Signs of the Times Buyer's Guide 2013 - (Page 6)

2012: The Year in Review ISA reorganizes, the President gets re-elected and digital printing evolves By Wade Swormstedt and Darek Johnson L ast year’s biggest event occurred in September 2007. That’s when the economy took the huge hit, and it’s never recovered. All of the big events that occurred in 2012 are directly related to the continuation of a lackluster economy. We figure the sign industry has essentially been down by 40% as a result. Also, 2012 was dominated by a contentious Presidential election. With the final ratification of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, many companies reacted by letting people go in order to pay for the added health-care costs, or they were moving people from full-time to part-time status in order to avoid paying for the health care. Typically, anything that affects small business impacts the sign industry. We probably won’t know for awhile, but 2012 could easily evolve into a significantly pivotal year for the sign industry because of the Intl. Sign Assn. (ISA) Reorganization. Clearly, it was the biggest change for ISA since the 1980 implementation of the Regionalization Plan (RP). In many ways, ISA’s 2012 stipulations negated what the 1980 plan initiated. Whereas the 1980 plan established the eight ISA regions and four annual shows (the Sign Expo and three regional shows), the RP eliminated the regions and the three regional shows (probably for economic reasons). In 1980, ISA expanded its board of directors to include representation from all eight regions (one of which was Canada), but last year, it decided to reduce its board from 27 to 15 (much of which was an economic decision). The 1980 strategy was designed to embrace a growing economy, while the 2012 plan defers to continuing stagnation. While the “affiliate” associations weren’t determined as of February 2013, the new concept stipulates anyone who joined their affiliated home (local, state or regional) sign association would automatically become an ISA member. Similarly to the way larger stores often can have lower prices than smaller stores, ISA’s dues are usually less than those of local associations, so some local associations feared a double loss of funding – first, from no longer receiving revenue from ISA regional shows and, secondly, from reduced dues. ISA also brought the National Assn. of Sign Supply Distributors (NASSD) under its umbrella in 2012. Consequently, NASSD held is summer conference in conjunction with ISA’s revamped Supplier/Distributor Conference in 2012. Last year, for the first time, the conference included opportunities for sponsoring com6 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / MID-MARCH 2013 / panies to meet in one-on-one “speed dating” sessions with key sign companies. Currently, all NASSD information resides on the ISA website. ISA’s VP of tradeshows and marketing, Brandon Hensley, was named the NASSD executive director. Another industry group, the Signage Foundation Inc. (SFI), presented valuable information at its annual National Signage Research & Education Conference (NSREC) in October 2012 at the University of Cincinnati (UC). Pertinent research was presented by professors from UC (with regard to the value of signs), Texas A&M (citing the lack of correlation between traffic accidents and the installation of electronic message centers [EMCs]) and the University of Oklahoma (the evidence-based sign code). ISA also helped fight and win some battles for small business and the sign industry in 2012. More specifically, ISA backed HR 3010, the “Regulatory Accountability Act,” which increases public participation in shaping the most costly regulations before they are proposed, and HR 4078, the “Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Creation Act,” which prohibits agencies from promulgating the costliest regulations until unemployment drops below 6%. In quasi-association news, SAi announced the formation of the Intl. Sign & Printmakers Guild as a member-led organization designed to help sign and print providers grow their businesses and reduce costs. Its goal is expanding the universe of wide-format business. Both SGIA’s Expo 2012 and ISA’s Sign Expo 2012 were, in size, somewhat overwhelming. We described them as so extravagantly large, no person or journal could truly cover the details. However, at these events, ST’s reporting staffs covered the mainstream manufacturers – and a few back aisleways – and discovered five improvement characteristics that accompanied most new, digital-print product announcements: faster print speeds; LED-based, UV-cure lamps; integration software; refined engineering; and more sophisticated ink mixtures. Faster printers – Print speed usually arrives via the addition of wider or longer printhead clusters and, even though such improvements raise the machine price, for production shops, the faster speed justifies the added cost. Print speed equals money. Interestingly, such improvement don’t necessarily relate to high-cost machines. For example, Mutoh America, Inc.’s (Phoenix) ValueJet 2638, eight-hour, banner-mode output (1,168 sq. ft./hr.) would blanket a suburban house. 2013 VISUAL SOURCEBOOK & BUYERS’ GUIDE

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times Buyer's Guide 2013

Signs of the Times Buyer's Guide 2013
Table of Contents
Year in Review: 2012, ISA Reorganizes
2013 Visual Sourcebook
Manufacturers and Distributors
Equipment and Supplies Index
Equipment and Supplies
Advertising Index

Signs of the Times Buyer's Guide 2013