A tryst with some good old signage players in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru Airport
Bengaluru Airport

Bengaluru is home to a host of popular signage companies in the country. Our travelling team has previously covered the city a couple of times under this column. But that’s not enough to fully unearth the changing dynamics of the city’s signage market. That’s why we again drive down the city roads to meet some good old signage players and find out their progress in business. Ever since the government’s imposition of blanket ban on using flex material in the region, every PSP in the city goes only for green printing media, eco-friendly machines and technologies, which in turn creates not only a safe environment, but a quality-conscious market. JYANESWAR LAISHRAM finds out more on this, shedding a spotlight on the profiles and works of some popular companies in the city.

Mars Polycotex India Pvt Ltd
Provider of premium green media

Rajesh Lalwani
Rajesh Lalwani

Mars Polycotex India Pvt Ltd has been a name synonymous with Eco friendly, PVC free, textile fabric based print media substrates, that is in high demand among the printers and the brands in South India.

Being an exclusive business partner for Arvind Ltd, they have been promoting the concept and awareness around sustainable solutions in the Signage and graphics industry. “Quality and consistency has been our key focus, and we have high order of adherence to Sustainability and Business ethics. A sustainable business is all about dealing with superior products and delivering environmental friendly solutions,” says Mr Rajesh Lalwani, Director, Mars Polycotex India Pvt Ltd, that the products are designed to deliver maximum customer satisfaction through improvement in yield and performance.

Customized solutions for specific requirements is the key to success, and worth mentioning here, is the vastness of the range that they deliver, covering Non lit to Back lit types, Outdoors to indoors in application, variety of shades from matt to gloss and in size and strength suitable for small as well as large and over-sized requirements, both from bio-degradable and recyclable ranges of substrates. Also the entire range of product comes along with detailed certifications from reputed and government acknowledged third party test laboratories, to corroborate the product properties that they claim.

“Arvind’s years of experience in fabric manufacturing, in-depth know-how and continuous product innovations make their products consistent and stand out of the crowd in the market, particularly because the fabric is the key component to achieve most of the functional properties and also to maintain the consistency of performance” mentions Rajesh, adding that the products are also exported to a number of countries including UK, US, Mexico, Brazil, UAE, Australia and many more, and is widely appreciated. The products have been approved by many big corporate clients. The materials are perfectly designed for backlit POP/POS graphics in in-shop branding projects

Arvind Mills, the global textile giant, with integrated capabilities from cotton farming to spinning and weaving of cotton and other manmade fibers like polyester, nylon and others, is changing the print media landscape with their Eco friendly PVC free range of Textile fabric based substrates.

“Now the signage market is moving towards using highly eco-friendly media. In this, fabric is an ideal choice and solution. We are here to serve our customers to their fullest satisfactory level with a line of Arvind printing media,” says Rajesh. Unlike any other conventional fabric media, Arvind products are most trusted and time tested.

Creative Point
Where creativity pulls crowd

P Raghu Ram
P Raghu Ram

When the creativity is the key to attracting crowd, Creative Point plays with it wisely. P Raghu Ram, who was earlier worked as creative artist in a private firm, opened his own signage firm around 10 years ago. With an aim to fulfill every bit of demand of their customers to the best satisfactory level, he invested in a set of high-end digital large-format printing machines – VersaArt RA-640 and EPSON SureColor SC-B6070. “Not only just good quality prints, we provide a faculty where our clients can come and discuss about designing, conceptualisation and sizing as per their needs,” asserts Raghu. The crowd of customers gathering at the lobby of Creative Point consists of executives from big corporate companies. Raghu says the trust that their clients keep on them is because of their creativity and quality they deliver. For quality output, Creative Point opts for only Arvind printing materials.

Daikin, Coca-Cola, Oppo, Big Bazaar and many other big corporate clients are in the client list of Creative Point. “We handle different projects of our customers in different pockets of Bengaluru city. Even for the customer like Big Bazaar, we have taken part in many in-store branding projects. We provide them variants of display standees for different outlets in the city,” mentions Raghu. Creative Art helps many ad agencies in creation of design layouts and on-site sizing in various in-store branding projects.

The next step plan of Creative Point is to recruit a team of creative professionals who can handle in-shop projects independently. “We are now focusing on expanding our footprints in the in-store sector. This sector is an untapped mine for signage companies. In future, a lot of business opportunity will be emerged from this sector,” informs Raghu. For enhancement of their production facility to a new level, he mentions that they are now planning to install a CNC router and a laser engraving machine.

Krish Colors
Going to another level

Ramani Krishna
Ramani Krishna

No doubt, Krish Colors is one of the popular signage companies in Bengaluru. The company has been close partner of a handful of corporate customers, such as Tata Motors, Maruti, Hero and many others from the auto sector. “Since we have been working with a number of big corporate customers, it is quite necessary for us to upgrade our production facility from time to time. This is how we maintain stronger relationship with our customers,” says Ramani Krishna of Krish Colors. He adds that they are now planning to install two Audley flatbed machines in their production facility.

