A how-to guide on leveraging wide-format opportunities

Point-of-purchase (POP) displays are marketing or advertising vehicles placed next to the merchandise they are promoting. POP displays come in many varieties. Photo courtesy Turbo Images


Backlit displays offer a luminous quality and create the appearance of depth, making a graphic dynamic, interactive, and more memorable. In addition to creating an eye-catching focal point, backlit signage can deliver an unmistakable pop of color. Special techniques can be used to create dynamic dual day/night backlit displays as well.


Thermoforming inks remove the limitations of working with thermo-formed applications, opening new productivity routes for firms that want to increase revenues and gain a competitive advantage from high- impact 3D signs and graphics. These digital UV-curable inks enable wide- format providers to print directly onto thermoplastic sheets, which can then be formed into deep draw, high-elongation parts with excellent retention of hue and opacity. These inks eliminate a number of labour intensive and costly methods that once existed when working with shaped and irregular surfaces, such as hand-airbrushing.


Ongoing training of staff members on new applications and/or special effects is essential for supporting customers. Many equipment vendors will have a technical rep on staff that can help educate employees or provide other forms of training support. Industry trade shows and conferences can also play a key role in strengthening employee knowledge of print applications.


Customers need to be educated on the types of wide-format applications that are available and the value they deliver. Creating and distributing print samples, donating signs (including the company’s contact information) to charitable organizations or schools, producing customer case studies on application successes, and hosting customer open house events are all great ways to educate customers while promoting the company’s services.

Hosting a customer event is often an untapped opportunity. Letting customers and prospects into the operation to meet staff members, see the equipment, and learn about the various applications can help customers better understand why they should purchase from the company. Social media is another important tool for education and marketing. It is great vehicle for highlighting wide-format applications. Wide-format work is visual by its very nature, so leveraging social media to demonstrate applications in a real-world setting can show customers and prospects what the company is capable of. Once they have seen what can be done, they are more likely to want it for themselves.  

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Lisa Cross is associate director for Keypoint Intelligence—InfoTrends’ Business Development Strategies service. She has more than 20 years of graphics industry experience.

Eve Padula is a senior research analyst for Keypoint Intelligence—InfoTrends’ Business Development Strategies, Customer Communications, and Wide-Format Consulting Services.

Steve Urmano is director of InfoTrends’ Wide-Format Printing Consulting Service. He develops InfoTrends’ annual global market forecasts for hardware and supplies used in the wide-format printing markets.

This article has been adapted from an International Sign Association (ISA) white paper. For more information, visit www.signs.org.

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