By Cassandra Balentine
Implemented as social distancing markers for nearly every open business, floor graphics exploded during the peak of COVID-19.
Aside from the pandemic, floor graphics serve as a great resource for retailers and trade show and event venues. Many media vendors offer dedicated solutions for this space, featuring characteristics ideal for common floor surfaces from carpet to cement.
Above: From posters to signs and banners to trade show materials, Chicago Print Group is well adept at creating wide format graphics with fast turnaround times.
Two years ago, floor graphics were a major piece of revenue for many print organizations, including Chicago Print Group, Inc. The company, which has been operational since 1996, changed hands in 2013, when Paul Denst, president, Chicago Print Group, purchased an existing reprographic business.
The print provider has evolved since then, and today it operates out of one location with 25 employees and 33,000 square feet of space in Calumet Park, just outside of Chicago, IL. The shop serves mainly Fortune 500 retail customers and employees with a vast array of digital printing equipment, including an Inca Onset X Series press with 3/4 automation, HP Latex 3600, d.gen Telios Grande G5 fabric printer, and VK300D-HS flatbed and VKR3200-HS roll device from Vanguard Digital Printing Systems, a Durst Group Company, along with several other printers.
From posters to signs and banners to trade show materials, Chicago Print Group is well adept at creating wide format graphics with fast turnaround times. It has printing capabilities from 126-inch rolls to 5×10-foot rigid sheets.
The company also offers graphic design services, commercial printing, displays and merchandising, as well as everything in between. Denst describes the slate of services as really anything involved in point of purchase/point of sale.
Functional Floor Graphics
Among its wide format offerings, floor graphics represent a small, but essential application for Chicago Print Group.
Throughout the early months of the pandemic, floor graphics were part of a collaborative “COVID Kit” that included useful items for restaurants, like hand sanitizer, counter cards, tamper-evident labels, and disposable masks. During the initial phases of the pandemic, 30,000 of these kits were produced, including 150,000 floor graphics. These kits were provided for no charge to customers of a large food service distributor.
Aside from COVID-related projects, floor graphics were and are now also included in immersive retail displays, as part of an overall campaign that includes signage. Denst has created these for clients like major beverage companies, which use floor graphics to resemble a football field with complementary graphics surrounding it.
He also sees a move towards interactive uses, including quick response (QR) codes as part of an overall marketing strategy.
The print provider chooses to produce its floor graphics with digital roll-to-roll devices. For media, its go-to is the General Formulations Concept 210 base film and Concept 109 non-skid overlaminate. They are printed on a 54-inch roll and then laminated offline.
General Formulations is Chicago Print Group’s house media. “We use quite a bit of their media, including low-tack vinyls, gloss, and matte options. I have tried a few other products and we just find their products easy to use at a good price point,” shares Denst.
There is a preference toward a two-step floor graphic system to a one step, mainly due to cost and quality. “The two-step process is a smooth vinyl that prints nicer. With one step you’re laying the ink on over the non-skid surface,” explains Denst. He has tried both one- and two-step processes and recognizes the benefits of each depending on the application.
Floor graphics represent one piece of the vast portfolio of printing services offered by Chicago Print Group. While it was one of the top-requested products during the pandemic, today, floor graphics are utilized as part of high-impact integrated marketing displays.
Dec2022, Digital Output