Advantages of using a Print Consultant & Procurement Company

Here’s a perfect example why you should be using a print consultant and procurement company. I know this may sound like I’m bragging but once you hear the story I think you’ll understand my point.

We recently received a call from the designer for Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant. He called us because we’ve worked together before and he knows our capabilities. The client had hired another printer to print and install a new face to the existing Pole Sign outside of his new restaurant. And, due to the printer’s limited equipment, the sign had not turned out the way the client had hoped. Thus the job was referred to us so it could be done correctly.

The Problem with the Sign

The face of the Pole Sign is 142 x 142 inches of graphic illuminated signage, readable from a far distance. The problem with the sign was that it was printed on a 5-foot wide digital press. The problem here is obvious. How can you print a sign that is nearly 12 feet wide on a printer that only prints on material that is 5-feet wide? Due to the company’s limited equipment the sign would have to be printed in three panels instead of the finished graphics being in one piece. This means the panels had to be tiled, sewn or heat-sealed together, so that the finished graphic would be the correct size. On top of that, an additional foot and a half of material was required around the entire graphic for the installation process.

This may not seem like much of a problem. Large signs are tiled and heat-sealed together all the time. But, this sign was different. This was an illuminated sign. At first the client thought nothing of it, as the seam was virtually invisible during the day. But when the sign was illuminated at night the lights enhanced the visibility of the seams, which were now no longer hidden. This was not the professional look the client wanted thus the client wanted the sign redone.

The Solution to Fix the Sign

We had a few things to keep in mind as we undertook this project. Needless to say, we had to keep the cost down as the previous printing company was paying us and were already taking a loss on the job. One thing we suggested was to switch from a 3M material called Panaflex to Vulite Pro, which is a 15-ounce economical, backlit substrate used for a wide array of illuminated applications. The smooth print surface is engineered to avoid flow marks when backlit. And, the cost difference can result in a 20-33% savings over the 3M material.

Next, because we work with a wide variety of printers, we had the sign printed in Los Angeles, which saved on shipping cost. And we printed the sign on a digital press that can print on material 16 feet wide, which meant there were no seems to worry about. We knew the sign would be located outdoors so we used UV inks and double-hit the ink coverage, so when it was illuminated the colors would still pop. In the end, though a long process, everyone was happy.

The Lesson Learned

As this job illustrates, when you deal directly with a printer he will usually sell you a solution based on the equipment he has in his printing facility. On the other hand, Signs of the Times Consulting will provide you with endless solutions based on your needs. And, as you’ve seen, a print consultant and procurement company knows the best way to get your project done correctly and cost efficiently.

If you are ever in Hacienda Heights, please visit Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant - this is one of several locations. They have some buena comida!