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Floor and Carpet Graphics – Key Considerations

We’re all witnesses to the new normal in grocery stores, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and the like of COVID-19 related signage. It’s designed to help ensure social and physical distancing, from wayfinding instructions to hand washing and “clean carts,” all for customer and employee safety.

As more businesses start reopening around the country, it’s likely that the demand for these types of graphics will increase. From non-essential retailers and hair salons to dentist offices and commercial office buildings, for whom the idea of putting graphics on the floor may be new, the opportunity exists to support their needs by acting as a resource of information as well as providing product.

Of course, floor graphic applications have been around for many years, and market growth for all promotional graphics (floors, walls, windows, etc.) has been at about 4% annually since 2013.  With COVID-19, the demand for floor graphics has skyrocketed, and with the expectation of a “new normal” that includes social distancing and stringent cleaning protocols for the foreseeable future, the surge in demand for floor and carpet graphics is expected to continue.

How will you assist new and existing customers looking for a solution?

  • Education. Customers that are new to floor graphics may need to be educated on performance features such as durability and anti-slip characteristics.
  • Guidance. Presenting options and guiding customers through the creative and material selection processes will add value.
  • Differentiation. Customers may choose readily available options that meet performance requirements to start, but as this becomes the new norm, aesthetics will have greater importance, presenting the opportunity to differentiate.
Floor graphics in dentist office

Material Selection

FLEXcon Logo Please Keep Six Feet Apart1. Slip Resistance Testing

It’s important to choose products that have been independently tested to industry safety standards. Those approved under UL 410 will achieve this goal to help ensure the safety of patrons.

2. Durability

The level of traffic expected as well as the cleaning protocols in place may affect purchasing decisions. Products with high tear strength, and product systems that utilize thicker overlaminates, will stand up better in heavy traffic areas.

The type and profile of the floor surface on which the graphics will be placed may be a deciding factor as well. For example, the choice for a smooth tile floor will be very different than one for rough textured open concrete.

Duration of the campaign is also a factor. If the plan is to leave the graphics in place for six months or more, selection of a more durable product will be required.

Finally, cleaning protocols will come into play. The CDC is recommending a solution of 1/3 cup bleach per gallon of water or a cleaning solution containing 70% alcohol for disinfecting purposes. Products that utilize a solvent-based adhesive will stand up better to such solutions than ones that use a water-based adhesive. Frequency of cleaning is also a consideration - will the floor be cleaned daily, weekly, less often?

3. Aesthetics

The condition of the floor can impact the appearance of graphics. A fully opaque film will cover dark colors and stains that could detract from the graphic. On the other hand, a clear film on a pristine floor can achieve a “no-label-look,” similar to clear labels on glass beverage containers, providing an enhanced appearance where the floor becomes part of the design. Other times, depending on overhead lighting, use of a matte or lustre overlaminate will help reduce glare.

For customers who wish to achieve something distinctive to match the look and feel of a brand, there are metalized options such as silver and brushed silver.

Managing Volume

While high demand is great for business, customers are seeking very fast response and accurate information, thereby raising the stakes.  To help simplify the finishing process for printers and minimize bottlenecks, some suppliers offer custom slitting and sheeting, which can reduce waste and help optimize processing time by being sized to the specific width and length needed for each job. Anywhere the process can be leaned out will increase throughput.

Buying Direct

Buying direct from the manufacturer provides key benefits, such as:

  • Assurance of fast and accurate product information, including testing to specific surfaces and appropriate product recommendations
  • Expert advice about performance
  • Compliance and content information
  • Sample rolls/sheets for testing
  • Waste reduction by optimizing finished roll or sheet sizes as compared to one or two standard sizes available through a distribution channel
  • Ability to customize product constructions for unique performance requirements or visual effects
  • Lower carbon footprint by elimination of transport to multiple locations

Whether the business opportunity presented is large or small, unique or generic, working with a manufacturer that can support all of these challenges will enable printers to provide the highest level of quality and service to keep new and old customers coming back.

For more detailed guidance on product selection, read What’s the Best Film for Your Application?

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