By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Outdoor displays are popular for events hosted outside. Paired with digitally printed materials, outdoor systems are available as bars/counters, canopies, flags, signs, and tents.
Construction advancements in display hardware make it possible for outdoor displays to be a safe, attractive solution in a variety of weather. Specific features designed with durability like weighted bases and heavy poles are especially important to withstand harsh weather like wind and snow.
Let’s Head Outdoors
Outdoor display systems are a popular choice for a variety of outdoor events such as charity walks, fairs, flea markets, road races, and pop-up shops. Despite the weather conditions, promotional displays are often utilized by a variety of companies across all industries.
“Year round outdoor promotional displays are utilized by companies to market passersby,” shares Alex Frederick, marketing supervisor, Orbus Exhibit & Display Group. Gas stations, restaurants, schools, storefronts, car dealerships, sporting arenas, and park districts are several types of companies consistently using outdoor displays.
Outdoor events are becoming a less expensive form of advertising in large audience settings. As a result, outdoor display systems such as flags, signs, tents, podiums, and canopies are in high demand. “More are finding it valuable to use outdoor signs and displays as an attention-getter,” says a representative from Birttani Display.
David Nanamaker, national sales manager, Expand International, agrees, “as more experiential events move outdoors, the demand continue to increase.”
Outdoor solutions not only provide advertising opportunities, but also coverage from the elements. For example, tents and canopies protect against rain while also offering branding opportunities.
Displays are available for both permanent and temporary solutions. Short-term systems are particularly popular in the retail industry to attract pedestrians to storefronts and limited-time sales. Megan O’Shaughnessy, president, Bowman Displays, offers, “whether it is building identification to a pop-up shop type location, as the economy grows so does the desire for outdoor displays.”
To be durable for outdoor use, manufacturers improve the construction of outdoor display systems. These advancements include weighted bases, water-resistant materials, and ground spikes.
“Not every portable display should be used outside,” admits Frederick. To ensure clients receive the most durable and efficient product, print service providers (PSPs) should ensure the displays are rated for outdoor use. Outdoor-specific solutions utilize durable aluminum, plastic, and fiberglass materials for frameworks, poles, and bases, as well as specific fabrics and printed materials that are water resistant and help ensure messages last outdoors. When incorrect materials are used, Frederick says it can create a hazard for event attendees—especially if a strong gust of wind comes through.
To avoid incidents and withstand harsher conditions, materials and durable construction hardware are constantly updated. O’Shaughnessy notices a large movement to rust-resistant elements like aluminum or treated powder coated steel, fiberglass pole systems, and breathable fabrics to move with the wind.
“The key to any outdoor item is the ability to withstand outdoor elements, specifically wind,” adds Nanamaker. For example, large items like flags should be anchored to a base that withstands high winds.
However, he warns that many manufacturers cut corners and don’t wind rate their products. This can be dangerous if setup is in adverse conditions. “As with any outdoor event, your judgement needs to be used for extreme wind, rain, or lightning. If it seems dangerous, it probably is.”
Outdoor display hardware includes specific features that make it durable for the outdoors. These features are particularly important to keep end users and passersby safe in adverse weather conditions.
Durability features are often designated by the type of outdoor display system. For example, flag hardware is made so the flag can spin with the wind while the graphic is created with a breathable yet durable material to prevent kite-like output, shares O’Shaughnessy.
Tents have adjustable bases and canopies to fit any terrain. Water-resistant canopies keep the elements out during a sudden downpour or sprinkle. O’Shaughnessy adds, “many signs are now water-filled bases to weight the sign to keep sturdy during wind gusts.”
According to Cathy Kovacs, product manager, Displays2go, weighted bases and spring suspension ensures messages remain upright and visible in fair or foul weather.
Options such as wide base feet, ground spikes, and weighted ballasts provide stability and durability while aluminum and stainless steel hardware provide customers a balance between lightweight yet durable construction, says Kent Dunham, VP, sales, Showdown Displays.
For example, select signs are available with a ground spike that uses a sealed bearing. “This allows the sign to rotate freely while preventing dirt and moisture from penetrating the mechanism,” explains Dunham.
With outdoor display systems growing in popularity, today’s display manufacturers are creating new, innovative designs to attract attention.
Functionality is becoming a large trend as new developments continue to reach the market. “You can get an outdoor display that is made for the outdoors, but is it travel friendly?” asks a representative of Birttani Display. Additional considerations include ease of transporting, storage, graphic change out, and appearance. “Customers are always looking for these details when sourcing for physical advertising.”
Illumination is popular in every portable and modular display solution, including outdoor systems. “The fabrics and hardware used in outdoor displays makes it easy to add a lighting kit for illumination without having to make any changes to the display,” adds Frederick.
PSPs should also ensure they use the best outdoor-quality media to remain competitive. According to Nanamaker, this includes water-repellant properties and prints that don’t fade too quickly under sun exposure.
Outdoor displays are now more common than ever as businesses move outside for pop-up events like craft fairs, festivals, retail shopping, and road races. Before selecting an outdoor display, it’s important that the system is durable enough to withstand harsh conditions and keep surrounding participants safe.
The second part of this series provides a selection of available outdoor displays.
Jan2020, Digital Output