The Signage Foundation has released a study into digital print trends that relate to corporate interior graphics and custom business signs. Titled Digital Print Trends and Technologies in the Sign and Graphics Industry, it was authored by Craig M. Berger, and published earlier this year (2016).
About The Signage Foundation
The Foundation is a not-for-profit body concerned with research, education and philanthropy relating to on-premise signage and storefronts. The organization recognizes that on-premise signage (including custom business signs) is a backbone of commerce that has existed for centuries in different forms. Promoting signage in a societal sense, the Foundation provides information to regulators as well as end-users (consumers) about the social, economic and communication value of on-premise signage.
New Study Highlights Current Trends
Recognizing that large format digital printing is one of the key tasks sign fabricators need to tackle to be successful, the new study identifies four key trends:
- In-house investment in large-format digital print processes coupled with the utilization of outside specialists.
- Identification of correct processes to be used to ensure quality, durability and changeability in both interiors and exteriors.
- Identification of opportunities where various graphic applications can either replace or improve the use of natural materials and coatings, including paint.
- Usage of large format digital print solutions that work within an architectural environment.
These trends relate to a wide range of digital printing applications including:
- Brand environments
- Building wraps
- Digital graphics
- Graphics and illumination
- Printers and fabricators
These applications incorporated material and printing flexibility and they were customized for both permanent and temporary solutions.
Digital Printing Technologies for Corporate Interior Graphics and Custom Business Signs
The study identifies the full range of digital printing technologies that can be used for signage, including:
- Direct to substrate and layered printing that includes screen-printing and digital flatbed direct to surface printing as well as 3D printers.
- Direct to vinyl and fabric printing that includes printing on mirrors, mesh and transparent vinyl materials for custom business signs.
- Embedded and sublimated digital graphics that amongst other things aid architectural integration with signage.
Trends in Brand Environments
Quality is extremely important in the brand environment, and the study highlights the fact that architects and interior designers work increasingly with in-house graphic design teams in an endeavor to maintain quality. It found there has been an aggressive push in healthcare, retail and corporate environments with direct to fabric and vinyl printing increasing rapidly.
Berger warns however that interior sign fabricators now compete with other firms specializing in interior environment jobs.
Trends in Graphic Integrated Exterior Architecture and Building Wraps
Even though digital graphics are used a lot for building wraps in Europe, they are still not very trendy in North America, except for events and tradeshows where they are used for a short period of time. However there are some important trends:
- Vinyl is being used innovatively for building wraps, with multiple layers and translucent effects.
- Architects are starting to specify more graphics for big-scale buildings.
- Dye sublimation and embedded graphics, used for events and tradeshows for more than a decade, are being used more and more for facades and building wraps.
Perhaps the greatest challenge of this niche is durability and longevity.
Trends in Large Format Printing Involve Printers and Fabricators
An increasing number of sign companies are using printing together with custom fabrication solutions. This often involves combining different processes, which can be disruptive to the industry as a whole.
The study states that many large companies involved in creating custom business signs and corporate interior graphics have moved from straightforward printing to fabricators. Similarly fabricators are using large format printing solutions more in their quest to create custom interior designs and more complicated exterior work.
Ultimately, companies that weren’t previously targeting the sign industry have found access to digital graphics has moved them closer. These include display companies and those that specialize in packaging.
Megabytes Digital is an Atlanta-based digital printing company with top quality equipment to produce your custom business sign or your corporate interior graphics. Contact us for friendly advice and the best service. How can we help you and your business?