Signage tale of two prolific South Indian cities

Despite the alarming market situations and uncertainties caused by pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, many signage players in south never retreat and surrender in moving forward with plans to invest in new machines and advanced technologies. The travelling band wagon of VN Kutty and Jyaneswar Laishram from Sign & Graphics drives down the by-lanes of Hyderabad and Chennai to meet with some of the key signage leaders in the two south Indian cities who share stories about their backgrounds, achievements, COVID-19 agonies and what next in business.

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VS Digitals (Hyderabad)

One-stop shop for all

It has been just a matter of four years when VS Digitals opened its door to digital large-format printing. Telling about the establishment of the signage firm, U Srinivas, who is the main architect in the creation of this landmark signage firm in the KPHB Colony in the city, says he was working in a signage firm in the city and decided to establish for his own—so was the birth of VS Digitals. The company has a six-staff team of signage professionals who handle printing, fabrication and on-site installations with precision.

When talking about the advices and helping hands he received from the industry fellows, Srinivas appreciates the ways JX Enterprises and Mehta Cad Cam helped him right from the first place, offering him the best-in-class machines—Gongzheng GZC 2018 solvent printer and Eva 43 laser engraving & cutting machine. “As of now we are quite satisfy with the results and outputs of the two machines in our setup. These machines are enough to meet the sheer demands of our existing customers who predominately are a walk-in lot.

The company has a team of six professional sign makers. Talking about the manpower and infrastructure, Srinivas says they keep some development in pipeline. “Now, the market is very unstable due to the disturbances caused by the lockdowns. We are just waiting and watching for stability. Our aim is to increase manpower and adopt a UV machines,” he adds, saying as a conclusion that the interior domain will someday the ultimate lucrative and highly demanding sector for the signage companies—everybody must ready to explore more in terms of innovations in this sector.


Teja Art (Hyderabad)

Oldest art corner around

M Govinda, a fine artist, who used to run a popular painting shop in Kakatpally in Hyderabad city, made a big turn in his business and profession in the year 2002 by opening a photo lab, simultaneously offering some innovative sign solutions like cut-letters, glow signs and others. Then, in the year 2008 the lab expanded to another new division, a large-format printing facility, where equipped a Gongzheng GZC system with XAAR printhead. In the subsequent year the machine was upgraded with KM 512i printhead. The facility is also equipped with Yuming (4×5 ft) from LIPI Marketing.

Most of the clients buzzing at the lobby of Teja Art are from the local areas. They are predominantly walk-in customers. In this respect, Govinda says some of their customers are from other places like Belapur and Telangana. “We are planning to have a good marketing team and policy to handle big clients directly from the corporate domain. It’s very important to tap new market segments to boost business to another level,” says Govinda, adding that they found the south Indian market very lucrative for the signage firms.

The production team of Teja Art consists of five well-experience sign making personnel. Teja mentions that they have been closely working with beauty shops and spas in and around Hyderabad. “Sometimes we handled a lot of major projects for these beauty outlets. In case, when we required some more helping hands to accomplice the projects on time with perfection we tied up with some of our close accomplices in the city,” he adds. Teja Art is now endeavoring to gain the pace which they had in the pre-pandemic period.


Creative Deziners (Hyderabad)

One creative to another

For more than two decades in the industry, Venkatesh S, an artist by profession, explored every aspect of graphics art business. He left the traditional way or manual means of making signage and display graphics around seven years back. The reason was that he aggressively switched to digital large-format printing. He opened a production setup in the KPHB Colony in Hyderabad city. The main influence behind his big step was JX Enterprises, a sole distributor of Gongzheng printers in the region. The newly opened production facility of Creative Deziners was equipped with a Gongzheng GZC 3202 SG.

“After the opening of our production facility with the versatile Gongzheng system from JX Enterprises, we moved forward with fresh projects from a host of corporate customers. The industry is quite vibrant with newer technologies and machines keep coming, offering us new opportunities to work for innovative signage and display applications in both indoor and outdoor segments,” says Venkatesh S, Founder-Director, Creative Dezigners. He appreciates the versatility and competence of the machine and punctual service they receive from JX enterprises.