“We visited the recent APPPEXPO in China where we sealed a deal on two Audley flatbed machines. The two machines will boost our level of creative production to a new height, which in turn make us capable to receive some fresh projects from corporate customers. The machines will arrive in India in a few months,” mentions Ramani, adding that the market for printing on thick rigid substrates is rapidly expanding and there is increasing demand for such applications from different market segments, be it retail, real estate, education, etc.

The current production facility of Krish Colors is equipped with other high-end printers including two Allwin printers with KM 512i printheads and EPSON SureColor S40670. The company has a team of 14 sign making professionals who can take care of projects in any part of Karnataka. In addition to Audley flatbed machines, what is planning to add in the company’s facility are CNC routers and laser engraving machines. Ramani conclusively says that they keep sensing the latest trend and ongoing demand in the market, for which they will keep updating their machine portfolio.

Ace Media Solutions
A one-stop solution provider

Balakrishna G
Balakrishna G

With its two decades of presence in the industry, Ace Media Solutions is a leading signage company in the city, which boasts of a well-equipped facility. The line of machines in their facility includes Gandy Digital Termin8tor, Agfa Jeti Titan, HP Latex 360 and others, which offer customers best way of creating high-impact visual graphics. Balakrishna G, Director of Ace Graphics Solutions Pvt Ltd, says they have the prowess of advanced printing technology to produce best-of-the best print graphics. The company’s production facility is spread on an area of 20,000 sq ft.

When asked about their works, Balakrishna says they have been handling quite a number of in-store projects for leading retail brands in Bengaluru. “We produce all graphics that are for both short and long distance views, such as POS graphics, backlit window graphics, billboards, etc for corporate companies and big retail stores across the city.” The company’s list of customers includes some of the leading jewellery companies, such as Bhima, Kyra Jewellery, Varada Diamonds and many others. The company has tied up with big corporate customers such as Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Communication, to pick up a few from the telecom sector.

About the company’s future plan, Balakrishna informs that they keep seeing the changing market trends and demands of their customers. In this respect, he observes the market of dye-sub printing gaining new ground as there is bigger scope of fabric printing in the industry. “We are chalking out plan for opening a separate division for dye-sub printing. As long as the signage printing market of Karnataka is concerned, where flex is totally banned, the only prospect is using fabric and PVC-free materials,” he asserts. He conclusively says that Ace Media Solutions aims at becoming a one-stop solution provider for all.

CM Ram Arts
A big old player

Rajesh
Rajesh

The root of CM Ram Arts is dated back to 50 years in the market. The company was literally known as a painting shop, quite popular for hand-painted works like posters and portraits. Recalling the decades old background of the company, Rajesh narrates how they still maintain the lineage and legacy of his father CM Ram. “Now the structure of the shop is totally changed and there is no such painting activities going on at CM Ram Arts. But we can’t forget the beautiful inheritance of art our father left for us,” he adds.

It has been around 10 years since the first large-format printer was installed at CM Ram Arts. “After the adoption of a Wit-Color printer, we started engaging in digital large-format printing job,” mentions Rajesh. In the following year, the production facility was upgraded to a new level with the installation of a brand new Mimaki JV-3 160 eco-solvent printer. CM Ram Arts is now totally in a new avatar and its overall functioning and management is totally inclined towards ultramodern way of sign making using high-end machines, materials and technologies.

CM Ram Arts boasts of client list containing a number of big customers in the banking sector. “It has been quite some time since we have been working for some big banks, such as SBI, Axis Banks, Karnataka Banks, Co-Operative Banks and others. We closely take part in the branding projects of their branches,” informs Rajesh. CM Ram Arts has a strong team of 10 sign making professionals, who could handle projects of all kinds in and around Bengaluru.

Big Prints
A wide network

Madhu at Rajajinagar branch of Big Prints
Madhu at Rajajinagar branch of Big Prints

Big Prints is indeed a big network. It is a network of five PSPs operated in different parts of Bengaluru, offering a gamut of graphic applications of all qualities. Production facility of each PSP in the network is equipped with a range of quality printers and finishing machines. Allwin printers with KM 512i printheads are common in each of the printing facility of all five branches of Big Prints. “All the branches are well connected in terms of exchange of team work to handle projects of all kinds. Our main priority is the customer’s satisfaction. We maintain quality and commitment to our on-time delivery service,” informs Madhu of Big Prints (Rajajinagar branch).

In addition to its five branches in Bengaluru, Big Prints has two other branches in Mangalore and Shimoga. Around 30 years ago, Big Prints was opened as a mere painting shop where promotional posters were painted and fabricated manually. With the advent of digital large-format printing, the company adopted the new technology, leaving the age-old tradition of hand-painted job. “It has been over the last nine years we have expanded the network of Big Prints branches around Bengaluru and beyond,” says Madhu, adding that they are still planning to broaden the network to a next level.

