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Getting 'direct' to the point...

Friday 22nd November 2013


Brand managers and marketers can benefit today from an extensive range of visual applications and substrates to bolster promotional activities and enhance their corporate image. What’s more, they can achieve this objective in a cost-effective way. Visual communication, POP and display are just a few areas that can take advantage of wide-format digital print, which is becoming increasingly popular due to its flexibility, quality and versatility.

More specifically, wide-format print technology can play a part in many decision making processes and marketing plans. Not only can modern print equipment deliver oustanding results, but it also offers the ability to print directly onto many substrates, contributing to the growth of this technical advancement and its market reach.

A key question today is often “what can’t you print on with wide-format printers?”, As long as you’re combining the right application with the right technology, you can print onto almost any rigid substrate, whether it’s glass, wood, metal or board. The opportunity for digital technology to print directly to media has come on leaps and bound over the past few years. While before it was common practise to use roll to roll devices to print onto flexible materials and films, to be used as such, or mounted onto rigid panels, print service providers can now exploit hybrid machines offering the capability of producing roll to roll and direct to media applications from one device only.

As the technology progresses, leading equipment manufacturers develop new machines that address specific industry needs. From a print service provider’s point of view, being able to print directly onto the surface of many rigid substrates reduces the amount of time spent on the application – basically once the print is done, it’s ready to go! From a brand owner’s position, availing themselves of high quality, eye-catching and on-demand solutions, it’s certainly a plus.

However, marketers may wonder what advantages this trend actually provides and might overlook the benefits printing direct to media may offer them.

First of all, you need to consider that wide-format print devices nowadays can generally handle materials up to 4 mtrs long and up to 40mm thick, meaning that you can commission jobs on a wider and more diverse selection of media. This turns into an asset for the display market, for example, where traditional media such as Foamboards, ACM (aluminium composite materials) and cardboards now sit alongside previously unconventional substrates such as wood, glass, metal and acrylic. Media manufacturers are aware of the opportunities opened up by digital print and are widening the array of materials that are optimised for improved performance and above all, sharper images.

Secondly, the features and natural finishes of some substrates are particularly outstanding and distinguish themselves from conventional display media in the market place. For instance, ‘Re-board’ and ‘Dufaylite’ are card faced boards that have an engineered fluted/honeycomb centre giving them great dimensionally stability. In addition, they boasts eco properties that act as an additional value for companies searching for environmental friendly applications.

Last but not least, from a marketing perspective, when you consider that it’s possible to print onto virtually any surface, the opportunities are enormous. The real challenge lies in using wide-format printing effectively. Think about digital technology and its direct to media capability as a tool to revolutionise display and point of sale with truly personalised campaigns where marketers and brand owners can benefit from the differentiation this gives them in the market place.

As a specialist graphic solutions provider, BAF Graphics is committed to demonstrating how easy and cost-effective it is for brand owners and the marketing community at large to enhance their corporate image, taking advantage of direct to media substrates. An example of this concept is shown in our work for Whole Foods Market.

Whole Foods Market were looking for a partner who could produce and manage the installation of all interior branding and signage using different eco-friendly materials and crucially printing direct to media, such as their extensive use of ‘Re-board’. The aim was to create visual applications in line with the company’s organic ethos, and aligning with the natural goodness of the products.

Using our expertise in display we were able to provide graphic solutions that resulted in a variety of materials being used in different areas of the shops. The client and indeed the market response has been extremely positive. Evidence of the importance of getting “direct to the point” by printing direct to media and exploring the unlimited range of visual applications!

For more information contact BAF Graphics on 020 8875 8100 or by email.

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Whole Foods Market, Cheltenham

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