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Outdoor’s Harmonics Extraordinary Out-of-Home

PLUS: · Our Annual Industry Roundtable · 150+ Sources of Specialty Media · Tips for Retaining Top Employees

Photography by Howard Schatz Š Schatz Ornstein 2011

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in this issue

OCTOBER 2011 Volume 16 Number 10


 xpectations: the E razor’s edge.

16 Business + Management

 etaining your R top employees.


 arketing moduM lar masterpieces.

8 Feedback

FEATURES 18 Charting Wide Format’s Course Every print shop wants to map the best and most direct path to profitability. To help you navigate your way, we’ve gathered together five of the marketplace’s most informed analysts and consultants to examine the wide-format industry: Where does it stand now? Where will it be in 2012? And what’s your optimum road map to success?

30 Out-of-the-Ordinary Outdoor With the increasing advance of technologies and resultant bombardment of outdoor messaging has come a challenge: How do you get your client’s message to stand out from the rest? One solution might be to take a cue from one of the eight out-ofhome print projects we present here – in our annual showcase of exceptional jobs targeting consumers on the go.

44 Getting Creative with Specialty Media Steering your clients toward specialty media as you begin mapping out a project can help them dazzle their customers. This month’s sourcelist comprises printable fabrics, fine-art canvas and media, magnetic media, dye-sub transfer papers, wall coverings, and more.

ON THE COVER: MetroMedia Technologies ( helps put an out-of-home spin on recording artist Marco Bosco for Eruption Music Group. Cover design by Laura Mohr.

THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

From our readers.

10 Up Front

 ews and N noteworthy.

56 R+D

 he latest T tech, products, and supplies.

64 Job Log

Out with the old.

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The ValueJet 1624-64” easily outclasses similarly priced printers with speeds up to 313 sqft/h. Competitors can’t even catch up to those speeds!

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insight by Gregory Sharpless Gregory Sharpless Editor/Associate Publisher

Expectations: The Razor’s Edge A fellow editor told me I should try out a certain barber while I was in New Orleans for SGIA this fall. He is, she told me, renowned not only for his haircuts but also his “classic hot-towel shaves.” Interestingly, however, this barber shuns the straight razor as well as the shaving brush, apparently opting for a modern safety or cartridge razor. Now, I’m certainly no barber, but if this consumer is going to invest in a “classic” shave, then I want the stereotypical, full straight-razor-and-brush treatment. Think Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen, or Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves. Throw caution to the wind here, gents, and give me a shot of whiskey while you’re at it. Besides, when did “classic” equate to “safety razor?” Heck, if we’re going to play it safe, maybe we should just whip out the electric razor and the Lectric Shave? From a business standpoint, I wonder if the barber in question has had prospective customers like me who had a straight-razor image in their head, only to be disappointed when he pulled out the safety razor? Or maybe those prospective customers never even made it to his chair, because the “classic” illusion was shattered well before entering the establishment? As with all businesses, print shops must also live up to certain expectations that current and prospective customers have before walking in your door. For instance: • Customers expect a facility that is well maintained in appearance, both inside and out. Does your building’s exterior “say” you’re in business and prospering – or does it look to be in disrepair and give customers the impression that your company may not be around next week? • Customers expect to be greeted at the door, and to have the phone (or their emails) answered promptly. If you’re not prompt in responding to customers, you may well be giving the impression that you just don’t care. • Customers expect certain technologies and equipment to be up to date. If you’re using any of the following, you might be sending the wrong message (“We’re not technologically savvy”): floppy disks, a Compugraphic phototypesetter, the Apple Newton, and rotary phones. I’m exaggerating my examples of course, but you get the point. No, I’m not saying that image is everything. But if your goal is to project a certain image, then it’s reasonable to assume that your customer will have certain expectations about the image you’re putting out there. Simply meeting those expectations might better help you make first contact. Then, the real work begins.

Britney Grimmelsman Associate Editor Laura Mohr Art Director Marty McGhie, Craig Miller, Jared Smith Columnists Linda Volz Production Supervisor Lou Arneberg - Midwest US Ben Stauss - Western US, Western Canada, Asia Lisa Zurick - Eastern US, Eastern Canada, Europe Business Development Managers Rick Bachelder, Kathy Boydstun, Terry Corman, Scott Crosby, Brandon Gabriel, Michael Garcia, Kirk Green, Robert Kissel, Craig Miller, Greg Root, Jared Smith, Mark Taylor Editorial Advisory Board

Tedd Swormstedt President Steve Duccilli Group Publisher Christine Baloga Audience Development Director Kari Freudenberger Director, Online Media Subscription Services (847) 763-4938 Single Copies/Back Issues Debbie Reed

THE BIG PICTURE (ISSN 1082-9660) is published 12 times annually by ST Media Group International Inc., 11262 Cornell Park Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45242-1812. Telephone: (513) 421-2050, Fax: (513) 362-0317. No charge for subscriptions to qualified individuals. Annual rate for subscriptions to non-qualified individuals in the U.S.A.: $42 USD. Annual rate for subscriptions in Canada: $70 USD (includes GST & postage); all other countries: $92 (Int’l mail) payable in U.S. funds. Printed in the U.S.A. Copyright 2011, by ST Media Group International Inc. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations. Periodicals Postage Paid at Cincinnati, OH and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Big Picture, P.O. Box 1060, Skokie, IL 60076. Change of address: Send old address label along with new address to The Big Picture, P.O. Box 1060, Skokie, IL 60076.



11262 Cornell Park Drive Cincinnati, OH 45242 tel (513) 421-2050 fax (513) 421-5144

wide angle

Modular Masterpiece The ixxi modular image system includes 8 x 8-inch cards, as well as a connecting system comprising plastic X’s and I’s. Ixxi (, based in The Netherlands, uses its HP Indigo press to output a section of the overall image onto each card made of 300-gram Agfa Synaps media, and ships the system to the customer complete with a manual and hanging materials. The customer then assembles and installs the image (the cards are numbered) using the ixxi system. Each image comprises between 12 and 64 cards, depending on desired final graphic size (custom sizes up to 500 cards are possible). Shown: Contemporary pixelated version of Girl With a Pearl Earring. 6



From our readers We welcome letters from readers on any of the articles or items appearing in The Big Picture. Send letters to: (subject line: Feedback), and be sure to include your e-mail and/or phone number for verification. All letters are subject to editing for content and space. Sorry, anonymous letters will not be printed.

Return of the Lizard

The Whys Behind Wrap Removal

Love the Porsche graphics by Flying Lizard and Iconography (“Lizard Kings,” Wide Angle, August, pg. 6), nicely done! Dianne Marting Coventry, RI

Jared Smith’s August column on wrap removals (“Easing the Wrap-Removal Blues,” pg. 16) was informative, but here’s one thing he didn’t address: Why do customers want the graphics removed in the first place? Has he seen any trends at his shop? Geoff Lanska Sugar Hill, Georgia

As Iconography’s Sarah Naccarato pointed out in that issue, the project was one of its most complex to date. “It was a very complicated project with multiple graphic overlays,” she went on to say. “And, we did three total body kits for each vehicle – so a total of six. We had to do them in sections and rotate the body panels on and off the vehicles to ensure that all the graphics from each panel would line up if a panel had to be swapped out during the race due to damage. We first did paper prints of Troy Lee’s designs, and laid them over the vehicle to get precise measurements. We did this before the designs were finalized and sent to print.”

Training ‘New Blood’ Combining three-dimensional objects with print – like the Western Carolina University Print Shop did in your August issue (Job Log, pg. 56) – is always a great idea! And I like how the university involved the student workers in the project, because we have to keep “new blood” coming into this industry. Scott Chastaine West Covina ,CA University print shop manager Tom Frazier tells us that the shop employs nine full-time and 25 part-time students in the 3000-square-foot facility. The students are able to gain hands-on experience using the shop’s Mimaki JV3 and Colorspan 72uvr printers as well as other tools of the trade.



Looking at the reasons for removals is indeed a great place to start, says Smith: “The most common, and our favorite, reason for a removal is that a client is updating their fl eet look with a new logo, updated brand or current marketing campaign. These types of removals mean that you are not only bringing the vehicle in to your shop for a removal but for a rewrap, too. Another reason we do removals is that the vehicle is being retired from its duties either because the vehicle is high in miles and years or because the owner/drive is done with that marketing message. Reasons for this include everything from, they switched jobs and no longer get paid to drive a wrapped car for their previous employer, the business closed, or the campaign is just over, to name a few.”

Because Who Doesn’t Love Specs and Charts? As always, we appreciate the printer charts The Big Picture runs in the July and August issues. However, will you again be offering these in digital format this year? Chip McCullough Salem, IN Yes, the 2011-2012 edition of the Printer Sourcebook, made available in PDF format, will include chart data on rollfed printers as well as fl atbeds and hybrids, and also add chart data on third-party RIPs. This year, the PDF will be a bit more high-tech than in years past, and will carry many of the features you’ll find in our magazine’s digital editions. Look for it online, at, by mid-September.



1 8 0 0 2 35 8 3 2 0

www.VYCO M P L AST I C S .co m /ce l te c

When do images come to life?


upfront upfront

A Dozen from Ground Zero Photographer Roberto Rabanne ( was on his way to a fashion shoot in mid-town Manhattan on September 11, 2011, camera in hand, when planes struck the World Trade Center. He was not only there to capture the horrible events of that day, but also would spend weeks documenting the aftermath, choking down the particles that engulfed the surrounding area. “For the first five days I was there at Ground Zero, I didn’t get any sleep and inhaled a lot of the crap in the air. But I needed to focus on it and go forward because it was a historic situation that needed to be documented,” says Rabanne. The result: an in-depth study in pictures of the tragedy of that day, and a visual comment on the human spirit. His entire photographic archive of more than 500 images of the event is now part of the permanent collection housed by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, with the museum scheduled to open in 2012. In anticipation of the museum opening, and to honor the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Rabanne and the World Trade Center Foundation decided to choose a dozen of his photos for inclusion into an exhibit at the Museum. But they wanted to also offer the photographs in a way that people could take with them. “I discussed with the curatorial staff about doing something other than the obvious like a book,” says Rabanne. “I’m a photography collector and I like to see the actual pictures, not just in a book form, and I thought that would have value as a powerful and compelling history, as well as an archival print that you can frame that’s an original from the photographer. Those iconic pictures, like Iwo Jima, are remarkable in that they captured that slice of history. An important thing



for photographers is that decisive moment.” The Foundation agreed with Rabanne, and the resultant solution was a limited-edition curated box-set portfolio titled September 11 2001 New York City. The set would comprise 12 of the most dramatic and compelling moments from Rabanne’s archive, with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the box sets going to the museum. Which images to select for the set (and the museum exhibit) became the project’s first challenge. “There are a few images from the collection that encapsulate the story with a sense of brevity. It’s the amount of images that’s hard to edit down, as it can be with anything, so we decided to choose 12 images that tell the story from beginning to end,” says Rabanne. After the final 12 images were chosen by Jan Seidler Ramirez, the museum’s chief curator, Rabanne then turned his attention to the output. He wanted to ensure the prints would bring out the details needed to tell the story while providing archival durability. LexJet donated the media, its Sunset Photo eSatin Paper (used for both the exhibit and the box sets), while Canon USA donated inks for Rabanne’s Canon iPF8300 printer to produce the 13 x 19-inch prints. “Thus far it has gone very smoothly, and with the support of Canon and LexJet, it’s a reality. Not a problem and not a hiccup through the whole process. LexJet helped us get the profi les set up right, and we printed in gangs of three-up for a very efficient workflow,” says Rabanne. The Special Edition Portfolio is now available online at; the exhibit will take place in 2012 when the Museum opens.

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© 2011, Mimaki USA, Inc. • 150-A Satellite Blvd., NE, Suwanee, GA 30024-7128, USA Fax: 678-730-0200. Outside the USA: Mimaki Engineering Co., Ltd. •


“Health is the ability of an organization to align, execute, and renew itself faster than the competition so that it can sustain exceptional performance over time.” – BEYOND PERFORMANCE: HOW GREAT ORGANIZATIONS BUILD

Making a Splash


market metrics

Confusion Over Illegal Software Acquisition Install 1 Copy on Multiple Office Computers


Lent by Friend or Co-Worker


Peer-to-Peer Networks








% Answering “Is Legal”

A surprising number of PC users are unaware that common ways of acquiring pirated software are illegal. In surveys of PC users in mature markets, for instance, more than 40 percent believe it is perfectly legal to buy a single copy of software and install it on multiple computers in the workplace. Numbers reflect mature markets only; emerging markets are higher in all cases. Source: “BSA Global Piracy Study,” Business Software Alliance ( 12


Model-turned-photographer Yasmina Rossi ( is known for her evocative underwater images and self portraits. Her latest exhibition, Eau Dela - Beyond Surfaces, was held in the exhibition space of the Bastion de France, a 16th-century fortress in the Corsican town of Porto-Vechhio. The historic site was fitting, says A&I Photographic and Digital Services, which produced Rossi’s prints: The exhibit marked the first gallery show of fine-art photography printed exclusively on the HP Scitex FB500 printer. “Yasmina has been a long-time client,” says Veronica Thomas with A&I ( “She first started on the Indigo side by producing her photographic books with us. She then decided to start using our Epson machine. We then invited her to have a show within our gallery space called Primordial Ascension, where all the prints were done on our Lambda machine. She has been an amazing client due to her want to seek out new types of media to translate her work onto.” For Rossi’s Eau Dela exhibit, A&I output 120 black-and-white images using the Scitex FB500, printing onto LexJet Sunset Canvas, which features a bright-white matte-coated surface. Final prints ranged in size from 22 x 31 to 43 x 80 inches. Rossi was happy with the rich blacks A&I was able to achieve on the Scitex machine “and she liked the luster look of the image printed on canvas,” says Thomas. “We believe this technology opens up a whole new medium for artists.”



million Number of consumers in the US who scanned at least one QR code on their mobile phones in June 2011, according to comScore Inc. ( Twenty-four percent of these indicated they had scanned a code from a poster, flyer, or kiosk. The most popular source of a scanned QR code, the company reports, was a printed magazine or newspaper, with nearly half scanning QR codes from these sources. Product packaging accounted for 35 percent of QR-code scanning, while 27 percent scanned a code from a website on a PC.

