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Green is Good Embracing sustainability

PLUS: 路 Dyenamix: High-Fashion Fabrics 路 Previewing ISA Expo 路 The Solvent Options

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8/25/10 9:38 AM

in this issue

March 2011 Volume 16 No. 3


 profitable A finish.

14 Graphics on the Go

 voiding “design A collisions.”


Fields of gold.

10 Up Front

FEATURES 16 Green is Good

By Jake Widman

Four print providers embracing sustainable printing are rethinking and refocusing their business practices from top to bottom. The benefits they’re realizing are bountiful – from increased operational efficiencies to new marketing opportunities. Plus: Pyramid Visuals garners major green street cred.

20 ISA Sign Expo: Back to Vegas

T his year’s edition of the International Sign Association’s Sign Expo looks to be its largest since 2008. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new and some of the event’s top educational, technology, and networking offerings.

24 Dyenamix: High-Fashion Fabrics

By Mike Antoniak

D yenamix is a name that’s instantly recognizable to those in the high-profile worlds of fashion, theatre, and entertainment. The New York City specialist in custom fabric and textiles produces material for the latest designs and costumes seen on Broadway and in the movies.

28 The Solvent Options

A lthough various factors, including UV technologies and sustainable aspirations, have worked to limit today’s solvent-machine options, buyers can still find an array of machines on the market.

ON THE COVER: Pyramid Visuals, Greenpeace, and artist Kurt Wenner team up for a green record-breaker. Cover design by Laura Mohr.


BIG PICTURE march 2011

 ews + N noteworthy.

32 R+D

 he latest tech, T products, and supplies.

40 Job Log

 aking an M entrance.

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insight by Gregory Sharpless Gregory Sharpless Editor/Associate Publisher

A Profitable Finish On the subject of age, writer Malcolm Gladwell – author of various books including What the Dog Saw and The Tipping Point – says: “We think about Picasso at the age of 21 and 22 dazzling the art world or we think about Einstein writing those brilliant physics papers in his 20s, but we forget that there’s an equal group of artists and geniuses who don’t do their greatest work until the end of their lives. So for every Picasso, there’s a Cezanne, who if you go to Le Musee d’Orsay and you look at all of his greatest works, they’re all painted in his 50s and 60s, or for every Melville who writes Moby Dick at 28 or 29, there is a Mark Twain who writes Huckleberry Finn in his late 40s or early 50s.” I’ll readily admit to taking Gladwell’s comments to heart. After all, I hit 50 a couple of years ago, and I believe that, creatively and intellectually, I’m more “fine tuned” than I’ve ever been. When it comes to churning out copy, I like to think the best is still ahead of me. Granted, some days I might prefer a return to my physical health from 20 years ago, but that’s a topic for a whole ‘nother column. To finish strong in anything, however – whether in sports, business, or life in general – you have to have a “kick” at the end of the race. I ran track and cross country in high school, and in those sports I learned about the importance of saving enough energy to be able to sprint as you near the finish line. It’s important to recognize that the ability to do so just isn’t by chance. It’s a strategy that must be planned for, and it must happen at the right moment. Initiate the kick too soon, and you’ll never make it to the finish line. Do so too late, and you’ll likely never catch the competitors who have already begun their own sprint. So what about you? Did you peak years ago, or are you still ready to make a sprint toward the finish line? And are your company and its personnel ready to keep up with you? You might surprise some of your people when you begin that sprint (which is fun, but not always productive for all). Get ready to produce your own business masterpiece. On a separate note: As I write this, the fifth Signage and Graphics Summit has just finished up at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa. Attendees tell us it rates among the best SGS events ever, and they were able to bring valuable information back to their companies that they could put to immediate use. Look for recap information on the event at the Summit’s website:

Britney Grimmelsman Associate Editor Paula Yoho Contributing 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 John Tymoski Associate Director/Online 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.



