A World of Panes
While challenging, window graphics
put retail promotions front and center
By Jeffrey Steele retail space, and exciting adding to your clients’ appeal
Window graphics have emerged as a key advertising to their customers.”
medium, particularly for retail firms. Print providers Moreover, this is another niche where client
focusing on the niche know how valuable their output demand is increasing even as the technology grows
is for clients aiming to put promotions right in front more efficient. So said Harlan Roberts, Phoenix-based
of patrons’ eyes. national sales manager with Big Mountain Imaging of
“It’s a major component of the retail campaign at Philadelphia, which bills itself as “a complete solutions
street level,” said Steve Kinney, vice-president of sales provider” for its large and grand-format clients.
and marketing with Portland Color, a 30-year-wide Retail signage is among the fastest growing seg-
large-format printing company in Portland, ME. “If ments of the industry, and the equipment available to
it’s done well and done right, and I’m speaking of the produce it is getting better and faster, Roberts said.
creative execution, not just the materials used, you’re An example is the company’s newly-acquired Vutek
bringing people off the street and into the store with QS3200, a seven-color flatbed printer, which offers the
the message you convey.” flexibility to quickly change graphics. That efficiency
Window graphics can be a profit center for your makes for outstanding quality with little wasted effort.
shop as well. But gaining those profits requires sur- “Window graphics can be extremely profitable if
mounting a learning curve, grasping the challenges of done right the first time,” Roberts said. “They are eye-
installation and fending off rival providers in an ever- catching and an easy sell to any client trying to make a
more-competitive field. great impression utilizing a visual medium.”
Before exploring obstacles on the way to suc-
cess, let’s examine some good reasons to step into the Overcoming the Hurdles
crowded realm of wide-format imaging. Garnering great results and lots of repeat business
One of the upsides is that window graphics, due to is seldom achieved overnight, however. That’s the word
their changeable nature, can provide a very steady flow from Terry Calen, special projects manager at Stella
of revenues, said Chris Shadix, president of Belaire Color, a 26-year-old Seattle, WA provider where win-
Displays, Inc., a 51-year-old family-owned company dow graphics, including window banners, comprise 30
in Richmond, CA whose business is 50 percent com- to 40 percent of the business.
prised of window displays and graphics. Installation is one challenge, and one approached
“It’s always a changing landscape,” he said. “We differently at different shops that provide window
refer to it as temporary graphics. People dress their graphics. “Installation can be tricky,” Calen said. “If
windows for a season, or for a promotion. So from a you’re covering the entire window, and it’s seamed...
shop standpoint, it represents r