By Melissa Donovan
The various substrates now printable via digital challenges print service providers (PSPs) to educate buyers on where and how the medium should be used. In the display and point of purchase (POP) space, the possibilities are endless. Today’s advertisements span from ceilings to walls, floors, and everything in between.
Short-term retail signage, on display for a week to three months—indoors or outdoors, makes use of a variety of materials. Pressure-sensitive media, including transparent films; rigid substrates; and magnetic-receptive media are all used to promote a brand or advertise a time-sensitive message or product.
When determining the correct media for a short-term application, specific features should be considered, including durability, image quality, and value. In addition, the quantity of the print order is important.
Media specifically created for short-term retail graphics is available. Certain substrate attributes should be considered when creating a graphic that will be used for a limited amount of time.
Tina Forbes, graphic design and color management, digital imaging division, Coveris Advanced Coatings, believes PSPs should take into account the quality of the print, universal printer capability for flexibility in production, and profile availability for optimal output when creating a short-term POP graphic.
According to Jessup Manufacturing Company, manufacturer of Asphalt Art, a 2013 InfoTrends study surveyed members of the International Sign Association, which found that durability, image quality, and value are looked at above all else when choosing media for a short-term graphic.
Durability is still a concern despite a graphic being up for a brief period of time. “Many interior POP displays are designed for promotions lasting only a few weeks—such as grocery store signage displayed on shelves or suspended from ceilings. PSPs should consider the amount of time and location in which the project is displayed to determine the media’s durability requirements,” suggests Brandon Wyatt, marketing manager, graphic display, 3A Composites USA.
Jim Cirigliano, marketing manager, Magnum Magnetics Corporation, explains that a short-term POP graphic is physically handled more than once, so the media must be durable, easy to ship, and easy to change out. “Depending on whether the short-term signage will be reused later, you may also want to consider how well the material holds up in storage, where it may be exposed to heat, moisture, and dirt,” he continues.
The amount of traffic and where the substrate will be adhered to is an important consideration when determining just how durable media needs to be during its the entire time it is used, adds Jim Halloran, VP sales and marketing, Lintec of America, Inc.
Image quality and value tend to go hand in hand. “While generally you would try to keep the cost of short-term POP less than a long-term graphic, it is important to be sure the quality is still there in order to attract attention and increase notoriety of the brand,” recommends Mike Gertz, marketing manager, Master Magnetics, Inc.
“Too often the only concern a printer has for short-term POP is the price. While price is obviously important, it is also important to use a media that will print well and not fail prematurely,” explains Jason Yard, marketing manager, MACtac Distributor Products.
Dan Halkyard, director of marketing and product management, Visual Magnetics, agrees. “Above all, the media needs to be reliable to deliver consistent results once installed—as visual standards continue to rise, short-term POP graphics can no longer get away with an appearance of being a temporary solution.” All types of media must offer high-quality features that properly reflect a brand or promotion.
The quantity of a project can sway media choice. If floor graphics, for example, are rolled out to 1,000 locations, the type of material used could differ from a floor graphics order that only consists of five pieces total.
If it’s a large order, it may roll out to a number of different locations where inexperienced installers will apply the graphics. “Application of the material should be taken into account, when making a decision on what material to use for the project. Different materials will be easier to install, this is important in the case of a national project when the graphics are rolled out and installed on site by less experienced installers such as in-house retail clerks,” shares Linda Babilo, senior product manager, Arlon Graphics, LLC.
Quantity may mean that the graphic will be adhered to different surfaces, in which case media choice is certainly influenced. Print providers must consider a versatile media option. “If we take floor graphics as an example, there could be several different flooring types incorporated so a PSA vinyl with a high-tack adhesive might be used as it would have the ability to stick to carpet, non-sealed concrete, or cork flooring as well as additional floor types,” explains Craig Campbell, market manager – graphic products, ORAFOL Americas.
Alison Zepp, VP, marketing and strategy, Jessup, cautions against choosing a material based on quantity when focusing on cost. “The most important qualities in media will be the same regardless of the size of the job. The bigger the project, the greater the investment, but choosing the wrong material to save a little is a false economy.”
A balance between speed and quality is required when dealing with larger quantity orders. “The media must have a straightforward printing and finishing process and be easy to work with because of the large number of prints going through the system at one time,” says Nate Goodman, product manager, Drytac Corporation.
Candace Martin, junior product manager, EnCore Products, also points out that larger quantities may affect material availability and lead time on a project.
“The print provider should look for the best method to optimize the media to reduce finishing costs. It should consider if the graphic can be designed to optimize the media widths available from the supplier or if the supplier can cut the material to optimize the size,” recommends Neil Baker, VP of sales, Ultraflex Systems, Inc.
Although many types of materials are created with an intended application in mind, that doesn’t prevent PSPs from utilizing the media elsewhere. The innovation found throughout the graphic arts leads to out-of-the-box projects. When a shorter term installation is considered, experimental graphics in unintended environments are prevalent as the graphic may not be in place long enough to fail.
“We always encourage pushing the envelope of our products. It leads to further product development on the part of the media manufacturer. We’ve seen advertising on stair risers, conveyer belts, and even bathroom stalls. We recommend them as long as the user has made sure the product will work for their application,” shares Campbell.
