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
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
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 / www.signweb.com
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
Signs of the Times Buyer's Guide 2013