I'm Only Happy When it Rains
Umbrellas, or as they're called in the promotional industry, "giant portable billboards that also provide users a valuable utility," are a versatile advertising standard that gets better every year. Decoration technologies continue to improve, structural advancements continue to get stronger, and advertising uses continue to become cleverer. This year, as every year has been before it, is the "year of the umbrella," bringing new ways to decorate, build and sell promotional umbrellas.
New Ways to Decorate
Decoration has always been one of the umbrella's greatest strengths, offering a huge, eye-catching space to display your client's designs. There are several new design innovations, however, that make decorating these big moving billboards an even better proposition. Thom Casey, online marketing specialist for Tex Visions, Carlisle, Pa., described one technique, called "Multisol L FR," that would be useful for umbrellas designed to provide shade from the sun, such as those used at the beach or a restaurant dining area.
"Multisol L FR provides brilliant color reproduction on a nearly opaque knitted polyester with a matte surface," he said. He added that the company has the ability to print images on both the panels and the valance (the small dangling flaps that hang off the sides of umbrellas to provide extra shade) so the decoration can cover the entire umbrella if desired.
Besides brighter imprints, easier imprints are another recent innovation. "The latest offering from Peerless Umbrella is digital imprinting on our handheld umbrellas in lower quantities," said Dan Edge, national sales manager for Peerless Umbrella Co. Inc., Newark, N.J. "Typically when done overseas, you would see minimums of 1,200 units. Now we are able to do digital imprinting on handheld umbrellas (folding, fashion and golf styles) at quantities as low as 100 units," he explained. "We are really excited about this and think it is going to really open up the creative minds of many of our customers. An umbrella provides a large imprint area, why not take full advantage?"