Sign & Digital Graphics

July '18

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • July 2018 • 51 S tanding the test of time, banners are still one of the most effective ways to reach a targeted audience with a signif- icant advertising message for both indoor and outdoor signage projects. Over the years, the developments of more flexible vinyl and fabric materials as well as the emergence of Silicone Edge Graphics ( SEG) applications have injected new life into the category and banners continue to remain a sign industry staple. Banners Booming Vaiva Babkauskaite, senior sales executive at Alpina Manufacturing, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, says they are currently selling a lot of fram- ing systems for the hot banner market. "The market seems to be booming—we are selling both large and small frames, meaning that the need for various sizes and applications is out there." She adds that right now they are see- ing most banners being produced with raw edges, but some customers do show an interest in framing systems for ban- ners done with grommets. "I believe some printers increase their cost to print on vinyl and to insert grommets, hence the raw-edge printing popularity. The fact that vinyl is cheap to print on drives the category's popularity across the board for various applications—indoor and outdoor, small or large." Babkauskaite reports that clients are still looking for tighter turnaround times and tighter margins. "Every job we do always depends on the pricing and turn- around time. Customers are more con- scious about what they are spending now with so many media options available to them. The plethora of choices allows price comparisons and quality compari- sons between suppliers when looking for a specific product." Speed is the Key Roger Lepley, AIA, president of Consort Display Group, Kalamazoo, Michigan, also sees a boom in banner sales. "The banner market in general has never been better. Digital printing has made them quick, easy and inexpensive to produce. For interior applications, it's best to use materials such as poly film, Tyvek and so on, simple and strong. For the exterior market, depending on size of banner and the 'look' sought, we rec- ommend screen-printed marine acrylic (Sunbrella type of textiles) and heavy- weight vinyl such as 18 ounce scrim vinyl from Piedmont or Bantex." He adds that it appears that the most common thread in the industry is speed. "Customers don't make up their mind until they need it now. Banner print- ing companies that can't produce good quality quickly, often miss out on a lot of opportunities. Speed is the key. There is good quality printing machinery out there and the presses get better all the time. However, it's the artwork produc- tion and finishing capability that can make or break many deals in spite of how advanced the printers are." Tighter Margins Ana Armendariz, graphic arts man- ager at Arlon Graphics, Placentia, California, says that the banner market is fairly commoditized with customers able to use products readily available to suit their needs and price points. "The reason banner material is so competitive is because of cheap products These banners at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan were digitally printed onto 18 oz vinyl—a joint project between Consort Display Group, Kalamazoo, and FastSigns of Grand Rapids. (Images courtesy of Consort Display Group)

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