Magazine Article


Digital Signage: Success on View

Companies can advertise to hundreds of people on a city block with an advertisement on a building wrap. Retail signage is also another lucrative market.
Vehicle graphics enable your clients to take their message on the road.

Vehicle Graphics

In municipalities around the world, vehicles wrapped with full-color graphics have become a common sight. Today’s vehicle graphics are printed on vinyl. The vehicle is the “wrapped” by an experienced graphics installer. Cars, trucks, buses, trains, boats – everything’s being wrapped these days!

Buildings Wraps

Also an area for grand format printers, building wraps have become a common way to advertise a product or beautify a building under construction.

A Few Details of the Job

Depending on the physical size of the sign to be printed, large digital files are often required. Fortunately, most jobs of that size print using resolutions of well under 100 dpi. This is mainly due to the size of the graphic. The larger the size, the further is the viewing distance, therefore the resolution required to print can be lowered. Printers can optimize their printing by getting files at 50 dpi at full size. From that size, interpolation can be used to achieve the dpi required. During production and installation, matching of panels and seams may be required. Therefore, it is important to understand what it takes to create such large-sized graphics and the care required when matching up panels.

In the overall cost of any job, finishing and installation of the image may be a key factor. Think of it this way: the printing device you use makes a print, but it is the finishing and the installation of that print that ultimately creates a product. Every machine is unique, and it is safe to assume that every job will also, in some way, be unique. If the sign needs to be installed, be sure you know who can do the installation. Whether the installation includes mounting a sign on a wall, placing floor graphic or wrapping a bus, having an “exit strategy” to help you complete the job is certainly advisable.

The Decision is Yours

Should your imaging business enter into signage markets? The decision is ultimately yours to make, but let it be known that the previously established boundaries between segments of our industry have blurred, even disappeared. Does your history in the photo business preclude you from making money by making signs? Gosh, no. No more, in fact, than the former screen printer who is now making money producing digital fine art prints.

In today’s imaging businesses, the prize may go to that business owner who can ultimately maximize the return on his or her investment. So, should your company make the jump? One piece of advice: don’t sit there “waiting for a sign.” Make your own instead!

Jeff Burton and Dan Marx are on the staff of the Digital Printing & Imaging Association (DPI), a division of the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA). To learn more about signage printing, please visit