According to I.T. Strategies, the worldwide retail value of wide format print graphics is slated to grow to almost $12.7 billion by 2012, compared to $9.8 billion in 2007—a compound annual growth rate of five percent. Two of the largest applications spurring this growth are point of purchase signage and trade show graphics. A vast amount of digitally printed products fall under these two headings. Banner stands, corrugated board, window graphics, and floor graphics are all included.
Floor graphics can lead a willing consumer along a path to a main event, promotion, or product in a clear and innovative way. Interactive applications, like floor graphics, generally result in greater ROI due to the ability to captivate an audience.
Advancements in media manufacturing allow for this application, which is susceptible to the harshest elements—constant human foot traffic, to be used in short- and long-term projects depending on promotional product timelines. Popular areas where floor graphics are displayed include retail stores, supermarkets, and drugstores.
A Little of Everything
Communication Exhibits, Inc. (CEI) specializes in custom exhibit design and exhibit production, with many of the trade show booths the company creates utilizing floor graphics. The 90-employee shop is based in Canal Fulton, OH but services accounts all over the U.S. Additionally, the shop owns warehouses in Las Vegas, NV and Orlando, FL.
The company, founded in 1977 by Dick McLaughlin, is a family-run business. Dick’s son Scott is now the CEO of the company. "Scott has spent the last 25 years building a team of enthusiastic, creative, and hardworking professionals," explains Brian Walters, VP creative services, CEI.
The 120,000 square foot shop hosts in-house capabilities such as graphic design, mounting, laminating, vinyl graphics, video production, engineering, and metal fabrication, in addition to exhibit production.
CEI prints graphics up to 72 inches wide with its four Roland DGA Corporation inkjet printers—two of which are eco-solvent printers and one printer/cutter. The shop also utilizes a 48- and 24-inch Roland vinyl cutter, a Gerber Scientific Products, Inc. Gerber EDGE FX, and a 60-inch Seal laminator.
Walters admits that floor graphics make up a small percentage of the shop’s business—seven percent. However, he fully supports the benefits of the application. "You cannot deny the affect it can have in the trade show arena," Walters shares. He refers to floor graphics as a "strategic advantage" at trade shows.
A large number of the floor graphics the company creates are for trade show exhibits; considered short-term, these graphics are subjected to a very heavy amount of foot traffic. To ensure that a finished floor graphic withstands all the elements for the entire duration of use, CEI uses MACtac Graphic Products’ IMAGin JT5829 removable digital media and laminates with MACtac’s Permacolor PF6300.
There is a lot of potential for floor graphics in the exhibit industry, according to Walters. "The material is easy to apply directly to convention floors and can be used in combination with carpet and vinyl flooring."
There are a variety of reasons why this application generates high amounts of foot traffic. "Designing an image with a lot of impact brings a whole new look to a particular area inside a booth, reinforces new products, creates brand awareness, and helps guide traffic flow. Using floor graphics outside the exhibit space, for instance, in the lobby of the exhibit hall, aisles, or in private function rooms, creates a lot of awareness also," he explains.
When captivated by creative floor graphics visitors can also be visually guided upward, directing attention to other parts of the exhibit. "Using the floor graphic material on counter surfaces and tables can bring your message from the floor to the next level," Walters continues.
Floor graphics are easily removable and are used for another trade show or product focus if suited for long-term, repeatable use.
Recently, CEI completed an exhibit project for MACtac’s roll label division. The trade show booth was used to launch new products at Label Expo 2008 in Chicago, IL. MACtac initially envisioned a high-tech booth. According to Walters they did not originally request floor graphics, but when he suggested an interactive floor plan, "it did not take long to convince MACtac representatives that complementing the area with floor graphics would generate a lot of attention." It took approximately eight months for the entire application to be completed—from design to install.
The floor graphic located in the main booth highlighted the interactive projection floor, entitled Eye-Step. The interactive tool utilized an overhead projector to extend interactive messaging onto the floor. This element of the trade show booth identified with MACtac’s current theme of "seriously cool technology."
MACtac media was used to create the eight- by 11-foot projection area, which was surrounded by a 20x20-foot blue floor graphic.
Besides designing, printing, and installing the 55x60-foot trade show booth, CEI created two large floor graphics for the main lobby in the exhibit hall. The graphic placed in the lobby served as a tool compelling visitors to visit MACtac’s booth.
"Even with the heavy floor traffic and scuff marks from the attendees’ shoes, the graphics held up great and were easy to clean up in just a few minutes at the end of each day," shares Walters.
Value in the Right Direction
Although floor graphics may not be a primary request for CEI customers, it serves as a value-add. "Customers choose floor graphics as another opportunity to carry out their message. Floor graphics are a very effective tool in the trade show market, especially when a customer is looking for a way to highlight a new product or guide people around a booth," concludes Walters.
Digitally printed signage’s main goal, when done correctly, is to entice the viewer to visit and ultimately purchase a product. To actually purchase a product, the consumer must know where it is located. Floor graphics are an easy, interactive, and colorful way to direct consumers to a sale.