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At the ‘Floor-Front’

(May 2014) posted on Tue May 13, 2014

Floor graphics are continuing to evolve.

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By Paul R. Greenland

Many moons ago, the average floor was nothing more than packed earth (still true in some parts of the world). Then, stones gradually began to be used for floors, followed by tiles, wood, carpets, and floor cloths. And, not surprisingly, many of these floors integrated designs and graphics. Rubber, linoleum, and vinyl floors would soon come along as well – and, again, most would feature a design or a graphic of some sort.

Floors for markets, shops, eateries, and other public venues likely followed the same course. Slowly but surely, the floor became not just a surface for customers to walk upon but also served as one more way to make a place of business more enticing, to make the clientele more likely to buy its wares. Decorative graphics pleasing to the eye reinforced the “buy from us” message, and simple messages like “welcome” and the store name or slogan adorned a store’s entryway.

Then, enter printed floor graphics – and the ability to deliver branding and marketing from underfoot changed drastically. A powerful tool for taking a marketing message to the masses, floor graphics allowed a retailer, restaurant, or just about any store, company, or institution to customize its sales pitch, make it as graphically appealing as desired, and to change it out as needed.

But floor graphics aren’t done evolving. In recent years, new materials and applications have emerged, making floor graphics a popular option, not only for marketers, but also for emerging niches like interior design and even home decor.

To find out what's going on in the market, we spoke to several companies whose product rosters include floor-graphics media and materials, including Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, Flexcon, LexJet, Mactac, Ultraflex Systems, and xpedx.

Gaining traction
One of the main general trends with floor graphics is just how pervasive they’re becoming. Where once they may have been seen as primarily geared toward in-store promotion efforts, this is certainly no longer the case.

“Marketing and branding experts are trying to gain attention in every space possible,” says Paul Roba, technical support manager for Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions. “As a result, we’re seeing promotional floor graphics being used everywhere indoors and out – from grocery and liquor stores, to wayfinding on sidewalks for conferences or major sporting events, and in museums for exhibits.”