The Retail Environment

The opportunities in retail signage are as lucrative as they are elusive, a fact that may persuade some smaller shops to steer clear of the all-encompassing jobs that include not only exterior identification signage, but a literal plethora of interior signage. But attempting to keep up with the new definitions that retail stores require on these monster bids may just be worth it as the time, effort and research is rewarded monetarily.

The key, according to John Juncos, director of marketing for Palladeo, a Glendale, California-based company specializing in retail design and implementation, is to anticipate where retail is going. He says that “consolidation” is the buzz word to describe the movement. Potential clients—financial institutions, retail facilities, grocers, and specialty stores to name a few—are looking for a co-branded, all inclusive package that not only defines what section of the store customers are meandering through, but that provides a comprehensive look to their business. They are looking for a theme that can carry over to Web sites and advertisements. They want it all.

For the past 35 years, Palladeo has been anticipating and reacting to those market demands. Undergoing a new branding for their own company, as they have recently overhauled the face of and changed the name of their business, has brought them closer to the needs of their clients. Juncos says that going through the transformation and realizing what it is that they need to do to be successful in their own right is no different than what they do for their clients.

Palladeo addresses the “inclusive” issue with a team of specialists that work in the company’s Envision division. “We begin by assembling a team of interior designers, graphic designers, architects and color specialists to approach a project holistically, from interiors and graphics to research, visual merchandising and architectural design. Once a design language has been developed for a project, visual merchandisers, branding and marketing professionals, researchers, and retail experts are folded into the Envision team to maximize the potential of the project and increase its impact on our client’s business.”

Retail environments not only play on the visual senses, but on social and emotional levels as well, Juncos explains. Determining how consumers react to certain designs and colors is an ever evolving study which is well worth the analysis and is at the center of retail design and implementation. As this response changes with time and trends, so must the stores react with fresh graphic language. A facelift for your clients means repeat business in the sign shop.

The creative force that drives this repeat business train involves a close relationship and understanding of the client’s business. “While design excellence is Palladeo’s most sought after quality, our clients give our knowledge and understanding of their markets equally high marks. Understanding a marketplace helps us design more cost-efficiently, manufacture more quickly, and construct environments that exactly meet the social and emotional needs of consumers,” says Juncos.

As all craftspeople are well aware, an artist is only as good as his or her toolbox. Palladeo’s toolbox for retail encompasses three divisions—Envision, Create and Construct—with a combined 160-plus employees. The “Envision” division includes designers, researchers and marketing personnel who work closely with clients to devise concepts for the project. The neighboring “Create” team assists the design team in their efforts and is in charge of fabrication and décor. Installation is the responsibility of the “Construct” division, which has its own facilities in nearby Chino, Calif., to store, relocate and put together all of the company’s massive projects.

The group effort of the host of employees in the three sectors of Palladeo is brought together with all of the big, necessary equipment for the jobs as well. The long list of routers and plotters, design software and the like is topped off with its VUTEk printer, which has increased the company’s in-house turnover by $750,000. The flatbed printer was instrumental in the Jelly Belly project, for which Palladeo currently holds a national contract.

While the notion of a giant printer, enough employees to run it and a big enough place to store it may only be pipe dreams for some, Palladeo’s idea is that in order to do big, thinking big comes first.

Retail is the next step beyond those inclusive interior-exterior-plus-extras bids. By thinking along the lines of comprehensive offerings it may be that the next time there’s an order for a banner for a car dealership, an entire retail project may be sold instead.