Learn More

What’s Happening Online? More and more print shops are taking to social media sites to show off their latest projects to potential and existing clients. Check out: Minnesota’s Ultimate Boat Wraps’ ( and UK-based Evolve Group’s recent Tweets and YouTube channel updates. Snap a shot of the QR codes with your smart phone to see images of the projects, or type in the URLs. Also, follow @bigpicturemag for the latest wide-format news and case studies on Twitter. @BoatWraps: “It’s amazing what even a simple graphic can do to a new boat to add a little extra snap to it. This Stratos will definitely be talked about on the lake” @EvolveGroupLtd: “Take a look at Evolve Group’s new YouTube channel @”



Van Son Holland Launches New Line of Wide Format InkJet Inks Van Son Holland Ink Corporation (vansonink. com) has announced that it is launching its new line of Premium Wide Format Inkjet inks for Epson, Mimaki, Mutoh, and Roland printers. The company will introduce the new ink line at the upcoming Graph Expo exhibition in Chicago. “We are very excited to bring to market an ink that will serve the wide-format printers and the graphic-arts industry.” says Joseph Bendowski, CEO of Van Son Holland Ink Corporation of America. “As companies invest in new technologies, our wide-format inks will increase pressroom efficiencies as well as provide an answer to environmental concerns that are so important to the industry today.” Offered in both cartridges and bulk packaging, the product line includes: • Real Solvent inks, designed for Mimaki JV3, JV33, and JV5 printers: Feature outdoor durability, are extremely fast drying, and have increased printhead durability. • Eco Solvent ink: For better adhesion on substrates including flex, PVC, and vinyl, the Eco Solvent inks to do not emit VOCs. • Pigment and Dye inks, created for Epson piezo head printers: Designed for a wide variety of media, the inks provide intense color with a wide color gamut, strong head durability, and enhanced fade resistance. • Power Chrome Pigment inks: Engineered to increase the density levels to optimize compatibility on most media types; print quality and color brilliance equivalent to dye-based inks, the company reports. • Dye Sublimation inks: Can be used with direct printing on fabrics without the need for intermediary heat-transfer paper; a particle size less than 100nm to eliminate head clogging.

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business business++management management

Retaining Your Top Employees By Marty McGhie


arlier this year, The Big Picture referenced a Career Builder and USA Today study that asked this question to employees: “As the economy improves, how likely are you to start looking for another job?” More than 30 percent of the participants indicated that they were likely to explore other opportunities. Now I don’t know about you, but our company would certainly not be happy with 30 percent of our employees looking for another job as the economy rebounds. Particularly if you assume that the 30 percent inclined to look elsewhere are probably the ones you value the most. (Maybe if I could hand pick the 30 percent that would look elsewhere, then it would be a different story– but, it doesn’t work that way.) When the economy gets better, then, your best employees might consider the idea of finding another job as not only a realistic option, but an appetizing one. So how do you go about ensuring that you retain your best ideas even during the most promising economic times? Let’s look at five ideas.

Positive and open atmosphere First, I can’t stress enough the importance of creating a workplace that is comfortable and enjoyable for employees to work in. Clearly, work isn’t always fun, but being in an environment where employees are treated with respect and given the opportunity to enjoy themselves with their coworkers is critical to their overall happiness. This doesn’t mean you have to create a carnival funhouse at the office – but there are simple things you can do as an employer to craft a positive image of your workplace. For example, try bringing in lunch every so often for everyMarty McGhie is VP finance/operations of Ferrari Color, a digital-imaging center with Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Sacramento locations. The company offers high-quality large- and grand-format photo, inkjet, fabric, and UV printing.



one. Or invest in a grill and host a summer barbeque once a month. Other similar ideas include: Have a summer picnic with your employees and their families to foster a sense of camaraderie. Bring in bagels or donuts every Friday morning. Consider giving your employees a certain amount of dollar credit each year for products that you manufacture. You can also spice up the day-to-day events. For instance: Figure out a way to make even the most mundane meetings more enjoyable. We recently realized that our monthly financial staff meetings were beginning to get dull – so dull that our employees pretty much tuned us out immediately after glancing at our profit numbers. So, we made the financial review into a game: Ferrari Color Jeopardy. Now, our employees have an interactive event that they all participate in and enjoy, while still learning about the numbers. My second suggestion also lends to a positive work environment: open communication. The ability to speak openly without fear of consequence is an important quality in a productive office. If all levels of management feel free to make suggestions and even offer constructive criticisms, they will feel that they’re valued members of your team. Of course, you might find an employee that will take liberty with this policy and he or she will become a chronic complainer, consistently taking a negative approach. But, you’ll also find that the majority of your employees who feel open to communicate their concerns will become more willing to accept criticism when it’s directed at them without being immediately threatened. As a result, employees will consider constructive criticism as a helpful dialogue, not a one-sided attack. It’s equally important, by the way, to establish a business environment where your deserving employees receive praise. Continual positive reinforcement will lead to happy employees and encourage continual success. My third key to employee retention is management. Behind every happy staff is a great management team. As Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman wrote in First, Break All the Rules, “People don’t leave companies, they leave managers.” Developing your company into a >62

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COURSE In this GPS era, charting the right course is easier than ever when you’re looking for the weekend garage sale, the newest out-of-the-way pub, or even a faster way home from work. The technology can help you avoid not only wrong turns, but also traffic jams, road construction, and crowds from local sporting events. Wouldn’t it be nice, however, if someone offered a “wide-format GPS” that would help you map your best and most direct path to profitability? With this device, you could avoid a host of dangerous terrains, including: hairpin buyer’s-remorse turns, marketing-failure gullies, lack-of-leadership quagmires, and, of course, the dreaded profit cliffs. Although we cannot offer you such a system at this time, we’ve done the next best thing: We’ve assembled five of the marketplace’s most informed analysts and consultants and asked them to help you evaluate the marketplace – where does it stand now, and where will it be in 2012? And, importantly, what do you need to do to ensure your company will not still be driving around asking for directions in the months to come (while your competitors are already at their destination). For this 2011 Industry Roundtable, our participants include: Marco Boer, consulting partner, I.T. Strategies; Tim Greene, director, visual communication technologies consulting service, InfoTrends; Dan Marx, vice president, markets & technologies, SGIA; Peter Mayhew, director, Lyra Research Europe; and Hugo Palacios, senior analyst, BERTL.




Analyzing 2011, and preparing your business for 2012.


Déjà vu here, because we’re going to open with the same question this year as we did last: The economy continues to be sluggish and challenging for most print providers. But some shops have found interesting ways to prosper. What’s the rest of 2011 look like? And what about 2012? Tim Greene, InfoTrends: The biggest challenge for all of us is the lack of any visibility into the market. We’ve recently been collecting print-buyer inputs on this, and what we’ve found is that most print buyers expect to spend the same amount over the next 12 months as they did over the last 12 months – which isn’t great news but at least it’s a stable environment. On the other hand, nearly 10 times as many people are telling us they expect their expenditures to grow vs. decline over the next 12 months compared to the last 12 months. So there’s reason for optimism. But the overall economic outlook is so uncertain that it’s very difficult to see any dynamic growth in the North American market right now.

80 percent of business. To cater to a more fragmented customer base, the ability to create a broader range of large-format output has become more critical. Those print shops who have continued to expand their application reach, those who are printing on new and differentiated substrates – those shops are continuing to thrive. The challenge for shops, however, is finding ways to expand their offerings and reach a broader client base within their capital-spending and marketing budgets, which may be zero through the end of 2011. This requires resourcefulness on their part. Peter Mayhew, Lyra: It’s becoming increasingly difficult to forecast too far out as short-term events are clouding longer-term prospects, and the next few months look like more of the same. The downturn in the economy has shown that proactive and innovative marketing by all businesses is an essential part of any business plan and, that’s good news for innovative print providers.

Dan Marx, SGIA: We hear mixed reports from our members. Some report being “crazy busy,” while others complain of slow times. There certainly is work to be had out there, but success is not assured, especially for mid-size print shops that have to compete with larger companies. That said, our recent surveys have shown much more optimism than pessimism, and a hopeful outlook into 2012 and beyond.

Hugo Palacios, BERTL: 2011 and 2012 will continue to be challenging for print providers as the economy continues to struggle and corporations are doing more with less. Companies that have diversified revenue streams, strong marketing initiatives, and excellent customer service will make out well in the years to come. Borrowing from the corporate playbook, print providers will need to do more with less and build up cash reserves to help them through the fluctuating economy.

Marco Boer, I.T. Strategies: In this sluggish economy, large accounts are questioning every dollar spent, putting business up for competitive bids, etc. In turn, this has driven profits out of the business for print providers, who are now challenged more than ever to have a broad base of customer accounts rather than the typical 20 percent of customers who account for

Boer: How 2012 will develop is anyone’s guess, of course. At the moment, everyone is hoping there will be better financial conditions, but there’s little evidence one can take to the bank that it will be better given ongoing financial-market challenges. For those print shops that have right-sized their businesses and who are continuing to be resourceful, 2012 should be

Our 2011 Roundtable Experts Marco Boer Consulting partner, I.T. Strategies (

Tim Greene Director, Visual Communications Technologies Consulting Service, InfoTrends (

Dan Marx Vice president, markets & technology, the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (

Peter Mayhew Director, Lyra Research Europe, Lyra Research (

Hugo Palacios Senior Analyst, Business Equipment Research & Test Laboratories (BERTL,


charting wide format a relatively stable year. The good news for large-format print – unlike other print markets – is there has been little impact from electronic display alternatives. And there may not be for some time, given the capital-investment costs required to migrate to electronicdisplay alternatives. Some might argue that wide-format print is one of the few remaining profit areas left in the print industry.

projects: conformable vinyl materials that look like brushed metals, colored vinyls that simulate automotive paint – really amazing stuff! I’m also a big fan of developments in finishing technologies, and have been following the switch to LED-UV curing very closely. While digital printing continues to offer better quality and faster production, I believe it’s now the materials and finishing technologies used in our industry that offer companies the greatest opportunity to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

Mayhew: The recession is also adding to the misery for the OEMs in our industry.

Palacios: Most of the innovation that we’re seeing is coming from improvements in printheads, inks, and substrates. With printheads, we’re seeing a large number of improvements with regards to piezo drop-on-demand technology. This technology brings to the table new drop speeds, drop volume, drop size, and drop shapes. A company that stands out at the mo-


What have been some of the most intriguing technologies and products introduced to the marketplace in the past 12 months? Marx: I’ve been fascinated by the wide range of new materials for vehicle wraps and other applied-graphics

Barriers to Success in 2011 67.3%

Downward pressure on prices 53.5%

Finding new customers


Rising costs 29.7%

Recruitment of sales personnel


High costs of new technology


Obtaining financing for investment Training of employees


Ability to secure credit/lines of credit


Recruitment of production personnel


Understanding new technology



5.9% 5.0%

Recruitment of management personnel


Environmental issues and regulation









Downward pressure on prices, finding new customers, and rising costs are the three most critical challenges that print providers are facing this year, says SGIA. Recruitment of sales personnel and high costs of new technology round out the top five. Source: “2011 SGIA Financial Outlook & Business Growth Plans Survey.” 20

THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

ment is Fuji with its Samba printhead technology – it brings some very interesting innovations that enable printheads to be lined up with virtually limitless printer-width possibilities and allows for single-pass printing. With inks, we’re seeing improvements in viscosity and diversified application with different substrates. Mayhew: Over the past year, we have seen two competing technologies come of age. HP’s latex ink technology is benefiting from environmental concerns and looks set to be a competitor to UV curing. We’re also seeing UV printers using LEDs to take the technology to the next level. Both of these technologies still have some challenges to overcome, but they offer alternative options to the market. Greene: I think one that is particularly interesting is the no-HAP (hazardous air pollutants) ink and printers from Seiko I Infotech. These products seem to advance the solvent-printing platform, which offers high-quality durable graphics printing at advantageous running costs. Another one that I think is really interesting is the EFI high-speed wide-format printer enabled by LED curing lamps. If this delivers on its promise, it could both increase the range of media these printers can print on and lower operational costs compared to traditional curing methods. Another product that I saw for the first time this year is from a company called Asphalt Art. Theirs is a foil-based product that can be used for outdoor floor signage and graphics that, when applied, looks like a painted surface but is easily removable and slip resistant. Boer: There has been great refinement among UV-flatbed printer offerings, eco-solvent printers, and even aqueous-ink printers. The most interesting developments perhaps have occurred among printers that sell above $250,000. Those products are more productive than ever. Keep an eye in

Outlook for Purchasing Wide-Format-Graphics particular on printers capable of printing soft signage and textiles. Palacios: Cloud solutions also stand out this year, thanks to several solutions brought to market by American Reprographics and HP’s ePrint and Share. Both have introduced solutions designed for the AEC/GIS and CAD markets that encompass document management, collaboration, and Webdistributed printing and scanning.


