The Difference between Retail and Architectural Graphics

May 17th, 2017 by Katherine Coig

According to Gray Balog, business development manager at HDClear, window tinters have a legitimate pricing concern when they hear the word “graphics,” since the products usually require some out-of-the-box thinking.

But, Balog has some advice to help tinters tackle the graphics market, and it all comes down to understanding the two distinct types: retail and architectural. 

Start With Retail

“Retail graphics are most often either plotted vinyl or window wrap,” Balog says. “ … If the tinter needs to warm up the plotter, weed, mask, transfer and install, the price point should reflect that.”

He adds that proper pricing is what it boils down to when trying to sustain a profitable and sufficient graphics department, especially when you factor in competition.

“Sign companies dominate here because they’re willing to install a company’s business hours on their doors for $35,” he explains. “Meanwhile, most tinters price the same job between $85 and $125, then add a trip charge. For graphics department growth, a low cost point is critical.”

In order to maintain a healthy graphics department, he says, training and practice are key, and every installer should know how to butterfly and level vinyl lettering. “Every installer should practice this once or twice a month,” he says. “Streamlined, efficient training is vital …”

Balog also says getting involved in projects that include window wraps are a great way for a graphics department to learn how to wrap any flat surface.

Then Go Architectural

Architectural graphics require a higher level of care, he warns, since projects are usually more complex with more customer involvement.

“Projects such as fine fades with geometric overlay are one-offs in design and dimension with very little crossover to the next project,” he says. “The end-users are much more involved with fully customized graphics and desperately want flawless installations. They also want graphics to travel from the glass onto the wall and any other flat surface.”

Balog’s last piece of advice—make sure your price is right. “Charging the same for both types of jobs will ultimately stunt your graphic department’s growth.”

This article is from Focus on Film, the weekly e-newsletter that covers the latest news regarding window film and related products, including paint protection film. Click HERE to sign up—there is no charge. Interested in a deeper dive? Free subscriptions to Window Film magazine in print or digital format are available. Subscribe at no charge HERE.

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