Gear Up for the New Trend of Outdoor Tradeshows with These 10 Tips

As warmer weather approaches, outdoor tradeshows are gearing up to be in full swing!  Stay ahead of the curve with CCG’s top 10 tradeshow tips to help your brand take center stage at your next tradeshow appearance:

  1. Invite Attendees—Print and mailSave the Date” communications and post on social media to create awareness of the show and maximize attendance.
  2. Get Noticed with Grand Format—Capture the attention of attendees from the start.  Colorful tents, banners, 3D displays, and feather flags work wonderfully for immediate brand recognition. 
  3. The Swag—People LOVE free stuff!  Organize giveaways and hand out branded goodies to attendees to support brand recognition after the show. 
  4. Registrant Giveaway—Send branded kits to key prospects who have pre-registered to attend the event.  Offer special incentives to visit your exhibit or booth while creating an opportunity to spread brand awareness.
  5. PPE—Make your visitors feel safe!  Offer branded masks, antimicrobial products, and hand sanitizing stations at your booth as well as social distancing signage. 
  6. Staff—Have enough staff to allow for breaks and maintain a rested, engaged crew.
  7. Weather—Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Sunscreen is a great giveaway in the summer.
  8. Hydrate—Make sure you have enough water and snacks for staff to keep up the energy.
  9. Power—Add a charging station to your booth to make it a popular destination.
  10. Have Fun!—Make the day memorable and you’ll be guaranteed to score some new customers! 

By Marley Niesz

The Psychology of Colors and Their Usage in Major Brands

              Target® red, Tiffany® blue, and Barbie® pink are some of the many shades made famous by their corporate brands.  Did you know that a brand can trademark a color?  Turns out they can!  A brand can legally register to trademark their brand color(s) to prevent any other similar business from stealing their signature color.  As an integral part of print, packaging, and design, it’s no surprise that brand recognition and awareness revolve around color.  Take Coca-Cola® for example, whose shade of red is so recognizable that most could identify it without the logo being present.  The development of brand standards is much more complex than the average consumer might think.  The colors and shades are chosen with purpose to evoke thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of the brand and product itself.  This is called color theory, and it is an important facet of marketing.  

              Think of something as simple as a business card.  Did you know that a person is ten times more likely to hold on to a business card that is printed in multiple colors than a card printed in a single color?  Talk about capturing attention!  It takes about a nanosecond for a consumer to form a judgement about a color, and in judging color, they are judging your brand as well.  In fact, a study done by the Seoul International Color Expo found that 85% of consumers make a purchase based on the color of the product and packaging.  Because of this, marketers choose specific colors and pairings to influence mood and product perception.

              As an overarching theme, warm colors like red and yellow are flashy, energetic, and inspiring.  In contrast, cool colors such as blue or purple are more calm, reserved, and subdued.  Brands use color to evoke these desired feelings in their customers.  Marketers design their logos to reflect the same.

              Let’s take Target as an example.  Red is bold and energetic, easily capturing the attention of consumers in a shopping center or even on the highway.  It contrasts beautifully with white, which conveys style and elegance.  These colors are perfect representations of Target’s brand and image.  To customers, Target is peppy and fun, a perfect fit for the everyday bustling family.  But Target has also entered the affordable luxury market, offering modern fashion lines and home décor lines designed by famous influencers.  The white and red logo balances these initiatives perfectly. 

              Another example of excellent color usage in branding is John Deere®.  Their classic shade of green is recognizable anywhere.  Green signifies growth and nature, an obvious choice for the farm machinery industry.  Furthermore, green also represents stability and endurance.  This points to John Deere’s reliability and durability, important facets in the world of manufacturing.  Just like Target, John Deere’s brand image is constantly reinforced by its use of color.

              CCG created a comprehensive guide on choosing the best color for your product packaging.  Check it out for an in-depth analysis of major colors and their value in branding, and talk to your CCG rep to make your brand shine with color today!

By Marley Niesz

Get Ready for Earth Day with CCG!

Although Earth Day occurs just once each year, sustainability is relevant 365 days a year!  Did you know the printing industry plants 4 times more trees than they harvest each year for the production of paper? And did you know that not only can you be environmentally conscious with your print marketing decisions, but you can do the same with branded promotional products and packaging?

