Sign & Digital Graphics

May '17

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • May 2017 • 35 displays on a tremendous range of sub- strates and final product forms, from window displays to murals and more. Pat Freer, VP of Merritt's Big Color division, says that companies such as his can serve as an effective conduit for producing high-quality work for small- and mid-sized retailers and wholesalers, helping local sign makers satisfy their customers' production needs. "There are some companies I con- sider to be high-volume competition for us, but there's not a lot who can do it on a consistent basis," Freer says. "You have to be careful what you sign up for—a com- mercial printer has to be able to read the bandwidth and have the dedication and capability to turn out good results. We have to size up the business we get and right-size it. Very large national cli- ents are probably more suited for the RR Donnellys of the world; we can get results for a nice, smaller client, some- thing with 200 to 300 stores." Freer says that the digital advertising revolution has also led to some enhanced opportunities for sign makers hoping to get a piece of the ever-expanding and tremendously busy P.O.P. business. "Social media is really adjusting the metrics, and those digital campaigns mean that P.O.P. advertising products that used to be good for four to five weeks now sometimes need to be changed out in just a week," he explains. "My daughter works as a graphic designer with Ann Taylor, and it's not uncommon for them to change their cre- ative in as little as a few days, practically on demand, with rapid-fire adjustments as part of their multimedia campaigns. Companies with the ability to react to that are well-positioned to be a good pro- vider," and a good partner to even the smallest sign shop, he adds. To that end, Merritt Graphics and other commercial printers of its scale can do wide-format latex, high-speed UV and direct-dye sublimation for fabric, both roll-to-roll or direct-to-substrate. Retail P.O.P., Freer says, frequently calls upon printers to combine a variety of sub- strates into a single print order, and the flexibility of a better-equipped printer can be critical in meeting those increas- ingly crunched deadlines. "We have the infrastructure to be poised for growth with the latest equip- ment, and while we currently run two shifts a day, we can add a third shift or run seven days a week, if necessary," he says. SDG Images courtesy of Canon U.S.A.

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