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Trends in Outdoor Graphics: A Discussion with Industry Leaders

(September 2008) posted on Wed Sep 10, 2008

Veterans in the outdoor-graphics industry discuss how their companies have dealt with changes in the market and how other recent issues, such as the economic recession and the push for sustainability, have impacted their businesses.


By Lori Leaman

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GABRIEL: Our clients are a combination of entertainment and retail. We haven’t seen much of a decline, and quite honestly, we have seen an increase in business. Our clients are looking for options, and someone who can manage their entire campaign and offer solutions will always have the best chance.

NORRIS: The clients that buy the majority of outdoor graphics from our company include a major retailer, several transportation companies, and several oil companies. The only pattern seems to be that there is no pattern. They all want to be seen, or they wouldn’t be in the market for graphics. They all seem to want to update and refresh their image, but tend not to make any drastic changes because they already have well-known images and do not want to risk any loss of recognition. But they seem to go from one year of adding graphics and buying a lot to another year of buying little to a different year of average buying. They economy does have an effect on overall purchasing, but it isn’t a reliable way to forecast what any given client will do.

MCDANIEL: The end user of the outdoor graphics range from companies in a number of industries like home improvement, convenience store, grocery, and retail-store chains. The buying mix has changed in a positive direction, mostly due to the new equipment that we can offer. As digital production has become more cost effective, and with the ability to print direct to substrates, clients often run regional promotions and small test markets before rolling out a national campaign. Five years ago, we rarely produced test market and regional signage. Today, it goes hand in hand with almost every campaign. We believe this change is primarily driven by the speed and cost effectiveness of digital printing.

 

SP: How have recent technological trends affected outdoor-graphics production in your business?

GABRIEL: The quality and speed of today’s equipment is allowing companies like LAgraphico to compete with screen printing, where in the past that wasn’t an option. We carry materials in house that meet both our sustainable objectives and the quality expectations of our clients. One material biodegrades in landfills. Lighter-weight materials (7 oz) that are able to hold the quality are extremely important to us.


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