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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Etch Effect Window Graphics

Etch Effect Window Graphics - AppliedEtched windows are very well known and a number of means and practices exist which support their manufacture including Etch Effect Window Graphics.

Glass used in glazing typically comprises a glass sheet, a pane, of the required dimension with a first and second surface. Both of these surfaces are substantially plane and substantially parallel to each other. Such a pane yields a uninterrupted view through. The view may have a slight colour cast which is dependent upon the body colour of the glass which is often greenish. Low iron glass varieties do not have such a tint.

To achieve a decorative effect, privacy or branding, glass is sometimes etched. One means of etching glass is with the application of a chemical such as hydrogen fluoride. Such a chemical will modify the plane nature of the glazed surface to which it’s applied imparting a finish that tends toward structured, micro-crystals when observed at high magnification. This finish obstructs the clear view and yet admits light and contrasts dramatically with surrounding unmodified areas.

Glass can be etched mechanically too. The most popular means of mechanically etching glass is with an abrasive medium, such as aluminium oxide or garnet, blasted at great speed using compressed air through a suitable stencil. This imparts an effect similar to that achieved by chemical etching and, like chemically etched glass, the effect is permanent.

Both sandblasting and chemical etching are difficult and disruptive in their application to installed glass in situ. The permanent nature of the application is sometimes not desired. Some studies indicate that mechanical modification of glass can be the source of weaknesses and stress concentrations sometimes causing cracks to propagate.

Contemporary etch effects are achieved using the application of an etch effect film so creating Etch Effect Window Graphics. An etch effect film is typically self adhesive and is simply cut, using a computer driven cutting plotter, to the shapes required, which are then applied to the glass. The effect is dramatic, barely distinguishable from etched or blasted markings and can be removed when required.

Etch effect films are available in considerable variety each imparting its own effect to Etch Effect Window Graphics. For example, films are available with inclusions in the mass of the material that sparkle in direct light. Films are also available in that impart a slight colour. More recently, films that are receptive to print have been introduced. These films can be used to achieve ambient effects supporting brands or purely for the decorative benefits Etch Effect Window graphics deliver.

Etch effect films can be used in concert with other self-adhesive media to create highly detailed window graphics that are both attractive and functional. Etch effects used in interiors, on panels in partition structures for example, achieve a degree of privacy and are valued for their decorative effects too.


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Fascia Signs

Cafe Sign and Shop FrontFascia signs are signs that are fixed to the space usually available for such purposes above a shopfront. They typically will span the extent of the shop frontage and be positioned above the shop’s windows and entrance doors.

A fascia sign may be either illuminated or non-illuminated. Materials used in the construction of fascia signs include plastics such as acrylic, metals such as aluminium and even wood and composites. Any and all of these material may feature in a single fascia sign.

Illumination for modern fascia signs is usually provided by LEDs arranged in arrays. Such arrays of LEDs typically backlite a panel of plastic upon which lettering and other design elements may be adhered or inlaid into stencil cut apertures in the panel.

Fascia signage needs careful consideration in the design stage. A fascia sign may be bracketed to its left and right by signs identifying other businesses. A typical high street may have very long terraces of shop. It is desirable that a shop sign be distinguished from its neighbours, but restraint must be exercised as planning considerations need to be observed and signs which are, for example, too bright might attract scrutiny and be ordered to be removed.

Facia signs’ design involve engineering disciplines. Fabrications typically comprises a so-called sign case produced using a systemised suite of aluminium extrusions. These extrusion are cut to length, mitred and assemble to form a box-like structure which can accommodate the lighting elements and the sign face. The sign face may be hung using a further specialist extrusion fixed to the face of the sign case.

Fascia Signs require maintenance if they are to function optimally. Airborne polluting matter can accumulate in parts of the sign and in time detract from its appearance or impair its performance. It is usual for sign companies to offer a maintenance programme or at least be able to attend and maintain an installed sign.


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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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Custom printed wall mural for the bedroom A mural is a design or work of art that’s printed, painted or applied to a wall or any other permanent surface. Murals have many areas of application and a varied history. They can be used for advertising or publicising, they can be used in a purely decorative sense. A mural can be used in functional terms to educate, inform and direct.

In interior spaces, murals can give the illusion of the space continuing into an exterior space or situation that is incongruent with the interior. For example, a conventionally furnished living space could, upon one of its walls, have a mural applied that depicts a beach scene. Similarly, a child’s bedroom could dedicate one or more of its walls to a scene that delivers the illusion of the room being open to outer space.Contour cut murals for a school

Modern production methods for the mural include digital printing. This method of production delivers printed images to self adhesive materials that are, post printing, adhered to a wall or other surface. The print detail in such materials may be protected by a second layer of material known as a laminate, using a process known as over-laminating. Once applied, such laminated murals offer great durability and they are very easy to clean using commonly available products and tools.

Digitally printed mural for a shopping centreA mural that is printed digitally and applied, unlike its painted counterparts, is relatively easy to remove. Provided that the application surface is sound and free from loose or powdery materials, the mural can be simply peeled off leaving the underlying structure intact and ready for the application of another mural.

Because of their digital origins, digitally printed murals can be produced using a wide variety of origination means. Designs can start with an existing photograph or picture, with nothing more than an idea or with any other source of visible reference. Murals so produced are relatively inexpensive and no disruption is experienced during installation.

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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 graphics 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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