By Melissa Donovan
With the ability to print on virtually anything, a new challenge is presented to the print service provider (PSP), how to properly—and politely—convey to customers what works and what doesn’t in regards to final design aesthetic and the intended environment.
New materials are brought to market at a rapid pace and brand managers are keen to stand out with unique point of purchase (POP) displays. Respecting the expertise of a print provider is instrumental to success.
The Graphic Source, based in Fairfax, CA, recognizes the importance of experience. Established in 1996 by Chris Lopin and his wife Lori after previously acting as the West Coast sales arm of an East Coast-based printing company, the PSP’s services include print production, POP displays, promotional items, and graphic fixtures.
The PSP defines itself as a production company. “Our production and execution capabilities are such a strength that our brand strategy and design capabilities are commonly overlooked, but clients get that value from us, complementary to the high-quality prints,” explains Jeff Lo, COO, The Graphic Source.
To further explain his point, Lo points to the firm’s ability to see beyond the customer’s vision. This recently occurred with a client looking to create aisle markings out of solid wood and metal. While this was possible, the customer was not thinking about the practical issues accompanying the final install, in addition to the elevated risk of it falling onto the sales floor below. The Graphic Source stepped in to address the concern and created a product out of aluminum that maintained the visual appearance of wood and metal.
Retail Build Out
A majority of The Graphic Source’s work is print and retail build outs. These jobs include temporary aisle markings, wallcoverings, posters, and floor graphics, all the way to permanent fixtures, wayfinding signage, and storefront window displays.
A regular client is AAA. The provider celebrates nearly a decade of business with the motor and travel organization. In a recent project, it created various ADA signage, decorative pieces, and wayfinding solutions for multiple locations throughout Northern CA, NV, and UT.
The PSP printed a wallcovering for one branch location with a roll-to-roll Canon device on 3M Commercial Graphics vinyl media that depicted Muir Woods National Monument, located 12 miles north of San Francisco, CA.
The PSP’s creative team took a standard, digital image of Muir Woods and up converted it to print on the 20-foot wide graphic while maintaining the high resolution of the original image.
“Many times a wallcovering is a challenging process, due to the many variables that affect installation—wall texture, dust, paint type, and adhesive strength of the vinyl relative to the surface,” explains Lo. However, in this scenario, by conducting a prior site survey and working with the architectural team to understand the wall materials, the graphic was applied by the PSP’s installation team without surprises.
Several posters were also printed on a Lambda photographic printer and placed around the store. As part of the build out, the PSP developed a family of fixtures to accommodate floor standing, countertop, and wall mounted graphics in various sizes. Lo explains that part of the value The Graphic Source provides to its customers comes from these finishing touches.
“Customers don’t always see the task of procuring hardware to be a fun one. But with our resources and fabrication abilities we can reliably present options that fit their style and budget,” adds Lo.
In addition to the aforementioned work, the company also created a 13 oz. outdoor vinyl banner and floor graphics printed on a Durst Image Technology US LLC Rho 512R five-meter UV printer.
Concurrent with the series of retail build outs was a promotion that helped increase foot traffic. The Graphic Source worked with an overseas manufacturer to create 50,000 blankets commemorating the last season of Candlestick Park—home of the San Francisco 49ers football franchise. Every customer who came into a AAA branch and requested an insurance quote with AAA received a blanket. For those stores not located in 49er fan territory, an AAA-branded blanket was offered.
Three Stars for AAA
The Graphic Source’s experience and print know-how helped it to execute a multitude of applications for AAA with little challenges. Thanks to digital wide format, the one-stop shop provided high-quality graphics. “From a high level, we want to say we can do it all—design, print, POP, and promotional,” concludes Lo.
May2014, Digital Output