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Modernistic 3D POP

POP Takes a New Shape

By Kim Crowley

Modernistic Inc. specializes in point of purchase (POP) displays, fleet, and OEM graphics. The Stillwater, MN-based company serves customers worldwide, including retailers, marketers, financial institutions, automotive, and medical firms. Founded in 1938, the third generation family-owned shop employs 170 and operates in a 160,000 square foot production facility.

Creative POP captures the buyer’s attention, evokes emotion, and ultimately leads to sales and satisfied customers. About 80 percent of the jobs Modernistic completes are POP. The shop employs state-of-the-art equipment and inventive solutions to bring the greatest return on customer investments.

Shape3D Digital Projection Signage is a recent addition to Modernistic’s portfolio. It adds an eye-catching element to POP. The system uses a rear-projection screen. The image appears as multi-dimensional. The screens consist of self-adhesive film for windows, counters, and transparent partitions; and can be custom cut into shapes.

Tools of the Trade
In addition to POP, Modernistic produces fleet graphics; banners; floor and window graphics; merchandising strips; wood displays; converted products; visual merchandising kits; decals; backlit graphics; easels; special effects such as glow-in-the-dark, magnetic receptive inks; and digital signage.

Projects entail in-house design, die making and cutting, plastic fabrication with heat bending and routing, sewing, welding, grommeting, laminating, kitting, shrink wrapping, shipping, and inventory management.

Speed is key for Modernistic customers. "All the advantages of fast track digital printing are lost if a POP job gets bogged down by old school finishing processes," says Jim Schulte, Co-CEO, Modernistic. He adds, "The faster our customers get promotions posted, the more competitive and successful they remain. That’s what drives them to us—they know we deliver quickly, efficiently, and professionally."

Modernistic addresses customer budgets and quick turnaround needs with new technology and innovations. A Zünd precision cutter and a horizontal panel saw are new additions to the company’s equipment line-up. "The quality of a display’s appearance is critical to every advertiser, so the saw’s incredible accuracy is key in delivering a product that meets and exceeds customer demand," says Schulte. With the saw, the shop delivers POP with clean, accurate, and smooth edges and dimensions on a wide variety of materials. The horizontal saw holds the material stable for precise cutting and trimming, preventing faulty cuts.

The Zünd cutter allows Modernistic to keep customization in-house. "These days more POP advertisers need customization," says Scott Schulte, president, Modernistic.  "This technology allows us to easily adhere to a customer’s individual and unique design specifications. By offering this option, we eliminate the time and stress associated with locating specialized vendors."

Modernistic uses several large format devices. The company owns an eight-foot WP Digital AG UV direct to substrate inkjet printer, an 80-inch Rho 600 UV flatbed from Durst Image Technology US LLC, a 60-inch Hewlett-Packard (HP) Designjet 5500 PS thermal inkjet, and a 60x141-inch HP Scitex TJ UV inkjet, in addition to a range of finishing equipment.

Living POP
Electronic retailer Best Buy chose Modernistic’s Shape3D system to drive traffic to a new store at the Mall of America, located in Bloomington, MN. The Best Buy POP project uses rear-projection to generate interest. "We combined traditional printing with plastic fabrication to form a 3D display. Our objective was to draw dramatic attention to the client’s new store," notes DeAnn Strenke, marketing manager, Modernistic.

Two life-size, human shaped standees—approximately six feet tall—use the Shape3D digital projection system. The standees are printed by Modernistic on the Durst Rho on half-inch clear acrylic, then router cut and solvent welded. Modernistic’s in-house design department does the creative work.

The standee, rear projection system, and sound make the display look realistic and draw attention. "Since the standee is a non-traditional shaped video screen; it makes shoppers look twice," states Strenke.

The Best Buy standees are a success, bringing in customers and awards. "The standee is a showstopper, creating excitement and drawing large crowds and trade media to its two locations in the mall," says Strenke. "The display clearly underscored the retailer’s brand image as a technology leader in the electronics industry. Best Buy was ecstatic with the buzz and consumers’ reactions."

The Best Buy standee won the 2009 Digital Signage Display of the Year Award from POPAI—The Global Association for Marketing at Retail—this spring in Las Vegas, NV. The Shape3D project also earned a 2008 DIGI Award from The Digital Signage Group for Public Venue Application, Excellence in Creativity.

Creation to Fulfillment
North Star Water Conditioning is a customer that came to Modernistic with a need for a POP display to showcase the EcoPure automatic water filtration system at dealer shops. The informational sales display was challenged by the addition of a mounted unit. "It had to support the weight of a filter and keep it locked in place with a mounting collar," says Strenke.

The project began with Modernistic’s in-house design team, then it was produced and shipped to dealers. "It started from a pencil sketch and then morphed into a flat shippable display," says Strenke.

75 17x20-inch displays were printed on six millimeter white expanded PVC using the Durst Rho.

Finishing steps to the EcoPure displays included router cutting, attaching a pre-made literature holder, kitting, and shipping. "The displays are drop shipped to multiple locations with an instruction sheet on how to put the display together," explains Strenke.

North Star Water Conditioning loves the EcoPure POP displays. "They were grateful that we were able to bring their concept to life," states Strenke.

Sign of the Times
POP displays are changed often—to reflect the seasons, draw attention, and highlight new merchandise or offers. A waning U.S. economy and tightened marketing budgets effect the type of POP produced and how often it is changed out. "More brand marketers are going towards semi-permanent displays that are easily updated," points out Strenke.

Strenke notes that environmentalism is another contemporary issue that challenges Modernistic customers. "More of our customers are inquiring about environmentally friendly substrates and inks," she says. The company recycles nearly 30 tons of waste every month.

Modernistic Success
Strategic technology investments, customer-focused service offerings, and exciting new ideas keep Modernistic’s customers coming back.

From concept, through design, print and finishing, assembly, shipping, and inventory, the company delivers POP to a growing customer base. "At Modernistic we provide comprehensive finishing and fulfillment services, making sure we complete a project to satisfaction—start to finish," concludes Strenke.

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May2009, Digital Output

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