As of now, Creative Deziners has worked for some of the big brands from the corporate domain. The brands are Kotak Mahindra, Arvind, Chaitanya (Fast Food Chain) and others. The company has a rigorous team of well-trained six sign makers. The fabrication and installation jobs of any given project are handled by the team, without hiring any third party workforce. When enquired about the company’s next step plan, Venkatesh informs that the production facility of Cretaive Deziners will soon have a liquid acrylic curing machine.


Fine Digital (Hyderabad)

Fine print zone

Building elevation lighting, pixel LED, UV-printed fabric light box, channel letters, ACP cladding & signs, in-shop and outdoor branding—these are the applications and activities Fine Digital offers to its customers in the corporate domain. The man behind the creation this popular signage firm in Kushal Tower at Khairatabad in Hyderabad is Md Yousuf who gets full support in business from his brother’s son Md Ateeq.

For more than 30 years Yousuf had worked in different arena of signage and graphic arts. In his experience, he shares how he got to see a big revolutionary change in the year 2005 when opened a wide-format printing facility to produce digitally printed billboards for outdoor promotional projects of some corporate companies they have closely partnered. The list still consists of some old customers such as BPL, Sony, LG, Excel, etc. Some of the other major customers who are more than one decade old in the client list of Fine Digital consist of Oppo, Samsung and Ashirwad Atta.

The impulse behind all these success stories of Fine Digital is its power-packed machine portfolio. The facility is just upgraded with a PixelJet 2512 UV flatbed printer from Monotech Systems. “We are quite enthralled with the advanced UV printer from Monotech. This printer gives us the power to convert the dreams of our customers into reality,” says Ateeq. Other machines in the facility include Roland RF640 from Apsom Infotex and HP Latex 5200.


Sree Digitals (Hyderabad)

Old player in new role

Stronghold presence of Sree Digitals in the document printing market has been deeply rooted as the company was incepted as one of the popular DTP job centre in Hyderabad in 1996. Since then the company keeps expanding its activities from one domain to another. However, whole brand new activity in the business erupted when the company introduced a new division for digital wide-format printing where equipped a couple Allwin machines from Colors Digital India (CDI).

“We are quite satisfied with the Allwin machines from CDI. They have a regional partner, I-Hold Technologies, here in Hyderabad. As we feel their local presence there is no worry about immediate servicing or instant need of their help,” says K Vasanth Reddy, Director, Sree Digitals. The other machines in the production setup of Sree Digitals consist of a string of finishing equipments as well as router and laser cutting machines including a highly-automated DDC laser engraver.

The production team of Sree Digitals consists of 15 sign making professionals, which include well-experienced graphic designers. “We were about to expand our manpower as well as machine portfolio during the time when first wave of COVID-19 pandemic hit India at a worse level. Since then we keep hold the plan,” shares Vasanth. He further mentions that the moment the market comes to full normalcy they will definitely go for an advanced eco-solvent system to penetrate the interior and retail domain.


Elite Print House (Chennai)

A house of big projects

Even since its inception in the year 2011 as one of the prolific print service providers in Chennai, Elite Print House remained the trustful ‘house’ equipped fully with advanced printing technologies, backed by a team of well experienced sign making professionals. This signage corner house with its head office at Thousand Light in the city offers not just finest quality prints but also accurate on-time service. Elite Print House has branch offices at Bengaluru (Karnataka), Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Kochi (Kerala) and Tinnevelly (Tamil Nadu), which eventually helps them cover customers in any part of south India.

In a short span of its inception, Elite Print House has gained good business, wider footprints and a list of corporate clients. In his works on the success, R Balamurugan, Co-Founder Partner of Elite Print House, mentioned that they have got a handful of big clients who trusted in their work and ouputs. He mentions Tata Sky, Horlicks, Satyam, PVR and many others are some of the regular clients in the company’s clientele.

Balamurugan further mentions that one of the thrusts behind the overall success in their business is the machines they use in their production facility. The machine line consists of four PixelJet workhorses from Monotech Systems. On these workhorses, Balamurugan says the latest addition is the PixelJet 2512 UV flatbed printer which does magic in bringing out all imaginable applications on any substrate. Elite Print House, collectively in all of its five branches, has a strong production team of 45 professionals.