Marketers now have access to responsibly sourced promo products and innovative paper packaging to represent their brand and follow through on their commitment to our environment.  The use of paper packaging instead of plastic is nothing short of sustainability brilliance, considering that 75% of paper packaging is recycled. And here at CCG we encourage our clients to choose gifts and branded merchandise such as recyclable totes for shopping or reusable water bottles made from recycled products.  Responsibly sourced notebooks, backpacks, apparel, and more are all available through our promotion’s division.  Gift guilt-free with regard to the environment with thoughtful, sustainable products sourced from CCG!  

Through your marketing, your organization can encourage your consumers to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. This is especially important and fitting as Earth Day approaches.  Check out these special eco-friendly products available through your CCG representative!

By Marley Niesz

Put Forth Pizazz with Promo!

Did you know 80% of consumers own a promotional product?  While this is good news for brand visibility, how can organizations make their unique branding stand out among the rest?  CCG’s experts in branded merchandising work tirelessly to keep clients informed and on the forefront of promotional marketing trends.  From pens to polos, CCG combines vibrant art with the hottest products in the consumer market to help organizations increase visibility exponentially.

Where to start?  Branded kits have exploded on the market in 2021.  Useful for employee and client gifts, virtual conferences, giveaways, and more, kits make a warm impression and leave a lasting impact on recipients.  Want to keep it simple?  Writing instruments like pens are one of the best-selling promotional products of all time.  Welcoming new employees?  Employees love company-branded apparel.  No matter the product or occasion, contact our CCG experts to make your brand shine today! 

In the meantime—check out our February newsletter on trending promotional items for 2021!

By Marley Niesz

Valentine’s Day– How the Printing Industry Steals Hearts

              Possibly the most exciting class party of elementary school each year fell on Valentine’s Day.  I don’t know what it was about turning a shoebox into a “mailbox” and collecting Valentines from classmates, but Valentine’s Day took the cake.  I remember meticulously picking out my box of printed Valentines each year, usually featuring cats, and making sure the one I gave my crush didn’t come across as too romantic.  Whether consumers have realized it or not, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest commercial holidays of the year, and a significant one for the print industry and for marketers. 

              One of the biggest spectacles of Valentine’s Day is engagement.  Although engagement and diamond rings go together seamlessly, it wasn’t always so.  In the aftermath of the Great Depression, diamond cartel De Beers solicited the help of New York agency N.W. Ayer to sell its new expanse of South African diamonds.  The ad agency worked to craft the idea that endless, special romance could only be expressed with a diamond ring.  The result was the iconic, highly successful slogan “A Diamond Is Forever.”  As women began to expect a diamond ring as a form of engagement, men followed suit, and diamond sales rose exponentially, increasing from $23 million to $2.1 billion over the next 40 years.  With that, a simple marketing message turned a campaign into a worldwide phenomenon that stands the test of time.

                With this knowledge, I was curious to find out more about the print industry’s role in Valentine’s Day.  Where and when did printed Valentine’s Day cards begin stealing the hearts of consumers?  Surprisingly, the practice of exchanging Valentine’s notes dates all the way back to the 1500s with the gifting of handmade cards and love notes.  By the 1700s, the print industry took advantage and began producing commercially printed cards.  The United States adopted this trend around the mid-1800s, and valentines often depicted Cupid, hearts, and other symbols associated with love.  While original Valentine’s notes were often hand-made, the onset and growing affordability of commercial print increased the sales and availability of pre-made cards. 

              Enter Esther Howland, the “Mother of the American Valentine”, whose romantic cards were attributed as the first mass market printed valentines in the United States.  Achieving huge success, she rebranded as the New England Valentine Company, the first of many print companies solely focused on the production of valentines.  One of the most famous valentines companies was Hallmark Valentines, which is still around today.  Hallmark is often credited with the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, as other inspired companies joined in on the fun selling chocolates, flowers, and other gifts, shaping the holiday we know today.

              At present, Valentine’s Day is the second most popular day to send printed cards, behind Christmas.  According to the Greeting Card Association, in 2017 Americans were expected to spend $1 billion on cards.  In total, spending for the holiday fell around $18.2 billion.  With these numbers, it is no surprise that year after year the print industry continues to ask consumers the age old question in its cards—will you be my Valentine?

