By Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 2
Many print providers familiar with floor graphics were tested as businesses opened back up to the public a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Tasked with creating socially distant messaging that would hold up in high-traffic environments led many sign shops to evaluate its materials as well as the printers that output to them.
Were these ink and substrate combinations—sometimes with an overlaminate—durable enough to withstand the environments they would be placed in? Print providers with solid backgrounds in floor graphics learned quickly what would work best and were able to provide companies with safety- and health-centric messaging.
Globe Print was established in January 2019 as a division of CSL, which originated in 2013. Operating out of its Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England 10,000 square foot headquarters, the six-person staff works with over ten wide format printers to serve both the public and private sector nationally, across the U.K.
The company classifies itself as a one-stop print shop, offering large format banners, signs, flags, and business print services. There is no one typical client, although, Nick Wintle, managing director, Globe Print, notes the company is always thrilled to work with local businesses.
Notable brands that Globe Print has completed work for include Andretti Formula E Team, National Health Service (NHS), Transport for London, Waitrose, local authorities, and a number of golf clubs.
Some customers may order business cards while others request attention-grabbing banners or posters, custom cut labels, and self-adhesive safety signs. Beyond printing to roll and sheet materials, the sign shop is also equipped to print direct to object on pens and phone cases.
80 percent of the company’s work is completed on wide format printers. Its in-house hardware includes SOLJET EJ-640, TrueVIS VG-640, VersaCAMM VSi-640, and VersaUV LEF-300D from Roland DGA Corporation; two DuraUV 640 printers from CSL Digital; a Fujifilm Vibrant 1600; Agfa M Series; HP Designjet 110; and Mimaki UCJV300.
“They have been chosen over the years as whilst most wide format devices can print a varied array of products, having a range of different solvent and UV printers gives us a major advantage in the diversity of solutions we can offer,” says Wintle.
One of those solutions is floor graphics, which pre-pandemic accounted for roughly 30 percent of the company’s business. At the initial rush for social distancing graphics, Wintle says this number soared to 80 percent.
While retail shops, local authorities, NHS, Transport for London, and golf clubs have always been regular requesters of floor graphics, since COVID-19 began, any business looking to open itself back up to staff and/or customers has been fair game when it comes to requesting the application.
“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the volume and style of floor graphics requested. As standard, we would supply floor graphics for wayfinders, shop branding, and promotional. Since COVID-19 hit in March 2020, the requests became more focused on COVID-19-specific graphics, such as hand washing, government guidance, and social distancing,” explains Wintle.
With the variety of clientele requesting floor graphics, the surface options are endless. To address this, Globe Print relies on a few different materials to ensure the success of the completed graphic.
Drytac Polar Grip is a go-to favorite, especially when paired with Drytac Interlam Pro Emerytex laminate, for metal, plastic, wood, glass, or brick surfaces. Drytac FloorTac is also used, especially when ceramic tiles, sealed wood, concrete, waxed vinyl, marble, or terrazzo are options. They are both printed on the solvent-based Roland SOLJET EJ-640 to provide quality graphics at high volumes.
Another product from Drytac that Globe Print uses is Drytac Polar PET 170. This is a PVC-free polyester film, ideal for environmentally focused retailers looking for “green” solutions. It works well on ceramic tile, sealed wood, concrete, waxed vinyl, and short pile carpet.
Drytac SpotOn Floor is another favorite for short pile carpet, floor or ceramic tiles, terrazzo, marble, concrete, or waxed vinyl. It is printed using DuraUV-640 and Mimaki UCJV300 printers—both UV based devices. The printers are economical to run and provide consistent color and quality.
Drytac Polar Street FX is printed on the Mimaki UCJV300 and Agfa M Series. The product is challenging, with Wintle admitting understanding how it performs from printing to finishing is key for successful performance. It is designed to adhere to low energy surfaces including brick, concrete, and asphalt.
For many of the jobs involving COVID-19-related messaging, the company found itself working quickly to get product to the client. At peak times, it was printing and finishing over 2,000 12-inch in diameter floor graphics a day.
Focused on Demand
Globe Print adapted to demand quickly at the height of the pandemic, creating social distancing floor graphics for many customers from different backgrounds. It leveraged its deep arsenal of wide format printers and wide breadth of media options to provide a solution for anyone, anywhere.
If you’d like to learn more about the various media options surrounding floor graphics, view our webinar, Floor Graphics Growth Leads to Options. Click here to register for the broadcast.
Mar2021, Digital Output