S Media Solutions (Chennai)

Quality solutions provider

Considered as one of the best signage players in Chennai, S Media Solutions (also known as South Sign) is a corner where found a host of reputed clients keeps buzzing all the time at the lobby. The company has a good track record of owning best-in-class printing machines in its production setup. The setup is equipped with Roland VersaEXPRESS RF640, HP Latex 3200, FUJIFILM Acuity LED 3200 and latest addition to the line-up is the PixelJet UV 2132 flatbed from Monotech Systems.

“After the adoption of the PixelJet UV 2132 we have changed our capability in production of innovative signage applications. This machine is versatile enough to take on any printing material whether it could be interior graphic or outdoor promotional display,” says S Saravanan, Director, S Media. So far, the company’s client list consists of some of the clients, namely, Reliance Industries, V-Mart, Aditya Birla, Landmark, among others.

On the company’s next expansion plan, Saravanan informs that the graphic arts market is expanding into newer domains with newer applications like 3D, high-end backlit signs, etc. In this respect, he shares that they are planning to open a new division for 3D printing for which they are into market R&D. According to Saravanan, the market situation is not yet stagnant now due the pandemic uncertainties. Once the market is normal there will be a big boost in the production facility of S Media Solutions with an advanced machine.


Success Signs (Chennai)

Innovative and successful

Since its inception in the year 2007, Success Signs has been one of the prominent PSPs in Chennai, known for the company’s innovative works, dedicated service and a machine portfolio that keeps updating from time to time. With a mere DGI machine to the latest installation of a PixelJet 3221 UV flatbed printer, the state-of-the-art production setup of Success Signs consists of a Mimaki JV150-160 printer, two Roland VersaEXPRESS printers, a Gongzheng GZM printer, EPSON SureColor printer, among others.

Raja G of Success Sign says the recent installation of the PixelJet 3221 from Monotech Systems has boosted the overall innovations to another level. “We just started running the UV workhorse in our facility. It is quite versatile to take up media of all kinds and we are quite confident to say we would be able to meet all needs and requirements of our customer engaging in high-end applications,” he adds. He further mentions that it’s not just the PixelJet 3221 but also the dedicated after sales service of Monotech which complemented to the versatile UV UV flatbed printer.

Success Signs boasts of a team of 20 highly skilled signage professionals. The company’s clientele consists of a host of corporate biggies like Royal Enfield, RmKV Silks and others including many popular salons and supermarkets in the city. In a conclusive note, Raja mentioned that they had lost nearly 80 percent business volume during the subsequent lockdowns and fortunately they have recovered it all as of now.


123 Ads Print (Chennai)

Complete solution corner

Located strategically in Triplicane area of Chennai, 123 Ads Prints is a prolific signage corner where their works and outputs never let any of their customers coming from different industrial clusters and walks of life. M Moorthy, Founder of 123 Ads Prints, says he would see the rapid developments in the signage and graphic arts industry in the last one decade. “123 Ads Prints was established in the year 2010,” he adds.

123 Ads Print is one of the few PSPs in Chennai which boast of a complete set of versatile and advanced machines. In this respect, Moorthy mentions that they believe in newer and greener technologies and their capability to churn on any given substrate to produce the best innovations ever produced. The company’s production facility is fully equipped with all kinds of technologies. The machine portfolio consists of a Yaslan UV flatbed printer from Unique Innovation Technologies, FUJIFILM Acuity 1600R and a couple of Mimaki JV Series printers from Monotech Systems.

The production team of 20 professionals is behind the overall activities which include fabrication and installation works. For years, the company has partnered with a host of big corporate clients. The client list consist of KFC, Pizza Hut, Bislery, Yamaha, Union Bank, Indian Bank, LIC, to name a few.


