By Melissa Donovan
Floor graphics are a worthwhile tool for wayfinding in addition to promotional purposes. For print service providers (PSPs), floor graphics represent a great addition to an already pressure-sensitive focused portfolio, as the skill sets are already in place and a minimal learning curve is required.
Eagle Sign & Design LLC segued into floor graphics quietly, but now finds it consists of 20 percent of its sales. About 50 percent of that is floor graphics specifically used in hospitals. This service is so popular, Eagle Sign refers to them as Med Decals.
A Complement to Screenprint
Based in Kaukauna, WI, Eagle Sign got its start in 2003. Three partners invested a few hundred dollars into a vinyl plotter and its corresponding software. The purchase complemented an existing business—Eagle Graphics, which offers screenprinting services.
“Getting the vinyl on and getting it straight was seemingly impossible and I remember thinking, there is no way anyone can make money doing this. I had no sign experience so it was trial by fire,” shares Chris Hermann, partner, Eagle Sign.
After moving the business out of Hermann’s garage and into a few different locations, it finally found a permanent home at Eagle Graphics’ existing building. An addition was built to maintain the two companies under one roof. Today Eagle Sign runs with four employees and some shared staff from the Eagle Graphics division. A total of 18,000 square feet makes up the entire building.
Full Line of Floor Graphics
Eagle Sign is a full-service sign shop. While its largest segment is vehicle graphics, the PSP offers banners, retractable banners, pop-up tents, trade show displays, window graphics, wall graphics, and floor graphics.
In 2008, it was tasked with a project from a local hospital. The request was for floor graphics that designated specific rooms and areas for infection control. After completion, various members of other hospitals noticed the floor graphics and reached out to Eagle Sign. Thanks to word of mouth, this segment of the business grew into a full line of floor graphics—Med Decals—geared toward hospitals. The graphics are used for purposes beyond infection control, including wayfinding.
“Floor graphics offer a unique point of view, literally. Imagine hospital staff walking, talking, and looking at a clipboard. If you have a sign on the wall it may not be noticed but put that same message on the floor and it does get noticed,” explains Hermann.
Floor graphics are printed on two different printers from Mutoh America, Inc. These include a ValueJet 1624 and a ValueJet 1624X. Both printers are 64-inch devices. Lamination is completed on a device from Royal Sovereign.
It’s important the right media and laminate are used for a floor graphic application, and although Hermann admits Eagle Sign has experimented with various brands throughout the years, it always goes back to ORAFOL Americas. Specifically, it works with ORAJET 1663 and ORAGUARD 250AS.
According to Hermann, using this combination of products results in ease of installation, which is critical in any environment, but even more important in a hospital. “Imagine a hospital setting in an emergency and the floor decal is lifting on the corner. One misstep or trip could be life or death—maybe not for the person walking that trips but the patient needing care and that care is delayed or compromised,” he shares.
A typical Med Decal project involves anywhere from 25 to 50 pieces. Eagle Sign staff handles the installation of graphics if it is a local project. However, much of the PSP’s work happens all over the U.S., so it ships the completed graphics to the hospital site and the install is handled there.
Five Miles Long
While vehicle graphics are a large portion of Eagle Sign’s revenue, floor graphics continues to be a profitable add-on service that it did not foresee. Hermann estimates that if all of the Med Decals it has completed were placed end to end, cumulatively they would stretch over five miles. Perhaps the company will add another five miles to that over the next ten years.
Oct2019, DPS Magazine