The pace of change in the printing and graphics industry is phenomenal. It seems every day a new and exciting substrate, ink, or printing material has been developed for use in a new and different way. For example, with the equipment and materials in our wide format printing department, it’s possible to custom design a room, from floor to ceiling.
Imagine a room with custom designed upholstery for the couch and chairs, a custom printed rug, and custom window clings and wall coverings. With our wide format printing capabilities, including our new Impres™ 4320 Soft Signage Solution, we can custom design a room for one person or an entire building with a corporate theme. It’s like a vehicle wrap for buildings.
The industry has come a long way from printing banners. The advancements in fabric printing have changed indoor and outdoor event décor and signage forever.
Using fabric as a printing substrate has many advantages over other materials, such as vinyl, traditionally used in wide format printing. These include:
- Fabric can weigh as much as 75% less than vinyl, which results in a significant reduction in shipping costs.
- Fabric is also easier to handle than vinyl thus a fabric sign can be folded and shipped with ease.
- Wide format printing on fabric for in-store installations also looks better than vinyl; it has a more natural, organic look.
- Fabric looks great – almost like hi-def – when it’s mounted to a back-lit display frame.
- Fabric is also a biodegradable display solution
- Fabric doesn’t reflect like vinyl. This is extremely important for signage at events that will be broadcast over the Internet or on television.
In the past, when you thought about printing on fabric, you basically had two options. You had screen-printing for short runs and offset printing, using dye sublimation inks, for long runs. Today, with wide format digital dye sublimation fabric printers, you have the best of both worlds.
Screen-printing had limitations such as the number of colors that could be printed and size restrictions. Thinking back a few years, I remember a friend wanting to get a tablecloth printed to fit an eight-foot table at a trade show. All they could find were screen-printing companies who could print with six-foot screens and only one color. These companies might be able to print two-colors but only if the registration was not too tight.
Wide format printing uses significantly less ink and reduces waste, when compared to screen-printing. The eco-friendly, dye sublimation water-based inks can be used to produce an unlimited variety of designs, images, and graphics with an unlimited variety of vivid colors.
When it comes to size, forget about an eight-foot-long tablecloth. Imagine the ability to print on fabric that measures ten feet in width and unlimited length. And, if you want something even wider, we can print panels and sew them together.
Besides virtually unlimited colors and size, consider the variety of fabrics and substrates available with wide format printing. I’m very impressed with dye sub printing inks on a backlit fabric. The light defusing capabilities combined with the intense dye sub colors make for amazing displays.
These advances in printing technology provide unlimited design opportunities for designers and brand owners when considering indoor and outdoor event décor and signage.