By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Digitally printed wayfinding signage offers directional assistance and branding to help employees and consumers find what they need. Marketing agencies and print service providers (PSPs) print wayfinding signage for hospitals, restaurants, retail, and small businesses.
Founded in 1998 in Buffalo Grove, IL, Graphic Alliance is a full-service marketing agency specializing in print and digital media. The company started as a one-man operation providing graphic design in an industrial office space and expanded services with printing, copying, marketing, signage, and vehicle wraps.
Now located in Palatine, IL, Graphic Alliance produces and installs graphics nationwide with most jobs in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. The company has eight employees and operates in a complex with office space, drive-in bays, and garage space for vehicle wraps.
Graphic Alliance offers digital marketing, electronic signs, engraving, graphic design, printing, responsive web design, and vehicle wrapping services. Specializing in large format printing, the company produces banners, menu boards, signage, three-dimensional cut letters, trade show displays, and floor, street, wall, and window graphics for wayfinding. It also prints books, business cards, direct mail, marketing materials, and packaging.
The PSP prints its vinyl applications in house including indoor and outdoor signage. For wayfinding signage, the company uses acrylic, Alumicore, cardstock, coroplast, metal, paper, and PVC.
15 percent of Graphic Alliance’s work is wayfinding signage. “Our strongest advantage is turnaround time,” says Eric Grossman, CEO/owner, Graphic Alliance. “We can design, print, and install a new wayfinding project as quickly as same day. For customers who are on a tight deadline or urgently need pricing changes, they count on us to be reliably fast.”
Graphic Alliance’s most frequent wayfinding signage customers are restaurants with regular orders of menu boards, promotional signs, and wall graphics. Municipal governments and small businesses are also frequent customers.
In 2015, the company entered the digital printing segment with a Roland DGA Corporation SOLJET Pro III XJ-640. The printer offers a maximum 64-inch printing width and prints up to 443 square feet per hour. It features an integrated tri-heater system for drying prints quickly for immediate take up, finishing, and installation. “We chose it because it reviewed well, had a reasonable price and consumable cost, and the company provided excellent support and training,” says Grossman.
The company also uses Roland Eco-Sol MAX ink, which performs on a range of coated and uncoated media. It delivers a wide color gamut for graphics that last up to three years outdoors without lamination.
For media, Graphic Alliance works with a variety of vendors. It often uses Mactac Distributor Products IMAGin Roodle for removable wayfinding signage and Mactac Hi-Tac for permanent. Roodle is a removable acrylic adhesive for bumper stickers, graphics, indoor and outdoor signage, and tiled wall murals.
The company produces designs with Adobe Creative Suite and uses Roland VersaWorks RIP software. VersaWorks is a true Adobe PostScript 3 RIP that includes standard ICC profiles, ink level adjustment tools, proofing capabilities, error diffusion, and advanced cropping.
One of the company’s most popular forms of wayfinding signage is menu boards. According to Grossman, clients now consider television screens and digital options in place of menu boards. Graphic Alliance recently started to produce animated graphics and video footage for clients in addition to installing the screens and necessary hardware.
Recently, repeat client Roti Mediterranean Grill approached Graphic Alliance for branding signage. Roti Mediterranean Grill is a restaurant chain based in Chicago with locations across America. When the company updates its branding, Graphic Alliance produces its signage for all locations and sometimes installs on location.
The client requested updated menus, which required a new set of menu boards at all 32 locations. Over the course of three weeks, Graphic Alliance helped the restaurant setup and layout all boards—each location has different board sizes and pricing.
Graphic Alliance printed the boards on the Roland SOLJET Pro III XJ-640. “It was ideal because it runs quickly and reliably with minimal supervision,” says Grossman. The signs were mounted to black six millimeter PVC using Mactac white matte vinyl.
The signs were installed above counters in all 32 restaurant locations with additional collateral signs and banners for some new sites. Graphic Alliance printed nearly 750 square feet of menu boards for Roti Mediterranean Grill. The client was pleased with the finished menu boards and continues to use the company for branding needs. Grossman offers, “the customer was especially impressed with the speed of production and turnaround time.”
Find Your Way
Graphic Alliance produces a variety of wayfinding signage for clients in retail, hospitality, and small businesses. Digitally printed wayfinding signage offers customized branding and directional assistance.
Apr2018, Digital Output