By Marley Niesz

Influencer Marketing: Your Next Big Move

              Unless you’re from a different planet and don’t look at any social media, you’ve likely heard of influencers and influencer marketing.   While the word influencer often conjures up ideas of the Kardashians and other celebrities, the state of influencer marketing in 2021 is much more nuanced and complex.  A decade ago, influencers were far and few between and the role was limited to wealthy and well-known celebrities.  The past ten years have seen a complete transformation of influencer marketing with it no longer dominated by wealth and fame. Regular social media users with strong followings have begun to influence the social media sphere as well.  In fact, being an influencer can now be considered a full-time job.

              Charli D’Amelio is a dance tik-toker who has the highest following on the app (105 million), although she started out as an unknown.  She now has immense influence on her fans when it comes to brand and product promotion and posts sponsored content almost as frequently as dance videos.  As shown by her origins, anyone can become an influencer today with enough luck and hard work.  The rise of social media marketing has skyrocketed the number of “influencers” across all platforms and industries.  Because of this, any company, big or small, can take advantage of the benefits provided by influencers. 

              Influencers can be split up into categories, specifically Macro and Micro, depending on the size of their following.  Generally speaking, a micro influencer has between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, and a macro influencer has 100,000+ followers.  These two types of influencers attract different followers and create varying content.  Because of their variances, they fit into different marketing strategies and serve different purposes.  Either way, 80% of marketers find using influencers to be effective in driving ROI.  So which influencers work best for which companies?

              Generally, smaller more niche companies find the most success using micro influencers.  Although micro influencers have less following and therefore a more limited reach, they achieve much higher engagement rates than their macro counterparts.  In fact, according to a study by SocialPubli, micro-influencers generate 7x more engagement than macro-influencers.  Furthermore, a study by Markerly showed that as followers increase, engagement decreases.  The same study found that Instagram users with 1,000 followers or less receive 8% engagement, but posts from influencers with over 10 million followers receive 1.6% of likes.  This is because platform users are genuinely more interested in a micro influencer’s posts than the average population following a macro influencer like a celebrity.  Micro influencers are in more of a niche market, are often subject-matter experts, and have similar interests to their followers, thereby increasing chances of engagement.  Small companies selling a specific product looking to reach more of a niche, but engaged, market would find more success using micro influencers for this reason. 

              While companies with niche services and products may look for micro influencers with higher engagement rates, companies with a more diversified set of products and services will want to reach a larger audience.  This is where macro influencers show more success.  Because of their much higher following, macro influencers have the ability to advertise to a much larger, more diverse group of people and increase a company’s brand visibility.  In the end, it really depends on the company and their sales strategy. 

              To give an example, a small vegan clothing brand will likely find more success with a micro influencer who lives a vegan, cruelty-free life because his or her followers probably live a similar lifestyle and would be interested in the brand.  Additionally, micro influencers are viewed as more genuine and trustworthy than macro influencers, and because of this they have more influence over their followers’ purchase decisions.  Smaller, local companies can benefit from using micro influencers because they often accept the product or service as payment instead of money and return with an honest review.  Micro influencers are a cost effective way for small companies to generate real leads they may not otherwise receive from other marketing touchpoints. 

              On the other hand, large corporations often focus their marketing strategy on brand visibility and relevance.  Because of this, they regularly use macro influencers for their ability to reach millions of diverse people and encourage viral marketing and user generated content (UGC).  Adidas is well known for its use of macro influencers, whether through design collaborations like Yeezy and Ivy Park or just basic advertising, and they have found continued success.  The Adidas #MyNeoShoot is a great example of using macro influencers to harvest UGC.  First, Adidas embarked on a design collaboration with star Selena Gomez, who, with 202 million Instagram followers, is definitely a macro-influencer.  To promote Selena’s Adidas Neo collection, Adidas began a campaign in which users were heavily involved in the advertising, deciding many factors.  Additionally, consumers were encouraged to submit their own photos to Instagram modeling the clothing line, and six lucky winners were picked to star in an Adidas Neo photo shoot.  The campaign proved highly successful, with over 12,000 UGC entries for the contest and a 24.2% increase in sales. 

