Graphics in Full Bloom

Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City debuted its “Glam Gardens” annual spring beauty event three years ago as a celebration of its top beauty retail partners and charitable partnership with The New York Botanical Garden. During the event, floral themes fill the windows and interiors of Saks Fifth Avenue stores, including its flagship on Fifth Avenue in New York City where Saks’ beauty and fragrance brands partner to design unique garden window displays.

Ignition (, a full-service visual communications company based in New York City, took the “Glam Gardens 2017” beauty event’s floral theme to new heights this past April with more than 550 larger-than-life five-foot-, six-foot-, and seven-foot-tall flower standees created for display at all forty-one Saks Fifth Avenue full-line stores in twenty-two states and Canada.

Ignition chose 1/2-inch Gatorplast® graphic display board by 3A Composites USA ( in the custom white facer/black foam/white facer color combination for double-sided, direct digital printing of giant poppy, garden rose, and daisy standees in vibrant colors. They were printed with an EFI VUTEk UV G33250 LX printer and set into grass-shaped bases direct printed on 1/2-inch white Gatorplast.

The Westbury, New York branch of Laird Plastics ( supplied the Gatorplast for the graphic displays.

Saks Fifth Avenue chose to complement a striking black-and-white palette—including striped awnings and display backgrounds—with the neon-hued floral displays.

Saks Fifth Avenue provided a general vision for the graphics, according to Nicole Kronenberger, Ignition’s director of project management. Ignition graphic designers then worked with floral paintings to create digital files for the flower standees.

“We went through several rounds of revisions. Our client wanted free-standing displays but didn’t want a chunky base. We wanted to maintain the integrity of our client’s vision,” said Kronenberger. “Some of the store visual managers chose to hang the flowers from the ceiling, so some didn’t have bases.

“We created several dozen prototypes to check the stability of the standees within a slotted base that was designed to look like grass. We tested thinner boards but decided on the 1/2-inch thick Gatorplast.”

Gatorplast was selected to create the flower standees “because we wanted a lightweight, rigid substrate that would be self-supporting and could be produced with a black center,” said Kronenberger. “It produced exact cuts.”

Ignition designers configured direct digital printing of the 550 flower standees in multiples to utilize nearly the entire 48-by-96-inch sheets of Gatorplast. The flower standees were cut with a Zünd G33XL cutter.CustomFlowers2

The flower standees were created, produced, and shipped to stores for display in a tight three-week timeframe starting in late March.

That tight deadline was one of the reasons why Laird Plastics recommended Gatorplast for the standees. It could be custom ordered in the white/black/white color combination, manufactured quickly, and shipped directly from 3A Composites’ manufacturing facility.

“The styrene facers can be direct printed on both sides with a flatbed printer. The Gatorplast was manufactured, loaded on the skid, and out the door as quickly as possible,” says Wayne Elliott, graphic specialist at Laird Plastics. “The deadline for these standees was met.”

Ignition knew that their Saks Fifth Avenue creative client contacts were pleased with the flower standees in the prototyping stage. “They loved them,” says Kronenberger.

They found that sentiment multiplied in the overwhelming response they received from individual store visual merchandising managers.

“Saks provides each store with a corporate visual merchandising budget for these displays,” said Kronenberger. “We had lots of requests from the stores for more flower standees from their individual budgets.

“Our space in Manhattan was overflowing with flowers.”

By Brenda Murphy-Niederkorn

Photos: Ignition.

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