Middleton Group

Getting An Accurate Printing Estimate: What We Need From You

For an accurate printing estimate there are several important elements that go into creating an outstanding retail merchandising display. Quality material, effective printing equipment, great design, a knowledgeable team of printing professionals - these are crucial to the success of your retail signage. And let’s not forget price - for today’s cost-conscious companies, price is always a piece of the puzzle.

When the team at Middleton Group provides a printing estimate to one of our valued clients, we rely on you to provide key input. With the details that you give us, we can ensure that you get an accurate quote with little or no need for later revisions. That means the more information from you, the better.

“When quote requests come in, we try to get as much information as possible from a client in order to determine the best stock and equipment to quote on and what sizes make the most sense,” says Middleton Group President and CEO Rob Stratton.

An Accurate Printing Estimate - What to Consider: Materials

Needless to say, the type of material and finishing that goes into your retail merchandising displays will affect the end cost. But cost is not the only consideration when choosing the right material. Some other points to consider:

Is your printed product going outdoors or indoors? In other words, will it be affected by sunlight and require UV protection? Will it need to be protected from rain and wind?

How long will the product be on display? Does it need to be built for durability over the long term or is it only going to be up for a few weeks?

An Accurate Printing Estimate - Other Considerations

In addition to your material needs, we’d like to know how many sides of a piece you want to print on and whether the same image will be printed on all sides.

Size is a key factor as we develop your estimate. Many materials (like plastics) come in a standard size. An end product that takes into account standard sizing will be more economical.

If it’s a window decal you’re looking for, consider whether it will be applied to the outside or interior surface of the window. And how many colours are in your design? “Recently, we printed a 2-sided decal that required several colours adding up to 17 layers of ink,” says Stratton.

Decals can be printed on several different stocks and then laminated. If the piece is going to be placed outside, moisture is an issue and it might be wise to print on a rigid vinyl rather than a laminated card stock.

Does your unique vision call for special finishing, such as die cutting, router cutting, sewing or grommets? Does the piece require any additional hardware, such as step stakes, ropes, holders or clips?

What About Quantity?

How many displays do you want to produce? The quantity affects the economy of scale, meaning the more displays, the better the unit cost. Quantity also affects the manufacturing method. When the volume of displays is higher, it often allows for more efficient production methods.

“If you have several items all on the same stock we can ‘gang’ them up together on a sheet
to get your best product yield. It is best to leave this up to the estimator who knows the
particular press requirements,” says Stratton.

Digital printing is cost effective for smaller runs (up to 250 sheets), depending on your sheet size, but after that quantity pricing is usually much less if the items are screen printed.

Installation needs will also affect your costs. For example, we’ll need to know whether you require old graphics to be removed before we install the new pieces.

Call Us: We Can Help

Overwhelmed? Not to worry, we can help! Our team of resourceful designers, technicians and installers has created top-notch displays for a diverse range of clients, including some of Canada’s most successful companies. Find out how we can help you.

Our Latest Project – RIMOWA North America Window Displays

One of the best parts of a working in a creative field is working with cool companies. Earlier this year, Middleton Group was given the opportunity to work with luxury luggage manufacturer RIMOWA. To see images of the window displays click here.

Headquartered in Germany, with North American headquarters in Cambridge ON, RIMOWA is known as the luggage choice of the stars; a quick Google search and you will see many pictures of A-list celebrities with their RIMOWA luggage. Although you may not recognize the brand name, they have been around since 1898 with manufacturing facilities in Germany and Cambridge, ON (Canada).

With creative guidance from Germany, Middleton Group was given the task to produce a window display for RIMOWA North American stores, including the Toronto flagship store in Yorkville and then distributed to the remaining US locations including Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Guam. This window display had many elements including a New York skyline, replica vintage propeller and map window graphics. All of the printed elements were produced at Middleton’s Markham manufacturing facilities, the end result was a highly impactful display that has a definite “cool” factor. Here's the feedback we received from RIMOWA upon completion of the project...

