Materials Matter in Retail Display

Merit 360 - Graco Cubes - Olympia


How do you choose the right materials for your retail display?

You know what you want your display to look like, or at least have a starting idea, but you’re not sure how it will be built and what materials you need. So how do you find a supplier that can work with your design (or turn your idea into a design) and then transform it into a finished product?

You also have sustainability as a key value in your organisation and you’re worried that the displays you’re planning will not send the right environmental message to your customers. The quality of the end product needs to reflect the brand as well and you want to ensure that the image of the product and the company don’t suffer due to use of poor materials. Of course, cost is also an issue as everyone needs to work to a budget and deliver the best outcome they can possibly produce within a set cost.

There are so many factors to think about when choosing materials. The more you have to consider, the more it feels difficult to meet all of these requirements. You could use different suppliers and break down the job, but this may increase the time you spend on the project. As we all know, time is money, so an ideal solution would be to find a supplier that can provide the materials, production and delivery of your displays in one package.

If sustainability is a key factor in your materials choice, you should be considering if materials are reusable, renewable or recyclable. It’s also important to think about the composition and production of the materials themselves, whether they were created in a sustainable way or if they are made from recycled materials.

Wood is generally sustainable as a material. It can also be considered renewable but this is only true of forests are managed well. Wood-based products should meet standards in order to be considered PEFC or FSC certified and sustainable. This takes into account the production of the material, not just the material itself. With industry criteria to manage these materials, you can be reassured that they are ‘verified’ and confidently use these materials.

PVC sheets are a go-to for many retail displays. In recent years, however, these have come under scrutiny because they’re not easy to recycle. There’s good news though… there are now materials that can do the job of traditional PVC sheets in a more sustainable way, but they’re also superior in other ways as well.

In this case, the push for sustainable materials has actually improved the products that are being used in the industry. At Merit Display, our exclusive, lightweight MerFlex display design material is a great example of this.

MerFlex consists of an outer rigid PVC sheet that is reinforced with a black recycled core. The material is stronger and more rigid than common PVC sheets – the production process leaves a hard, smooth, bright white service that is extremely scratch resistant and easy to keep clean. The recycled foam core makes up 80% of the weight of the product. Another reason this material is so flexible in design and use is its versatility, it pairs well with other materials, creating a clean finish to the final display. The flat side of the material is ideal for printing. The material is long-lasting and offers a great display for products, creating a lightweight stand.

Not only is MerFlex made from recycled materials, but it is also more durable than previous PVC sheets. This means that the lifespan of the retail display is longer, making it more sustainable, needing to be replaced less often.

It is also completely recyclable; with MerFlex, you’re using a recycled materials that can be recycled again and again making the life of the retail display cyclical and very sustainable.

Merit 360 - Welfare displays 01  Merit 360 - Graco Cubes - Olympia

Merit 360 - Dura+ display 04 

Sustainable inks are also becoming an industry standard in retail display. By using latex, water-based inks, this is better for the environment in the production process. Finding materials that work well with these inks is another factor to consider. Some surfaces and materials work better with traditional inks that don’t meet sustainability standards. Finding the right pairing for this is important.

Thankfully, the industry has come together in may ways to try to make combinations of materials more sustainable. MerFlex is an idea surface for the environmentally safe, water-based paints. Its stark white surface is great for the inks to prink crisp and clear, setting well to prevent being easily scratched from the durable surface.

With the overwhelming number of things to consider in the design of your retail display it’s easy to forget the materials themselves also play an important role in the finished product. Finding materials that work well together as well as meeting sustainability standards can be a minefield that is sometimes best left to the experts. The use of certifications and accreditations is helpful, but the experience and knowledge in pairing the materials to the products being displayed as well as staying true to your company brand and values is a project in itself.

By using the combination of sustainable materials your retail display can meet the needs of your product and branding while at the same time fulfilling your requirements for sustainability and ensuring your company values are communicated in a tangible way.

Contact Merit Display if you need help creating captivating retail displays or just seeking professional advice.