              Although utilizing macro influencers can guarantee high brand visibility and success, it is much pricier than using micro influencers.  According to The New York Times, well known influencers charge around $75,000 for a single Instagram post and almost $200,000 for a YouTube video, making them much less feasible for smaller companies.  Although they come at a high price, the celebrity of macro influencers controls the tide for consumers who want to be just like their famous idols, encouraging them to make purchases as such. 

              My earliest memory of macro influencer marketing was around my freshman year of high school when The Hunger Games franchise was making rounds in theaters and bookstores alike.  Everyone I knew was obsessed with the series, the characters, the movies, and the actors involved.  When China Glaze, a nail polish company, released its Capitol Colours line, inspired by the franchise and promoted by one of its most popular characters Effie Trinket, I bought the collection before I even knew what the colors were.  Funny enough, I still use those polishes today, many years later. 

              To summarize, consumers love and trust influencers when it comes to making decisions in the product market, and therefore both macro and micro influencers should not be overlooked by companies deciding a marketing budget.  Interested in taking advantage of the power of influencer marketing?  Utilize the expertise of our agency partner Digital Shuffle in your next strategic marketing plan. 

By Marley Niesz

The Long Withstanding Success of Doritos Super Bowl Commercials

              At first I thought maybe I was alone in associating Super Bowl commercials with the cheesy chips company.  So I did a test and asked my coworkers the question I already knew the answer to.  “What company do you most associate with Super Bowl commercials?”  The answer—unanimously—was “Doritos”.  What is it about Doritos’ marketing strategy that has proven so successful year after year on the biggest night of TV advertising in America?  I dug into this phenomena, did my research,  and watched WAY too many old Doritos commercials to find out. 

              The source of Doritos’ success is unsurprisingly its own consumers.  Doritos mission aims to “re-define culture and support those who are boldly themselves”.  Following this mission, for the 2007 Super Bowl, Doritos started their “Crash the Super Bowl” Contest which encouraged consumers to submit their own content to be featured in the Doritos’ commercial.  One of the first winners was the iconic Crystal Ball Super Bowl ad which featured an office worker who wished for free Doritos, proceeding to throw the “crystal ball” (a snow globe) at the vending machine and snatching the now free Doritos.  The insanely popular, fan-made ad placed #1 on the official USA Today Ad meter poll, winning the Super Bowl as far as ads were concerned. 

              The Crash the Super Bowl Contest went on for over 10 years until 2016, and it paved the way for user-generated content use in advertising.  In using UGC, Doritos changed the course of TV marketing, bringing it back to the consumers to produce real, authentic content that the average person could relate to.  The contest itself also did a great job generating hype for Doritos and the advertisements months before they even came out.  Each year, thousands of amateur film makers sent in contest submissions and thousands more online users generated organic buzz about the competition on social media platforms.  As a response, other big name brands like Ford Lincoln, Pepsi, and Newcastle Brown Ale created their own Super Bowl ads with UGC, following Doritos’ lead.  Truly, Doritos began a new era of television marketing.

              Doritos consistently produced hilarious content using its UGC method.  Some of my favorite Doritos Super Bowl Commercials included When Pigs Fly, about a boy who goes to great lengths to make a pig fly in order to secure a bag of Doritos.  Another great commercial was the Doritos Funeral commercial.  A man fakes his death so he can eat Doritos and watch the Super Bowl in peace until he falls out of the casket and is exposed.  These simple, out of the box commercial concepts created by Doritos consumers themselves continued to entertain Super Bowl viewers until 2016, when the company took a new turn in its marketing strategy. 

              Post 2016, Doritos kept up the pace by leaning into viral and influencer marketing tactics for their Super Bowl commercials.  In 2017, Doritos hit the ground running with a rap battle featuring iconic actors Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage.  Super Bowl commercials after featured performances from Chance the Rapper and the Backstreet Boys and a dance showdown between Lil Nas X and Sam Elliot.  All these ads had one thing in common—the use of celebrities.  Celebrity features boost viral and influencer marketing, which occurs when consumers are encouraged to share information about goods or services via social media and the internet.  The use of celebrities in the Doritos commercials made them memorable and exciting, and as a result, millions of consumers talked about the ads online.  Doritos’ success comes from its ability to create, rather than follow, marketing trends. If Doritos continues this string of advertising commercial wins, they will achieve Super Bowl success for years to come!

