Ups and downs
Those print suppliers formerly supplying rail spaces with small-format posters will no doubt have seen a drop in work, while those wide-format printers with the capability to print on a very large scale should have seen an upsurge.
Of course, with such large displays the key is to ensure the creative on display is good enough to capitalise on the prominence it will be given.
“We have to deliver quality; advertising of this size will show up any imperfections, so we make sure all our contractors can deliver on this,” explains Cohen.
This means that for those wide-format printers with an eye on this growing work channel, investment in the best quality production kit is essential. However, another key consideration that may not be immediately obvious is that printers working in this space often have to be able to install the projects too.
“It’s important that firms have a good crew of workers to help with the installations, as the time we have to put in new displays can be very limited,” explains Cohen.
This point is echoed by Sam Bird, JCDecaux’s director of production and creative solutions, as she explains that while quality is expected as standard, installation is a much trickier issue.
“The print we use is just standard vinyl material, but getting it into the station is the real challenge. We often only have very short timeframes to install the print and because we’re working in stations, the relevant health and safety certifications are vital,” she explains.
The importance of having a good in-house team is something that Andy Wilson, director at Press On Digital Imaging, knows well and is something the industry is starting to understand.
“A few years ago, you’d struggle to find people to help install some projects. But now there are more firms wanting bespoke installations, so there are more workers with the knowledge to carry out these projects, which is making it easier to meet demand,” he explains.
RAIL ADVERTISING ESSENTIALS
The rail advertising market is booming, but tapping into this sector is not just a matter of running off some vinyl. Here is a quick guide to what you will need.
- A high-quality press The highest quality is expected as standard. The shift to larger-scale advertising sites brings with it larger exposure, so poor-quality print can be easily noticed and will not be accepted
- Speed of turnaround Printers in this sector have to deal with extremely fast turnarounds, so having the print speed, front-end and logistical capability to process and deliver orders quickly is essential
- Installation teams Increasingly, advertisers and site owners are expecting the printer to handle the installation – having an in-house team to install work is now a key part of the service
- Health and safety Not only should your installation teams be fully trained and accredited for work on railways and/or at height, the material printed on also needs to meet strict H&S criteria.