By Lisa Guerriero
Dynamic digital signage—sometimes called non-static signage, LED display, or e-signage—is a new frontier for many print providers. Shops can supplement static print services and provide a high-tech option to customers. There is also profit potential in offering combined print and dynamic digital displays.
TrioSigns, located in Hopkinsville, KY, boosted its sign and visual communications business by introducing LED displays. The owners view digital displays as complementary to their print-based services.
“Ultimately, we see digital signage as another powerful, new-media tool that strengthens a company’s visual communication strategy when integrated properly within an array of intentionally positioned visual mediums,” says Matt Bowling, co-owner and creative director, TrioSigns.
Demand for Digital
Bowling, and Jeremy Martin and Ross Wyatt, co-owners, TrioSigns, established the company in 2005. The 12-person team works out of an 11,000 square foot headquarters and operates two sales sites in KY and TN. The print provider serves customers throughout Western KY and middle TN, focusing on helping smaller businesses fortify and expand their brands.
TrioSigns offers a variety of services including vehicle wraps, indoor and outdoor signage, and graphic design. It prints daily on its Mimaki USA, Inc. JV33-160 and plans to add another printer soon.
A few years ago, the owners noticed customers were repeatedly requesting digital displays. In response, the trio pursued a supplier and introduced LED displays in 2010.
“We couldn’t ignore the demand from our market,” explains Bowling.
TrioSigns changed dynamic sign suppliers after a couple years, after realizing the high price of the LED displays from this particular provider deterred customers and potential clients. With its new provider, Uber Displays, the firm notices improved profit margins.
“We are able to maintain the high quality and ease of use that customers demand, at a much lower price point,” notes Bowling.
The firm sells Uber Displays’ hardware as well as the software that allows the customer to interact with the system. About ten percent of the company’s sign and display work is dynamic digital displays.
“That’s pretty significant considering our margins, and the investment our customers have to bring to this,” observes Bowling. He notes the cost is more accessible to customers than in the past—and TrioSigns is able to offer the service profitably.
Customers sometimes ask for LED signage, and in other cases the firm suggests it to them. Often, the LED screen acts as a focal point or accent within a larger print display.
“They’re using the dynamic capacity of the LED display to really market the product,” says Bowling. “We’ve always wanted to offer a full-circle solution.”
The firm works with the customer to design the display, and then sends the order to Uber Displays for programming. TrioSigns then installs the display and shows the client how to use the software, Lightswitch, which was a major incentive in choosing the Uber Displays brand, as the owners feel it is user intuitive. The firm also offers LED signage on a rental basis.
Marquee to Message Center
TrioSigns recently combined LED and print during a job for the Y of Hopkinsville, KY. A few years ago the YMCA rebranded as the Y. The organization wanted to update the sign outside the Hopkinsville location to reflect the change in name, logo, and color scheme.
The Hopkinsville Y also wanted to improve the overall appearance of its sign. It was previously a marquee style with repositionable letters, which failed to attract attention and required employee time to swap out the letters.
“People get used to it and they stop looking at it,” observes Bowling. “The Y wanted to replace a somewhat antiquated marquee sign with a digital display that would capture the attention of traffic entering their parking lot.”
TrioSigns suggested utilizing an LED display, since the Y still wanted a platform for announcing notices and events. The firm developed a plan for a header cabinet sign with printed messaging, an LED display below it, and the Y logo printed on the skirt.
“Since the target for the display was to be vehicle traffic entering the parking lot at under 15 mph, an Uber 10—ten millimeter (mm)—display at 114×38 inches was chosen. This size combined with the high-resolution of the ten mm display made it ideal for slow-moving traffic within close range of the display,” explains Bowling.
The firm assembled the cabinet and skirt in house. It printed the messaging on 3M Commercial Solutions 3M Scotchcal Translucent Graphic Film Series 3630 with its Mimaki JV33-160, and created the logo with metallic film from 3M. It also handled installation.
From development to installation, it took about six weeks to finish the job. The final step was training the Y to use Uber Displays’ Lightswitch software.
“The client quickly became fluent in the operation of the display and the sign has been blazing ever since,” notes Bowling.
Dynamic digital signage expands a print provider’s services, supplying an option that is increasingly in demand. Shops can also enhance print displays by incorporating digital screens. Marketable to both new and existing customers, e-signage represents profit potential.
Aug2015, Digital Output DODS1508