The pitfalls of buying cheap display graphics from the Internet

The pitfalls of buying cheap display graphics from the Internet

  • 08 Nov 0

The Internet is a great resource if you want to cut the costs of your advertising budget. With so many businesses advertising their wares on the web, you can easily find the perfect pop up, graphic panel or roller banner for that all-important trade exhibition. Once you’ve found a design you like, you can then shop around for the cheapest quote and bingo – you’ve got what is now known in business speak as a ‘win/win situation’. A great design at discount prices.

But have you actually made a bit of a business error? Is that cheap display graphic from the lowest bidder really all it’s cracked up to be, or have you made a mistake that could cost your business much more than the price of the graphic panel?

Picking the right display graphics supplier isn’t just about cost. A little bit of background research can tell you why that lowest price is so much cheaper than the others – and the truth may reveal a flaw in your plan. So here’s a few questions to ask before you make what could be a costly mistake.


Are they outsourcing their printing?

While your graphics supplier may have a great eye for design, if the printing is done by a third party there’s no way of checking that the quality is going to be as good as you expect it to be. There could also be a problem with colour matching, and if the logo on your new sign is a different shade to the rest of your branded material, you’ve immediately devalued your brand identity. Look for graphics companies that keep their printing in-house.


How long is the chain of command?

Are you dealing direct with your graphic designer and printer, or are you going through a sales rep? Your business depends on how good a job your printer and graphics company is doing for you, so ensure that you’re talking to an experienced account handler who knows all the details on your order and can give you definite answers, not hollow, third-hand reassurances.


Do they give you any feedback?

Your graphics company is expert at spotting a strong identity and just as good at spotting weak designs that are going to fail. So if your original design isn’t up to speed, a good graphics company will tell you. This feedback is invaluable, because while you may be an industry leader in your particular field, knowing what kind of design will make a strong impact at an exhibition for example, may not be your greatest business skill. There have been cases where something as obvious as a spelling mistake hasn’t been questioned by a graphics company, and it’s the customer that suffers as a result. A good graphics company will work with you to produce the best possible product that benefits both organisations’ reputation.


Is the quality what you expect?

This is where the pitfalls of buying cheap from the Internet can really come back to bite you. You can’t pay bargain basement prices and expect to get professional quality results. If your graphics company is pitching their price at way below the market average, there’s a good chance they’re cutting corners to keep those costs down. The result will be poor quality advertising material that will only last one exhibition (if you’re lucky). Good quality popup graphics and pull up banners are printed on a thick lightstop substrate and always sealed for added protection. If yours aren’t, then don’t expect them to last for very long. The result is more investment, probably with a more expensive graphics company that perhaps you should have gone to in the first place, and a pull up banner that’s destined for the rubbish bin.

The morale of this is – if you want great graphics, be prepared to pay a little extra for quality. It actually works out cheaper in the long run.

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