Printers keeping busy thanks to demand for display graphics

We live in an increasingly digital world and the number of businesses using social media to reach their customer base is growing rapidly. It might seem logical, then, to assume that good ol’ fashioned printing companies are hurting, but that would be a mistake.

Turns out technological advances are helping printers, too. And display graphics, including floor displays, table top displays, yard signs, banners and vehicle wraps, are just as, if not more, popular than ever.

“Businesses are realizing the power social media has, but also realize the still viable need to promote these methods through displays, graphics, etc.,” says Derek Atchley, president and owner of both Atchley Signs & Graphics and 360Wrapz in Grandview. “There is a close compatibility between web-based social media and display graphics.”

Similarly, Ron Moody, president and CEO of Next Day Signs & Graphics in Grandview, says businesses still recognize the need for physical signage.

“With new capabilities for larger and higher quality printing, businesses implement their social networking into their printing,” he continues. “Potential customers still read billboards, still look at well-designed vehicle wraps, and still make decisions based on those display graphics.”

However, Douglas Holmes, owner of, says he’s seen a drop in business from the nightlife sector.

“Most bars and nightclubs are getting through to people with Facebook and Twitter, and doing a big chunk of their advertising that way,” he says. “There is still quite a bit of direct mail and postcard printing but, as a whole, a lot of companies have diversified their advertising, splitting between print and social media.”

Tradeshows and event-based graphics continue to be a solid source of revenue, though.

“This segment of our company drives a substantial portion of our total annual income, especially given the flexibility we offer, the cost-competitiveness, as well as the customization we offer,” Atchley says. “While we do so many types of graphic communication, displays and display graphics are an important element of what we offer.”

Moody explains the demand quite simply.

“It’s impossible to have a successful tradeshow or event if the attendees can’t distinguish your product from someone else’s,” he says. “One of the best ways to solve this and get the brand recognition you desire is to display big, bright, and clear.”

If there’s one prevailing ideology that both Holmes and Moody have noticed among customers, it’s this: the bigger the display graphic, the better.

“Everyone wants bigger, bolder, faster!” Holmes says. “There has definitely been an increase in wide format printing.”

Customers are going bigger and using more color, implementing high quality digital photography and digital art, Moody says.

“We’ve noticed a trend toward more modular displays and graphics,” Atchley says. “The whole theme of ‘make more with less’ is highly prevalent as well as the ability to use one display in multiple ways− a more nimble and flexible display that costs less, but has more impact than the old dinosaurs of the past. We’ve also seen a major upswing in eco-friendly graphics, displays, printing, etc. The trend toward digital signage is also more and more widely used as technology gets cheaper, more within reach, as well as more advanced.”

Holmes and Moody also say better, less expensive technology is what’s behind the trend toward bolder display graphics.

“Adding color was once a huge expense,” Moody notes. “Anymore, color is becoming extremely accessible. What you can dream and design, can become reality.”

The speed and size of printing have increased, Holmes says. New equipment is coming out faster and the quality is as good or better.

Also, “The cost to purchase these machines are much lower than in years past, making it easier for more companies to purchase,” he says. “They are all competing for the same business, so that is driving the prices way down. The customer always wins in this situation.”

The printers’ predictions regarding the future of display graphics varies.

Atchley foresees more and more digital display and digital graphics use as they are flexible in terms of reuse, cost, and modularity.

Motion and interactive graphics, like QR Codes, seem like a reasonable next step, Holmes says.

Meanwhile, Moody thinks business owners will recognize the benefit of good graphic design.

“I think we’ll see businesses big and small reaching for higher quality design along with their printed and applied graphics.”

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