Big Prints work for a number of big corporate customers from different market segments. From the retail sector, there are some companies which are closely associated with the company. Big Bazaar, Pantaloon, Coir Board and many other corporate customers from other market sectors are in the client list of Big Prints. “Apart from corporate clients we have a chunk of walk-in customers who are simply local departmental stores as well as social organisations,” mentions Madhu. He says that all branches of Big Prints open their doors to every customer, whether small kirana store or a big corporate biggie.

Ravi Arts
A small and compact corner

S Velu
S Velu

Ravi Arts is a small but a compact sign making shop where equipped an X-Roland 1600C printer with EPSON DX5 printhead. S Ravi of Ravi Arts, who is at the helms of the signage shop, is a veteran in the industry. He used to work as a graphic artist at CM Ram Arts, one of the oldest signage companies in Bengaluru. “My overall experience at CM Ram Arts instilled me to go solo around ten years back. When I left the company and started thinking of doing something new that people in the market will find innovative, adoption of a Roland cut and print machine clicked my mind,” he recalls. He further mentions that they would plan to start from a small-scale.

“Well, we are still in the beginning stage. We can’t compare ourselves to big signage firms in the city with their facilities equipped with a line of high-end printers and strong teams,” says Ravi, adding that Ravi Arts has small team of four individuals, which include his brother S Velu, who works as creative head in the company. The client list of Ravi Arts is predominantly consists of walk-in customers. “We don’t have set plan and team to capture corporate clients. Of course, we will surely work for big cooperate customers in future,” he informs.

Talking about their future plan to upgrade production facility, Ravi mentions that they are quite happy and satisfied with the current X-Roland printer with printing speed of 15 sq m/h in 4 pass under the staggered arrangement printing mode. But, as per increasing demands for other applications such as flatbed printed graphics and router-cut items, they are considering to revamp their production facility. Ravi informs, “It will be an instant act,

but we will surely upgrade our machine portfolio to a new level. Perhaps, a new entry-level flatbed printer will be the latest addition to the portfolio.”

The Arts Signage
Router-cut sign expert

Govindaraj
Govindaraj

Ever since the day flex has been banned in Karnataka, The Arts Signage diverted their overall activities into router-cut sign making. “We were engaging in all sorts of printing jobs including flex graphics. But following the government’s decision to curb using flex material in sign making, we stopped using the non-eco-friendly material forever and switched to only router-cut applications,” mentions Govindaraj of The Arts Signage. The current production facility of the company is equipped with Excitech E-2-1325 CNC router and a couple of Graphtec cutting plotters.

“We work usually using materials such as acrylic, PVC, density boards, artificial stone, organic glass, soft metals like aluminum and copper, etc.” mentions Govindaraj, adding that their clients come with projects on wooden products, stereo boxes, computer desks, musical instruments and others. He further mentions that the Excitech CNC router in their facility is a workhorse that can produce quite a variety of applications which are not only for signage displays, but many others like cabinet door, wooden window, panel wood, etc.

The arts signage works for only walk-in customers. The clientele of the company consists of furniture houses, memento shops and those who require special decors on metal and other hard materials. When asked about other machines and technologies, in addition to CNC routers and cutting plotters, which they wish to add into their current machine portfolio, Govindaraj says flatbed printer could be the one. He conclusively adds that the addition of a flatbed printer in their facility will make them able to offer their customers a new choice of applications.

Sri Vishnu Digital
New swing of an old player

Vishnu
Vishnu

Girish Art at Rajajinagar in Bengaluru was such a corner where corporate companies and people from all walks of life gathered for portraits, street hoarding, shop-front sign boards, etc. All were hand painted and the artist was Giris R. “My father was quite popular in the city for his hand-painted sign boards and display works. He told me story of companies and people from different parts of the city rushing to his shop,” tells Vishnu, youngest son of Girish R. Ha adds that the advent of digital large-format printers has curtailed the tradition of hand-painted sign boards.

It has been around 20 years since Girish stopped his painting shop. The shop is now converted into a digital large-format printing facility where equipped a Wit-Color printer. A team of six sign makers is handling the overall activities of the company, which has changed its name from Girish Art to Sri Vishnu Digital. Vishnu is overall in-charge of the shop today. “My two brothers are working in some companies and papa no longer takes interest in digital printing. So, I have to take care of the business as a lone ranger,” says Vishnu.

“Though we currently work for just a limited number of corporate customers, we aim at expanding our client list soon. Milton, Crompton, Excite are some of our regular customers, who have been partnered with us for a long period of time, perhaps my father built our relationship with them,” says Vishnu, adding that they are now gearing up to adopt some new advanced printers and machines, such as eco-solvent and CNC routing systems to boost their production volume and capacity to a new level.