Banners - Promotional Promotional Banners represent a very cost effective way of adding a big splash of colour and impact wherever there’s a need for eye-catching graphics on a temporary basis. Promotional Banners are easy to transport, and simple for the end-user to install or deploy.

Promotional Banners can be made from many different types of material dependent upon the intended size and application of the article. At its very simplest, a banner will be made from a piece of printable plastic material with an eyelet at each of its corners. More elaborate constructions are required if the banner is large or installed in exposed locations.

A so-called “scrimmed” vinyl material is very popular for banner manufacture. A “scrim” is a loosely woven reinforcing “fabric” made from polyester fibres and whose manufacture is technically demanding. This scrim will be coated during manufacture with one or more layers of printable plastic in the best constructions. Cheaper constructions are laminated.Sail Banner

To produce a large promotional banner from a scrimmed material, the material is first printed in a suitable wide-format inkjet printer. The banner material is somewhat soluble in the ink used and so the result is very durable. After printing, the banner may be subject to hemming using an ultrasonic or heat generating tool and then it will have eyelets installed. Hemming and eyeleting are, together known as finishing.

Promotional Banners can also be printed on open weave materials known to those skilled in the art of wide format printing as meshes. It is a common misconception that a mesh material achieves a more favourable wind loading but in fact, weight saving is an equally desirable result imparted when using mesh constructions.

Banner - Digitally PrintedWhile banners have a very well defined remit in low cost promotion, the promotional banner medium has evolved and overlaps into an area once reserve for higher quality graphics. So-called “pull-up banners” are becoming very popular for their portability, low cost and very high quality print.

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Digital Printing

An example of a large format digital printerDigital Printing and, in particular, wide-format digital printing, is a staple production technology used throughout the signing and allied industries.

Digital printing hardware typically comprises apparatus having a means to hold, transport and wind a material suitable for printing. The apparatus also has an ink storage means and a number of ink delivery means, usually known as print heads.

A typical wide format inkjet printer will be a four-colour device. Usually each of the four-colours is printed through a print head dedicated to a single colour. The four colours comprise the SWOP or standard four colour model – Cyan Magenta Yellow and Black.

Wide format inkjet printers are known that feature elaborations based on the standard four colour model making the printer faster or capable of producing smoother gradation or more colours. The inks used, when printed in tandem with a suitable material are known to be durable. Several ink species are known and some can be printed direct to flat sheets of rigid material.

The materials used in a typical wide format printer for digital printing will include self adhesive materials, banner materials, window graphics materials and poster or transparency material among many others. Such material give digital printing a very broad remit in terms of the applications to which it can be applied, hence its near ubiquity in signing.

Digital printing requires no hard origination steps unlike printing processes including screen process printing, flexographic printing, lithographic printing among others. This means that digital printing is both practical and affordable when the needs for the output result in low volume. The suitability of digital printing for high volumes is becoming more practical as speeds increase and costs continue to fall.

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Digitally Printed MenusMenus present customers in locations such as restaurants and bars with a selection of available foods and beverages the host establishment has available for serving. Traditionally a menu typically comprised a printed card but more recently menus are printed or painted on walls, boards, free-standing signs and other such structures.

A menu board is known which uses mixed media to very creative effect in presenting customers with available options. The menu board comprises a frame bordering an area of print containing illustrations of food items. Also within the bordering frame is an area comprising a specialist material that is receptive to chalk markings. The menus is thus able to display both permanent printed illustrative items and variable texts in chalk.

Menus very often must accommodate rapidly changing items, for example “specials” or items with seasonal or limited availability. In such situations, a specials board may be used an this very often includes a specially fabricated surround bordering a temporary printed list.

Digital menus are well known and increasingly used, for example in fast food outlets. These comprise flat-panel screens, usually in an abutting array, upon which is displayed pictures and text comprising a menu. The display can be animated to make the product offering more enticing with cinematic devices such as zooming and panning being used.

