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Talking Shop

(April 2008) posted on Wed Apr 09, 2008

Print providers discuss the state of the industry at the Signage and Graphics Summit.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Clare Baker, Tom Zeit

The key points made by this group began with personnel-how essential it is to have the right people on your staff, to get them properly trained, and to keep them. This was followed by general agreement on the difficulty of getting usable, print-ready files of the artwork from clients. Be sure not to guarantee a completion date for the job, warned Smith, until you have received the artwork, because most delays occur before the art is approved. Finally, it was noted how critical it is on virtually any vehicle job to let the inks dry, especially when using mild-solvent printers, and not to rush a job out the door before this process is complete.

On the subject of stadium work, Richard Stein of MultimediaLED, Steve Jones of Young Electric Sign, and R.J. Orr of bluemedia talked about the exploding growth of new sports- stadium construction, even at the level of colleges and high schools, and the abundance of both printed and electronic signage within them. It was noted that these jobs tend to be big and ongoing, so developing good relationships is key. Flexibility on the part of the shop is essential, because short turnaround times and last-minute jobs are common with large events, and many stadiums have highly idiosyncratic and inconsistent physical dimensions to work with.

Similar challenges

The camaraderie among attendees was evident as they seized the opportunities to learn something valuable from their peers and simply be around others who are doing the same things and confronting the same challenges every day. The informal roundtable sessions, in which attendees sat down to chat about common topics, was a prime example. At one table, which featured a handful of industry veterans as well as a shop owner just delving into wide format, the latter was able to garner some good advice that he could put to use almost immediately, including: how to look at different sales-compensation plans; how to get sales people out of the office and in front of prospects (but not in the production area); pricing strategies, including how to begin with the markup that you need; and how to analyze the companies from which you source your materials.

The 2009 Summit will take place January 26-28 in San Diego, so mark your calendars and visit for updates and registration, and then come join the industry’s best.