The days of simple site signage appear to be in the past, certainly for larger construction firms who want to truly make an impact. But does the hunt to ensure brands are noticed really need to be to the detriment of companies’ eco consciences? And, will a wow factor with green credentials always blow the budget? Suzie Pitcher, client services director at Leach, looks at this in our latest blog…
Over the years, the role of brand around a construction site has certainly evolved. For example, hoarding, building, scaffolding and fencing wraps were once erected purely to keep out prying eyes, or to help disguise an unattractive ‘work in progress’. But over time, contractors – and their customers – have acknowledged the opportunity that such signage provides.
Even derelict sites are often ‘dressed’ with branded collateral, showcasing the upcoming project and expected timescales in a visually appealing manner. And, recognising the value of the brandable space, some firms even sell the opportunity for other businesses to advertise their own company there.
As its use as a communication tool has become readily acknowledged, many contractors are demanding it works harder still. For instance, high-definition graphics set within an external LED-illuminated lightbox will catch the attention of more passers-by at all times of day and in any weather. Typically incorporating reusable graphics – which can be transposed as a project unfolds or a marketing campaign progresses – these interchangeable brand solutions prove popular among firms with a keen eye on budget too.
But environmental pressures have now been added to the considerations, too.
With mounting demands on businesses of all shapes and sizes – and the need to demonstrate ethical, ‘green’ working practices in the latest in a series of CSR requirements being imposed on contractors – the world’s ‘war on plastics’ is now a concern of the masses rather than the minority.
In response, many signage specialists have innovated – but being ‘green’ often comes at a cost. In the past, sustainable alternatives have been more expensive, making an investment in ‘eco’ branding solutions difficult to bear.
So, graphics, print and display companies who truly care about ‘being green’ – including Leach – have consequently worked on researching, designing, prototyping and manufacturing recyclable alternatives to all external signage substrates, without them costing a single penny more.
PVC-free banners now exist, for example, that will biodegrade if they are still sent to landfill – the same can be said for PVC-free vinyl’s. However, better still return-to-base recycling promises from the manufacturer mean that these materials can be processed for secondary use in the remanufacturing of other products, including furniture.
The list of examples goes on. A paper-based alternative to a traditional aluminium di-bond hoarding which can be used outside for up to two years, also offers a more environmentally-friendly and more cost-effective alternative – sometimes for as little as a quarter of the price. Add an anti-graffiti laminate to certain signage products and the longevity benefits are stronger still.
Some signage suppliers will even report on the environmental impact of the switch. One client campaign recently evidenced that 213sqm of material alone resulted from the recycling of 426 plastic bottles!
Even installation teams are working harder to reduce their environmental impact, with rope access technicians commonly being employed to erect and dismantle site signage at height, for a low-carbon install process.
Being ‘green’ can no longer be an afterthought for the construction industry, especially when end customers are looking for evidence of more ethical working practices. But thanks to pioneering innovation within this specialist world of design and print, the really exciting thing is that construction site branding no longer has to cost the earth.