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DisplayGraphics uses design skills to help schools and firms reopen safely

DisplayGraphics can assist schools and colleges install appropriate social distancing signage and facilities
DisplayGraphics can assist schools and colleges install appropriate social distancing signage and facilities

The events sector suffered an overnight cessation of business in March, but one company has managed to put its exhibition skills to good use – by pivoting its layout design expertise towards schools, offices and other workplaces seeking to restart their operations.

Soham-based DisplayGraphics is now supporting other organisations seeking to reopen until the worldwide events industry picks up again.

The company has been able to utilise existing skills and expertise in layout design, how people move around in an exhibition space and vinyl signage and graphics knowledge to offer a bespoke service to help schools, businesses and other organisations return to work and life. Options other than safety signage include installing sanitising stations, free standing barriers, desktop screens, protective screens and counters.

“We are able to design, supply and fit products for zoning and cubicles, physical separation, wipeable surface counters, outdoor counters and sanitising stations,” says director Alex Parmee.

“All the things we now have to think about as part of our daily lives as we start to move around more and return to education settings, hospitality, department stores, places of worship, communal halls, bank counters, airline check-in and reception areas, for example.

“All workplaces have different needs, and our full-service options include people flow planning, site survey, equipment supply, install and aftercare that tie into current government social distancing advice and regulations.

“You can also talk to someone and benefit from their advice, rather than just buying products online or off-the-shelf which can be daunting for something as important as this. It’s something businesses want to get right.”

DisplayGraphics, which launched in 1985, operates in-house teams including exhibition stand designers, a bespoke graphics division providing high-resolution branding and a specialist installation team.

The 10-strong company has carpenters building exhibition stands from scratch, and another team develops and makes the signage and floor graphics – a sector which has seen significant uptake as public spaces adapt to social distancing requirements.

“We’re effectively diversifying to help other businesses get back up and running,” says Alex. “Covid-19 has crushed the events industry and both my businesses have suffered hugely.

“We’ve had to work hard to see what we could turn our hand to quickly. We’ve already got 35 years worth of expertise in design and build, drawing up layouts that tie into regulations and working out people flow and one-way systems, through to building what’s needed, fitting out the space and supplying the branded vinyl graphics.

“We have managed to create something we think is going be invaluable as people slowly return to work and other daily settings, following the government’s announcement on easing the lockdown.

“The screens are very relevant for organisations from schools to independent businesses and offices,” Alex says.

“We’re talking to one school because they need to adopt a one-way system to help them meet social distancing guidelines. We can plan, supply, fit and offer aftercare for vinyl graphics or floor graphics, including one-way systems, two-metre lines and where people stand.”

Large retailers already have their own arrangements in place but there are many other sectors which are just beginning to cast around for ways to put social distancing arrangements in place for their teams.

“We’re pushing into offices now,” Alex says. “We’re at the beginning of the curve to get it out there. Our services can be used from building wooden planters to setting up a drive-in cinema. We’re used to making things out of timber because we build and assemble exhibition stands and we’ve been operating right across Europe. And of course that has a knock-on effect – we’re not buying wood or using transport, while we’re waiting for things to ease up.”

With bespoke services including people flow planning, site survey, equipment supply, install and aftercare, DisplayGraphics has shown it can pivot in truly adroit fashion. Now, it’s just a question of how quickly the take-up will occur.

DisplayGraphics director Alex Parmee
DisplayGraphics director Alex Parmee

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