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Pop-up signage

Graphics | March 1, 2011 | By:

Before 2009 reset the global economy, pop-up stores appeared in malls across the country for the Christmas shopping rush, or maybe in time for Halloween costumes. But retailers are learning that those small shops that appear one day and disappear just weeks later are a dandy marketing tool, as well.

Exposure is exposure, and pop-ups serve to focus consumer attention right where the retailer wants it. It’s a fine way to engage customers in a more personal way and make their shopping more relevant and more fun.

Upscale toy retailer FAO Schwarz opened 10 pop-up stores in seven states for the 2010 Christmas shopping season. The 2,500-square-foot stores featured a limited selection of the store’s signature pieces and most popular lines. A press release touted the “vivid displays and in-store signage in rich shades of red, lending an element of distinction and holiday spirit to these seasonal shops.” FAO Schwarz clearly values high-quality display and signage—a cue for graphics companies and a selling point in preparing for seasonal opportunities.

And don’t just think Christmas. There are pop-ups of all kinds all year long. If you live in or near South Dakota, in June the highways sprout a profusion of giant signs that direct traffic to otherwise nondescript pole barns wrapped in more splashy signage—filled with fireworks. By 4th of July weekend, the parking lots are full, and by the weekend after, they’re empty and the signage is gone.

Next year, the same fireworks vendors are likely to be back, and very likely there will be new signage.

Dozens of similar scenarios play out for other seasonal venues: summer produce stands make way for pumpkin patches and corn mazes that are soon transformed into winter wonderlands packed with fresh-cut Christmas trees. They all have one thing in common: they all need signage and lots of it. If a business is going to open for a short time, perhaps in a small space or out-of-the-way location, and with limited advance notice, what will bring in the customers? We all know the answer: great, eye-catching graphics.

Janet Preus is editor of Specialty Fabrics Review, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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