen growth or decline?

GABRIEL: We have seen an increase in our ability to bring our creative efforts into the outdoor world. Different applications and materials are on the rise, which play into creativity with different bump outs, clear, foil, reflective, LED, and how to incorporate all of them and make it very interactive. Standard applications using flatbeds to minimize the usage of materials also are on the rise. I haven’t personally experienced a large decline in billboards because we haven’t focused on billboards per se, so we’re actually starting to see growth in that area.

NORRIS: I am still going with the concept of a wrap. Not only are the number of vehicle wraps increasing, just about anything else is a candidate for a wrap if it will hold still long enough. Anything with wheels from 18 down to two, boats, planes, ATMs, bus-stop kiosks, park benches, buildings—everything seems to be fair game.

RENDA: Some municipalities now limit the size of outdoor banners. In the past, there were no limits, and the banner size could be quite large. Outdoor banners using four-color-process art are real eye catchers and bring in additional business for our customers that use them.


SP: What types of clients are the major buyers of outdoor graphics from your company? Has this customer mix or their buying habits changed during the last five years, and, if so, what factors do think have driven the changes?



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