With today’s digital printing options, there’s no reason for an awning client to be limited to colors and patterns in a book or traditional customization methods, according to Andrew Medley, regional sales manager for Trivantage.
“Digital printing offers unlimited capabilities, and it is a solution to providing the customer exactly what they want—personalized messaging, the ability to purchase small lots and avoid high minimum order quantities, and completely customizable fabrics,” he said.
Medley led a session this week at IFAI Virtual Expo 2020 on “Digital Printing: Unique Solution Offering that Differentiates.” In the session, he offered an overview of how awning manufacturers can communicate with clients about digitally printed awnings, how to correctly fabricate a digitally printed awning, how to determine the right product and materials, and the options for completing a digitally printed awning if it can’t be printed in-house.
Digital printing offers the benefits of customizing awnings quickly on a large scale, he said, and the quality is better than ever.
“You can easily recreate designs, time and time again,” he said. “If [your client] is a national chain, you can do the same design, and the one in California can be exactly the same as the one in North Carolina.” Digital printing is also a good option when a single awning is damaged and the repair needs to match other awnings on a building, and the original fabric is no longer available.
Awning manufacturers generally have three options when adding digital printing to their service offerings.
- Printing in-house. This involves investing in expensive equipment, and it isn’t a good option if you will only occasionally be digitally printing an awning, he said.
- A local print service provider. Medley warned that these businesses often don’t understand the unique characteristics of awnings.
- National companies that specialize in digitally printing awnings. “They understand the awning industry, they understand how awnings are built, the technique that goes into it,” Medley said.
Medley recommended finding a good print partner and getting to know what’s in their toolbox—the options for fabrics, different print techniques, colors and services available, and so on.
“Utilize digital proofs and awning imaging software to reduce cost,” he said. “There’s a lot of digital awning software out there that can make it easier for you to show your customers. The more knowledgeable the customer, the easier the process.”
Registration for IFAI Virtual Expo 2020 is open through Nov. 12. All Expo sessions will be posted on the Virtual Expo platform for viewing during Expo and for 30 days after Expo has concluded.