By Cassandra Balentine
Part 1 of 2
Print service providers (PSP) are tasked with producing a variety of signage for a broad mix of customers. Retail organizations are common clients that call on PSPs to create everything from shelf talkers to wall graphics.
One unique element in retail is the need for temporary and often seasonal signage. These businesses rely on holiday sales to drive traffic into the store and attract customers to specific products on the floor. Select print providers are attune to these client needs and focus on offering affordable, high-quality graphics that are presented for a minimal amount of time.
NonStop Signs is a PSP established in 2007 in Los Angeles, CA. At its start, the company operated out of a garage with one wide format printer. It has since grown, with over 20 employees and three locations.
The PSP offers a range of print services, handling everything from small to wide format print requests. In addition to printing, NonStop Signs also offers installation. Most of its work is considered wide format. Cole Canedy, COO, NonStop Signs, estimates that wide format work makes up 85 percent of the shop’s overall business.
The company started out with a Roland DGA Corporation wide format printer, but today its equipment lineup looks much different. It operates a Canon Solutions America Océ Arizona 460 GT wide format UV flatbed printer, which prints CMYK plus white; as well as an Epson SureColor S60600, a 64-inch printer that features Epson UltraChrome GS3 solvent ink in CMYK. It also uses an Esko Kongsberg i-XL24 cutter, which handles everything from kiss cutting to CNC routing.
Prior to this lineup, the shop operated four older printers. However, it needed more speed. After trying out a few models, it settled on the Epson SureColor S60600. “The Epson SureColor has been pivotal to our business. It produces much truer colors and matches customer expectations. Also, maintenance is a breeze and we’ve had no issues since purchase,” offers Canedy.
A large portion of NonStop Signs’ work is from retail clients. Canedy estimates this is upwards of 50 percent of the company’s clientele, while the remaining 50 percent is spread out among event and trade show graphics.
There is a mixture of long- and short-term solutions implemented for its retail clients. Long-term includes projects like channel box letters, wall murals/wall signage, storefront vinyl graphics, and entrance wall signage—or lobby signs. Short-term work includes storefront vinyl graphics and static clings, wall murals and wraps, foam core signage standee cutouts, and banners.
Most graphics requested are short term and used between one and three months. The shop considers temporary graphics anything that lasts less than one year in duration. Long-term signage is typically in place for several years.
“When discussing temporary graphics, customers are generally interested in the cheapest substrates to obtain the necessary look for their brand. When discussing permanent graphics, we present the best materials suited for the purpose of representing the customer’s image while lasting the designated amount of time. Temporary sign jobs need to be produced on materials that won’t impact the integrity of the store. With wall murals, we produce these on low-tack materials that are easily removed in 30 to 60 days. With signage, we look at methods to hang without causing any damage. We try to make these easily substituted for next season’s graphics. Different materials have different life expectations, so therefore it is hard to nail an exact time frame,” shares Canedy.
NonStop Signs recently handled a request from Tipsy Elves, an online-based company that sells themed costumes, sweaters, shirts, and clothing for multiple holidays and events. The company’s founders appeared on Shark Tank in 2013 and Tipsy Elves has since expanded its business model, including opening several pop-up stores around the holidays.
A repeat customer of NonStop Signs, Tipsy Elves is invested in maintaining a brand image that stands out. The creative clothing company approached the PSP to implement a new pop-up shop in the UTC Westfield Mall throughout the Fall and Winter months.
While Tipsy Elves submitted the initial graphics, the NonStop Signs design team stepped in to help with creating exterior signage files. Front store signage included dibond metal that was UV printed in multiple layers. Adhesive vinyl was used for the exterior glass of the shop.
For the interior, foam core temporary signage was used and the graphics were replaced over the course of the pop-up shop. Adhesive vinyl was also found on the walls, as well as cardstock for some short-term displays.
The entire job, which included window graphics, wall wraps, dimensional letter signs, foam core signs, and register point of purchase pieces, took about five business days total from start to installation.
The adhesive vinyl portion of the job was printed on the Epson SureColor S60600. The Océ Arizona 460 GT printed the dibond, foam core, Sintra, and cardstock elements. The Kongsberg i-XL24 handled all of the cutting.
NonStop Signs regularly works on graphics with Tipsy Elves for the pop-up shops. One challenge it is met with for each project is the struggle between durability and short-term installation. “Since this was temporary, we had to utilize methods to ensure that we were able to take down the signage without causing a lot of damage. However, we also needed to make sure it was completely secured to the wall,” shares Canedy.
Retail customers present ongoing work for PSPs. With versatile equipment, sign shops like NonStop Signs can serve every print need of any given client.
Dec2018, Digital Output