By Marley Niesz

B2B Versus B2C Marketing

              You’ve heard of North Face, Under Armour, Amazon, and Facebook.  But have you heard of SnapCap, New Relic, BulkBookStore, or Mailchimp?  Maybe not, and there is a reason behind that.  The latter mentioned businesses all operate as a Business to Business (B2B) entity, while the first companies listed operate as Business to Consumer (B2C).  These terms are self-explanatory, as B2B companies sell to businesses and B2C companies sell to consumers.  B2C organizations are consumer-facing and their marketing strategy reflects this, whereas B2B marketing is anchored in identifying, growing, and maintaining relationships between businesses.  While the marketing strategies may vary, they both reflect the needs of the businesses and consumers they directly serve.

              In B2C marketing, the focus is typically on a large-scale market segment, with some B2C companies planning a more strategic and targeted smaller-scale audience approach.  B2B marketing tends to be more niche with advertising concentrated into a smaller customer segment and the main priority being lead generation to increase business.

              B2B marketing strategies are designed to drive long-term business.  As a result, the strategy concentrates on building personal relationships with businesses in the supply chain.  Because business-to-business interactions are often centered on problem-solving, most B2B marketing centers on providing solutions.  A B2B marketing plan first creates demand, followed by lead generation, and ultimately— customer retention.  In order to carry out this plan, a business should have a clear, focused website and other strong media content establishing a need for its goods or services as well as a presented solution. 

              Moreover, B2B marketers use industry terms in their copy to connect with business partners and establish credibility.  Search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising is great for establishment as an industry leader.  However, the real power in B2B marketing is in creating affiliates and partnerships.  As stated before, the priority in B2B operations is relationship building, which is why partnerships and business affiliates are crucial.  Partnerships establish trust and a strong reputation for a business.  This creates long term relationships which are key in driving a business. 

              Unlike B2B, B2C marketing is more transactional in nature.  Because B2C organizations tend to target a much larger customer segment, they spend less time forming relationships with their customers and more time reaching the market as efficiently as possible.  Email marketing is very successful in B2C industries because it generates positive reviews and customer retention with loyalty programs and special deals.  Furthermore, branding is an essential priority in B2C marketing as it allows a company to carve out its place in its industry, create loyal customers, and increase buyer motivation.  Because of the disconnect between the customer and company in B2C, it is important for organizations to ensure a quality, lasting experience for the consumer.   

              Advertising is also enormously important in B2C marketing as an influence over consumers who have never-ending options in the market.  Marketers use focused keywords and clear messaging to achieve prominence on the internet, in the minds of consumers, and in the product market.  B2C advertising should be emotional and relatable in order to draw in customers and convert to real purchases.  Ultimately, B2C marketing relies on maximizing efficiency.    

              Conclusively, business organizations should evaluate their existing marketing strategies to align with the needs of the market and their end user. B2B companies should continue to focus on long-term relationship building, credibility, and establishment as an industry leader.  The B2C market will continue to see the necessity of efficiency, finding and connecting with customer segments, and maintaining a quality customer experience.  CCG’s creative agency, Digital Shuffle, works with B2B and B2C companies to refine their brand strategy and produce cutting-edge marketing tools.  Give us a call today! 

By Marley Niesz

Augmented Reality—The Future of Marketing!

              Do you remember the world-wide phenomenon and phone app Pokémon Go?  It felt like all children and adults alike were spending the entire day walking around with their phones to catch Pokémon.  Although the craze subsided, this app was one of the most widely known and utilized examples of augmented reality.  Augmented reality is computer-generated technology that adds to the reality you see.  In Pokémon Go, augmented reality is the visible Pokémon in your actual environment.  Augmented reality is different from virtual reality, which is a completely computer-generated environment.  Phones and tablets work well with augmented reality technology.  Another example of AR that users may be familiar with is Vito Technology’s Star Walk app.  This app enables users to point their phone camera to the sky and see the names of stars and planets reflected onto the image they see.  Although AR may seem like a thing of the future, it is here right now and consumers have already shown their enthusiasm for it!

