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Making Your Mark Online

(February 2011) posted on Thu Feb 03, 2011

How a strong Web presence can give print providers a competitive edge.


By Paula Yoho

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One company that has seamlessly integrated images of its work into its site is Fusion Imaging in northern Utah (fusion-imaging.com). From the home page, visitors can access a portfolio of 14 projects. Each project gallery consists of 10 or more images, as well as a unique description of what the job entailed from a design, printing, and installation standpoint. For example, the gallery for the company’s work with the Clinton Global Initiative includes 10 unique photos of wall graphics, indoor and outdoor banners, signage, and banners implemented by Fusion, as well as a concise written description of the job. Visitors to the image gallery can see the quality of the finished work and can read concise details of the project background.

For Canada’s International Name Plate Supplies (inps.on.ca), large-format printing is just one of several areas of specialization. Potential customers can click through photo galleries in 10 distinct print categories – fl oor graphics, supplied products, wall graphics, vehicle graphics, sign faces, point-of-purchase, menu boards, reflective, banners, and lightbox signs – to see samples of the company’s work. A sidebar button allows visitors to link directly to the company’s online store.

Merritt Graphics (merrittgraphics.com) takes the concept of proffering strong visuals even a step further, by incorporating sound and voiceovers to its project gallery. Its Case Study Portfolio integrates flash animation and audio descriptions to showcase such projects as the “Rolling Nature Center” bus wrap the company created for the Connecticut Audubon Society. The narrator walks customers through six colorful images of the exterior and interior of the bus, explaining details of the project – including the purpose of the campaign, insight into the design process and specs such as the media on which it was printed. A non-audio option is also available, sans-narrator, of course, with written descriptions of the project.

Give them something different
Websites are a dime a dozen and it can be difficult for users to distinguish between them when they all follow a staid formula for design and content. For bold print providers, integrating a unique functionality or design element can be the most effective means of differentiating themselves from their competitors.

With just a glance at Xtreme Performance Wraps’ website (xpwraps.com), it’s clear the company is in the business of wrapping cars. The design uses crisp, colorful visuals to engage the reader and to relay a simple message: We wrap cars, and we’re good at it. In a regular browser, the Orlando-based XP Wraps website is predominantly pictures; were it a newspaper, the above-the-fold front page would be almost exclusively dedicated to colorful flashing images of its best vehicle wraps. Just below that, visitors can “like” the company on Facebook, read about vehicle wraps, and view a video of its latest wrap – at press time, a Spider Bike wrap of a three-wheeled motorcycle.

But what makes this site stand out is a unique “Design Your Own Wrap” tool built into the site, just beneath the large graphics on the home page. There, visitors can click through any number of late model cars, trucks, boats, and box trucks from a dropdown menu, and a picture of their chosen vehicle appears on a virtual drawing board. The interactive program, billed on the site as a “vehicle wrap design studio,” allows users to browse thousands of high-resolution graphics and design elements and, with the click of a mouse, create a mock up of their own vehicle-wrap template. Happy with the design? Simply click the “Submit for a Quote” button below your image, complete the intake form, and wait for XP Wraps to call with a price.
 


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