Large format printers 'open up all sorts of doors' for First Display

First Display   |   UK

First Display started off in taxi advertising, but an investment in Roland printing equipment has seen it explore exciting new avenues – despite a lack of printing experience.

“We were originally founded in June 2004, buying and selling taxi advertising," explains Jamie Bowes, Director of Edinburgh-based First Display. "All the printing was outsourced – we were getting wraps done in Glasgow and down south, which meant we were always bound by other people's timelines. We were just let down too many times.”

First Display took the step of bringing its printing in-house by installing a Roland DG SOLJET XC-540 in 2007, followed by a SOLJET PRO III XJ-740 two years later, both of which have been running ever since. SOLJET large format printer/cutters are versatile machines, suitable for a wide range of printing applications with fantastic image quality and productivity. Despite not coming from a printing background, Jamie and his team quickly got to grips with the technology, leading to a whole new world of business opportunities.

“The Roland printers opened up all sorts of doors for us"

"I take a 'don't ask, don't get' approach,"  says Jamie "So we went to ad companies and offered all types of different printing jobs we could do on the Roland’s, besides taxi advertising. Now we're working with multiple big names like Tesco, RBS, M&S and various other brands.”

"We moved in 2014 to bigger premises (7,500sq ft) to maximise our work. We deal with clients from way up North all the way down to Cornwall. Printing everything in house means we can manage the quality and control turnaround times."

In its eleven years as a Roland user, First Display has also added two Roland VersaEXPRESS RF-640 printers to its workroom. These large-format inkjet printers deliver excellent speeds and a wide colour gamut, but it's the quality that keeps the wheels turning at First Display.

“Our business is modelled on repeat custom. We look after our clients,” says Jamie. “Some people think that for a banner seen ten feet away the quality doesn't need to be very good. But that's not what we're about – we're about making our customers happy and that means delivering higher quality work.”

Around 70 per cent of First Display's work is for trade customers, producing output such as banners, vinyl signs, custom wallpapers and many other media, all on Roland systems. It also offers retail signs and commercial for-sale signs.

“For trade customers you have to be correct,” says the company's director. “You need the speed and but you also need the quality. It's for this reason that I wouldn't use any other machine than a Roland”.

“It's the same reason I drive a German car: with Roland you get quality engineering, a substantial build and longevity.”

As Jamie Bowes was relatively new to the wide-format printing sector at first, he regularly attends trade events such as Sign and Digital UK, FESPA, SGIA and shows in China.

“It helps me find out about new products, ideas and people,” he says. “I have had some great inspiration from meeting Roland at events. I find that opportunities come from having a chat.”

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