              Today, more and more marketers are realizing that augmented reality is no longer reserved for tech companies and video games—it can be an incredibly engaging marketing tool as well.  In print, there are a number of exciting ways that marketers can deploy AR to create a higher than average engagement rate.  Take a direct mail package, for example.  How exciting would it be to receive a postcard that you could actually interact with—virtually?  Augmented reality allows companies to incorporate a barcode onto their print piece which can be scanned by the consumer and then interacted with through their phone.  A good example would be a home décor company sending out a postcard advertising a new desk lamp.  With augmented reality, consumers could scan the postcard barcode and then see the desk lamp in their office, viewed through their phone.  Project Color, a recently released app by Home Depot, shows users what a paint color would look like on their own walls.  This encourages the consumer to visualize and interact with the item in their own environment, which can lead to more purchases.  The possibilities are endless! 

              A major advantage of augmented reality is the amount of time and money it can save companies, especially those in industrial manufacturing.  Imagine how much money and physical labor it costs Lockheed Martin to store and ship its large planes for trade shows.  With augmented reality, all of these costs are eliminated.  Instead, consumers can scan a barcode at a tradeshow and see a life-sized plane right in front of them, including virtual information about it.  In retail, this technology generates fewer item returns because customers are able to see the products in more detail before they actually make the purchase.  This is particularly useful in the age of online retail when less people are seeing physical items in stores and more are ordering online.  According to a study by Ventana Research, the three most important AR capabilities for consumers are getting detailed product information, reading product information, and accessing product information easily on mobile devices.  Simply, augmented reality is an efficient way to market products while also increasing uniqueness and consumer engagement, not to mention its increasing importance during the pandemic. 

              The beauty of augmented reality is its versatility and ease of incorporation into existing marketing strategies.  Although competitive disruptions are bound to intensify across industries with the increasing popularity of AR technology, it remains a smart investment that can generate higher ROI.  Costs incurred by the implementation of AR technology are easily offset with the accompanying decrease in costs such as shipping and travel expenses and other supply chain costs.  Additionally, AR can have a larger reach than traditional marketing touch points because of its virtual nature. 

              We’ve seen many great augmented reality marketing campaigns—and I highly recommend if happen upon one to experience it yourself.  One of my favorites is from Absolut Vodka.  The company placed neck ring tags around each bottle and when scanned the consumer could view and interact with a tour of the Swedish village that distills the vodka.  Not only does this endear the consumer to the brand or product, it works to make the consumer feel connected to its history and story as well.  Another great campaign came from The New Yorker Magazine in 2016.  Illustrator Christoph Neimann designed the cover and brought it to life with the magic of augmented reality.  When readers scanned the cover, it became three-dimensional and animated right before their eyes.  Augmented reality is truly capable of turning a simple print campaign into a living work of art. 

              The importance of augmented reality in various industries, especially marketing, will continue to grow exponentially as consumers increasingly value convenience and rely on the online market for making purchases.  Augmented reality fits seamlessly into traditional marketing techniques while presenting the opportunity to advance them to a highly interactive level.  Backed by our creative agency Digital Shuffle, CCG frequently works with AR technology to enhance any print project.  Let us know your needs, and we will bring our capabilities!

By Marley Niesz

How Grand Format Print is Changing the World Around Us

            A billboard on the highway.  Mesh signage banners around a construction site.  A display sign at a tradeshow.  Consumers see grand format printing all around them, yet probably don’t know the name for it or the processes behind it.  Known as grand format, wide format, or large format printing, this type of print is manufactured on specialty large print equipment capable of imaging on all kinds of surfaces, and practically unlimited in size, it makes a big impact.  Its versatility renders it capable of decorating the exteriors of apartment buildings to wrapping vehicles with custom imaging and messages.   CCG prints its grand format projects with ultra-violet inks which are humidity, water, temperature, and sunlight resistant.  Although a project’s lifespan can be dependent on the materials used, the use of these specialty inks allows the material and print to withstand harsh weather throughout all seasons.  Large format printing began with cut vinyl and screen printing, which has evolved today into advanced digital print by specialty print equipment.

            In 1991, company Nash Editions developed the Iris Graphics Model 3047, the first digital grand format printer.  It was unique and industry-changing, but also expensive and short-lasting.  The printer only used water-soluble CMYK inks, which were easily damaged by sunlight.  Additionally, the expenses of this printer made it inaccessible to the general public.  Soon after, a collaboration between Nash Editions, Epson, and Durst began the conception of the Epson Stylus Pro 9500 in 1999.  This project was groundbreaking for photographers and artists looking to showcase their works in vibrant colors on a large scale.  The printing industry was once again thrust into the spotlight with the growing popularity of wide format printing. 

