By Melissa Donovan
Part 1 of 2
Floor graphics are a growing request from marketers and brand owners. Print service providers (PSPs) familiar with adhesive-backed films and vinyl understand the nuances that go into printing and installing this application. It is a logical extension of other work like wallcoverings and window graphics.
Those businesses that evolve with the industry are well equipped to offer floor graphics to their customers. Davis Sign Co., based in San Rafael, CA, is one of those companies.
Moving with Technology
Davis Sign Co. began in 1980 when Milton Davis and his wife purchased Marin Sign Co. and subsequently changed the name of the business. Davis had an interest in art and prior to owning his own business, served an apprenticeship.
Initially offering hand lettering, Davis Sign Co. transferred into digital with a Gerber Scientific Products’ vinyl plotter. As the industry evolved, so too did the shop’s hardware. The next iteration of technology presented a Gerber etching machine. Adding a ColorPainter printer from Seiko Instruments U.S.A., Inc. was the company’s introduction to digital print.
Today, four employees take up a little over 2,000 square feet of work space. In addition to Davis and his wife, his two sons also are part of the organization. Milton Davis Jr. of Davis Sign Co., says that it’s truly a family business, with his own wife helping out in various aspects of the company.
The PSP’s primary service offerings span large format digital print to custom made signs. Clients are mostly local with some in the San Francisco and East Bay areas.
These customers rely on the many devices found in Davis Sign Co.’s production space. The company is home to a Roland DGA Corp. SOLJET pro 4 XR-640 printer/cutter, a Canon Solutions America Océ Arizona 318 GL flatbed with white ink, a 5×10-foot CNC router, a Gerber Dimension 200 router used for braille and ADA work, a Graphtec America, Inc. cutter, Royal Sovereign laminator, and a Gerber Odyssey 48-inch plotter.
Davis Sign Co. offers customers banners, retail signage, point of purchase, trade show graphics, stickers/decals/labels, bus and transportation graphics, wallcoverings, and backlit signs.
Floor graphics are about ten percent of its business. According to Davis Jr. they are more one-off projects instead of multi-piece jobs. Since the company’s client base is local, these customers request smaller jobs, but frequently place repeat orders.
Of course, this is the nature of a floor graphic, says Davis Jr. “A floor graphic is pretty when first applied, but it loses its vibrancy pretty quick with people constantly walking on it. Customers are always re-ordering.”
Part of the allure in repeat business is the cost. “While many customers purchasing floor graphics want it to last a long time, realistically it’s only used for a few months. The quality needs to be good for the amount of time it is in place, and while we don’t pride ourselves on being the cheapest out there, we are able to offer floor graphics at a reasonable cost thanks to the materials we use,” shares Davis Jr.
Those materials include AlumiGraphics GRIP by FloorSignage, which is specifically designed for the creation of outdoor floor graphics. It is able to be printed directly with UV ink, without any laminate applied after; the graphic is ready to install after it is trimmed to the desired shape.
AlumiGraphics, according to Davis Jr., plays into the growing trend of short turnarounds. It’s easy to print and there is no time wasted in the lamination or drying process, accommodating customers who need graphics fast. A product like this, says Davis Jr., helps the industry grow floor graphics’ popularity. Saving in cost and time, it is an ideal option.
For indoor work, Davis Sign Co. regularly uses with 3M Commercial Solutions’ 3M Controltac Print Film 40C. It is an immediate vinyl film with an air release.
Davis Jr. says he sees a lot of indoor floor graphics placed in high-traffic areas like lobbies, promoting a brand or introducing visitors to the business. Outdoors, customers commonly use floor graphics underneath awnings of automotive shops.
Whether indoors or outdoors, the client’s comfort level, the size of the print, and geographical destination of the final graphics dictate whether the PSP installs the graphic or the client does.
For example, the print provider just completed work for a lumber company who requested 18×24-inch—on the smaller side of what Davis Sign Co. usually does—floor graphics for each of its distributors. The order, which was 200 pieces and included tips on how to install, was packaged and sent to the lumber company’s headquarters. From there, the lumber company mailed out the graphics to each of his distribution centers to install on their own.
The team at Davis Sign Co. printed the graphics using its Seiko ColorPainter. For this job, it relied on media from Catalina Graphic Films, specifically the company’s Walk-On Graphics from the Mojave Digital Media line. Walk-On Graphics are available in two different options, both are kits that include a base film and a laminate.
Davis Jr. explains that the material is ideal for those customers just starting to utilize floor graphics because the shop offers it as such a reasonable price point.
Best Materials for Repeat Business
Floor graphics are a small part of Davis Sign Co.’s overall service offering, however the company makes a conscious effort to seek out the best materials for this application and ensure top performance for their customers. The result is high-quality graphics that translate to repeat business.
Nov2015, Digital Output DOFL1511