We’ve seen at least a couple of companies exit or all but exit the wide-format digital marketplace in 2011: Gerber stopped production of its flatbed units earlier this year. And this past spring, Xerox announced it had stopped taking orders for its wide-format machines in the US and Canada. Any thoughts on these companies’ announcements, or maybe others I’ve neglected to mention here? Palacios: Xerox will continue to sell wide-format products in Europe and developing markets. Like many companies, Xerox has prioritized each of their investments, allocating research and development dollars to areas where it can deliver the best value to the marketplace. Canadian and US-based customers will continue to have access to service support, supplies, media, and parts from Xerox for their existing equipment for at least five years. Greene: Both are good companies, but both are clearly moving in new directions, Gerber into other market segments and Xerox into documentoriented consulting and services. In fact, when we think about what each of these companies actually manufacture for the wide-format market there is a real question about what they could profitably bring to the marketplace. Even if they manufactured all of their products and employed all of their own IP, there is probably not

enough scale in the wide-format business for these companies which really don’t have or aren’t commercializing enough of their own IP to capitalize on it with high enough margins to significantly contribute to their overall corporate profits. Mayhew: Nobody likes to see businesses exit markets, but sometimes it’s just time to move on. Both of these organizations made sound commercial decisions, with differing reasoning, as all businesses have to do at some time. Given the economic conditions driving the CAD market and Xerox North America’s role in it, the decision was not especially surprising. And we were all excited by the GerberCat’s differentiated approach to UV-curing, but differentiation alone is sometimes not enough in this competitive market segment. Boer: The barriers to entry for creating a wide-format inkjet printer are lower than ever. The inkjet heads that are at the heart of these printers are easier to integrate than ever before as the inkjet head vendors are providing more of the pieces required to make those inkjet heads work properly and the knowledge of how to integrate those heads is disseminating widely as the skill levels grow. As a result, worldwide there are now more than 30 manufacturers offering UV flatbed printers. Many of those are only sold on a regional basis (such as just in the Czech Republic or Turkey), and there is the answer: It’s very costly to distribute, service, and support wide-format printer technology on a worldwide basis. Marx: As an imaging technology, wide-format digital has been wholly and completely adopted in our industry segment, so the rapid growth of five years ago – which was really the tipping point for industry adoption – has passed. The industry is relatively saturated with digital equipment, and now we’re seeing expected contraction

It will decrease 4%

38% It will increase 58% There will be no change

In a recent survey of print buyers by InfoTrends, more than a third indicated purchasing of wide-format graphics would increase in the next year. More than half reported there would be no change in purchasing, while only four percent indicated that purchasing would decrease.

among equipment producers. There are and will be fewer players in this area as we move forward.


If we were titling a movie that recounted the acquisitions on the manufacturer and supplier side in the past 12 months, it probably wouldn’t be called The Fast and the Furious. Yes, EFI recently acquired Prism and also acquired PrintSteam in early 2011; Flexcon purchased the graphics division of Arlon; Danaher acquired EskoArtwork; and Transilwrap acquired Interfilm as the year opened. Otherwise, however, it was pretty quiet on the M&A front wasn’t it? And, just for fun, what would you title 2011 if it were a movie about the market’s M&A? Greene: I think it’s true that as far as the supplier side goes there has not been a great deal of activity in the


charting wide format Tactics for Company Growth Add graphic imaging equipment/technology


Hire more production staff

51.5% 49.5%

Begin new marketing/advertising campaigns Hire more sales staff

44.6% 36.6%

Introduce new product lines Add graphic imaging-related post-print equipment

32.7% 27.7%

Focus on Internet sales


Hire more office staff Merge/acquire

challenges arise during integration time. The cost savings expected are often overshadowed by new investment needed, getting the combined company culture on a single track, etc. What we’ve seen with the 2010/2011 acquisitions in the wide-format space is more indicative of expected longterm strategic benefits, not immediate scale/cost savings benefits. They are effectively relatively small financial bets on potentially major strategic benefit in the future.

11.9% 0%







The number-one tactic print providers are utilizing to help them grow in 2011: adding imaging equipment or technology, SGIA reports. Close behind, however, is hiring more production staff as well as beginning new marketing/advertising campaigns. Source: “2011 SGIA Financial Outlook & Business Growth Plans Survey.”

M&A area, but I think this is due to the economic situation – with a lot of uncertainty in the market there are few companies willing and able to fund the acquisition and take on assets. Some of the ones that have come together – like the 3M acquisition of OriginalWraps – are cool because they seem to be advancing the idea of moving closer to customers to advance the brand and lock up business. Or, in the case of the EFI acquisitions, they’re entering new markets without taking on huge physical assets. What would I title 2011 if it were a movie? I’m torn because if I can work the title Hot Tub Time Machine into this conversation then I win a bet – but to characterize the year’s activity, maybe Bang the Drum Slowly is more accurate. Marx: The mergers and acquisitions we’ve seen among industry equipment and materials manufacturers is expected as a number of companies are working to build their product portfolios and increase their current 22

THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

and long-term competitiveness. While our industry is quite mature, it’s far from static, and there is quite a bit of jockeying – particularly among major players – to stay on top. If I were to provide a movie title, I might go for, The Sweet Smell of Success. Mayhew: Each of these acquisition moves makes sense for the purchasers. We’ll be watching closely to see how EFI and Danaher integrate their new assets for the benefit of their businesses. Boer: Mergers and acquisitions are typically done to gain scale. There are few companies left to acquire in the wide-format business that can add sizeable scale to anyone’s business, so naturally the volume of acquisitions and mergers has gone down. Second, mergers and acquisitions often look great on paper, and companies are getting better at identifying through due diligence where the skeletons are in the closets, but in the end the

Palacios: Mergers and acquisitions are always interesting and it’s surprising to me that we have not seen more of them. We expect consolidation and realignment of businesses to continue but at a higher uptick then what we have seen to date.


Another interesting development: Durst US is no longer selling the Lambda photo printer. Coupled with the LightJet’s demise a couple of years ago, that leaves just ZBE, I believe, in the wide-format photo printer market. Boer: The end-of-life of photo-writer technology was inevitable. Aside from the financial reasons why it no longer made sense to continue to develop (no pun intended) this technology, it’s a clear statement that inkjet technology is considered equal in output quality to the historical standard in print quality. Greene: This is another example of the power that inkjet has in this industry. The Lambda, LightJet, and ZBE printers all offer excellent image quality, but have limitations that some inkjet technologies don’t have in terms of print media or substrates. I don’t mean to be flippant about it – but when we look at the history of inkjet, it has pushed other technologies like pen plotters and electrostatic printers into obsolescence in the past, and it seems the same fate awaits the wide-format photoprinter technol-

ogy. I know a lot of companies are still using these devices so I’m not trying to offend anyone. I think the quality from these devices has set the bar – especially for some applications like backlit prints – but the flexibility, economics, and ongoing development of inkjet technologies presents a much greater upside for inkjet. Marx: To me, the demise of Lambda, LightJet, and other similar printers comes from the accepted reliability and image quality that inkjet can provide. I no longer hear discussion about “inkjet quality” versus “LightJet quality.” Imagers have opted for the technology that offers high-quality, high-resolution printing onto a diverse range of media types at a low operating cost, and that is inkjet. I think this serves to further blur the already blurry line between high-end photo labs and digital graphics shops. While the technology used is often the same, they still serve some differing markets. Palacios: Wide-format products such as the Canon imageProGraf and HP Designjet series produce photographic-quality output and offer roll-to-roll options on similar media as the Lambda or ZBE photo printers. Technology has caught up to the point where more cost-effective printers are able to produce equal photographic quality while being less expensive to run and maintain than printers such as the Lambda. Mayhew: “Will the last one leaving please switch off the lights?” That’s a sign we do not expect to see on this market anytime soon. ZBE may be the last survivor, but there will always be an enthusiastic “purist” market for photographically based digital output, even if it’s a relatively small one. These markets tend to not be particularly price sensitive, meaning a lucrative niche will remain for both the hardware OEM and the photomedia coater alike.


This spring’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan affected many companies in our marketplace with Japanese ties. Have you seen these companies bounce back all the way? Boer: The wide-format printer industry is far more geographically spread out than the copier/MFP printer industry that’s centered in Japan. As a result, the impact to the wide-format printer industry has been minimal. The core Japanese technology component providers to the wide-format printer industry are located mainly in the Nagona mountain region outside of the directly impacted zones in Japan. Canon was impacted somewhat in its inkjet business, but it’s well prepared to deal with supply-chain disruptions. In fact, most continued to manufacture products at higher volumes this spring, in anticipation of rolling electrical blackouts this summer as demands for air conditioning soar. Many shut down for one to two weeks this August, letting the distribution chain draw down on inventories they had build up. Mayhew: It’s fair to say that most of the companies affected by these tragic disasters have moved swiftly to ensure that product ranges, front-line sales, and consequently market share are not damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. However, the effect on the balance sheets of those companies that report the information publicly shows that the businesses of some are certainly showing some scars. Greene: I was in Japan in June, not long after the earthquake and tsunami, and I was really impressed by the resiliency and resourcefulness of the people that I met over there. Speaking with many of the manufacturers, from here on it seems like there are going to be some ongoing issues with the supply chains for parts – much more so than the wide-format printer manufacturing companies themselves.

Palacios: Some manufacturers have not had their supply line affected by the events that took place in Japan. Others have suffered an impact and a shortage of products that they can deliver to the marketplace. It may take six to 12 months before we see manufacturers bounce back to pre-earthquake numbers. Marx: I hope they have. Japanese manufacturing is so critical to the technologies used in the digital graphics industry. Recent reports I’ve seen show Japan getting back on track, though the repercussions of the earthquake and tsunami will be felt both here and there for some time to come.


In our July 2011 issue, The Big Picture garnered specs on 130 rollfed printers sold here in the US, and there were some interesting numbers. Any thoughts on any of the following stats from those charts: • More than a third of all printers listed were introduced in 2010 or 2011 – relatively new introductions to the market. That was also true with the flatbeds we charted the following month, by the way; • Just over 20 (or 15 percent) utilize UV technologies – that’s double the number since 2008; • More than a fourth of them are available in widths of 100 inches or more; • Close to half offer something beyond standard CMYK or CMYKcm inksets; and • About 20 percent offer white ink. Marx: I think we’ll continue to see new machines hitting the market as companies make incremental changes to the offerings. To me, it’s not surprising that UV-curable ink technologies are increasing in use – UV can be used for a really broad number of applications, and I expect this will only grow. It’s also an environmentally


charting wide format favorable ink system when compared with solvent. Companies are looking to wide solutions, particularly those machines that can run multiple jobs at the same time, offering a great way to increase throughput with only one machine. With the continued rise of grayscale printheads, we’re seeing fewer expanded color sets because excellent color and tonality can be achieved with basic CMYK. White ink, metallic ink, and clear are great addons if and when companies can find a way to make the investment in that technology profitable. Boer: The life cycle among mobile phones averages about three months. By comparison, the wide-format industry remains sluggish, with average life cycles running about 18 months. In our relatively mature industry, you’ll see more and more differentiation through feature sets rather than breakthrough software technology as you might see in other electronic industries. One should expect to see even more product line fragmentation and expansion in the future. Ironically this expansion becomes a great cost burden on the supply and support chains of the manufacturers – but yet they can’t stop the momentum due to competitive pressures. Greene: These facts don’t surprise me. Starting with the first one, there is a steady stream of new products hitting the wide-format digital graphics market. Print providers tell us this is a challenging part of the market – keeping up with the latest technology and understanding how these developments can improve their operations. The emergence of UVcurable is driven by multiple factors: Many companies want a greater level of application flexibility (the ability to print a wide range of applications on one device), for many others there are environmental reasons, for others, it is primarily a speed issue. The width issue, to me, is frequently also a speed issue – a lot of printers use wider 24

THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

devices to do two-up printing. Given the consistently increasing demand for faster turnaround times, getting a wider printer is one strategy to cope with the need for greater speed. The increasing number of colors and the addition of white enable a wider range of applications. Mayhew: As our industry continues to convert more work from analog to digital production, we need the capacity and versatility offered by this hardware. We’re only going to see this trend grow and increase in range and scope over the next few years. Palacios: The large number of devices introduced into the market place indicates an increasing demand for wide-format devices. We’re seeing a demand by AEC firms to bring their printing needs in-house and, as a result, there is an increased demand for new equipment as these companies generate efficiencies and real cost savings. UV and white ink bring new application opportunities that enable print providers to offer a wider variety of printing substrates and opens up new revenue streams.


Like the proverbial phoenix, JDF is back. Isn’t it? Or did it ever really go away? Palacios: The JDF standard has not left, but it also has not taken off. It’s hard to quantify its use or popularity because there’s a limited adoption rate in the market place. This limited adoption can be attributed to a lack of information on the benefits and efficiencies that the standard can bring to an organization. Companies that have adopted this standard are seeing a benefit and are able to generate a cost savings from it. The key for print providers is to have a process and workflow in place that requires its use by their customers. But it’s unlikely that we’ll see JDF being adopted by a lot of wide-format print providers.

Greene: There have been a few specific examples of companies like EFI and Onyx that have made some recent JDF-related enhancements to their products. I like the fact that these things are sometimes introduced by vendors, then it takes some time to get integrated by PSPs – that’s natural, I don’t think JDF ever “went away,” it just takes some time for companies to figure out how these things can help them. Boer: Many wide-format printers are located in small shops that process single orders at a time. For 80 to 90 percent of shops, it doesn’t make sense to spend the time to enter the data required for JDF. But for larger print shops with frequent repetitive larger orders, it can be extremely helpful.


Although it did not only take wide-format print providers into account, a recent Printing Industry Center at RIT survey indicated that 37 percent of print shops had a formal sustainability policy in place, while another 17 percent had an “informal” policy in place. Do you think that’s representative of our market as well? Do shops still endeavor to be green? Boer: Sustainability is becoming a marketing checklist item. Virtually every single website of printshops that own an HP latex printer, for instance, list sustainability among the top three marketing messages. At the moment, it’s a “feel good” time, but over time we expect it to help printshops find ways to actually reduce costs, as the awareness of energy consumption of printing hardware, inventory inefficiencies, wasted prints, etc., becomes more commonplace. Rather than accepting those existing inefficiencies as part of the cost of doing business, printshops will profit from reducing their environmental footprint. The key is awareness of environmental issues, and that is certainly a hot topic.

Marx: Sustainability continues to have a strong place in our industry, and has become increasingly important as some of the print customer base (major retailers, manufacturers, and others) are requiring a certain environmental pedigree of their printers. This means that to even compete for the work, you must have a proven, formal sustainability plan in place. I would say to any printer that is looking at sustainability: Take it seriously and do it right. Sustainability is so much more than having a recycle bin in the office and a few low-VOC products on the shelf. True corporate sustainability is top down, bottom up, and pervasive in the company.

