Big Picture - April 2018 - 26
USE YOUR KNOW-HOW
PUTTING DOWN ROOTS
ategory 5 (category5.ca), a large-format PSP based in Burlington, Canada,
knows how vital it is to stay up to date with the latest innovations and
trends in the retail sector. Today's clients "all want something new and
different when it comes to stocks, finishes, and applications - they want to
stand out amongst other retailers," says Jacquie Stowe, account manager. Category
5 helps their customers turn heads with applications ranging from 3D fixtures and
signage to billboards, bus shelters, floor graphics, wall murals, and more.
Roots Canada, an apparel company out of Toronto, reached out to Category 5
with a vision: a retail display that both announced the opening of a new Roots
location and celebrated Canada's 150th birthday. The shop opted for a "bigger is
better" approach, crafting a larger-than-life, 2496-square-foot wall graphic
centering around a giant Roots-brand hooded sweatshirt with a custom-cut hood
jutting out of the top [above]. The print was imaged onto 3M Controltac Graphic
Film 3500C with the shop's EFI Vutek GS5000R printer, paying special attention to
the hood pop-out to ensure everything lined up correctly while remaining stable.
Category 5 complemented the graphic with smaller window signage printed onto
Coroplast [below]. A team of three installed the display over the course of two nights.
While Category 5 has been in the retail and P-O-P business for years, Stowe
notes that client demand in the sector has grown steadily over the years, with retail
now accounting for about 50 percent of the shop's business. And while demand
grows, the time between project conception and installation shrinks. "Turnaround
times are faster these days than they used to be," Stowe adds. Customers want
eye-catching P-O-P displays, and they want them now. Category 5's solution?
Seven in-house presses ready to churn out graphics at a moment's notice.
Print service providers specialize in taking a simple idea,
brand, or concept, and helping it blossom into a larger-thanlife final product. You and your shop's employees have been
around long enough to know what materials will work best
for what jobs; use that knowledge to educate your customers.
For superGraphics, many clients come with a specific idea
- a color, style, or theme - and the production and design
teams work together to narrow that down into an executable
project. "It's useful for us as the signage experts to actually
be able to ask them questions and say, 'You have this theme,
so what three words would you say describes it best? What
are you looking for?'" Robison adds.
Right off the bat at Graphic Trends, potential customers
are asked everything from their budget to how long a display
will be up and how concerned they are that a print may be
damaged. "We break it down and give them the knowledge of
what's going to work best," says O'Leary.
In a perfect world, taking that extra time to sit down
with the customer and fully understand their vision would
automatically result in the perfect project. In reality, it's
usually not quite that simple. One example? With Graphic
Trends' Nike takeover of Los Angeles' Staples Center, the
client requested vinyl for everything, because that's what
other brands had done in the venue previously. After two
weeks, all the vinyl was taken down and the removal
process was "a disaster." "Pretty much everything ripped
off and pieces of material snapped," O'Leary explains. "But
that's what they wanted, and that's what you're going to
listen to." In hindsight, he would do the entire project again
with PVC, mount hooks, and Velcro - and he shared that
with the client. "They wanted to do what other brands have
done in there before, which is fine, but maybe no one ever
told them here's a better way to do it," O'Leary says.
"You need to tell people [that based on] past experiences,
this isn't going to work." And at the end of the day, your
clients will appreciate that insight when it saves you both
time and headaches.
TAKE A CHANCE
While it's true that e-commerce sales are on the rise in certain
markets, there's just something about leaving the comfort of
your house (and laptop) to go somewhere and buy something.
Ninety percent of all retail purchases in the US were made in
brick-and-mortar locations in 2017, according to US Census
data. So, as long as shopping malls, grocery stores, pop-up
shops, and other retail concepts continue to bring in customers, print service providers will get to flex their creative
muscles envisioning, executing, and installing retail and
O'Leary sums it up nicely: "The retail world is fun
and unique." So take full advantage of the wide world of
options available to you, whether that's materials, concepts,
or applications - don't limit your shop by continuing to
create displays the same way you always have. Challenge
yourself to think outside the box - your customers (and in
turn, their customers) will thank you, and come back for
more again and again.