The content displayed by digital menu screens is typically deployed wirelessly. Information can be narrow-cast to an estate of screens and so the offer can vary from location to location. Such displays have benefitted from advances in display technology and are bright enough to display a menu in a well lit area. They have yet to penetrate more traditional establishments where printed articles are felt to be more in keeping.

A menu for a pub or restaurant is often displayed outside the establishment and so menus capable of withstanding exterior conditions are known.

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One Way Vision Window Graphics

Contra Vision Exterior View delivers great image impactOne way vision window graphics, also known as see-through graphics, enable the use of windows, or any glazed panel, for the deployment and display of advertising messages, decorative effects, security or privacy measures, and directional signing among other types of printed and applied graphics.

Applied one way vision graphics are also commonly referred to as Contra Vision or Contravision. Contra Vision is in fact a trademark that identifies a UK and USA based company of the same name and many of the products and technologies, supporting the production of one way vision graphics, which it sells or licenses to other materials manufacturers.

A typical one way vision graphic will comprise a design printed upon a specialised perforated window film. The film further comprises a white surface, a black surface and an adhesive layer the whole assembly being provided with numerous perforations arranged in a staggered pattern.

The design is printed on the white side of the film and then the whole assembly is adhered to a window or other transparent panel. The design will be visible to observers on the design side of the panel, while those on the other side will see through the panel as though the applied design were not there at all.

Being seen from one side and not being seen from the other, enables the use of windows to display graphics even in locations where a view out must be maintained. It is known for whole buildings to be wrapped in such materials thus creating landmark scale advertising statements.

Contra Vision delivers a clear view out and privacy for those inside.By carefully managing light levels, it is possible for graphics manufacturers to create, for example, window displays where the applied message itself can be seen through to an article beyond. This practice is used to extend the reach of point of sale campaigns to the pavement outside shop windows and is know to be very effective.

The use of one way vision graphics materials and Contra Vision products in particular has become very popular in the field of privacy. It is often desired to maintain a view through a window from the interior of a building and yet stop those outside seeing in. Privacy window films, including perforated window films accomplish this at little expense. Applied films are often left unprinted.

One of the major areas of application for one way vision window graphics is transport advertising. Typically applied to the windows of bus fleets, such graphics deliver out-of-home advertising campaigns on behalf of major brands and exert influence in pedestrianised zones where other forms of advertising might be regulated.

Careful selection of the material used to produce perforated one way vision window graphics can influence the strength of the image displayed versus the degree of see-through accomplished. Typical percentage include 80/20 in favour of the image, 60/40 30/70 and 50/50.

Digitally printed one way vision window graphics are available in very low volumes or where data is variable.


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Pavement Signs

Pavement sign with weighted base Pavement signs or kerb signs exist in great variety. One variant is known as an A Board. Typically comprising two rectangular boards or panels, each joined to the other at one of the rectangles’ short edges by a hinge. The available movement of the hinge is usually constrained so that when the boards are moved apart around the hinged axis, the assembly assumes an A like form and is free-standing in repose.

Other designs of pavement signs are known. For example a free-standing design comprising a footed frame retaining within the frame a panel held in a hinge-like fashion on the uppermost of its short edges. The panel will move and so catch the eye in even slight breezes.Rotating style pavement sign

Also using the wind as a means to animate it, a known design employs an aerofoil-like cross-section in two opposed member elements with an air spill-way between the two. This construction causes the element to rotate in wind and so display to the observer a first surface and, upon rotation a second. Basic animation techniques in the print design applied to such sign create the illusion of movement in the sign’s subject matter.

Some pavement signs are safe to leave on the pavement in all weathers. Designs featuring two opposed sheet steel members “luff” in high winds and so spill the air that would otherwise move them or blow them over.

Pavement sign with a weighted basePavement signs can be conveniently deployed and folded and stored when not it use. The can be moved from one location to another and so are useful for mobile businesses, for example roadside cafes, to identify their whereabouts.