“This was our first big project with Middleton Group, and I am very happy with the results. Not only were they easy to work with, they provided multiple ideas and solutions to help us achieve our design standards yet stay on budget. In addition, they were accessible whenever we needed and took so much care and attention in making sure that the project was seen through properly until the very end. We look forward to working on our next window display with them!”

Amy Jakubaitis
Public Relations & Marketing Manager
RIMOWA North America

The displays are currently installed into all of North America, check out the images from various RIMOWA locations and visit www.rimowa.com for more information.

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10 Problems With Manufacturing Offshore – Your Retail Display Project Can Cost You More Than Dollars

Just about any product you want to buy can be purchased from overseas sources, even your custom retail display, however, there are problems with manufacturing offshore. While buying products made offshore can cost you less money, you may end up paying in other ways.

Problems With Manufacturing Offshore - 10 Ways Your Project Could Suffer

  1. Lower Standards of Quality

    Offshore manufacturers may rely on unskilled, poorly paid workers and subpar materials. Quality control could be an issue. When standards are lower, the quality and appearance of your crucial marketing material may be at risk. Technical standards may not pass Canadian requirements.

  2. Different Laws and Customs

    Overseas manufacturers may not follow the same laws, customs and regulations that are standard here in Canada. Even if you sign a contract, your agreement might not be sufficiently protected. There may be import and/or export restrictions at either end of the transaction. Remember as well that Canadian consumers may balk if you use suppliers with shady business practices. In addition, you may find a correlation between prices and regulation levels.

  3. Project Delays

    If your carefully designed retail display arrives in poor condition or doesn’t look the way you expected it to look, you may have little recourse. Even if the manufacturer sends a replacement, your project could face significant delays. Likewise, your international shipment could be held up in transit or at customs. Your transaction may require freight forwarders or import agents, which may take the timeline out of your hands.

  4. Shipping and Insurance Costs

    You may incur significant shipping and insurance costs for goods travelling a long distance and across borders. Also, you will need to be sure to find out who is responsible for insurance costs at each stage of transit and who is liable if the product causes harm or loss.

  5. Communication Breakdowns

    If you are dealing with a supplier for whom English is a second language, you may have difficulty communicating via phone, email and printed materials. Communication breakdowns can result in misunderstandings and potentially costly errors.

  6. Time Difference

    If your supplier is in a different timezone, efficient communication can be an issue. While you and your employees are at work, your supplier is at rest and vice versa. This can result in project delays.

  7. No Face-to-Face Introductions

    Never underestimate the comfort of an in-person meeting. An on-site meeting allows you to look at the supplier’s previous work and judge the quality. You can also get a look at the production equipment and processes. This is often not a possibility when you’re dealing with overseas manufacturers. Having a local contact who you can count on makes doing future business easier.

  8. No Access to Work in Progress

    If your custom retail display is being built in China, you likely won’t be able to check on its progress in person. You won’t be able to detect any potential problems and the finished work may not be what you expected.

  9. Complicated Paperwork

    As with any important transaction, you will need to draw up a clear, detailed written agreement. This may be more complicated when working with overseas suppliers, because of language barriers and the need to include information about currency, exchange rates, payment methods, trading terms, conflict resolution, delivery and legal jurisdiction.

  10. Complex Payments

    Payment methods can be more complex for international transactions. You may have options such as payment in advance, with a letter of credit, with a bill of exchange or by invoicing. You will have to balance the risks against your supplier’s expectations. Avoid advanced payments or long-term contracts until you trust the supplier. In addition, currency prices can fluctuate between the time of the deal and time of delivery.

Middleton Group’s skilled sales staff and craftspeople are available for face-to-face meetings and facility tours. Dealing with us ensures that you are fully involved in the entire process of creating your quality retail display. Contact us today to set up a meeting.