Ramesh Digital Prints (Chennai)

For every sort of clients

Always jammed with local walk-in customers, Ramesh Digital Prints in Triplicane area of Chennai is one of the popular print service providers in the city. Proprietor of the firm, S Mahesh Babu, worked in different graphic arts establishments before he decided to open his own entity under the name Ramesh Digital Prints. In the year 2002 he inaugurated the production facility of the company with the installation of a Gongzheng 3204 GZC printer. Later, the setup has been upgraded with other advanced machines including a Roland VersaCAM RF-640A printer and a line of other finishing machines.

Ramesh Digital Prints currently has a team of 7 sign making professionals, which is reduced from 13. “During the first and second COVID waves in India we had a very bad impact. Some of our staff left job and still we are managing everything with less manpower,” says Mahesh, adding that they however never pulled their shutters down during the ill-fated times. He further explains that they closely involved with the COVID awareness campaigns for a number of social welfare teams, hospitals and others fighting against the dreaded pandemic during the lockdowns.


Sign Star (Chennai)

For UV expertise

Since its establishment in the last one decade, Sign Star keeps embracing the latest changes, whether it could be in terms of new market trends, technologies and applications. Nizamuddin Khan, Founder, Sign Star, recalls, “After a thorough examination of the market and growth aspects in the industry for more than a couple years we decided to open our wide-format production facility—not in a typical way of investing in a bare solvent or eco-solvent machine.” He adds that they are now equipped with an advanced UV flatbed machine.

Gonzheng GZF 1808 D UV flatbed machine from JX Enterprises is the latest addition to the Sign Star’s machine portfolio.

Some of the regular and old clients of Sign Star are AIDS Control Board, JK Tyres, Southern Railways, VGN Properties, etc.


Graphic de Sign (Chennai)

Where innovations galore

Internationally recognised and acknowledged for its excellence in print service and outputs, Graphic de Sign is a hallmark in the signage and graphic arts market of Chennai. The company has a firm root in execution of some of the landmark signage and branding projects in south. Despite its remarkable presence in the domestic market, Graphic de Sign works for some fast food companies for their promotional overseas projects.

Established in the year 1990, Graphic de Sign is the brain child of Sanjeevi J’s father, a printing enthusiast who would sense the innovations and trends in printing from time to time. “I was just in the school when I was totally smitten by my father’s document printing business. This is how I directly joined my father’s business at a very young age.” As of now the production facility of Graphic de Sign is equipped with a string of custom made CNC router, laser engraver and a HandTop UV flatbed.

“We have to get away from doing the same old traditional or conventional activities. This industry needs changes with new ideas and innovations that work with newer trends and next generations,” narrates Sanjeevi, adding that Graphic de Sign has an ambition of working with newer concepts to explore fresh landscapes of innovative display solutions. The company has been working for big takeaway fast food brands like KFC, Subway and others for projects in India and other countries like Australia, USA and some in the Middle East.


Thowrath (Hyderabad)

For unique applications

Thowrath has been one of the PSPs known for working on unique and innovative projects in the Hyderabad signage market. The company has been vendor for a number of corporate and local clients. Notable in the clientele of the company is YSR Congress Party, a regional political party, for which Thowrath has been engaging in printing, fabrication and installation of party meetings and poll campaigns. I Ganesh from Thowrath says they are known for unique applications like UV printing on marble and other rigid materials.

Recently, the company’s production facility had been upgraded with the installation of a brand new Mimaki UJV100-160, which is well-balanced entry-level model with excellent operational performance, image quality and speed. In addition NCU (Nozzle Check Unit), NRS (Nozzle Recovery System) and MAPS4 (Mimaki Advanced Pass System4) in the printer enable Thowrath produce stable high quality print. “With this versatile Mimaki printer with DAS (Dot Adjustment System) we have easy comman in doing dot position and feed correction that used to take a lot of time and effort to do manually,” mentions Ganesh.

Telangana State Police is yet another big client of Thowrath. Ganesh mentions that they have closely involved in successful execution of ‘My Auto is Safe’ project initiated by Telanaga State Police. “The project involved fitting every auto with a metal plate showcasing driver details and a QR code that is linked to ‘Safe Gaadi’ app. We printed more than 100,000 of those plates,” mentions Ganesh, adding conclusively that they wish to take up such challenging projects and will continue to do so.