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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: Cosmetics Environmental Design

In addition to installing “standees” and large format print signage at movie theaters, my fiancee and I install environmental displays for a high-end cosmetics firm. As an example of large format printing, custom screen printing, and the overall marketing effect of a sophisticated environment, I have found these installations to be very instructive.

The overall set-up of the last staging included make-up tables, director’s chairs, carpeting, and large format print banners suspended from geometric stands. Clearly the overall purpose of the environment was to provide space for skilled cosmetologists to apply make-up to clients, showcase the brand’s cosmetics, offer free samples, and (hopefully) entice clients to buy more.

Creating a sense of exclusivity, sophistication, culture, and opulence was paramount. Here’s a little background information I gleaned from closely observing how each element of the environment had been constructed and how all elements went together to reinforce this effect.

Make-Up Tables

As I built these tables with my fiancee, the first thing I noticed was their heft: 60 to 80 pounds each. The cosmetics company had spared no expense to give these make-up stands the solidity that would suggest quality workmanship. They were angular, generous in size, and painted matte jet black. The brand’s logo adorned both sides of each table, screen printed in thick, white ink.


Carpet tiles marked the perimeter of this environment. Everything within this magic space reflected the company’s branding colors, logos, and ambiance. Everything outside the carpeted space was separate (outside the magic sphere). Therefore, great care was put into the fabric, weave, and coloration of the carpet.

Banners and Banner Stands

Most banner stands I have seen hold banners that curl or have frayed edges. Usually these are printed on thin canvas or vinyl, and the overall appearance is pretty but cheap. In contrast, the banners we installed had been inkjet printed in rich colors (probably augmented with extra inks to extend the color gamut). The fabric was a thick, flexible cotton or polyester. The banners had the feel of thick linen table cloths. Between the digitally printed ink colors and the fabric, the black-and-gold-themed banners exuded opulence.

The matte black posts that held the large format print banners also provided a sense of stability and sophistication. Each triangular “girder” had one panel that was solid as well as two that were constructed of short crisscrossing sticks. Overall, the structure provided a modern architectural look. On the outer panel of each side of the banner stand was the screen printed logo in the same ink used for the cosmetic tables.

Director’s Chairs

The company had chosen black enameled director’s chairs to seat their clients during the make-up application. The cotton duck canvas comprising the seat and back were also black, except for the brand logo screen printed on the back of each chair: again, in the same size and color as applied to the tables and banner stand posts.

Rip-Stop Nylon Cases for All Elements of the Display

Although no one but the installers would ever see the fabric cases for shipping the component parts of the tables and stands, these also showcased the company’s attention to detail and quality. They had spared no expense to protect the elements of their display and to brand them in the process.

The Overall Effect

From the installation process, it seemed that the cosmetics company wanted to project its commitment to pampering its clients and prospective clients, and making them feel special. Clients entered an exclusive club when they sat down in these chairs within this environment. They were also in a magical, timeless zone in which they held the exclusive attention of the finely dressed and made up cosmeticians.

How You Can Apply This Mindset to Your Design Work

Whether you are designing a brochure, a website, a large format print banner, or an interactive kiosk, you should be aware of the tone, mood, and effect you wish to evoke within the reader or participant. If you put into practice all of the tools of the design trade, from fonts to color choices to paper stocks while being sensitive to their effects on the reader or participant, you can dramatically increase your value as a marketing professional. The goal of marketing is to make the sale, and it is within your purview to facilitate this through your design choices and choice of materials.

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