Bradford-based Butterfield Signs explains how the ever-evolving nature of digital signage is making this technology an increasingly popular choice among marketers and brands.   

Digital signage is fast becoming one of the most sought-after technologies in the signage sector. While other forms of promotion such as wide-format print and traditional signs will always have their place, the constantly changing qualities of digital signage are having a major impact on the direction of the industry.

ISA-UK member Butterfield Signs will attest to this, having worked with digital signage for a number of years, carving out a name for itself in what is a market full of opportunities and growth prospects.

Bradford-based Butterfield Signs is a fourth-generation, family-run business with more than 90 years of experience in sign-making, but with increasing demand for digital signage work, the company’s focus has shifted more towards this area of the market.

Such is Butterfield Signs’ success in the market that it counts many global businesses among its clients, but perhaps none more famous than McDonalds. The company has been working with the fast-food chain for over 25 years, providing a wide range of signage. In recent times, much of this has been focused towards digital signage.

“Digital Signage is a powerful marketing tool, and its use will greatly increase in the next few years,” said Tony Bairstow, Director at Butterfield Signs.

“In today’s market, digital signage technology is fast moving. The solutions have brighter screens, offer differing brightness levels for mix and match environments inside and outside, have higher vibrancy, are available in a better range of sizes and offer more connectivity options, including cloud-based CMS systems.”

ISA-UK Member Butterfield Signs Digital Signage

Fast food for thought

One of the largest projects in Butterfield Signs’ history saw it complete a major roll-out of new digital menu display signage to the entire McDonalds Drive Thru estate across the UK and Ireland.

A total of 4,000 high-brightness digital screens were installed at 1,000 McDonald’s locations. Installation took place over a period of 10 months at a rate of 25 sites per week, cementing its place as one of the largest-ever digital signage rollouts in the UK food and drinks sector.

The project saw Butterfield Signs work its way through 17,500sq m of fabricated laser cut powder coated aluminium sheet, as well as 10km of steel tube, which was cut, welded and fabricated to form support frames for the screens.

Such was the scope of the project that the Butterfield Signs’ site audit, project management and installation teams travelled a total distance more than 250,000 miles to complete the work at an extremely high standard.

Tony said seeing the final screens in place gave him a huge sense of achievement, especially given how much planning and work had gone into such a major project.

“We developed and prototyped the digital signage in the field so that McDonald’s were able to experience the many benefits associated with the technology prior to roll out,” Tony said.

Butterfield Signs assembled a team of experienced personnel from their existing technical and projects department to manage the entire process which included site auditing, complete manufacture of product and installation via multiple teams.”

ISA-UK Member Butterfield Signs Digital Signage

Creative freedom

Picking out the core benefits for McDonald’s to work with digital signage, Tony said that this form of technology offers a greater deal of freedom and flexibility to the end customer, be it the fast-food giant or another client.

Comparing it with traditional printed signage, he said digital signage does not require any sort of print proofs, printing costs, postage of materials to consumers, or reliance on store staff to swap out posters on certain promotional days.

Instead, customers working with Butterfield Signs can select a digital delivery solution that best suits their requirements. These options include the design of content, management of content via a CMS system, supply of the products – including custom-built housing and enclosures – and on-site installation.

“Each client requires something a little different and it’s important to ensure what we offer is going to help them achieve their goals,” Tony said.

Butterfield Signs has driven forward with the technology and has been highly successful in the market. We’ve invested in research and development to ensure we offer the best digital solutions to each and every client at the most competitive rates.”

ISA-UK Member Butterfield Signs Digital Signage

Future developments

Reflecting on Butterfield Signs’ achievements in the market, ISA-UK’s David Catanach said he is not surprised about this success and, given the impact digital signage is having on the market, predicts more companies will look at moving into the space.

“Digital signs have been around for 10-15 years now, but it has taken some time for them to reach their current state-of-the-art form,” David said. “For a huge brand like McDonalds to embrace the technology in the UK in such a massive programme, I wonder whether this will encourage others to take up this technology in full, rather than tinker around the edges.”

ISA-UK is a leader in shaping and developing the sign, graphics and visual communications community in the UK. Through their strategic partnerships, ISA-UK provides its partners and members access to programs and services designed to grow their business. Together with ISA, ISA-UK has an array of expertise in codes and regulations, education and training programs, technical resources, stakeholder outreach and industry networking events offered to members.