By Cassandra Balentine
Part 2 of 2
Print service providers (PSPs) benefit from versatility. The ability to produce short- and long-term jobs that range from decals to event signage enables the possibility of being a one-stop shop for varied constituents’ print needs. With the right equipment and expertise, PSPs make limited investments for the biggest return.
Billboard Direct Signs & Graphics Ltd. began in Fort McMurray of Alberta, Canada in 2006. It was then the company expanded from Billboard Direct Promotional Services (BDPS). According to Christine Campbell, owner, and Kristyn Trembblett, manager, Billboard Direct, the company operates one location of about 8,500 square feet, which dominates most of a building shared with BDPS. The PSP currently serves its client base, which is primarily Fort McMurray and surrounding areas within a 300 kilometer radius, with a crew of five employees.
Approximately 70 percent of Billboard Direct’s business involves wide format printing. Its services include vehicle wraps, media banners, and event signage. It takes on jobs both big and small, such as a city beautification project that included wrapping 96 traffic cabinets in various local artists pictures and photos. Small projects include one offs for local patrons like boat numbers. However, a majority of business comes from construction and customized signs for local mines.
The PSP estimates that its sales are about equally split between retail and construction/mine signage. Retail customers tend to request window and wall wraps. The graphic usage ranges from six week promotional elements to permanent in-place graphics designed to attract customers with vibrant colors and eye-catching information.
Its printer lineup currently includes two Roland DGA Corporation devices, a VersaCAMM VS-540 54-inch eco-solvent inkjet printer/cutter and TrueVIS VG-640 large format inkjet printer/cutter. It also operates two Summa cutters for its cut vinyl projects. For media, the shop prefers material from Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions and ORAFOL Americas. “Our daily print media is from ORAFOL and our vehicle wrap vinyl is from Avery Dennison. We don’t vary much from these brands unless someone has requested a specific brand,” say Campbell and Trembblett.
In terms of software, the shop relies on SA International Flexi for its cutters, Roland VersaWorks for its printers, and Corel Corporation CorelDRAW for design.
The Roland VersaCAMM VS-540 was installed in 2009. “We went from a slow process of vinyl cut application and b.
The TrueVIS VG-640 was added in 2016 after a wildfire tore through the area. The VersaCAMM suffered damage from being dormant and was unable to circulate ink and as well as various other issues, and so a newer and larger printer was brought in. The TrueVIS enables the PSP to produce a range of vivid colors. Additionally, it prints vehicle wraps in a single piece, meaning there are no seams. This has perfected the shop’s finished wrap products to the point where it feels there is no comparison to competitors. “Our wraps leave the shop looking like they were painted and part of the car,” state Campbell and Tremblett.
Billboard Direct serves a range of customers with temporary and long-term signage. All jobs are approached the same way, the only difference being the type of vinyl used. For example, the shop may opt for an easy-to-remove vinyl for a temporary job, but it will still ensure the same attention to detail.
Temporary signage is usually up for two months or less, otherwise it is considered a more permanent solution.
Recent completed temporary jobs include spot advertisements on the backs of city busses that promote an event for about a month. Another example is Halloween door decals created for an apartment complex that notes whether or not the tenant is home or away for the trick or treaters.
The bus entailed a vinyl wrap submitted by the client. The installation was complete in about one week. The wrap was printed on the Roland TrueVIS VG-640 and Avery Dennison wrap vinyl was the selected media. “The challenge was knowing the bus style ahead of time so we could accommodate things like tail lights without affecting the artwork,” say Campbell and Tremblett.
The decals for the apartment management company were meant to be easy to install and remove. The client submitted the artwork. They were printed using ORAFOL printable vinyl on the Roland VersaCAMM VS-540. It only took one day to produce the decals and installation was handled by the tenants.
Big to Small
Billboard Direct offers a range of print services—from one offs to production runs, both short and long term. Its attention to detail, media knowledge, and versatile equipment sets it apart from the competition, allowing the company to produce everything from bus wraps to decals with the same level of confidence.
Dec2018, Digital Output