By Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 2
With the holidays drawing near, it’s the biggest and busiest time in retail—both online and in store. While online can rely on flashy banner advertisements and one-click emails, brick-and-mortar stores look to printed graphics to alert buyers about sales, limited time promotions, and new product launches.
Print service providers (PSPs) equipped to cater to retail and shopping center clients are prepared for fast turnarounds, as well as providing their customers with the latest and greatest application trends to help them stand out from the crowd.
SBR/Vision Graphics is a multi-location business with the majority of its organization housed in a 55,000 square foot facility in Salt Lake City, UT. In addition, it offers another 10,000 square feet of production and office space in Ogden, UT and Las Vegas, NV.
It did not begin this way. In 1966, the founding couple set up a blueprint business in their basement. Today it employs 85 people and its client footprint focuses on AZ, CA, CO, and UT, but it does touch other customers across the U.S.
Vision Graphics offers design, print, finishing, and installation. These services include wide format graphics like banners, flags, building and automobile wraps, and floor and window graphics. It also produces blueprints, business cards, flyers, and brochures. In addition, it offers distribution and servicing of certain print hardware brands.
Included in the 85 employees are six dedicated to installation. The in-house team enables Vision Graphics to control the final product. The company’s workload is steady enough that it makes sense to employ installers directly instead of outsource. That being said, it does turn to outside vendors to help with install if the workload is too high, the location of the installation is inaccessible, or a specialty skill is required that can’t be accommodated with the in-house staff.
The work Vision Graphics completes for shopping centers and malls includes both pressure-sensitive vinyl and rigid substrates, depending on the specific request. For flexible material, it favors 3M Commercial Solutions for its performance, consistency, and availability. Rigid materials do not yield a favorite. It prefers to use a handful of brand name products and Christopher Dalley, director of marketing, Vision Graphics, admits to taking into account cost and availability of products local to the area when choosing.
The majority of its work is printed on Durst Image Technology US LLC devices, specifically the Rho 500R and 800 Presto. The Rho 500R in particular is used for its quality, extra wide format, flood white, and ability to print on a variety of media. It also owns a Canon Solutions America Océ Colorado 1640, which it purchased in 2016.
Consistent maintenance and proper equipment calibration ensure all clients’ color-critical needs are repeatedly met. Vision Graphics also offers an on-site light room with balanced light and neutral colors. Another service involves printing color swatches on multiple materials, after these are produced, customers are welcome to come to the shop and sign off in person prior to production.
According to Dalley, the company positions itself as helping clients maximize their objectives with the most suitable print products. For shopping mall and retail graphics, he says it is rare that the company works directly with mall management or mall property management. Instead, it produces work requested by agencies that serve the shopping mall audience.
“Brand management is very important, and the agency already knows the client and their message. While we offer design services, the end client typically works with a marketing/advertising agency to create the art,” explains Dalley.
Trends in marketing spend and specifically printed graphics are no different in shopping centers than any other environment. Dalley believes that while many of these agencies and their clients understand the advantages of a combination of environmental graphics, information signage, and wayfinding signage, they find it difficult to quantify the benefit.
“As the benefits provide soft values, we see that cost-conscious property owners often start with big ideas, but scale down the size of their work to reduce the overall spend. It’s the same problem that brand managers in other industries face. When the marketing expense doesn’t yield a measurable benefit, it can be difficult to commit to large costs for intangible gains,” advises Dalley.
Vision Graphics worked with commercial real estate company Vestar in 2017 on a major renovation of the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City, UT. Vestar’s goal was to change the visitor experience in and around the mall, part of this included overhauling parking structures and common areas. For Vision Graphics, this included creating directional signage, wayfinding, environmental graphics, and promotional messaging.
In the parking structures in particular, Vestar turned to Vision Graphics to come up with a unique way to indicate what level and row a car was parked on. “Many surfaces throughout the parking structures were painted as part of the refresh, including the walls and structural pillars. Vestar could have used stenciled paint to replace the visual markers, but they wanted a sharper, consistent look,” explains Dalley. It chose printed, cut graphics on reflective media after consulting with Vision Graphics.
Vestar also requested unique art around major doorways, elevators, and tunnels to enhance visitors’ experiences, offer branding for stores, and create additional navigation. Digitally printed graphics were ideal as some of the images were floor to ceiling and stretching across multiple walls.
Based on the company’s calculations over 1,000 square feet of rigid material was used, over 6,000 square feet of flexible, and over 5,000 square feet of overlaminate. Media was printed on the Durst Rho 500R and 800 Presto as well as the Canon Océ Colorado 1640.
Dalley says that Vestar appreciated the PSP’s ability to match its needs in many different areas with substrates matched to the performance requirements.
Whether working with a large property management company or directly with a shop retailer, multiple opportunities are available for shopping center and mall signage. Vision Graphics leverages its expertise to provide a variety of options to its clients, from design to print to install.
Dec2019, Digital Output