What were you doing back in 1986? It’s hard to believe, but that’s when Landmark first started putting giant hot-air shapes and inflatable gorillas on rooftops. As we begin our 25th year of manufacturing custom inflatables, it’s hard not to get a little retrospective.
Back in 1990, when I started working for Landmark; inflatable models were made with clay, pattern pieces were cut by hand and concept illustrations were mailed via overnight express. It’s amazing how much technology has changed the way we manufacture inflatables today. In the 21st century, we can offer our customers quality products and customer service in ways we couldn’t even dream of when we first began.
5 Main Ways Customers Benefit from Modern Inflatable Manufacturing
1. Getting Concept Illustrations in the Blink of an Eye
In our early days, customers used to mail us their artwork. We would take their business cards, logos or napkin sketches and create a concept illustration by hand and “overnight” it back. Revisions would take days or even weeks.
Today we provide concept illustrations within 24 hours via email, so our customers are prepared for meetings the day after we’ve discussed their project.
2. Exploring 3-D Models Before Production
Even 10 years ago, we used clay models to create inflatable patterns. These models took days to complete and were not easily altered. Most importantly, they were rarely seen by customers, so adjustments wouldn’t be made until the inflatable was finished. Now, with CAD sculptures, customers can view project models from all angles before production to ensure it will meet their expectations. We can even create video “tours” for complex shapes. If alterations are needed, they can be done quickly before a single pattern piece is cut.
3. Enjoying Uniform, Complex Shapes in any Quantities
Back in the days of clay models, patterns were projected on a wall and cut out by hand. Highly skilled sewers would compensate for pattern distortions and tailor patterns to fit well together. (Repeating these detailed adjustments for quantity orders was tricky.)
Now patterns are taken from digital models and computer cut, ensuring accurate shapes that fit well together – every time. Customers can order 1 or 1,000 inflatables and feel confident they will all look the same. This is especially important for franchises and corporate branding, where consistency is critical.
4. Designing Photo-Quality Images on any Size or Shape
Over the past 25 years, the graphics on everything from billboards to cereal boxes has become more complex. When Landmark started, inflatable graphics were hand painted. As designers everywhere began using computers to create more complex art, large-format digital printers came on the scene. Thanks to large-format printing, inflatables can keep up with modern graphic demands. Today our customers can use photographs and photo-quality art on their inflatables in just about any way imaginable.
5. Following Project Details Every Step of the Way
Long gone are the days of processing images of our customers’ projects at one-hour photo labs. Thanks to digital SLR cameras, smart phones and email, our customers get instant feedback at every critical point in the manufacturing process.
As Landmark celebrates our 25th year in the inflatable industry, we’re amazed how much new technologies have changed the way work; allowing us to provide premier products and service to our customers.
Want to learn how to put our inflatable experience to work for your brands? Download our free eBook, Getting Started with Inflatables.