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Printing Industry Exchange ( is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Large Format Printing: Multiple Standees and Marketing Theory

Installing a large standee for The Dictator today, I had some thoughts about the importance of placement of standees and other point of purchase displays. I thought these might be of use to you in your large format printing work.

Placement of Standee (Immediacy)

The goal of large format signage is for it to be immediately seen. As the long escalator disembarks on the main floor of this particular movie theater, you are immediately greeted by a moving Madagascar standee. The canon barrel goes up and down, raising and lowering the animal characters stuffed in the barrel. Motion, wild color, and the faces of the creatures grab your interest.

Placement is key. You see this moving, large format printing structure before anything else, as the escalator reaches the main floor.

Placement of Standee (Competing Images)

When we completed The Dictator structure, we were asked by theater management to place the standee in an open spot next to the Dark Shadows standee. By itself, Dark Shadows is huge. It is also exciting, since it combines printed graphic panels with a velvet chair in which the movie patron can sit for a photo opportunity, surrounded by the ghastly inhabitants of Dark Shadows.

That said, The Dictator standee is larger, simpler, lighter in color, and first in a series of standees going down the hall in the movie theater. It includes a large, overstuffed chair in front of a large circular poster of the main character. It is flanked by two flags hanging on wooden poles. Under the chair is a circular, inkjet printed floor covering—a simulation of a round rug.

The Dictator standee dwarfs the Dark Shadows standee. I think this is true for two reasons:

  1. In general, what you see first makes the strongest impression. The Dictator is first in line and larger than the other standees.
  2. Whatever is harder to see makes a lesser impression. Movie theaters are dark, and the fact that The Dictator is positioned under better light, and is itself lighter and simpler in general, makes it more of an eye catcher than Dark Shadows, even though I personally think the Dark Shadows standee is far more intriguing up close.

Unique Materials Engage the Viewer

In a prior blog positing, I had mentioned that I liked the way Dark Shadows involved the viewer. The Dictator does the same thing. Both are photo opportunities. I think the unique construction materials accentuate the immersive quality of the standees. Both Dark Shadows and The Dictator include printed materials (flexographic panels of solid color as well as offset printed images), but they also include physical objects (chairs, flagpoles, and, in the case of The Dictator, a custom printed floor covering resembling a large, round rug.

Both standees create an environment for the viewer to step into. You can participate with the standee. In the case of The Dictator, you can run your hand across the embroidered chair or reach up to touch the inkjet custom printing work of the soft fabric flags on wooden poles. Images of flags, offset printed and diecut, just don’t compare to the emotional engagement of real flags, a real chair, and a real rug.

Safety of Standee

You wouldn’t initially think about it, but standees that invite participation put both the participant and the theater at risk. You can hurt yourself if you’re not careful. So in both the design and production of these photo booth standees, as well as their placement, safety has to be a consideration.

For instance, the Dark Shadows standee includes a chair made of layers of corrugated board covered with padded velvet cushions and graphic panels. It is quite sturdy. It is also bolted to a floor panel so it can’t move (making it safe for enthusiastic teenagers).

Overall Thoughts for Your Own Large Format Printing Work

Here are some concepts you might take away from this experience:

  1. Think big. All large format printing displays fit within an environment and compete with other point of purchase signage. Larger, brighter, simpler, more colorful—all of these qualities will get your image noticed. And for marketing, it’s all about getting noticed.
  2. Think physical reality. If your point of purchase signage has protruding elements, or is positioned in the way of foot traffic, or is dangerous in any other way, a marketing moment can turn into a legal one or even a tragedy. Someone can get hurt.
  3. Think surroundings. Your image will compete with other images. Determine the location early in the process, and even if there are no competing marketing images to consider, do consider the lighting, the surrounding wall color—everything else in the environment.
  4. Think interactive. Your large format printing display will grab the viewer if it invites him or her into its own fanciful world. Using real objects (like the chairs or the fabric flags on wooden poles) makes the installation more real and hence more immersive.

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