Mayhew: Absolutely yes. Apart from being fundamentally good business practice, it’s becoming a business generator, as more clients are demanding that their marketing collateral comes with fully demonstrable, green credentials. We also note that it’s when PSPs invest that the desire to act in a “green” way is most noticeable. Palacios: Most organizations are green to the point that they can afford to be green. For large-print providers that can afford it, investing in being green provides them with a great marketing pitch. For larger printing companies, it’s often essential to their business that they have a program in place because of the large quantities of paper that they typically run. In wide format, waste is often found in lami-

nation and finishing. Typically there is very little organizations can do to recycle in these two areas. Greene: There’s no question that we in the US are behind other parts of the world in terms of “going green,” but it seems that demand for “green” wide-format printing and a willingness to pay a premium for it from the buyer side is lower than it is in other parts of the world as well. That said, it seems like demand for green printing is growing based on our print-buyer research, but I think there’s a real costsavings element to why print buyers may want green prints – for example, maybe they want a lighter-weight substrate that would save them money on shipping costs.

Hard-Copy Industry Revenue $50 $45 $40 $35


$30 $25 $20 $15

Hard-copy industry U.S. GDP relative to hard-copy industry World GPD relative to hard-copy industry

$10 $5 $0 Q2



















Q1 2011

In Q1 2011, hard-copy industry revenue and profits were down vs Q1 2010, raising fears that the industry might be entering a cycle of permanent decline. But a closer look at the numbers suggests that “extraordinary”factors, namely adverse exchange rates as well as the earthquake in Japan, were to blame for the first-quarter swoon, reports Lyra. Note: Lyra defines the hard-copy industry as “electronic printers and related markets,” including wide-format printers as well as desktop printers, MFPs, digital copiers, specialty barcode printers, and high-end production printers and digital presses.


charting wide format


One print provider our publication recently profiled indicated that his company was aggressively pursuing a “de-coupling” trend – pulling the production away from advertising agencies and bringing it in-house to his shop, so the client becomes his client and he’s not simply an outsource for the ad agency. Have you seen this in action? And do you agree it’s becoming a trend? Mayhew: Yes, we have witnessed a number of PSPs taking this step. But our view is that it’s not for everyone, probably only larger operations. Of greater concern for PSPs should be the need to keep a close eye on the profitability of these “incremental” services.

The Print Buyer’s Preference for ‘Green’ 100% 44%




40% 56% 43%


0% no yes


Greene: Yes and yes. This is what we call “moving up the value chain” or “disintermediation,” and it’s one of the biggest challenges and opportunities in this or any industry. If you are a print-service provider that’s being seen as a company that just responds to RFQs, then you are constantly being price-shopped. Some of these projects you will win, some you will lose – but even the ones you win will not be the kinds of plus-margin projects you can increase your profitability on. Boer: Ad agencies exist for a reason; aside from their creative contributions that span the range across all advertising modalities, not just wide-format print. It will be challenging for a printshop to become as competent in those creative aspects as they are in the manufacturing of print. However, there’s always a window of opportunity for printshops to add value in the content-creation process on behalf of their customers. There is a balance required. So while there may be a trend toward printshops offering creative services, trends come and go. We would not encourage printshops to base their future on investing in becoming creative content providers.

that, I think this approach requires much more of your sales team: an understanding of your company’s capabilities, limitations, and scope as this goes far beyond just taking orders and doing the work. Make sure you’re prepared before you start this process.


Social media and QR codes have certainly grabbed a lot of headlines the past 12 months, from the standpoint of print shops marketing their own businesses, and in helping clients market their products. Are shops — and their clients — seeing an ROI here? Marx: QR codes are becoming ubiquitous in print and online, offering an easy link between print, online, and mobile content. From the standpoint of our industry, QR and other twodimensional codes are easy to create and easy to print. The challenge is to make them worthwhile. Where will the person scanning the code be taken, and will what they find there be strong, entertaining, or useful enough for them to bookmark the location, pass it to someone else, or answer your call to action? It needs to be compelling, or it’s just an add-on. Mayhew: There is a generation of users to whom these technologies are second nature – to the point where return on investment is not the issue if you want to engage with these customers. So, absolutely yes, they’re here to stay, but only for as long as the customer finds them useful.


Demand for “green” printing is accelerating, according to InfoTrends’ print-buyer research. Nearly 60 percent of buyers answered in the affirmative to the question, “Do your print purchases reflect a preference for ‘green’ printing, such as prints made on recyclable materials or using environmentally safe inks?” 26

Palacios: This is a trend that makes a lot of sense, but it’s one that oftentimes requires investing in new people with lots of talent. This endeavor can be costly but has the potential to generate very good revenues. Companies that take this approach must be prepared for some highs and lows as they establish their new service.

THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

Marx: This sort of “consultative selling” approach – where companies gain a seat at the table and become partners in the process – can be effective for some companies, and will help companies avoid bidding wars where price is the only differentiator between contenders for the work. It’s great work if you can get it – working with the decision makers instead of the bean counters. Having said

Greene: Social media and QR codes are related in the sense that they can tie the provider in to customers in new and different ways. The issue with both of them is how well the strategies are executed, and that closely relates to how much the print provider really embraces the technology. Look at QR codes: We recently surveyed wide-format print buyers about this. Only 20 percent of them said they have used

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charting wide format Wide Format’s Effectiveness QR codes in any of their signage and graphics campaigns, but of those more than 90 percent said they will do it again. We think this is because there is a measurable element to it – brand owners can use metrics like Web hits, Facebook “Likes,” and Twitter followers to understand how well their message is being delivered. Boer: While they can be of value in creating interest and excitement, frankly the process of having to capture the image using a smart phone, awaiting the file to open, and then having to read the website on a small mobile-phone display screen is not pleasurable. I think what we’ll find over time is that putting “key words” in ads that consumers will remember and are then able to “Google” search on their desktop PCs may become more prevalent than QR codes.


What are you seeing as the “hottest” applications for wide-format print in the past 12 months? And for 2012? Palacios: Our research shows that P-O-S and P-O-P continue to be very popular for print service providers. We’re also seeing an increased demand for vehicle wraps and soft signage. Boer: The “hottest” substrate application is probably soft signage – printing on textiles. It’s a way to add value to large-format signage. In 2012, I think we’ll see more offerings to allow the printing of social-media images, such as your Facebook friends or Linkedin colleagues on a wide-format print. Greene: Vehicle graphics and wraps were the hottest application over the last 12 months along with soft signage and interior décor, according to our research data. I expect these to be pretty much the same in 2012, enabled by some of the technological advances in the hardware, ink, and print media.


THE BIG PICTURE october 2011





14% Extremely effective 42% Very effective 13% Somewhat effective 31% Effective

More than 40 percent of print buyers report that wide-format printing is “very effective” when it comes to accomplishing their goals, says InfoTrends. An additional 14 percent indicate that wide format is “extremely effective.”

Mayhew: Textiles and fabric printing are hot right now. As for 2012, we’re keeping an eye on 3D imaging. Marx: I continue to follow developments in applied or installed graphics and fabrics. These are both areas where innovation is still happening and creative designers and print producers are doing some jaw-dropping projects.


And what about profit centers beyond pure print work? Electronic digital displays? Fulfillment? Design? Other? Greene: How about “all of the above”? Even if the market for 2011 and 2012 is stable – meaning there are no major disruptions from a demand standpoint – printers need to continue to find ways to drive new revenue streams and grow their top and bottom lines. We all love some of the high-value

“project” jobs that printers can really make some money on, so how do you get customers to buy this kind of work? Outward marketing should focus on these solutions that printers can offer, whether it’s alternatives to digital graphics (like electronic digital displays) that augment the services you provide, or other services such as adding QR codes and interactive elements to signs and graphics, design consulting, installation and management services, etc. Palacios: We are seeing a big push for digital signage out in the market. Manufacturers are busy laying the groundwork and setting up the infrastructure for ways in which they can deliver this service to a wider market. We expect to see an increased demand and wider market applications. Marx: Profit centers beyond pure print work have become a critical opportunity area where print companies can differentiate themselves in our increasingly competitive marketplace by offering the customer a broader range of choices and an easier path from project initiation to final delivery or installation. Print quality, on-time delivery and good customer services are expected by all clients. They want to know what you can offer them beyond those expected basics. Boer: As far as electronic displays go, the infrastructure investment required to put them in place is likely beyond the scope of most print shops and even wide-format printer manufacturers. In China, where electronic displays are quite common in major transportation hubs, they still send around a worker on a bicycle with a USB stick to upload content changes. The cost (wireless networks, electrical infrastructure, etc.) and regulatory hurdles (are you broadcasting, what FCC licenses and laws do you need to adhere to) are going to remain major hurdles for the wide-format-graphics industry to switch from print to electronic >62

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OUTDOOR Showcasing eight successful out-of-home applications.

By Michael Antoniak, Jake Widman, and Britney Grimmelsman



Since the beginning of time, we have been endlessly fascinated with the idea of displaying our messages outdoors for all the world to see. And year after year, we have continued to outdo ourselves in how we do so: from the Paleolithic use of mineral pigments on cave walls, to handpainted billboards and barnscapes spilled from paint cans, to digitally printed wallscapes and building wraps to oversized electronic digitally generated messages that sometimes outshine the sun. Outdoor messaging – aka “out-of-home” advertising – is a never-waning part of human culture. But with this increasing advance of technologies and resultant bombardment of outdoor messaging has come a challenge: How do you get one message (yours, preferably) to stand out from the rest? What does the savvy marketer – as well as the marketer’s print provider – need to do in order to garner even a second look from the distracted and, some would say, jaundiced public eye? And with non-print technologies continuing to make serious inroads when it comes to outdoor advertising, how does printed output remain relevant and, well, visually raucous? We believe the answer is in the creative use of print work and the message itself. The eight projects that follow showcase print providers who have partnered with marketing teams and creatives to pull out all the stops when it comes to executing an effective outdoor campaign. Enjoy!

Bringing music to the forefront The Hollywood Walk of Fame immortalizes achievement in the entertainment industry. And with more than 10 million visitors annually, this high-traffic site can also serve as a prime location to promote a client’s artistic wares. Wanting to bring music back to the forefront of the entertainment scene, Eruption Music Group (EMG), an entertainment branding company, staked its own plot on the Walk of Fame with a dramatic wallscape at the intersection of Selma and Vine streets to market recording artist Marco Bosco’s latest iTunes record. Owner of the 80-foot Sunset Strip wall space, Van Wagner Outdoor referred EMG to MetroMedia Technologies (MMT, for the print work. And MMT, no stranger to producing colossal billboards, accepted the challenge without hesitation. Bosco – who is not only a recording artist but also a writer, producer, EMG’s CEO, and, for this project, art director – teamed with graphic designer/illustrator Eric “9” Lopez for the creative. They shot the original image in front of the Capitol Records building, then enhanced the design using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to add damage to the Capitol Building and to “make the road and sky appear more dramatic.” “In designing this billboard, I had in my mind statues like the Perseo (Perseus) in Florence and the Botticelli paintings at the Uffizi,” says Bosco, who was born in Italy. “Billboards can be used amazingly if you have the mind and sense of perspective to do something more than just advertising.” With the design complete, MMT’s prepress department prepared the images and used a proprietary RIP. MMT has achieved G7 master-printer certification, a standard of best practices for achieving visual similarity across all print processes, but even with such credentials the proofing phase presented some problems and required several rounds of proofs. “Marco is very picky about color tone, and sometimes in sending the files back and forth during proofing, the colors can seem slightly off. And on art like this, one wrong tone can screw up the whole board. But, MMT definitely nailed this wallscape,” says EMG’s Aaron Braunstein. To output the 21 x 81-foot graphic, MMT utilized its proprietary printer – a drum technology that uses acrylicbased paint. Lightweight, 8-ounce vinyl was chosen per Van Wagner Outdoor for outdoor durability. Then, with the help of a Viking crane, Van Wagner successfully installed the wallscape. To support the billboard campaign’s branding initiative, EMG collaborated with Delta Airlines to create an EMG music channel featuring Bosco singles on all flights worldwide. The channel features an unreleased Bosco track that can only be heard in-flight. His single “I Wonder” will also be played on Delta’s boarding-music program. A total of four billboards were produced and displayed around Los Angeles and New York.

A Brief History of Outdoor 1835

T  he large American outdoor poster (more than 50 square feet) originates in Jared Bell’s New York office, where he prints posters for the circus.


Exterior advertising first used on street railways.


Earliest recorded leasing of boards.


N  early 300 small sign-painting and bill-posting companies now in existence.


M  ichigan forms first state bill posters association.


International Bill Posters’ Association of North America formed in St. Louis.


A  ssociated Bill Posters’ Association of the US and Canada formed in Chicago (name later changed to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, OAAA).


S  tandardized billboard structure created in America, ushers in boom of national billboard campaigns.


O  AAA encourages industry to donate public-service outdoor advertising via “open boards” (practice continues in modern times).


O  utdoor Advertising Inc. (OAI) is formed to sell the concept of outdoor advertising.


T  raffic Audit Bureau (TAB) is established, designed to provide advertisers with data to determine outdoor audience size.


U  S Congress passes first federal legislation to voluntarily control billboards along interstate highways: called “the Bonus Act” because states were given bonus incentives to control signs.


F  rench outdoor company JC Decaux invents the busstop shelter; built at no cost to municipalities, they rely on ad revenue for their upkeep.


P  resident Lyndon Johnson signs the Highway Beautification Act into law; it controls billboards on the interstates and federally aided primary highways by limiting billboards to commercial and industrial areas; it also requires states to set size, lighting, and spacing standards.

1972  T  obacco advertising banned on broadcast media, leaving print and outdoor as its most popular venues. 1975

A group of billboard companies commissions studies at MIT in the painting of billboards by computer; this ultimately leads to computer painting on vinyl, advanced by Metromedia Technologies and Computer Image Systems.


Tobacco advertising no longer allowed on outdoor.


First digital networks installed.