Epson Stylus Pro 9500

            In the new millennia, innovations from industry experts Hewlett-Packard and Durst improved large format print quality with high-stability, multi-colorant pigmented ink systems.  These new printers produced images that were longer lasting than before.  The commercialization of wide format print technology made it much more widely accessible to the average consumer.  Today, the options for grand format printing are essentially limitless and can be used by a business or organization for many purposes including trade show graphics, indoor and outdoor signage, banners, backlight graphics, floor-window-ceiling-wall graphics, environmental graphics, vehicle wraps, building wraps to name a few.

CCG’s Mimaki Grand Format Press

           In the print industry, grand format projects are printed on a variety of materials, called substrates.  Choosing the correct substrate for a grand format project depends on the environment of the project, the size, and the specifics of installation, as different materials have varying outdoor lives.  One of the most common substrates used is PVC which is highly durable and ideal for outdoor signage.  It produces a quality image that can also withstand all kinds of weather conditions.  For large scale projects, durable vinyl makes excellent, smooth banners that are high-quality and affordable.  Interior designers love removable vinyl, which is a substrate that can be cut into specific graphic designs, applied to a wall, and removed without any damage.  Grand format projects involving photography often use acrylic as a substrate because of its outstanding quality and luminance.  For water-resistant and reusable projects, clients often choose gatorboard, a substrate made of lightweight foam between wood-fiber.  Gatorboard is easy to transport and durable through all weather conditions because it is water proof.  These are just some of many substrates that are used in grand format print.

Mesh Signage Banner

            Wide format printers differ depending on the way they transfer ink onto the substrate.  Aqueous ink is water-based, meaning the ink pigment or dye is held in a water solution.  This works well on coated materials such as canvases and banners that can be laminated afterward.  Solvent is any ink that is not water-based.  These prints are water-proof and can be printed directly onto uncoated substrates such as vinyl.  Solvent inks are generally more durable than aqueous inks.  Another type of ink is dye sublimation, which is diffused into the substrate, producing photographic quality prints.  Finally, UV inks are inks that dry under UV light resulting in waterproof, embossed, and vivacious prints.  The type of ink used is dependent on the project and the customer’s needs. 

            Grand format signage has maintained added importance as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to uproot businesses and society as we know it.  Social distancing signage can be found everywhere now, whether it is an “Enter Here” sign on the front of a grocery store or a 6-feet apart marker on the floor.  These are often made from adhesive-back vinyl which can be stuck to a variety of surfaces and removed after use.  Grand format printing is an essential need in society in order to keep people safely distanced and maintain order and capacity.   

            Furthermore, grand format print takes a large role in company rebranding projects.  CCG has successfully worked on a number of customer rebrands which included numerous grand format projects.  One rebrand involved the installation of new window and wall vinyl graphics, silicone-edge graphics, and exterior and interior graphics and banners designed to support the new brand identity of the company.  CCG also installed directional signage and printed PVC 3D custom signage for the customer.  It was a highly successful and cohesive rebrand that could not have been completed without large format print technology.

3D PVC Custom Signage

            Grand format print is also in high demand for business grand openings.  There are a number of projects which can be used to generate excitement and provide clarity for new customers arriving at the location.  A specific example of a grand opening where signage is crucial would be for a real estate development company opening a new apartment building.  Typical grand format projects include parking rate signs, wayfinding signs, windmaster signs, and leasing office signs.  The feather flags often seen on the side of the road to announce a grand opening also fall under grand format work.  Adhesive backed vinyl and window perf graphics can be applied to walls and windows to announce a grand opening as well.  All in, grand format is a crucial form of advertising when it comes to these types of projects. 

Adhesive Vinyl Signage with Laminate

The advent of grand format printing changed the graphic communications and advertising industry significantly and is now an integral part of marketing.  CCG’s wide format technology provides clients with stunning grand format graphics and signage to fulfill all marketing objectives.  Grand format print continues to be a successful medium for attracting new customers and retaining current ones.  Talk to a representative at CCG about elevating your company’s brand image and advertising with grand format print today!

By Marley Niesz