Floor Graphics: Walking into Opportunity
The floor graphics concept was ahead of its time a few years ago, but if
you haven’t gotten into this side of the business yet, there is no time like
By Jennifer LeClaire
According to BIG Images, floor graphics can increase sales by up to 20 to 30
percent and have become part and parcel of marketing packages at larger stores
and retail chains. Are you walking into this
Floor graphics aren’t exactly the latest innovation in vinyl, but it is an opportunity that’s
finally beginning to gain some momentum in the marketplace. You’ve probably seen
them in your local grocery store, convenience stores, gas stations, shopping malls,
airports, museums, libraries, retail outlets and the list goes on.
If you haven’t ventured into the floor graphics arena, then the time is now. Opportunity is
staring you in the face. Consider the statistics. According to BIG Images, floor graphics
can increase sales by up to 20 to 30 percent. The market for printing these floor
graphics, BIG Images estimated, is projected to grow to $2 billion in the next four years.
Yes, that’s billion with a “b.” (That gives you some ammunition to sell them to would-be
“With a price of $13.75/sqft, the advertising opportunity is very cost-effective compared
to radio, newspaper, and other more traditional methods,” says Jon Beebe, founding
partner of BIG Images, a large format printing and technology company in San Luis
Obispo, Calif. “Floor graphics are inexpensive enough to use as short-term signage,
and durable enough to use as long-term signage.”
The Psychology of the Floor
Joseph S. King, Ph.D. a professor of psychology and director of the Honors Academy at
Radford University in Radford, Va., penned an article entitled “The Psychology of the
Floor.” The article describes the floor as a potentially useful source of advertising
information. He contends that we are programmed by nature to pay attention to the
ground, and that our attention can be redirected to the floor first by novelty and later by
What’s more, King explains, attention directed downward narrows our attention focus. In
other words, looking at the floor focuses our attention and the content becomes
relevant, impacting the consumer at the point of decision. This Orienting Reflex
approach psychologists have studied is valid with rubber mats that offer messages, the
IntelliMat digital floor device and, of course, floor graphics. The bottom line: messages
on the floor can capture the attention of consumers and influence their buying habits.
That’s why retailers are picking up on floor signage.
“Psychology is the study of things that impact people’s thoughts and behavior. We
rarely think of the floor as anything other than something that holds us off the ground, if
indeed we think of the floor at all,” King wrote in his paper.
“Seldom would we actually think of the floor as a medium that presents a
communication opportunity - however, many of us will recall the old mats that greeted
us at every storefront advertising soft drinks or other merchandise. In their traditional
manifestation, floor mats hardly impact our lives in any meaningful psychological sense
that is what makes this subject rather counterintuitive.”
The Non-Scientific Proof in the Pudding
For all the psychology and science to support floor advertising, there is anecdotal
evidence that sign and print shops are getting busier dealing with vinyl floor graphics
requests. In fact, the market is getting more sophisticated with special materials to
support the trend.
“Floor graphics are being used more and more every day,” says Troy Downey owner
APE Wraps, a digital graphics and wraps company in San Diego, California. “All the
vinyl manufacturers are generating great material for floor graphics.”
For those of you who are yawning and saying, “I heard all of this 10 years ago. Floor
graphics was supposed to explode and it never did,” look again.
Jeff Stadelman, technical marketing manager for vinyl manufacturer MACTac Graphic
Products, says he used to get requests for floor graphic materials every few months.
Now, he’s seeing the demand pick up on a weekly basis. And it’s not just interiors,
either. “I see outdoor floor graphics starting to grow, too,” Stadelman says. “There are
short-term applications for printing onto concrete or asphalt. The demand for street
graphics is growing.”
Who Is the Floor Graphics Customer?
While there are multiple venues for floor graphics, there are some settings that are more
likely to adopt them than others. Specifically, point of purchase advertisers. In fact, I.T.
Strategies predicts wide-format POP signage is already a $7.6 billion market.
If that’s not enough to convince you, consider this predictive data from the Point-of-
Purchase Advertising Institute: POP spending is estimated at over $17 billion, or 7.1
percent of the overall $240 billion spent on ads in the United States.
“Floor graphics are an inexpensive and novel way to create brand awareness,
especially in retail environments. Most customers don’t choose the brand they’ll buy
until they’re in the store — strategically placed floor graphics influence this decision,”
Beebe explains. “Typically the image is placed directly in the customer’s line of sight as
they look where they walk.”
Grocery stores and retail are not the only application, Beebe offers. Floor graphics are a
great way to improve safety by placing warnings in key locations. They also can act as
event signage, helping to direct traffic. Beebe has even seen his customers use
footprints (or puppy-prints) to help guide foot traffic. Floor graphics are catching on at
trade shows, bank lobbies, car dealerships, high school and college basketball courts,
museum exhibits, night clubs and other interior applications, according to Beebe.
Before you rush into this opportunity and it is a real opportunity be warned that floor
graphics demand a specialized print process. Few print shops have the production
capabilities today. BIG Images’ print production facility, however, does have the
capability. So if you are looking to get into the floor graphics game and leverage the
revenues of this new marketing tool, then contact the company and they’ll help get you