Source: The Outdoor Advertising Association of America (


out-of-home The ice man cometh Tony Jacobson founded Minnesota-based marketing firm All Over Media ( in 2002, producing gas-pump toppers (advertisements that sit atop gas pumps) as the core of the business. As a result of its pump-topper focus, the firm established relationships with thousands of gas stations and convenience stores across the country. In 2007, one of All Over’s customers wanted to promote a new TV show with “something new and different,” recalls Jacobson. So the shop came up with the idea of “frozen billboards” – providing graphic wraps on the exterior units that hold ice for sale. “It was something we’d never done before, but we had relationships with all these convenience stores,” Jacobson says. “We launched that program, and it turned out to be a catalyst for a brand-new product that is now our fastest-growing medium. There are roughly six main sizes of ice boxes, but three or four are the most often used. Our clients send us the creative, and we manipulate it to fit each of the ice-box sizes.” The wraps are printed on adhesive-backed vinyl. “We use several different kinds, depending on the ice box, including 3M Scotchcal IJ35, Mactac DigiTrans, and Fellers.


THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

We use accredited vinyl wrappers to install them.” In 2010, All Over Media partnered with Chevrolet on a promotion for its Silverado pickup truck. “We had worked with Chevy and GM on pump-topper campaigns,” recalls Jacobson. “When we introduced this product to them, they liked it. They were looking at doing a campaign for the Silverado during the hunting season, and they did a program with us on 300 or so ice boxes in 48 states.” That campaign ran for a couple of months; this year, Chevrolet decided to run the program again, this time for seven months on more than 700 ice boxes, with different images for fishing and hunting. “Hunters and fishermen spend millions of dollars a year on ice,” says Jacobson. “By putting these wraps near marinas or designated hunting areas, we’re targeting outdoorsmen, who are also heavy truck owners. For Chevy, that’s the Silverado customer.” The ice-box wraps are effective, in Jacobson’s opinion, because they’re like large 3D billboards that are at eye level. Not only that, but they’re functional: Customers walk right up to them. “People are used to not noticing ice boxes,” he says, “but these pop right out at them.”


Launching an Aarrow The concept behind Aarrow Advertising ( was born in 1999, when founder Max Durovic had a summer job as a sign holder. Bored with just standing there, he began spinning and tossing his signs. In 2001, Max turned his pastime into a guerrilla-advertising company that provides “sign spinners” with arrow-shaped, digitally printed signs for promoting events for a variety of clients, including Taco Bell, Vitamin Water, Verizon, Staples, Subway, Jenny Craig, Harris Teeter, Dunkin’ Donuts, the McDonnell for Governor (Virginia) campaign, and others. “The great thing about an arrow,” says Joe Ambert, Aarrow vice president of business operations and director of marketing, “is that it’s a universal symbol – it means the same in every culture. ‘Go there, do this.’ It’s the perfect shape for what we’re trying to do” Over the past few years, Aarrow has been working with the Fresh & Easy chain of supermarkets in California, Nevada, and Arizona. “They’ve been opening a couple of stores a month for the last three years or so,” recounts Ambert, “and they hire one of our Aarrow sign spinners to promote every grand opening. They’ll have the spinner out there for the entire week. We’ve probably done about a hundred store openings in those three states. And we’re getting ready to help them launch fresh bakeries in all their existing stores.”

The Aarrow signs themselves are printed on 10mm Coroplast. “Some of our franchisees are existing printing businesses that have their own digital printers,” says Ambert. “Others outsource their printing.” The print provider for the region that includes Southern California and parts of Nevada and Arizona uses an HP Designjet Z5200 44inch printer. After printing, the signs are laminated and wrapped with a padded border. “The border is a cut vinyl strip – sometimes it’s printed, sometimes plain,” says Ambert. “We apply a special padding to the edges, and the vinyl strip holds the padding in place.” The vinyl border also acts as a frame for the message itself. “When you’re out there on a street corner, we’ve found that having a border around the sign helps visually. The guys are doing tricks, and then they ‘freeze’ the sign. You want to make sure that at that point the message is very clear, and the border really helps frame the message after it’s been moving.” “The beauty of this type of advertising is that it’s very customizable, and every campaign is different,” explains Ambert. “Sometimes we have just one sign spinner at an event, and sometimes it’s 10 sign spinners out in the middle of Manhattan.”



Avenger assembled! As part of the rollout of this summer’s Captain America blockbuster – or, in this case, the rollout of the toy tie-ins – Toys R Us wanted to cover its Times Square store’s windows in Manhattan with a giant graphic advertising the movie. For the job, the toy retailer turned to out-of-home marketing expert Clear Channel Spectacolor, which, in turn, engaged Big Mountain Imaging ( to do the print work. “We have a strong partnership with Clear Channel Spectacolor in their New York offices,” says Big Mountain president Jason Cardonick. “We produce the majority of their work that is installed in Times Square.” The physical description of the Captain America job only hints at its complexity. The final graphic comprised 35 panels, each of which measured 35 feet long, across 150 feet of window space, for a total of 5250 square feet of printed area. The panels were printed with Big Mountain’s EFI Vutek 5330 printer onto Cooley’s PVC-coated polyester Coolmesh fabric, finished with pole pockets, and reinforced with seam tape. Just producing the panels took 22 hours of print time and 14 hours of fi nishing time. But in addition, Big Mountain spent six hours making sure the panels lined up and color was consistent across the entire image expanse. “When you do a billboard, for the most part you can run that on one printer on one roll of material,” explains Cardonick. “But on a job of this size, you’re going to run multiple rolls of material – we used three rolls all told. With that many rolls, you sometimes get variations from batch to batch. “When you’re talking about this many panels being this close together – and they’re a lot closer to the ground than a regular billboard, only 10 or 15 feet up – it’s very important that each panel be laid out on the shop floor to check alignment and color consistency throughout. We did produce a few bad panels that we caught in our QC process that we were able to reprint to make sure the colors matched.” In spite of, or because of, the challenges, Cardonick takes pride in the job: “It’s extremely flattering to be able to work on such a high-visibility location,” he says. 34


Garage graphics When your business is selling cars, it makes sense to “talk” directly to people when they are in and around their vehicles. So last year, Boardwalk Auto Group – specialist in luxury and sports car sales with several locations in the Dallas area – purchased exclusive sponsorship rights for a highly visible, five-story parking garage overlooking the Dallas North Tollway in Frisco, Texas. For the visual impact that could sow the seed of awareness for future purchases of its exclusive car lineup, Boardwalk turned to Inkjet International (, Dallasbased specialists in all types of digital output. “Boardwalk wanted to capture brand interest with unique placement marketing,” says Alok Sarna, Inkjet’s vice president of sales and marketing, “The creative execution as well as the location of print media needed to make a memorable impact.” Initially, the discussion focused on largeformat prints to be installed only on the outside of the 285-foot-wide facility. These oversized graphics would depict car logos of Boardwalk’s six featured brands: Audi, Ferrari,


Maserati, Porsche, and Volkswagen. While working on that phase of the project, however, Sarna and his team also suggested ways to transform the interior of the garage into an effective promotional vehicle with a wider range of graphics. Inkjet was awarded the contract for that, as well. “The project has been very involving and fun,” says Sarna. “We feel it showcases how brand experiences can transform an environment and create positive perceptions of the associated projects.” The final interior plans, then, called for consistent reminders of the Boardwalk brand in general, with special focus on each of three floors for the Porsche, Volkswagen, and Audi lines. Working with art provided by Boardwalk’s agency, Inkjet produced a diverse selection of large-format graphics that were installed on stairs, pillars, ledges, walls, and the floor of each level. Print sizes ranged from five square feet to 200 square feet. As a result, wherever visitors to the garage might look, there’s now some visual reminder of Boardwalk and its business. “All six brands are evident on the Boardwalk corporate signage in and around the garage,” points out Sarna. Large

wall banners, stair graphics, and overhead ads highlight these, while pillar wraps announce the particular brand featured on that floor. In addition, mini-murals highlighting these car makers were also created for the elevators servicing each floor. The majority of the graphics were produced with Inkjet International’s HP Designjet L65500 with latex inks and printed onto Avery MPI 1005 Supercast vinyl. For some aspects of the project, such as contoured cutouts of cars installed on the elevators, the company turned to its HP Scitex FB6100 flatbed in conjunction with a Zund cutter. Sarna says current plans call for most of the Boardwalk graphics to remain in place for several years, with additional elements to be added. It could be the first of several installations. “Boardwalk has been very diligent in their approach to this project and the investment they have made aims to return over time,” he says. “The impact has been heard and felt, given the interest already being shown by some of our other clients in doing similar work in other environments in the future,” he continues.



Sky viral “With a growing emphasis of marketing and promotion going to social media, it’s even more important than ever to have a product or message stand out through ‘direct experience marketing,’” says Tim Courson. As principal in T.H.C. Associates (, Courson specializes in delivering that experience to advertisers with a medium that’s hard to miss or resist: hot-air balloons emblazoned with a company or product name logo or advertising message. To get these airy advertising campaigns off the ground, he partners with Andy Baird of Cameron Balloon (, which manufactures the balloons themselves and executes the print work, and Marcia Treacy of Aerosports, Inc.(aerosportballoons. com), which provides the team that actually takes these messages to the sky. Floating there, several hundred feet up, typically measuring 75 feet tall x 50 feet around, these balloon billboards can literally be seen for miles around. And while advertising in the clouds may not be entirely new, digital print technology has lifted its potential to new heights, allowing direct printing of high-resolution graphics on balloon fabric. “Historically, graphics on balloons were limited to logos and corporate names that could be created using some combination of fabrics,” notes Baird. “Digital printing, however, has opened things up in a billion directions, allowing us to incorporate photos and graphics into a balloon with the quality we just couldn’t achieve with fabric alone.” He produces that work by printing directly to FAA flight-approved fabric using a Mimaki JV3 160-SP printer using OEM inks. “We have found a way to tease out the performance we need from the printer to work with fabrics that were designed for flying, not printing,” says Baird. “We’ve gotten to the point where we can achieve the colors and vibrancy advertisers want.” 36

THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

The results were evident to proud supporters of this year’s Super Bowl contenders. As part of the promotional hoopla surrounding 2011’s big game, the NFL commissioned a pair of balloons in a replay of a balloon advertising campaign that had been coordinated through T.H.C. for Super Bowl XLII in 2008. For Super Bowl XLV, the Super Bowl game logo was printed directly to the fabric on a red and white balloon for the AFC and blue and white balloon for the rival NFC. The other side would highlight respective conference champs. “The problem was,” notes Baird, “we wouldn’t know until the last minute which teams those were.” That, however, was easily remedied: by sewing Velcro into the balloon fabric on the side opposite the big game logo. Then, when the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers won their respective championships, the printed 30 x 30-foot banners highlighting their achievements were attached, and the 50 x 75-foot balloons were sent airborne to promote the upcoming game. Treacy, who coordinates and manages the flights of these campaigns, notes that such graphics are typically difficult to miss. “With an ad or logo seen on a balloon, we’re able to provide an opportunity for the kind of advertising many companies may not have experienced before,” she says. “In Dallas, the sight of the balloons really added to the whole spectacle surrounding the game.” That’s where the social-media impact of these floating billboards comes into play, says Courson: “The Super Bowl balloons were tethered near Cowboys Stadium, where thousand of fans stopped to take photos of themselves with the balloons. Then they posted them on Facebook and Twitter to family and friends as they were walking into the stadium,” he explains. “The balloons themselves went viral.”


Tailgating’s cautionary tale Outdoor Ad Expenditures By Industry Category Misc Services and Amusements


Media and Advertising




Public Transportation, Hotels, Resorts








Insurance and Real Estate


Government, Politics, Orgs


Schools, Camps, Seminars


Figures are for Q2 2011, as reported by OAAA. Total outdoor revenue in Q1 2011 was $1.37 billion, up 4.2% vs Q1 2010. In Q2, out-of-home expenditures rose 4.5% compared to Q2 2010.


THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

Since the spring of 2010, advertising and PR firm Amélie Company has been working with the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) to get Colorado residents to drive more safely around big trucks. That year, “We did billboards, radio ads, magnets, and more, urging motorists to give trucks more room,” recalls account executive Lexie Alcon. For this year, the ad firm had an idea for an even more dramatic approach. Amélie ( presented the CSP with an idea for a three-dimensional billboard that would show, in graphic fashion, what happens to a tailgating car that runs into the back of a truck. “We really wanted to show this in a way that would make people notice,” says Alcon. “Our goal was to make it look like two billboards had actually crashed together.” The CSP approved the idea; the next step was to line up the people who could make it work. Amélie turned to local photo retoucher Armando Martinez to put together the image of the crash, Bill Kinsey of Eye Candy Props to construct the 3D elements, and print provider greatBigColor (greatbigcolor. com) to supply the print work. “We asked Bill to tell us how far things could protrude from a billboard, how far they could extend above and below, and how much they could weigh. The billboard had to stay up for two months,” says Alcon. To create the 3D image, Amélie produced two separate pieces of art: one showing the left and right sides of the final image (the back of the car and the front of the truck), with a section in the middle depicting the actual structure of the billboard; and a second with cut lines where Kinsey would slice the vinyl and apply it to a plywood framework to create the 3D crumpled effect. “We printed the main piece of art as one full 14 x 48-foot piece, with a four-inch bleed and four-inch pockets for installation,” recalls greatBigColor account executive Kristin Battenfield. “We printed it on our EFI Vutek GS5000r, onto 10-ounce Soyang vinyl. “We printed the middle piece on the same material,” she says. “Bill hand-cut each piece of art with a razor blade and then glued the vinyl directly to the plywood structure to achieve the accordion 3D effect.” The final striking display spent two months installed, cautioning drivers on Interstate 70, the main east-west route across the state of Colorado.


