In this article, I will be exploring how the vinyl sticker – or interchangeably, decal – printing industry has evolved. While signs and banners used to be the major print media utilized by most big companies, smaller companies, in order to keep expenses down, turned to smaller items that could be seen up close, such as bumper stickers and small decals that were purchased in lots of 500 or more. Due to cost factors, most companies elected to print one or two color stickers, and left the larger sign and banner printing to the major corporations.
In the late 20th century, however, with the rise of digital printing, not only did full color (4CP) decal printing become affordable, as lower quantities could be printed, so did banners and signs. Smaller businesses were now able to afford quality printing at low pricing. Note: Previously, offset and/or flexographic color printing was also cost-effective when reproducing decals at much higher quantities. All of these types of printing have their strong suits quantity-wise.
Digital is generally the best pricing for lower quantities, although we’re watching that change as well, whereas screen printing is still used for large volume runs where three or less colors are printed (Note: screen printing can be used for 4CP printing quite successfully still, although the dot pattern of the print is typically much coarser than digital or flexographic 4CP printing), and flexographic and offset printing where mass volumes of color printing is required.
Is Screen Printing the Cheapest Method?
Look like a Major Player with Large Format Vinyl Graphics
Digital printing has had most of its impact in terms of producing low quantities of large format graphic displays. Its unique influence was propelled forward, among other uses, with the innovation of vehicle “wraps.” A template would be made based on the vehicle that would be wrapped – cars, trucks, vans. A designer would outline the graphic image suitable for the vehicle. And then a professional vehicle wrap installer would “wrap” the car with the large format graphics, making a beautiful mobile advertising sign that could promote your business as the vehicle travelled about the town.
For example, you might be a small home improvement contractor, and you have a 2014 Sprinter van, and you want to advertise your business to attract more potential clients. You would want to look for a professional company that will print and install customized commercial vehicles wraps. After explaining the advertising concept you want your Sprinter Van to display, the printer/installer can lay out the design(s) for you. You can cover just the sides, or the whole vehicle, depending on your budget. We think the full wrap is more powerful in terms of advertising.
Once you are okay with the design, you have options to either bring your Sprinter Van to the installer’s location for installation, or some installers will come to your shop – it could depend on the company as there are small shops that may not have the extra space to accommodate your vehicle. They would cover your car with “conform” vinyl decals, that are meant to conform to its contours. The window graphis are installed with the perforated window vinyl decal material, so that you can see out, but those looking at the van will see printed advertising from the outside. When it’s all done, you now have an ad you can drive anywhere with, in or out of town, that may attract the interest of potential clients.
These wraps are also being used on pickup trucks and trailers. Have you ever noticed a trailer truck with a huge print of a person drinking a bottle of Coca Cola™? That is just one of the many examples. Other companies that are doing the same style of advertising for products include Sprite™, Pepsi™, McDonalds™, Walmart™, and a many, many others.
Busses are another type of vehicle that you may see quite often wrapped with vinyl ad graphics. Public buses may drive all around your city – if it is a larger city – that can certainly get tons of views every day. You can take advantage of that by making an attractive graphic and enticing message that may interest target clients, and for a fee, purchase advertising on metro buses.
And lastly, perforated window decals work incredibly well on retail store windows. Many stores are using perforated window graphics rather than window displays for cost reasons – more floor space for merchandise, and lower cost for the window graphic, as well as time savings – and are steering away from the conventional window display, and investing more on window graphics and prints.
These ideas discussed above are just few of the many ways small business owners are now able to take advantage of full color vinyl decals and stickers, which have advertising in positive ways, both appearance and cost-wise!