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Chris Green

Brendan Perring talks to Chris Green, head of visual communications at Antalis about its ongoing expansion strategy and how it is becoming a leading industry light

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Chris Green, head of visual communications at Antalis, is heading up a period of great change and expansion for this segment of the company

Embracing a wider vision

Your last big outing was to Sign and Digital UK. What was your strategy there in terms of the media and technology you put on show?

We are very diverse in the product range that we offer and for that show in particular we wanted to build on the success of previous stands and try to incorporate as many products as we could, in application for the stand build itself.

As you looked around our stand at Sign and Digital UK you could see that nearly 90 percent of the stand was built out of products that we stock and sell.

As you looked around our stand at Sign and Digital UK you could see that nearly 90 percent of the stand was built out of products that we stock and sell

Just one example is our 150 micron Penstick static cling PVC film, suitable for the adhesive-free application onto glass and smooth surfaces. It adheres to smooth clean surfaces and when removed, Penstick leaves a clean, residue-free surface.

Penstick cling film has an excellent print surface, and is ideal for POS where simple application and removal is required. It is also reusable, and ideally suited to promotional window displays. It comes as a clear or white substrate and for window displays, for instance, you can print onto clear Penstick and then back the print with white ink, which makes the message opaque and thus perfect for promotional messages.

Antalis has made a strong and decisive diversification into the sign and display industry, and is experiencing very good levels of market share growth 

The theme of the stand was a retro-feel American diner, and so the Penstick static cling was used to create customer number plates that were ‘mounted’ to the walls to enhance the theme. The purpose behind this and the hundreds of other product applications was to help the sign-maker envisage how they can use these products creatively within their projects to improve their overall offering.

When you entered the sign and graphics industry a few years ago, no one could have known how quickly Antalis would develop this side of the business. How is progress now?

Progress is great I am pleased to say. When I roll the clock back a number of years it was all about educating the wider business about the new culture that had to be adopted to sell and support these new ranges of products and about their application potential. This was the first goal as, of course, traditionally we are a paper company.

(Above & below) A unique feature of Antalis is its Digital to Business training academy, that provides a range of in-depth courses on everything from basic sign-making through to vehicle wrapping

There has been a really strong top down momentum for this diversification move and that really has helped drive success. So, if you speak to any Antalis employee now you will hear that the sign and display, visual communications side of our business is really the growth market that we want to be in. And really through the brands that we sell at the moment, and I have been managing them for some time now, it is both the most diverse element of the business and at the same time where we are seeing the strongest repeat business.

There has been a really strong top down momentum for this diversification move and that really has helped drive success

In terms of the signs and graphics industry, how does your product offering break down?

So, the two main product categories are flexible and rigid medias. Within the former we are very proud of key products from the likes of 3A, from which we offer their Forex, Smartex, Dibond, Dilite, and Kapa ranges. 3A are a real pioneer in this sector, inventing the first aluminium composite boards.

Each brand within the 3A range is for a specific application, for example, Dilite is for things like hoarding panels, for exterior signage there is Forex, and if you need an environmentally-friendly solution then Smartex is the way to go.

In the flexible range there is a really wide scope of media for different applications. Two of our key suppliers in this area are Orafol and Drytac. The former offers a huge range of highly-engineered and German-manufactured self-adhesive films that range from vehicle wrapping to simple monomeric signs.

Antalis’ sign-making materials portfolio caters for almost every conceivable application t

From Drytac we have a range of special films for the special finishes side of things and also for laminating and finishing. Sometimes this is overlooked, but if for instance you have a retail application that will be under heavy lighting, then you need a film that will protect from glare and allow the punchiness of the graphics to really shine.

Their range of printable films is also highly-developed and aimed at ease-of-use and application for the time pressured sign-maker. A good example of this is Drytac Retac. They are also making great strides in both textile-based medias and films for applications such as wall and floor graphics.

Key stats

  • More than 14,000 products offered by Antalis
  • 24/7 stock holding and ordering facilities
  • 1,100 employees
  • 16 branches in the UK and Ireland

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