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out-of-home Taking it to the beach Beach-goers would seem a captive audience for an advertising pitch, languishing in the sun and surf for hours at a stretch. The trouble for marketers, though, is that few seaside resorts allow billboards, or any form of advertising, past the boardwalk. Enter Photo Sails (, and the vision of Aaron Kiss. For more than a decade, he’s been a pioneering advocate for transforming ships into floating billboards, cruising the coasts, their sails emblazoned with a sponsor’s message. “Owning the only advertising on the visible horizon at any beach on a popular shoreline is the ultimate goal of many Fortune 500 companies,” he says. And, he has the clients to prove it: Coca Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Crocs, even the 2008 election campaign for President Obama, to name just a few, have all used Photo Sails to reach shore lovers where other media fail. One of the latest customers to get the Photo Sails treatment: Malibu Rum, a brand of Pernod Ricard. This summer, a three-month campaign couldn’t be missed along the New Jersey Shore, New York’s Long Island, and beaches in the greater Los Angeles area. At each, a Hunters Yacht outfitted with 1000 square feet of sails sporting the Malibu Rum logo and giant bottle, was the only ad in view as those on shore looked seaward. Such ads have occasionally been seen in decades past, but options were limited. As Kiss explains, in the old days, “graphics on sailboat sails were limited to hand-applied dyes, which limited or denied photorealistic representations of products and corporate logos.” Affixing ads as stickers to sails were tried as well, but these ultimately failed under the wind, wet, and weather, says Kiss. His work with a confidential printer partner involves proprietary processes utilizing grand-format digital printers in conjunction with special ink formulations to print 40

THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

double-sided images on a range of sailcloth. Depending on the sailcloth material, the process may involve various inkjet technologies, including dye sublimation and UV printing. “Creating double-sided Photo Sails larger than the limits of five-meter printers, while aligning reinforcement fibers in load-path orientation, has been a decade-long learning curve we’ve mastered,” Kiss says. And output on fabric is only one step in a multi-phase process. Once the message is matched to the sails, Kiss must address design considerations required for sailing: the load that the sail will experience, where to seam and reinforce the fabric, and placement of all grommets, batten receptacles, and adjustment mechanisms, etc.

For the Malibu Rum campaign, which ran June through August, one set of sails was created, then shipped from port to port in successive phases of the summer campaign. Through a special arrangement with Hunter Yachts, that same set was installed on an identical yacht for cruising the coast in each market area. And as a side benefit for clients: For the duration of these campaigns, Photo Sails customers also have the option of using the ship for hosted promotional cruises for their own clients or consumers. Having a “promotional vehicle that supports public-relations programs such as VIP entertainment, employeerewards programs, even publics sweepstakes programs is a nice perk, too,” Kiss adds.

An ATM island of advertising With a name like Ads On Wheels, Inc. (, you’d think a company might be pigeon-holed. But as so many specialists in large-format graphics have discovered, proven expertise in one service can open the door to many more applications for the design, production, and installation of digital prints. “Ads On Wheels has generally been known as a vehicle-wraps company,” admits Christopher Dyson, chief operating officer of the Merrimack, New Hampshire-based company. “But we have expanded our products to include all other forms of large-format printing, well outside our core products and services.” Regional and national clients now turn to Ads On Wheels for a full menu of large-format digital print work. In addition to its core business in fleet and vehicle graphics, the growing company now produces floor, wall, and window graphics of every size and description; mobile billboards; and wraps for everything from boats to buildings. It’s a full-service supplier, with a staff skilled in all aspects of a project, from design through installation of its oversized prints. In fact, the company’s capabilities, combined with the durability of today’s digital print media, continue to demonstrate how large-format graphics can be used to transform any environment. On one recent project, for example, the challenge for Dyson and crew was to transform a drive-through ATM into a free-standing advertisement for a bank and its new look. The referral came from an ad agency that Dyson’s company regularly collaborates with on a range of largeformat projects. As he explains, the client – Progressive Bank, based in Monroe, Louisiana – embarked on a rebranding campaign earlier this year, which included a refresh of its corporate colors and logo. As part of this multi-faceted marketing

program, the regional bank wanted to wrap its drivethrough ATMs throughout its market area with graphics. “The job required removal of existing graphics and a new design to be applied to an aluminum surface,” says Dyson of the test installation. “The customer presented a design; however, when our design team offered alternate designs, they selected our proposal for the new look.” The new graphics and overhead signage will quickly identify the location of the ATM to those cruising the area, and greet drivers with the company name and logo from all four sides, as they approach to make a withdrawal. For the first in the series of ATMs, all graphics were produced on Ads On Wheels’ Mimaki JV33-260 printer with OEM inks. The wrap itself was printed as continuous strips on 3M Controltac IJ 180Cv3 adhesive-backed vinyl, then protected with 3M’s companion 8518 Controltac high-gloss laminate film. The only real challenge, if it can be considered one, was cutting that window for the ATM. Ads On Wheel staffers completed the installation to the apparent satisfaction of the client, and more wraps are on order. “The wrap will be in place throughout the new branding initiative, and eventually encompass 28 ATM units,” reports Dyson.


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Getting Creative With Specialty Media Fabric, fine-art, dye-sub transfer papers, magnetic, wall coverings, and more.

For print providers, it’s essential to get creative when trying to impress your clients and land the job. Coming up with a novel concept for installing the graphics, adding an interesting use of lighting, providing depth with threedimensional elements – these are all ways to help deliver the “wow” factor your clients strive for. But you can also get creative up front in the decisionmaking process, by steering your client toward a different or unconventional media as you begin mapping out the project. Which is where specialty media can come into play: For instance, instead of specifying a standard vinyl for a tradeshow booth graphic, why not a fabric to lend a softer feel to the display? For the client’s showroom, where the offerings typically change frequently, maybe magnetic media or a magnetic system is the answer? And for that job for the company president’s office – perhaps she would appreciate not just framed graphics, but wall coverings to completely envelope her business environment in visuals? On the pages that follow, you’ll find a list of companies that offer printable fabrics, fine-art canvas and media, direct-print magnetic media, dye-sub transfer papers, wall coverings, and other specialty media all designed for output on a wide-format printer. Companies are listed al44


phabetically, and we’ve provided an overview of samplings from each company (for a complete product roster visit the company website). For quick reference, we’ve added the following graphic icons adjacent to each company name to indicate the type of specialty media it supplies: Dye-sub transfer papers Fabrics Fine-art media (includes photo papers and canvas) Magnetic media Wall coverings Other specialty media

■ ● ◆ ✖ ✚ ▲

For purposes of this sourcelist, we’ve only listed primary producers, manufacturers, and converters of specialty media for wide-format graphics, as well as companies that have their own branded media. We have not listed distributors/dealers who are selling other companies’ media. Nor have we included more traditional media (see our September issue on rollfed vinyls, fi lms, and self-adhesives) or rigid media (see August).

A.Berger Textilwarenfabrik lu German-based company provides an array of dye-sub and direct-print fabrics (including Lighttex, Architex, Airtricot, Creasefree, ecoDisplay, and more) plus art canvas.

Arlon DPF Mesh banner.

Adams Magnetic 6 PrintMag inkjet-receptive magnetic media, plus MagSteel magneticreceptive paper and MagBond rubberbased ferrous sheet.

Aurora Specialty Textiles lu Northern Lights printable textiles; VC and AC canvas and direct-print fabrics; also dye-sublimation fabrics, DecoPrint fabrics, and Weaves of Green eco-friendly printable textiles.

Adorama ProJet Elite and Media Street Royal fine-art media.


Advantage Sign Supply u Optima Opti-Jet photo papers, Optima Opti-Solve fine-art canvas. Aeromatrix Orasign fabric.


Agfa Essence printable foil; Synaps synthetic media.


Air Waves Inc. Transfer papers.


Alizarin Digital Imaging un Alizarin photo papers and transfer paper. American Permalight s PermaLight Photoluminescent media. Arkwright usn Arkwright offers large-format photo papers, transfer paper, and proofing media.


Aslan Schwarz s Metallic-effect film, lampshade film.

AW Specialty Papers AW Subli-Trans dye-sub transfer papers.


Bainbridge International l Fabrics including sailcloth, mesh, and inflatable for UV-curable and solvent printing; also PFP sublimation print fabrics. BF Inkjet Media u TruPalette, TruPalette Grande, TruPalette Legacy, CapStone, and MuralMaster photo and fine-art papers. Big Systems lu WetJet and BigSol photo papers, fabric, canvas, and fine-art media. Bob Mats Printable carpets, mats, and more; based in The Netherlands.


BookSmart Studio Fine-art metals.


Breathing Color u Fine-art paper and canvas lines include Lyve, Chromata, Crystalline, Optica One, Elegance Velvet, Vibrance and Allure, more.

Brilliant Paper u Brilliant Supreme and Museum Inkjet photo papers. CalComp Graphic Solutions lu Artisan photo papers, canvas, and textiles. Canon USA us Canon fine-art and photo papers, and proofing papers. Canson u Canson Infinity digital fine-art and photo papers, BFK Rives and Arches printmaking papers. Catalina Graphic Films Mojave magnetic media.


Cham Paper Group nu Photo Satin and Photo Gloss Solvent photo papers; Transjet dye-sub papers. Coldenhove Papier Jetcol HTR, HS, TA, DHS, and OS dye-sub transfer paper.


CondĂŠ Systems nl Neenah Jet-Pro SofStretch, Elasti-Jet, and JetMPrints transfer papers and fabrics. Converd : Enviroscape Mural Plus FSC-certified wallscaping material; incorporates 10% post-consumer waste. Cooley Group l: CoolFlex and CoolMesh inkjet fabrics. DreamScape wall coverings.


specialty media Covin Sales l Banner PVC Mesh for digital printing. DataPlot lu: Emblem solvent wall décor, canvas, and textiles. DaVinci Technologies lu DaVinci photo papers, fabric, and canvas; PhotoFab fabric. Dazian Fabrics l Fabrics for dye-sub and direct printing include Eco Grid Mesh (from recycled poly), Eco Janus (from 65% recycled poly), Brilliance Plus, Metal Sheen, Mirror Organdy Plus, Brite Screen, Celtic Cloth, Flagcloth, Lakota, Deauville mesh, and many others. Dickson Coatings USA l Offers a variety of fabrics, including PVC and EverGreen fabrics; its environmentally friendly Evergreen line includes Jet 210, Jet Tex, and Jet 220. Dietzgen lu Magellan photo and fine-art papers, as well as canvases and cloths.


DigiFab Systems l Pretreated fabrics for inkjet include sheeting, twill, rayon, canvas, linen, jersey, silk, and polyester crepe.


THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

Dotworks us Dotworks photo papers, Stratus proofing media. Drytac 6l Ferrojet printable magnetic media, PhotoFab fabrics, PandaPrint bamboo fabric, Ferro metal paper, and more. Eastech Thai lu Eastech photo papers, textiles, and canvas. Eastsign International u DingVinyl eco-solvent photo papers. Epson us Various photographic and fine-art papers (variety of surface finishes) as well as canvas and proofing media. Fellers lu6 Photobase paper and mesh fabric; also printable magnets. Ferrania Technologies OptiJet photo and fine-art papers.


Ferrari Sign Textiles include Decolit, Expolit, DecoMesh, and Sign it.


FineLine Papers u FibrePhoto, Décor, papers, photo, and fine-art/gicleé papers. Fisher Textiles lu Inkjet-compatible fabric lines for direct and sublimation printing include: Enviro-Tex and PixelPerfect fabrics and canvas for water-based inks; GF, SI, and ES textiles for solvent and mild-solvent printers; Crazy 8

Billboard Cloth; Direct Disperse fabrics for direct dye-sub printing, and a range of sublimation fabrics. FlexMag Industries 6 UltraMag Digital magnetic media for wide- and narrow-format. Folex Imaging nu FolaJet photo and fine-art papers, artist canvas, and FolaJet heat-transfer paper; based in Switzerland. Forever Digital Transfer n Forever transfer papers, Canvas Metallic for direct print (canvas with a metallic topcoat). Fortuna Digital Graphics lus Imacolor photo papers, fabric, canvas, and metallic films. Fredrix Print Canvas lun Fredrix line of cotton and polyflax canvas media for aqueous, solvent, eco-solvent, and UV-curable inks; plus transfer canvas. Freudenberg Evolon l Evolon anti-mite fabric is PVC-free and is available with or without flameretardant treatment. Gavrieli Plastics u6 Gavrieli-Jet inkjet photo and transfer paper, magnetic paper. GBC SurePrint photobase media.


General Formulations :u WallMark wall covering and Graphitex fabric.

Georg+Otto Friedrich l Textiles for inkjet direct and digital transfer printing. German-based; US distributor is Pacific Coast fabrics. Glaser Mills l Digital fabrics include direct-print, dye-sub, and solvent-printable textiles. Glen Raven l Various inkjet-compatible fabrics, including Vivitex Sunbrella Inkjet and Poly Oxford Light. Grafityp GrafiPrint photo papers, banner mesh, textiles, and canvas.


Graphic Materials Int’l u6 Mojave photo papers and magnetic media. Graphics One nlus GO transfer paper and photo papers, FabriColor coated fabrics, more. Grimco BriteLine Duration specialty films.


Hahnemühle FineArt u Digital FineArt (Matte, Glossy, and Canvas) and Lumijet lines of fine-art, photo, and canvas media; Leonardo Canvas; more. Hawk Mountain Papers u Fine-art and photo papers, including Talon, Merlin, Sparrowhawk, Condor, Kestrel, Sharpwing, and Nighthawk. Fabrics include St. Ives, Newlyn, Tresco, Tintagel, and Marazion. Herculite Bantex Banner fabric, as well as


and fine-art media. Master distributor for Lyson photo products in NA. InkJet Art Solutions u InkjetArt MicroCeramic, Watercolor, Illuminata, and Museum photo and fine-art papers and canvas.

PandaPrint DRYTAC Bantex Wallcover; custom-engineered fabrics also available. Hewlett-Packard lu: HP printable fabrics, wall paper, banner, photo papers, fine-art papers, and canvas.

Inkjet Mall u JonCone Studio archival inkjet papers and fine-art media. Inkpress Paper u InkPress and InkPress Pro photo and fine-art media.


