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Vinyl Graphics: Retail on the Move

Aug 2014

Traditional Vinyl Applications

The use of vinyl graphics is not a new concept, but digital printing has improved quality tremendously and allowed an expansion of applications.  Retail windows and signs, for example, would traditionally have to be painted.  If a frosted glass texture was desired, it would require sandblasting or etching the glass, which became a permanent application.  This is no longer the case, allowing vinyl films to be used to create textures, depth, lettering, and all types of complex designs.  With improvements in technology, any type of imaging can be used for retail window graphics and signage. 

Printing images on vinyl coated stock to create a more durable postcard or event announcement has also become a reasonable solution for marketing collaterals. From owning a gallery, the use of vinyl graphics provides the opportunity for flexibility and greater options in altering the look as themes for exhibitions change and spaces are redefined on a regular basis.  Vinyl imaging for glass has been used to create more privacy for some exhibit openings and “under construction” viewing while exhibitions are changing.  Vinyl banners have also been used for advertising services, posters and window displays have been created using digital graphics, and collaterals have been printed on vinyl coated stock for distribution.

On the Road with Vinyl Graphics

Usually we think of retail establishments as being a permanent location versus always on the move.  However, while recently traveling, I came across a truck and display that was a pleasant surprise.  At first glance, I thought the vinyl covered boxes were being transported to a permanent store location, but upon closer inspection realized that they are actually the shop and the display all built into the units that were covered with vinyl graphics.  Digital  printing on vinyl provided an opportunity for an outdoor sunglass shop to be portable and placed at different venues; inside or outside – at the beach, as a kiosk, at an art show, in an airport, or any other venue that would be a good place to sell sunglasses.  As the truck and trailer traveled down the highway, it also provided a ‘mobile billboard’.

Pack & Go: Moveable Exhibition!

The “pack and go” theme of retail establishment can also been seen in the current trend of repurposing shipping containers into mobile exhibits, such as the art exhibition, Ashes and Snow, or the America’s Cup Pavilion displays in San Francisco.  They are even being used to create affordable housing solutions in trendy neighborhoods.  In San Francisco, during the America’s Cup, containers were used to create pavilions covered with vinyl graphics and different types of vinyl screening materials, providing a high impact visual for the Puma Store that carried retail products including Oracle paraphernalia.  Graphics were carried over to all of the displays and announcements throughout the America Cup’s Pavilion. Overall, the development of technology and the utilization of digital graphics and vinyl films and coatings have created new advertising opportunities for companies and products.  These options are a cost effective way to re-brand and remain flexible for the fast pace changes anticipated by the purchasing public. 

These are only a few examples of successful installations, but the possibilities are endless and only limited by a designer’s imagination to form creative solutions.