Floor graphics are continuing to evolve.
Greener alternatives: Some print providers and their customers are seeking greener alternatives to vinyl when it comes to floor graphics, including olefin products, says Dennis Brunnett, product manager for Flexcon’s Product Branding Business team. “Although the trend isn’t sweeping the nation by any stretch of the imagination, the conversation pops up enough. There are some customers that are particularly looking for green solutions. Canada seems to be much more into greener products at this point – they're a little bit ahead of the curve on the green aspect.”
Carpets and flooring: Advancements also are taking place with respect to carpet and flooring. LexJet has experienced growing demand for products such as its Simple CarpetAd, which LexJet’s Mask says end users can use to “theme an area or transform the floor into a basketball court, a soccer field, or anything else they can dream up.”
Flexcon also has seen the push toward graphics on carpet and has moved to take advantage of it – developing Flexmark floor art OV6604, a very heavy-gauge 23-mil. overlaminate for carpet use. “Carpets are more ‘squishy,’ so people sink in more,” Brunnett with Flexcon explains. “Someone with heels will walk on it, so we made a more robust overlaminate that has an embossed pattern on it that handles foot traffic better.”
Installation of flooring projects, by the way, is something every print shop should evaluate – particularly when dealing with newer materials and surfaces. “There’s definitely a learning curve for graphics shops looking to get into flooring installations,” says Loede with Ultraflex. “However, we’ve seen a lot of success with print providers locating traditional flooring installers to install their flooring projects. For example, traditional vinyl-flooring installers tend to be very successful graphic-flooring installers, especially with commercial-grade vinyl flooring like the G-Floor line of flooring products. These look, feel, perform, and install just like commercial vinyl flooring, making it easy to install with the same tools and products used to install traditional commercial vinyl flooring.”
The great outdoors
Of course, floor graphics aren’t limited to indoor applications. But taking floor graphics into the great outdoors comes with certain challenges, including wet weather and degradation by natural light. Nevertheless, print shops and their clients are finding significant opportunities outside.