Ink Tech USA n Ink Tech and True Pix transfer, dyesub papers.

Heytex Heytex mesh fabrics, and more.


Highland Industries Infinity fabrics.


Innova Art u FibaPrint and Photo Art photo papers; Fine Art papers; canvas; Décor Art ES for solvent printing.

Hexis Group Hexis inkjet textiles, canvas, and photo papers.

Ibena nl DPI-Tex fabrics for direct printing or sublimation, including polyester, canvas, muslin, and cotton. IJ Technologies lu: Imago, Black Diamond, and QuickJet fine-art media and canvas; DuraGraphix wallpaper.

InteliCoat Technologies nlu: Jet Set fine-art and photo papers, Magic and Magiclée canvas, dye-sub papers, wallcoverings, more. See also: Museo. iVivid u IVivid inkjet photo papers for solvent and aqueous.

Ilford USA u Ilford Professional Galerie photo papers and canvas. Also Omnijet glass and matte photo papers.

Jacquard Inkjet Fabric Systems l ProCoat and FabriSign fabric lines (bamboos, cottons, linens, nylons, polyesters, and silks) for direct-printing with water-based inks; polyester for solvent printing.

Ink2Image u i2i archival fine-art and photo papers, and canvas. MediaStreet photo papers

Japan Pulp and Paper USA us Fine-art and photo papers, proofing papers, more.


specialty media Jasdi Magnet u Magnetic sheeting for solvent printers. US distributor: JLP Company, Inc. ( Joto n Transfer paper and transfer vinyl for inkjet and TexPrint XP paper for sublimation printers.

Korographics : Printable digital wallcovering media.

DigiMag Plus flexible magnetic sheeting, plus NatureMag (recycled), and ProMag.

Laser Reproductions n EZ-Trans and i-Trans dye-sub transfer paper.

MagX America 6 SolvMag, Inkjet PaperMag, Pitaemon, and XtruMag products.

LexJet lus LexJet photo papers, canvas, Poly Select and Water-Resistant Satin Cloth fabric, WallPro wallcovering, and its Sunset line of fiber-based paper.

Master Magnetics 6 PrintMagnet and PrintMagnet Vinyl in sheets for flatbed printer and available for rollfed inkjet digital printers.

LG Hausys ls LG Hausys Banner series, plus Xign, a curling-resistant banner incorporating PET. Also specialty films including One Way Vision, Bio PSA, Ultra Tack, and more. Velvet Fine Art Paper EPSON

Junkers & Müllers l The company’s Mediatex line of PVC-free fabrics for aqueous, solvent, eco-solvent, UV, sublimation, and latex inks. Jutu Technologies lus Digital Printing canvas, mesh, and coated fabrics. Kapco Graphics Products lus Kapjet canvas, fabric media, photo papers, and water-resistant Tyvek banner, mesh banner, PVC wallcovering, satin cloth, and backlit film. Kodak lus Kodak photo papers, Artists’ canvas media, and Water-Resistant Scrim Banner poly fabric; MatchPrint proofing media, and coated papers.


THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

Liberty Synergistics Liberty canvas, photo, and fine-art papers.


Lintec of America : s Printerior wallcoverings are inkjetprintable, fireproof, textured (stucco, linen, flat), and completely recyclable, the company reports; recommended for water-based pigment inks. Also available: Wincos UV/SSU for decorative-glass apps. Mactac : Imagin wallNoodle wall graphics media for eco-solvent, solvent, latex, UV-cured inkjet, and offset printing. Magnet Sales & Mfg mFlex magnetic sheeting.


Magnum Magnetics 6 DigiMag Paper, DigiMag Vinyl, MessageMag sheeting, MuscleMag high-energy magnetic sheeting, and

MediaStreet u Generations fine-art and photo media, and i2i Ultra Matte canvas. Mehler Texnologies Airtex and Valmex Mesh textiles.


Milano Digital lu: Milano Inkjet fabrics include linen, cotton, polyester, satin, broadcloth, mesh, and silk; also canvas, photo papers and Wallscape printable wall coverings. Mitsubishi Imaging us Diamond Jet fine-art and photo and proofing papers as well as canvas; also, Pictorico photo papers, including Gekko. Exclusive distributor of Grace Color Photo paper in NA. Moab Paper u This division of Legion Paper offers Entrada, Somerset, Colorado, Moenkopi, Lasal, and other photo and fine-art papers. New Slickrock Metallic Paper and Lasal Exhibition Luster 300 paper. Museo Digital Fine Art Media u Museo Pan Pro Panoramic, Max, Textured Rag, Portfolio Rag, and Silver Rag fine-art media; Artistry Canvas; more. See also: Intelicoat.

I M AG E Q UA L I T Y o R S P E E D? E F I R A S T E k G I V ES Yo U B oT H .

Don’t compromise image quality for speeD The EFI Rastek H652 UV printer delivers best-in-class image quality, speed and white ink capability. The EFI™ Rastek™ H652 UV hybrid printer is the perfect choice for stunning four-color and grayscale image quality that meets stringent customer demands fast. Direct-to-rigid, roll-to-roll and white ink capability let you offer more applications to get more business and profits.

Get it all with the EFI Rastek H562. Call 800-875-7117 or visit

©2011 EFI. All rights reserved.

EFI 901 Rastek Ad BP.indd 1

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specialty media Mutoh l Mutoh Matte, Gloss, and Smooth banner available in various weights and thicknesses. Nazdar SourceOne lu ImageStar canvas and fabrics plus art, poster and photo papers. Neschen Americas lu: Neschen SolvoTex, Varitex, PrintLux, PrintTex, and DirecTex textiles; PureColor media includes Monet Canvas, Mambo Fabric, Calypso Breeze Satin, Apollo Flag, and more; EnviroScape Mural Plus wall coverings.

canvas, and Translution transfer paper. N Glantz & Son Beline photo paper for solvent and aqueous.

NuSign Supply ln NuFlex fabric line includes mesh and polyesters; also Beaver Paper TexPrintXP heavy dye-sub heat transfer paper. Océ North America lus Océ Pro-Select photo papers and canvas, textiles, and more. Océ Display matte photopaper. Océ Solvent photo papers.

Next Wave Media Solutions un Oriental USA BigPictureand PolePosition HalfPgHorizAd 1 8/24/11 11:03and AM canvas. PhotoJet Solvent photo paper andFINAL.pdf Graphica photo papers










THE BIG PICTURE october 2011



WallPro LEXJET Outdoor Sign Supply lu Digital printing fabric and canvas. Pacific Coast Fabrics Inkjet printable fabrics for dye-sub, aqueous, UV-curable, and solvent.


Parrot Digigraphic Parrot canvas and photo papers; Angelica fine-art media.




Flat Rate



for Everyone, Every Time, All the Time from LexJet

No matter how large the order, all across the U.S. and Canada, including Alaska and Hawaii


specialty media PerfectProof us Line of proofing papers. A division of Axon Graphix.

Quality Media & Laminating lus Fine-art papers, photo media, fabric, and canvas; Durabanner wall covering.


Que Media lu Magnate solvent media includes fabrics, photo papers, and canvas. Majestic, Monarch, Motif aqueous media includes photo papers, fabric, and canvas.

Phil-Chem Wide-format photo papers and dyesublimation media.

Lasal MOAB

Photo Tex l Photo Tex fabric with adhesive back. Pitman lu Sentinel Imaging Graphix photo and fine-art papers, fabric, and canvas, plus DuraTex photo papers and fabrics. PolyFlex Magnets PrimeMag magnetic media for sol-


vent or mild-solvent printers. Premier Imaging Products u PremierArt canvas, photo, and fineart papers. Protech Fabrics l Range of dye-sub and direct-print fabrics include Chili, Cayenne, Coriander, Fennel, and Cinnamon.

R Tape VinylEfx printable metallic films.

Rayven lus Rayven fine-art media, fabric, canvas, and metalized papers, holographic/ lenticular films, and more.

Create Value Before & After Print... ...and always say “YES” to your customers!

The NEW i-cut Suite preflight, layout and workflow automation tools dramatically improve the way you prepare files to RIP and print. The NEW i-cut Vision Pro 7.1 graphics finishing production system delivers an array of new tools and features to increase productivity, reduce waste and control costs. Kongsberg finishing systems provide both increased capacity and broadened capability so that you never have to say “No” to your customers. Combined, EskoArtwork’s Design-to-Print-to-Cut integrated solutions can enhance and grow your business to the next level.

Solution Demonstrations: SGIA: Oct. 19 - 21, Booth #2433

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans Contact us to set up a personal demonstration!

801 Geneva Parkway Lake Geneva, WI 53147


THE BIG PICTURE october 2011



Textile printing

Backlit displays

WIDE FORMAT. WIDER CHOICE. Complete Solutions Whether you’re a sign and display professional or a commercial printer looking for a new revenue stream, Agfa delivers integrated and complete solutions to fit every need – POP, signage, display graphics, vehicle wraps and more. Extensive Opportunities Choices range from a complete line of entry level to high volume industrial inkjet printers, the widest assortment of rigid and flexible media, inks and toners, and finishing equipment for all production needs. Why Choose Agfa? From prepress to pressroom, digital imaging to wide format to packaging, Agfa’s comprehensive product portfolio provides best in class solutions which help customers increase productivity, streamline workflow and achieve higher profits. Agfa enables businesses to deliver more powerful messages. Contact us at: 800 526-5441 x 2473


Fashion store displays

specialty media Red River Paper u PhotoFeel, Arctic Polor, and UltraPro photo papers, Aurora art paper, and more. Polar Pearl Metallic paper.

Sihl nlu Sihl offers photo papers, canvas, and transfer media, a range of Green media, TPrintz fabric, and more.

Roland DGA nu Roland fine-art media and canvas, photo papers, transfer paper.

Siser n Italy-based provider of Colorprint, Smart-Pro, and Glitter Print, as well as Jetflock transfer papers.

Roysons u:s Gallery Pro fine-art/décor media; DreamScape textured wall coverings and canvas; Bling metallic-enriched media; Terralon “Earth-friendly” wall covering. Sawgrass Technologies l ArTainium True Pix dye-sub transfer papers, M-Textile fabrics.


THE BIG PICTURE october 2011

Snyder Mfg. l Weatherspan, Klearspan, Permabar, and Twincolor structural fabrics, neon-colored fabrics, and coated mesh fabrics. Sonoma Graphic Products uls A range of fabrics including Parisian, Arabian, Moroccan, Venetian,

Egyptian; plus, photo papers and wall coverings. Azuna 3D lenticular media. Spectrum Sales USA lu ISO line includes canvas, fabric, and photo papers. Stafford Textiles Grandform and Staftex printable fabrics and mesh.


SuperTex Fabrics l Polyester vinyl-coated fabrics for digital printing. TechNova u India-based supplier of NovaJet photo papers, and canvas; NovaSign canvas.

Texlon l TexAir fabric for inkjet printers. TheMagicTouch n TTC and WoW transfer papers. 3M n: Trident transfer paper. 3M Wall Decorating Film. 3P InkJet Textiles lu Textiles and fine-art canvas for aqueous, solvent, mild-solvent, UV-curable, dye-sublimation, and latex inks.

Visual Magnetics s MagnaMedia magnetic-receptive print films are one component of the Visual Magnetics Graphic System; available for various ink technologies and in a range of widths, thicknesses, and finishes. MagnaMedia can be applied to the company’s InvisiLock customengineered sheet magnet, providing P-O-P graphics printed on a thin, smooth, and flexible substrate that are easily changeable, reusable, and inexpensive to ship, Visual Magnetics reports. Sold via Alpha Imaging Technologies (, Drytac (, and Xcel Products (

Ultraflex Systems lu:s Textiles include, UltraCanvas, UltraCotton, UltraFlag, UltraPoplin, and UltraTex; also offers Artex canvas, UltraCarpet Extra, Wallscapes wall coverings. Descor Stretch interior wall and ceiling coverings. StripMesh Plus, UltraMesh Plus, SuperPrint Plus Eclipse, and others.

Vuflex ls Frontlit and backlit coated fabrics, mesh, a variety of Vuflex Airtex light and flexible acrylic fabrics for solvent inkjet printers, and more. Xcel Products 6s TerraSkin XP pulp-free paper made is a combination of 80% stone (calcium carbonate) with a 20% PE (polyethylene) non-toxic resin; also offers magnetic media. Xerox lu Xerox photo papers, canvas, and banner fabrics.

US Banner l Pearl solvent mesh media. US Sublimation nl JetTran transfer paper for dye-sublimation; FuZion and FuZion Patriot fabrics. Valloy lu Topaz fabric, canvas, and photo papers. Value Vinyls l Grandflex polycanvas and mesh substrates. Also Ecologic UV Recyclable Banner vinyl. Verseidag Seemee US ls: Seemee fabrics, wall covering, including silver, gold, gem fabrics.




