With a common focus on showy applications—such as vehicle wraps, building graphics, floor graphics, and wallcoverings—it’s easy to overlook simpler jobs classified as signage. Basic banners and flags are ideal for a range of environments, especially as materials advance in the way of long-lasting durability and the ability to offer a vast color gamut with the correct ink set.
Due to these enhancements, the quality of digital print, and the cost effectiveness of a short run or one off on a digital device, parade signage is an excellent addition to any production house. Custom made items such as flags or banners are found in parades are suited for print service providers (PSPs) looking to capture more business and keep printers operational during downtime.
Established in July 2012, JW Media/777Sign.com reaches customers nationwide from its Las Vegas, NV location and hopes to go international in the next few years. While the company specializes in print order fulfillment to retail stores and print resellers, it also offers custom made items such as outdoor flags, LED light boxes, banners, adhesive vinyl, display stands, and fabric banners.
Each of these applications is created digitally with a Roland DGA Corporation eco-solvent printer in house. “We’ve been printing digitally for as long as the business has been around. It is easy and has been a real time saver for us. It leaves our clients happy and satisfied,” explains Ju Wang, owner, JW Media.
Of its banner and signage selection, about 15 percent is created specifically for parades. These requests come in from a variety of clients including schools, businesses, cities, and non-profit organizations. These same customers generally have an idea of what they would like printed on their signage when they order.
Wang says parade signage requests come in year round and the PSP is equipped to accommodate them whether it’s on a two week deadline or required in 24 hours. Depending on how big the signage order is these jobs can be ready same or next day. Bulk orders are ready for shipment in one to three business days.
Based on the situation, Wang and his team advise customers on whether to use fabric or vinyl for parade signage. “If the sign they want is a one-time use, for example, we tend to let customers know that vinyl is their best bet. For longer usage of the sign, we lean towards the option of getting a fabric banner,” he explains.
Vital Signs is a repeat client of JW Media that has worked with the company since October 2012. They recently requested four banners printed and finished in 24 hours. Three of the banners measured 720x30 inches and were printed on 16 oz. matte vinyl banner with hemming and grommets. Another banner measured 240x30 inches and was printed on the same material and underwent the same finishing techniques.
This rush job was not without its challenges. In the pre-production stage the design team realized the fonts in the graphic were not outlined and images in the file were not embedded. After trying to fix the graphic themselves, they had to contact the client for new file. Luckily, Vital Signs sent over images and fonts within a half hour to keep the job on track.
Printed on the Roland printer with eco-solvent inks, all four banners required a long finishing process. Hemming tape lined the edges and grommets were hand pressed with a machine. Despite the tedious process the four banners were completed ahead of schedule and shipped the following day via UPS Ground. Vital Signs was very pleased with the final outcome.
Carry the Banner
Parade signage is an easy sell and the print process is no different than the creation of any other banner or flag. However, just because it is similar does not mean it is without its challenges, as JW Media experienced with the Vital Signs job. Expanding application versatility means keeping a keen eye on the process from pre-production to finishing, and if that is done, jobs can be completed on time and out the door—allowing for adequate preparation on the next project.
Click here to read part one of this exclusive online series, Capture the Flag.