Other extra-ordinary surfaces that are ideal for short-term POP include carpets, elevators, and escalator wraps. These alternatives are found in a number of different environments from retail shopping centers to trade show booths or sporting arenas, all of which are prime candidates for short-term promotional campaigns.
Bill Podojil, director of sales, Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, says he knows customers who have wrapped toaster ovens, refrigerators, toolboxes, and even restroom toilet seats with Avery Dennison MPI 1005 Supercast Easy Apply RS and DOL overlaminates.
Here, we share available products used for short-term retail signage divided by material type, including pressure-sensitive media, rigid substrates, and magnetic-receptive media.
Arlon recently announced DPF 540, a promotional film for POP applications available in gloss and matte. It is designed to work well in both interior and exterior environments in a variety of temperature climates. It is best suited for shorter term POP, with a durability of up to two years.
Avery Dennison’s MPI Perforated Window Series provides a range of products with one year durability. The newest products offer an economical solution to POP window graphic applications—promotional grade products, MPI 3729 with a 60/40 perforation pattern and MPI 3529 with a 50/50 perforation pattern are durable for up to one year. Intermediate calendared media, MPI 2528 with a 50/50 perforation pattern and MPI 2728 with a 65/35 perforation pattern are suitable for up to one year with DOL 1560 overlaminate.
Coveris promotes several window film products for the POP space. Magic NEW VUE is a one-sided viewable perforated PVC window film designed to be printed on the adhesive side. Magic BROAD VUE is a perforated PVC window film designed for outside mounted window graphics. Coveris also offers a polypropylene banner, Magic STICK 2, with a low-tack adhesive that allows it to be repositionable and easily removable.
Drytac’s ViziPrint and ReTac Wall are used in retail and restaurant environments. Both are simple to install and remove and do not require professional installation. ViziPrint is used for glass displays, entry doors, or shop windows. ReTac Wall is ideal for displays, wall graphics, shelf caps, and pillars.
Jessup manufactures the Asphalt Art portfolio of floor and wall graphics media, which includes Asphalt Art, SportWalk, TexWalk, CatWalk, and ClearWalk. Asphalt Art in particular is ideal for POP graphics placed outside in front of retail locations or even dining establishments. It is highly conformable to asphalt, concrete, paving stones, and tile, creating a unique floor or wall graphic application.
Lintec offers optically clear and textured non-PVC-based pressure-sensitive films for decoration of glass and other clear substrates. It offers both indoor and outdoor options of its products. For short-term POP, media requirements include non-scratch resistant surfaces with removable adhesives.
MACtac IMAGin JT5828 and IMAGin RB528 are both available in gloss and matte with removable, permanent, and high-tack adhesives. They are ideal for any application requiring a three month to five year durability.
ORAFOL offers ORAJET 3164XRA Soft Calendered PVC Digital Media with RapidAir Technology. It is used in short- to medium-term flat indoor and outdoor applications including decals, nameplates, die-cut letters, and POP displays. Offering a 4-mil thickness, ORAJET 3164XRA features a durability of four years unprinted.
Ultraflex is the master distributor of G-Floor, a commercial grade floor vinyl that allows for direct printing to the product, mirroring the image for second surface viewing and greater durability and versatility than traditional vinyl floor graphics.
SMART-X graphic display board, developed by 3A, is a 100 percent recyclable lightweight foamboard. It can be directly printed on, producing a vibrant color ideal for POP. SMART-X is also easily routed and milled for signs, displays, and in-store lettering.
EnCore’s MightyCore foamboards are laminated paper products used for indoor applications, such as POP displays. The ultra-smooth surface accepts most inks and paints, while its rigid core makes it suitable for large fabricated pieces providing end users with a range of options.
Magnum Magnetics recommends its DigiMag PLUS 2 for short-term POP graphics. It includes a tear- and scruff-resistant laminate, which helps the final graphic withstand everyday wear and tear. The product also features a one year outdoor rating. The printable surface is waterproof, making it ideal for exterior signage in addition to graphics found in indoor environments.
Master Magnetics’ magnetic and magnetic-receptive media is ideal for short-term POP due to ease of install, change out, and removal. Both PrintMagnet Vinyl and FlexIRON magnetic-receptive sheeting can be printed on with solvent, eco-solvent, UV, and latex inks to provide versatility.
Visual Magnetics have relaunched an optimized version of SYNpaper, one of their most popular magnetic receptive media. A newly optimized value option, it is a 12-mil bright white synthetic paper with a satin surface. Like the rest of the products found in the Visual Magnetics portfolio, end users benefit by working with each graphic as a layered application to update time-sensitive marketing without replacing the entire graphic.
Vendors offer pressure-sensitive film, rigid substrates, and magnetic-receptive media specifically targeted toward signage used for a limited amount of time.
When determining whether a product is ideal for shorter term applications, print providers should consider durability, image quality, and value.
Despite being in place for a minimum span of time, these graphics are frequently handled. Due to the need for printed advertisements to emote a feeling of high quality, image quality is an important component. Value is a factor because substrates used for a short period should not necessarily cost less than materials used in a longer term application.
For PSPs looking to maximize their short-term POP work, there is no shortage of available media. Utilizing the correct product further expands opportunity.
Oct2014, Digital Output