Businesses, schools, churches, and entertainment venues across the country are reopening after COVID-19 shutdowns or increasing their occupancy limits as states lift restrictions. To keep employees and customers safe at their locations, organizations create signage to communicate social distancing and other safety requirements to everyone who enters the building.
Social Distancing Materials Present New Challenges
Epson recently began hearing from customers about the challenge of purchasing high quality branded signage to visually communicate where people should stand and line up appropriately to meet social distancing requirements. Because these types of signs weren’t common for most businesses until recently, they’ve had many questions: where to get the designs, how to customize them and how to quickly get updates when the standard changes – which in this climate it has been doing frequently- almost day to day. Organizations across many industries were also concerned about how to make updates as government recommendations changed.
“Our customers were calling, excited about opening up but concerned about how to get the signage they needed to be produced in time. Social distancing is new to everyone,” says Jacob Hardin, Epson’s Product Manager of Professional Imaging. “Businesses have never had to communicate this type of information to customers previously and with standards changing so rapidly.”
In the past, organizations ordered pre-packaged signage from vendors. However, this meant businesses were limited to the designs available as well as the products that were in-stock. Hardin heard from customers they needed a solution to make signs like these. Brand-conscious customers even asked if there was a way for signs to match their brand voice and colors. Organizations also found that pre-packaged signs typically come in pre-packaged multi-packs. So, if they need seven signs but the design came in packs of five, they had to purchase more than needed.
As new guidelines were released and states began to open up businesses, requests for other types of materials began to flood in — among them, posters, bathroom mirror stickers, and door signage. While many businesses had previously created traditional signage, their existing processes and channels simply didn’t work for pandemic needs. Additionally, the long lead times occurring due to high demand didn’t work for many customers, as businesses needed to open as soon as possible with new signage.
Epson and Canva Respond to Organizations’ Signage Needs
Although Epson’s printers were perfect for producing on-demand social distancing materials, especially its affordable SureColor® T-Series, they realized that their customers needed help with the design part of the challenge as well. To help customers through the challenge of reopening, Epson partnered with Canva, an online design platform that allows users to create custom graphics, to help customers create branded designs from scratch or from a prepopulated template — from quickly designing custom materials to match each brand to printing high-quality materials on a variety of materials on demand.
“We discussed this great opportunity with Canva because their platform delivers a very easy to use interface and a ton of templates — one of the best in the market,” says Hardin. “We were also impressed at the wide range of social distancing templates Canva offered and their speed at continually adding new designs.”
Organizations can use Canva’s platform and templates to design the signage they need, including floor stickers, wall signs, and door stickers. When the design meets their needs, they can customize the sign to their store colors, or look & feel and print on demand as needed.
“This partnership also puts organizations back in the driver’s seat instead of being dependent on multiple third parties and the supply chain to get their doors safely back open,” says Hardin.
Hardin notes that many of Epson’s customers are have already been using Canva’s platform with the Epson SureColor T-Series to print materials at their own sites. Because the printer line offers several sizes, from 24-to-44 inches, organizations can print large signs on-demand as needed, from the very small to the very large. The Epson SureColor T-Series prints on a wide range of materials, including rigid poster board, stickers, and even plain signs and posters on paper which can be changed in the front store window daily.
Businesses Reap Benefits from Epson and Canva Partnership
Organizations using the Epson and Canva partnership to create social distancing materials are seeing the following benefits from using the service:
- Agility: Hardin says that the most common benefit he hears from organizations is that they have the ability to much more quickly respond to changes, such as new state orders or recommendations for their specific industry. Some organizations have made changes to their processes, such as turning entranceways into one-way doors or rerouting customer traffic in the store, after seeing what works and doesn’t work once opening. The purchase of a SureColor T-Series printer can give companies the ability to make the decisions that work best for their businesses, and add flexibility and control that comes from making their materials in-house.
- Improved branding with customizable templates: With this solution, organizations can customize pre-designed templates with their own colors, logos, and messaging. For example, a teacher with a blue-themed classroom can continue their color scheme on the signs. But even more importantly, organizations can change the messaging to reflect their brand voice and industry. Jacob mentioned how some brands customize distance recommendations based on their business, such as a brewery measuring 6 feet in illustrations of kegs or grocery stores using shopping carts. During this time of change and uncertainty, brands are focusing on building relationships and trust with customers. By speaking to customers through signs in the tone of the brand, organizations can further strengthen their customer relationships.
- Reduced dependency on supply chains: Through this partnership, organizations are no longer dependent on the supplies they need from vendors being available. While the supply chain issues in the early days of COVID-19 have mostly evened out, materials being out of stock can prevent a business from reopening as planned and updating their signage as needed. Why wait in line at a sign shop to have signage made, when organizations can do it themselves?
- Affordable price: Because businesses can avoid wasting product due to packaging quantities or paying high custom-printing prices, Hardin says many organizations are now displaying high-quality signs at affordable prices.
- Pro Services available: Canva also offers a Pro Subscription Service for those that want to take advantage of more templates and graphics with no limitations.
“Organizations facing reopening challenges are now able to focus on what they do best — providing customer service — while letting Epson use our decades of experience in business and education combined with Canva’s creative and professional templates to create the signage needed to move forward in our post-pandemic world.”