By Melissa Donovan
Part 1 of 2
Floor graphics are one of the standout applications of the past 12 months. No doubt their usefulness has shined through in multiple environments when it comes to social distance messaging as well as directional signage.
Many print service providers (PSPs) offered floor graphic services pre-COVID-19 pandemic, however these were typically found in retail spaces as ways to promote a new product or at events like trade shows to point attendees in the correct direction.
Image Options is in the business of designing, printing, and fabricating environments and visual experiences for retail, Fortune 1000 companies, and exhibits and events. Founded in 1999, it employs 130 full-time team members out of two facilities with a combined footprint of 150,000 square feet. The company’s corporate office and production facility is located in Foothill Ranch, CA.
“Our core services are large format print, finishing, and fabrication, including custom displays, metal and wood fabrication, and installation. These services are distributed among our key client sectors of retail, corporate interior environments, exhibit, and event,” explains Barry Polan, SVP, sales and marketing, Image Options.
Almost all these sectors utilize floor graphics in some way. Traditionally, retail was the most frequent user of the application for advertising as well as directional signage. Trade shows and event customers are second in line, requesting floor graphics for an enhanced attendee experience.
More recently, Polan experienced increased demand for floor graphics utilized to provide distance reminders and foot traffic guidance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To create these graphics, Image Options works with a broad hardware portfolio including machines from EFI, Epson, Mimaki USA, Inc., and Ricoh USA. It relies on media from various manufacturers like 3M Commercial Solutions, DreamScape, and FLEXcon. According to Polan, these vendors are chosen because of the reliability of material, quality, and ability to consistently deliver large volumes.
Print providers have options when comes to floor graphic material, and not just between vendors, but type. There are one- and two-step systems available. Two-step systems involve a base media as well as a skid- and/or slip-resistant overlaminate. One-step systems do not require a laminate, with the media providing skid and slip resistance on its own.
3M Controltac Print Film 40C-10R is a 3-mil non-cast white print film in gloss. It is offered in luster as well, as 3M Controltac Print Film 40C-20R. Both offer printability with slide, tack, and snap up. A two-system product, suggested overlaminates include 3M Scotchcal Luster Overlaminate 8509 and 3M Scotchcal Luster Overlaminate 3645.
DreamScape Ravello and Caviar Wall + Floor Wrap are wall and floor graphic material with self-adhesive backing. Both are thick 13-mil vinyl, weighing 15 oz with a textured surface. The gritty texture is slip resistant and also certified for use on floors. These are one-step systems with no lamination necessary.
FLEXcon FLEXmark and FLEXmark floor art indoor floor, carpet, and outdoor walkway graphic systems provide printability, durability, and clean removability for up to 180 days—indoor floor and carpet, or 90 days—outdoor walkway. When used as a two-step system, the base films along with overlaminates, meet industry accepted standards (UL 410) for slip resistance.
At Image Options, the best system depends on the material and the application in question. “Some products have a protective surface that we want exposed, others will need lamination in order to enhance the surface for durability and grip, others are designed this way. We prefer to utilize the brands that do not require the lamination,” notes Polan.
Major Retail Customer
Image Options recently completed a large project for a major retail client with more than 50 300,000 square foot or larger superstores. According to Polan, these “mega retail destinations have considerable traffic and are fortunately in a sector that has been in relatively high demand throughout the pandemic.”
The goal was to provide a solution that could effectively guide consumers throughout their shopping journey, with a focus on reminding shoppers about proper distancing and direction guidelines. This was achieved through adhesive signage and floor graphics, all produced in house at Image Options under a tight turnaround time.
“We are now seeing all business environments choose floor graphics for guidance and demarcations for social distancing. Retailers and shopping centers, restaurants, schools and universities, corporations, and hospitals are all turning to floor graphics to help employees and guests stay safely engaged and active,” explains Polan.
Success on the Floor
In additional to retail, floor graphics are now used in restaurants, healthcare locations, commercial buildings, and educational facilities. While the messaging may differ, the product and quality needs remain the same. A digitally printed piece that effectively relays the message and remains in place for the duration of time allotted—without graphic failures, which could lead to mishaps or falls.
Be sure to register for our recent webinar, Floor Graphics Growth Leads to Options, and learn more about the various material options, one- and two-step solutions, and recent design trends for this application. Click here.
Mar2021, Digital Output