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Getting a Graphics Makeover

(May 2007) posted on Mon May 14, 2007

How four businesses ramped up their curb appeal with signage upgrades courtesy of FastSigns.

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By Peggy Middendorf

Owner Rhonda Morkes immediately bought into the idea and in collaborating with her, Becker realized that a potential mobile advertisement-the company's white delivery van-was hidden in the back of the parking lot. Since the company produces sweet treats, wrapping the van in shots of irresistible confectionaries would tempt even the most distracted passing motorist.

Although the Arlington Heights shop owns an HP Designjet 5500, it is not designed to produce vehicle wraps. 'The HP 5500 uses water-based inks, which will not last outdoors over the long-term,' says Becker. 'Also, the vinyl media used, 3M Controltac with Comply, isn't compatible with the HP 5500. We needed to utilize a solvent-based printer.'

As a result, Becker outsourced the imaging of the vehicle graphics to the Fastsigns in Maplewood, MN. Using its Mutoh Toucan LT, the Maplewood shop printed the graphics onto Avery MPI 1005 EZ. After drying overnight, the images were laminated with Avery DOL 1100 with the shop's GBC Titan 165 laminator.

When it came time to install the vehicle wrap, however, the temperature was well below freezing. So Becker's shop installed the graphics inside a local garage; it took 2 days to wrap the van. With the van now wrapped in enticing eatables, it was moved from the back of the parking lot to a much more prominent position adjacent to Morkes' busy street, to act as a colorful-and mobile-billboard.

Then it was time to provide the front of the store with some color and curb appeal as well. Since there wasn't much glass to decorate, Morkes and Becker decided on large stand-alone banners. Again, Becker chose the outsource route: He had display manufacturer Orbus print two 16-ft full-color banners and mount them on the company's Wind Dancer outdoor banner stands, with bases to weigh them down. These banners now sit on either side the building.

Consequently, sales rose 16% during the first 9 months after the graphics were installed versus the same timeframe the previous year. The increased awareness is a direct result of the new graphics, according to Morkes.

Since this job, the Arlington Heights FastSigns decided to increase its wide-format imaging capabilities-Becker made the move to solvent wide-format printing and bought a Mimaki JV3 printer. And the purchase has paid off: It has generated more vehicle-wrap business, including two Toyota Scion XBs it took on last summer. And Morkes is also coming back for more-the chocolate shop added a new logo and has also updated the van.

Peggy Middendorf is managing editor of The Big Picture magazine.