Pavement signs are typically “decorated” using digitally printed matter. This printing technology makes low volume viable and so keeps the costs of producing and supplying pavement signs affordable and cost effective in terms of the effect achieved.

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Pull-Up Banners

Roller BannerPull Up Banners comprise a printed banner rolled upon itself and contained, under gentle spring pressure opposing the winding direction within a piece of portable and protective hardware. The rolled banner can be deployed by pulling it against the spring pressure and retaining it once extended with a strut abutting the banner edge and the hardware. The hardware serves as a foot and the pull up banner is thus free-standing when extended.

The materials used in free-standing pull up banners are usually of premium quality. This means that they are mechanically sound and so resist repeated winding, and have a highly developed surfaces so that they resolve high levels of detail to photo quality. The materials are also resistant to various modes of photo degradation such as fading, yellowing and cracking.

Pull up banners’ stands are very compact being only marginally wider than the banners they contains. It is reasonably light when loaded and usually has a handle making it easily portable. This design of display is not particularly stable in winds and so is best used for indoor applications, for example at exhibitions, experiential events and seminars.

Pull up banners can, if required, have the printed banner element replaced. This is a job for a person ideally skilled in handling print and such banner hardware. The life of the hardware unit is considerably greater than that of the printed graphics it contains and so is designed to be used with repeated content changes.

Many hardware designs are known with the primary differentiation being the aesthetic element. Various sizes are available with the largest widths only being limited by the practicalities of handling. Costs, while not in the same spectrum as unsupported banners are very reasonable and because of this, roll up banners are pressed to many purposes including the construction of basic exhibition stands.

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Sign Installation

A sign being installed by skilled sign installation specialistsSigns that are manufactured must be subsequently transported to the sites where their use is intended, and then fitted in the desired locations. This practice is known as sign installation. Sign installation is a skill comprising many techniques and regulated by both statute and by practical considerations.

Signs are very often installed in locations that are conspicuous but that present difficulties in terms of access. Such locations may be exposed and at great height. Locations may require that personnel be certificated appropriately for example in airports. Locations can be in areas with heavy traffic or that are densely populated.

Good sign installation practice is driven by strong project management and well managed surveys. Surveys in particular ensure that both the sign and the team responsible for its installation, encounters no surprises that are not known to the project plan.

Installations often involve ground works. For example, a free standing sign sometimes known as a totem sign or a monolith sign, must be bolted or otherwise affixed to a footing means sufficient to support the sign and resist any forecast wind-loading. Electrical services must be supplied to the sign too and this will be the responsibility of the sign installation team.

Sign installation may on some occasions involve the removal and disposal of existing works. Again this is a job that may face added complexities if the location is difficult. Access often has to be planned and agreed with local bodies before works can proceed. Such processes are undertaken by competent sign manufacturers.

Sign installation is typically undertaken by crews who travel in vehicles equipped to support them. Such crews are trained engineers and electricians and are able to safely operate and provision powers supplies where needed. Sign installation is very rarely undertaken by the end-user due to access difficulties and the need for specialist skills, permits and tools.

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Sign Maintenance

A sign being maintained by skilled sign maintenance specialistsOnce installed, signs are subject to the effects of the ageing of time-limited components and wear and tear imposed by weather. Sign maintenance is designed to mitigate these and other effects and so keep sign performing optimally.

Sign maintenance can be managed on a needs-based per-incident intervention basis, or in a planned fashion which sees a crew attend the sign and then perform works required to replace aged components, clean standing structures and make good any damage.

Sign maintenance will be required in situations where damage has been incurred, for example a breakage caused by high winds or by vandalism. Repair may be effected by replacing parts of the sign known to be damaged or by repair on site where possible.

Signs can experience many modes of failure. More recent signs have reliable LED lighting and so outages caused by the failure of earlier means of illumination are greatly diminished. The accumulation of airborne dirt can impair a sign’s performance and so this represents one of the most common of all service interventions.