Roland PVC-Free AdhesiveBacked Solvent Glossy Paper Roland DGA has expanded its Eco-Sol Max certified media line to include Solvent Glossy Paper with Adhesive (ESM-SGPA). Tested and profi led for the company’s eco-solvent printers and printer/cutters, the new media is designed as an alternative to vinyl for decals and mounting. It’s available for use with Roland’s VersaStudio BN-20, as well as its VersaCamm, VersaArt, and SolJet models. The new Solvent Glossy Paper boasts an exceptional white point and gloss level, plus the ability to produce sharp details and bold, saturated colors, the company reports. The 8-mil glossy media is multicoated for water resistance and optimum durability; its water-based acrylic adhesive is backed with a silicone-treated liner for easy release and handling. Applications include signs, P-O-P, photographic reproductions, tradeshow graphics, and more. Available in 30- and 54-in. roll widths for VersaCamm, VersaArt, and SolJet models; a 20-in. roll width is offered for the VersaStudio BN-20. The company also has extended the Eco-Sol Max media line with new products for its VersaStudio BN-20



metallic desktop printer. Each new media has been selected for performance with Eco-Sol Max ink and sized to fit the device’s dimensions. The new line features: • Matte and Glossy Calendered Vinyl (ESM-MCVP and ESM-GCVP): Backed with a permanent adhesive, these 3-mil vinyl products support a wide range of indoor and outdoor applications, including signs, labels, decals, P-O-P, vehicle and floor graphics, and wraps. • HeatSoft Transfer Paper and Mask (ESM-HTM2 and PGM-PTM): Roland’s HeatSoft solution includes a 1.7-mil synthetic fabric transfer material and 3 mil polyester transfer mask with a specially formulated heat-resistant adhesive. • Solvent Glossy Paper with Adhesive (ESM-SGPA): See top item. • Solvent Glossy Paper (ESM-SGP3): A heavyweight paper with an advanced inkjet-receptive coating, SGP3 is for high-resolution full-color printing; the coating is designed to image well while reducing ink consumption. Offers a durable glossy base sheet. ROLAND DGA

New Stone Guard Films from Oracal Oracal USA has announced two new paintprotection products: OraGuard Series 270 and Series 280 Stone Guard Laminating Films. Both are designed for paint protection on flat to moderately curved surfaces for more rugged protection from bugs, stones, and other road debris, Oracal reports; both are transparent gloss only. Series 270 is a 6-mil, 5-year PVC laminate film for paint protection of automotive fenders, rear bumpers, and deck or side skirts and other outdoor applications; it’s available in 50-in. widths. Series 280 is an 8-mil, 7-year polyurethane laminate film for longer paint protection of automotive fenders, rear bumpers, and deck or side skirts and other outdoor applications. It’s available in 50- and 60-in. widths. ORACAL USA

Traxx Truck-Frame System Debuts The Traxx truck-frame system is a quick-change, anodized-aluminum (T6) truck-side billboard system that’s designed to be installed on box trucks or trailers, allowing for banners to be easily replaced and re-used. Traxx, the company reports, is ideal for frequently rotating marketing campaigns like seasonal products, semi-annual sales, and events. The top and bottom profile are 2.5 in. x 19 ft, with a tension profile of 3.25 in. x 19 ft. The system requires no rivets or drilling, and works with any heavy-duty banner material. According to Advertising Trucks, the system’s US distributor, the entire system can be installed in two to three hours, and replacing its graphics takes less than an hour. US distributor: Advertising Trucks ( TRAXX

Océ Expands Première Collection for ColorWave Océ has made available three new substrates in its Première Collection, all for use with the Océ ColorWave 600 printer. Océ 6008 Outdoor Polypropylene Film is designed for indoor or short-term outdoor use. The 8-mil film is weather resistant, waterproof, and can be used outdoors with no lamination. Available in 24- and 36-in. widths. Océ 6046 Presentation Paper is a heavyweight, white, 7.8-mil paper. Ideal for posters, information boards, display graphics signage, and presentations. It’s available in 24- and 36-in. widths. Océ PHPPR Satin Photo Paper is an 8-mil resin-coated photo paper with a satin finish designed for producing photo-realistic prints. It’s intended for indoor display graphics or short-term outdoor use when laminated. Available in 24-, 36- and 42-in. widths. OCÉ



GPA Introduces Silver Foil Board GPA has announced Ultra Digital 10 pt. C1S Silver Foil Board for HP Indigo presses, a paper designed for metallic color effects without special inks or foils. It offers a smooth, transfer metalized surface in a glossy silver finish and is acid free, pH neutral, and recyclable. Intended for packaging, promotional collateral, tags, menus, catalog covers, and more, the media accommodates a variety of finishing processes including laminating, die cutting, scoring, gluing, folding, embossing, debossing, and UV coating. Available in 12 x 18-in. sheets. GPA

DaVinci Technologies’ PhotoFab Ultra

Come See Today’s Leading Technology Booth #901

DaVinci Technologies has debuted PhotoFab Ultra, an 8-mil matte, white, 100-percent polyester fabric with a removable adhesive. Compatible with solvent, eco-solvent, UV-curable, and latex inks, PhotoFab Ultra can be used as a decal or graphic on most interior flat, smooth, clean surfaces. Because of its water-resistant coating, the company reports, it can also be used for three-season outdoor promotional applications including: vehicles, bus shelters, sandwich boards, doors, and windows. Available in three widths: 30, 54, and 60 in. DAVINCI TECHNOLOGIES

3A Composites USA has introduced Omni-Flute Trim & Square, a fluted polypropylene sheet that is precisioncut on the manufacturing line in popular size and color specifications for sign blanks and yard signs. The Trim & Square version of Omni-Flute replicates the features of original Omni-Flute: Geometrically square and color-consistent, it features a smooth, treated surface that accepts direct digital printing and screenprinting applications as well as paint; it can be die-cut and knife-cut and accepts repositionable vinyl graphics. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fully recyclable. Omni-Flute Trim & Square is available in Bright White and Yellow and in 4-mm thickness. Stocked Bright White sizes include 18 x 24/24 x 18 and 24 x 36/36 x 24-in. sheets; stocked Yellow sizes include 18 x 24/24 x 18-in. sheets. 3A COMPOSITES


3A Compositesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Omni-Flute Trim & Square

MightyPrint Expressions


Printable Foamboard in Kraft, Canvas and Gloss

MightyPrintâ&#x201E;˘Expressions in Kraft (above left) yields a beautiful sepia effect.


White Black-on-Black ÂŽ Heat-Activated SingleStep ÂŽ Pressure Sensitive Acid Free Cotton Rag Colors PilloCore ÂŽ MightyCore ÂŽ MightyPrint ÂŽ

BOOTH #0319


NEW ORLEANS October 19 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 21

Made in America with Pride

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FDC Product and Color Selector: FDC Graphic Films’ 2011 Product and Color Selector is now available. The new selector highlights the complete FDC sign vinyl line and also includes the full selection of R Tape VinylEfx films – more than 45 series of films and 400 colors in all.

GMG software supports Mimaki UJF-706: GMG has announced that its GMG ColorProof contone and GMG DotProof/FlexoProof halftone proofing solutions now fully support the Mimaki UJF-706 inkjet printers; these GMG/Mimaki combinations enable the production of contract-level packaging proofs, prototypes, and short-run production, GMG reports.

Prisco to sell EskoArtwork: Prisco (Printers’ Service) has signed a reseller agreement with EskoArtwork’s Sign & Display Group, enabling PriscoDigital to sell EskoArtwork Kongsberg finishing tables and sign and display software to commercial printers in the US and Canada.

EFI Fiery and Pantone Plus: Pantone and EFI have announced Fiery digital print servers and solutions support for Pantone Plus. Fiery servers come preloaded with Pantone Color Libraries, including all colors found in the Pantone Plus series. Pantone Color Libraries are used with Fiery output profiles to automatically color manage each Pantone Plus Color into the gamut of the Fiery-driven output device.,

Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Signature Worthy Edition: Epson has introduced the Epson Stylus Pro 3880 Signature Worthy Edition, which includes a 17-inch Epson Stylus Pro 3880 printer with six letter-sized packs of select Epson Signature Worthy papers (Exhibition Fiber, Cold Press Bright, Cold Press Natural, Hot Press Bright, and Hot Press Natural papers, as well as a Signature Worthy Sample Pack featuring additional photo and fine art papers).

The 2011 SGIA Expo draws thousands of imagers from around the world to one expansive show floor. Attendees can see hundreds of exhibitors showcasing the broadest range of technology available on the market.

This is not your fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trade show.

Specialty Graphic Imaging Association

703.385.1335 â&#x20AC;˘ c11_expoad2_bp.indd 1

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business + management <16 place where your employees can be successful starts with their managers. When your management effectively communicates the company philosophy and projects genuine appreciation for the workplace, their attitude will have a trickle-down effect onto the rest of the company.

A financial reason to stick around Beyond providing employees with “contentment considerations,” you also must make sure you’re offering them a financial reason to stick around. To keep your best employees, you need to pay them a competitive salary. Aside from that, providing some fringe benefits can tie them to your company for the long term. For example, a 401(k) plan or a like-kind retirement plan is essential in attracting stable, lasting employees. A company match to your employees’ contributions will be a valuable benefit. You might also want to evaluate the amount of personal time or vacation/sick leave that you currently allow. Younger-generation employees especially value their time away from the office. Flexibility with work schedules, vacation, etc., can be just as important to an employee as the amount of money they’re making. Extra benefits that don’t cost the company significant amounts of money can often make the

difference in keeping a valued employee. My fifth suggestion: Provide room for growth. If staffers don’t feel that there’s a chance to grow and improve in their positions within the company, good employees will search for these opportunities elsewhere. Now, this becomes tricky because not all of your employees can ultimately be promoted to management. There may be an occasion when an employee asks you whether they have a chance to become a manager and your answer will be no. Of course, not every employee has the aspirations to move to upper management. But, sometimes, even a promotion within a department to a shift supervisor, etc., can be very meaningful to a good employee. Most importantly, provide a work environment where your employees know that if they excel at their job there is inevitable opportunity for growth.

Developing your environment Taking these steps should help you develop an environment that enables your employees to enjoy their time in the workplace – while fostering an atmosphere of growth and opportunity. As you construct a positive work environment, you’ll succeed in retaining the best employees.

charting wide format <28 displays. The displays are relatively inexpensive and available now, but the backbone infrastructure is not.


Any parting observations on the market and/or industry as our readers are set to wrap up 2011 and make plans for 2012? Marx: I would tell digital-imaging companies to hold their ground. We are a unique industry segment within the broader graphics-communications industry in that we – as a whole – continue to grow and maintain profitability. Because of this reality, other segments including the commercial printing industry are looking toward our markets and technologies as strong, new profit centers. Some will do it by establishing new departments and others will do it by purchasing 62


existing companies. Regardless, expect competition to increase. Control processes. Increase efficiency. Stay focused. Hold on tight! Greene: Understanding that there are many moving pieces that business owners and operators have to manage to be successful, the one key piece is your sales force – their ability to “move up the value chain,” to identify the value-added services your customers require, to negotiate favorably in your company’s name, empower everything your company does now and will do in the future. Make sure your sales force has the skills and incentives they need to make all this happen. Boer: Keep learning, keep being inquisitive. Don’t be too nervous to make investments in new hardware. While it might be more comfortable to

wait to invest in new equipment, you’ll forego the learning-curve experience that others will have. Yes it might be less expensive in two years, but you won’t be able to compete skill wise. Mayhew: As it looks like we’re going to be entering a period of slow and low growth for the economy, we’re going to have to make sure we focus on maximizing profits from our core businesses. The good news is that our wide-format products and services are in demand in the current climate and, our industry is in good shape. Palacios: 2012 will continue to be challenging in the market place. Print service providers will need to be in the position to ride out the storm. Once the valves of the economy reopen, companies will need to be prepared to handle customer requests.

Supplying product information since 1996. Contact your Account Manager today at 800-925-1110 to showcase your company here.

ad index


October 2011

Agfa Graphics 53 Aurora Specialty Textiles 42 Bordeaux Digital Print Ink Ltd.OBC Clear Focus Imagin Inc. 43 Durst U.S. 58 EFI 27, 49 EnCore Products 43, 59 Epson America Inc. IFC, 1 Esko Artwork 52 Fisher Textiles 63 Flexcon 39 Flexmag Industries 42 Fujfilm Sericol USA Inc. 17 Inx Digital 15 LexJet 51 Lintec of America 42

Marabu North America Mimaki USA Inc. Mitsubishi Plastics Mutoh America Nazdar SourceOne OKI Data Americas Palram Americas Panel Processing Pregis Corp. Seiko Instruments USA SGIA ST Book Division 3M Commercial Graphics Ultraflex Systems Visual Magnetics Vycom Corp.

54 11 37 3 60 13 29 55 63 IBC 61 43 42 43, 50 5 9

Photo by: Minori Ide

job log

Out With the Old “The biggest challenges were sourcing all the necessary hardware for installation and cleaning all of the old banners for repurposing after the removal.”



The Client Centre for Digital Media The Players Ampco Grafi x (ampcografi, MCM Interiors, Massif Creative, Common Thread Cooperative Tools & Supplies EFI Vutek 3360, Ultraflex Ultralon IV Backlit, Sinclair Triad welder The Job The Centre for Digital Media (CDM), a multimedia facility at the Great Northern Way Campus in Vancouver, was looking to revive its exterior appearance and update its artistic banners. Going with the notion, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fi x it,” CDM regrouped the very team that had designed and output the interior wall murals and outdoor banners for the facility’s first “graphic transformation” back in 2007. The team comprised: interior-design firm and project coordinator MCM Interiors; Massif Creative, a branding and design company; and British Columbia-based print provider Ampco Graphix. Together, the trio set out to design and output 18 giant architectural backlit banners to adorn the building’s exterior. In addition, the team decided against simply tossing the old graphics to the wayside – wanting instead to somehow refashion them. Production Massif Creative’s Kristen Dyer designed the new graphics in Adobe Illustrator. Ampco adjusted the colors, added a border space for hems, and provided the client with a print sample for approval. The shop took to its EFI Vutek 3360 in outputting the 18 panels (each measuring 7.5 x 22 feet) onto Ultraflex Ultralon IV Backlit. Finishing included hand cutting and hemming each banner using a Sinclair Triad banner-welding machine. Over a span of two days, an installation team of three handled the removal of the old banners as well as the installation of the new backlit graphics. “It was a custom application. We used a combination of stock aluminum extrusions to build out the existing frames and mechanical attachment via screws and 3M Dual Lock tape,” says Ampco’s Minori Ide. To bring a second life to the previously installed banners, Ampco turned to Vancouverbased Common Thread Cooperative. It took the team nearly 10 hours to clean and ready the old graphics, and these were then handed off to Common Thread; the co-op morphed them into 392 fashionable handbags, which were handed out as gifts by Great Northern Way.

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The Big Picture - October 2011  

In this issue: Outdoor’s Harmonics, Extraordinary Out-of-Home; Our Annual Industry Roundtable; 150+ Sources of Specialty Media; Tips for Ret...

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