Sign are manufactured from materials designed to endure exterior conditions. These materials include plastics, metals and woods. Such materials are often finished with weather resisting coatings including paints and so resist exterior conditions. If kept in good repair, a sign may last twenty-five years or much longer. Signs that are allowed to deteriorate without sign maintenance may require replacement or total refurbishment and a newly commissioned sign installation.

When a sign is sold, its manufacturer may approach the subject of a maintenance programme with the customer commissioning the sign’s production. A sign maintenance programme may achieve more than simply keeping the sign in operation. It will ensure that the sign performs optimally and so favourably halos the brand of business it is working hard to promote. On that basis alone, sign maintenance is seen by many as good value.

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Surface Restoration

Di-Noc wood grain wrapping film - Close up Surface RestorationSurface restoration techniques, materials and technologies are capable of transforming existing surfaces, extending their useful life, or of bringing areas when excessive wear has taken place back to a new or near new state.

Paint is among the most common of surface restoration media. Applied typically by brush or by spraying, paint covers the underlying substrate, resists further weathering and can look attractive. A surface that is textured will have the texture show through the applied paint layer. Detailed preparation is known to mitigate the effects of texture show-through but does increase costs and lead-times.

Varnishes and other protective coatings have use in surface restorations and are known to impart remarkable durability. Varnishes can impart a colour or accentuate the underlying material’s structure, for example wood grains.

Applied materials such as rigid sheets of phenolic materials provide work surfaces that resist weathering and the action of wear from repeated contact. Such material can be costly and disruptive to install.

Modern surface restoration materials are filmic in composition, for example, 3M Di-Noc. These materials typically feature a specialist pressure sensitive adhesive, and are possessed of a high degree of conformability so they can negotiate irregular surfaces.

In manufacture, filmic materials can be both embossed and printed. This means they can very closely approximate other materials in look and feel. Wood effects are among the finishes known having a convincing look and a textured feel also.

Applied filmic product are extremely durable, have a good feel in the hand and are appealing to look at. Once applied, their maintenance is as simple as a wipe over with a suitable solution of soap and they typically resist staining well.

By using applied surface restoration materials, costly removal of structures can be avoided and better use made of resources. Installing filmic products in particular results in only minimal disruption.

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Vehicle Livery

Can graphics can span several vehicle panelsVehicle Livery broadly describes a class of graphics that are applied to vehicles, such as vans, busses and trucks, primarily with the intention of advertising brands or promoting the commercial interest of the vehicles’ owners or operators. Vehicle Livery is typically produced using specialist wide-format printing hardware, vinyl cutting plotters or a combination of the two.

A minimal Vehicle Livery might comprise nothing more than an arrangement of cut and applied lettering in a given style or colour, or a much more elaborate design with printed elements including pictures of product or complex matter that could not be rendered in a single colour.

The medium used to produce a Vehicle Livery is, most commonly, self-adhesive vinyl. Such vinyl might have properties that make it conformable so that it can cover the complex surfaces of the vehicle contours and accommodate changes in direction curves’ radii. One such material is Metamark MD-X. This material is receptive to print and can be easily cut so it can easily fulfil the need to produce the elements of a Livery.

Limitations in materials and imaging technologies once imposed limits on the practical extent to which a Vehicle Livery can cover a given vehicle. Today’s technologies remove this limitation meaning the every panel surface can convey a message, display a picture or have its colour changed.Van graphics even work on the roof of a van

Using vehicle body colour as an element of Livery is a growing practice. A vehicle, for example white van, can be totally covered in a corporate colour, for example a particular green, and have the further elements of the livery, lettering for example, applied on top of the new colour. When the vehicle lease expires, the Vehicle Livery can be removed leaving a pristine van underneath. This achieves higher residual value in the vehicle.

Vehicle Livery is available to suit all budgets and so represents a very practical, cost effective means of broadcast promotion. Typically, brands use Livery as an identity continuation, livery can also promote a sense of place.

Recently, devices such as QR codes, links to websites and social media accounts have been used to further connect the observer with the promoter’s livery.


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