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wide angle

Fields of Gold To produce Field Relic (24 x 36 inches), artist Bonny Pierce Lhotka used a 60-grit random orbit sander to first sand a sheet of 0.04-in. Plaskolite KSH white acrylic “to randomly damage the surface.” After applying a DASS Universal Precoat, she direct printed with her Epson Stylus Pro 9800 printer using UltraChrome pigment inks (including matte black), then sealed with Krylon Crystal Clear Satin Spray. The image itself was created in Photoshop from scans of paint chips, a corn field, and an old building. This artwork appears in Lhotka’s new book, Digital Alchemy ( 8


upfront upfront

Light Air’s Images Take To the Slopes As the winter season got underway at mountain resorts across Europe late last year, sports-equipment manufacturer Rossignol was readying for its Rossignol Demo Tour – a 10-country, multi-resort alpine roadshow that allows skiers and snowboarders to test for free the company’s latest equipment. Rossignol sought a print partner that could deliver on two key prerequisites: first, to produce stunning promotional graphics that would maximize its visual impact and ensure head-turning interest throughout each roadshow resort; secondly, to do so by utilizing print technology that would support Rossignol’s environmental philosophy. The company turned to the team at Light Air ( in Lyons, France, to make its ambitions a reality. Rossignol kicked off the event in Italy at the end of November, and Light Air utilized its 104-inch HP Scitex LX600 printer with latex inks to produce an array of graphics for the tour, whose focal point was a specially branded “demo village,” comprising: • A series of massive inflatables, including tents measuring 388 square feet and 215 square feet, as well as 10-foot-high “totems,” and several large arches marking the foot of ski runs. All of these were adorned with attention-grabbing company and event logos featuring



in-built durability to withstand the outdoor use and inevitable adverse weather conditions demanded of the six-month ski season. • A series of 20-foot-tall vertical flags. • And a fleet of more than 30 support vehicles covered with self-adhesive vinyl graphics that also sport the tour’s official branding. “In total, we probably printed around 2852 square feet of banner material and used about 215 square feet of adhesive,” says Jean-Baptiste Aguettant, Light Air’s commercial director. “However, as with most of the projects that come through our door…we only ended up having a week in which to complete the job.” Wide-format technology is a relatively new addition to Light Air’s roster. As late as 2007, the shop was more focused on neon and traditional sign work, sub-contracting out its wide-format jobs to other print providers. Today, the shop features an 8600-squarefoot production facility and an in-house digital arsenal that includes the Scitex LX600 as well as an HP Scitex XL1500 and an HP Designjet 9000 – printing capabilities that not only provide a broad range of applications to its customers, but also enables Light Air to act as a sub-contractor to other print providers lacking wideformat capabilities of their own, says Aguettant.

“Arrogance tends to get in the way of simple communication. Both customers and employees relate well to humility.” — Jim Smith, business consultant, writing at

FlexCon to Purchase Graphics Division of Arlon FlexCon, the manufacturer of pressure-sensitive films and adhesives, has entered into an agreement to acquire the business assets of the Graphics Division of Arlon, Inc. of Santa Ana, California, to form a company to be named Arlon Graphics, LLC, a new, wholly owned subsidiary of FlexCon. The purchase, FlexCon reports, will strengthen its market leadership position by expanding its product portfolio in advertising and promotional products, as well as extending its sales channel and global market presence. “FlexCon is attracted to the Graphics Division of Arlon, Inc. for its complementary product lines and its skilled, dedicated workforce,” says Neil McDonough, president and CEO, FlexCon. “The synergies between the two companies are ideal. Both manufacturers are dedicated to delivering quality products and unbeatable customer service. This move will further strengthen FlexCon’s product range and secures our status as a market leader.” Founded in 1958, the Graphics Division of Arlon, Inc. is a manufacturer of a full line of high-quality pressure-sensitive cast vinyl, flexible substrates, and print media films for digital imaging, signage, vehicle graphics, and screen printing. The new Arlon Graphics, LLC will extend offers of employment to the executives and employees. When the acquisition is complete, FlexCon will have the option to purchase Arlon Engineered Coated Products and Arlon SignTech Ltd. of San Antonio, Texas, following necessary due diligence, the company states. “The agreement to purchase the Graphics Division of Arlon, Inc. is in response to changing market needs and evolving customer demands,” says Michael Kelliher, executive vice president, sales and marketing at FlexCon. “Our customers will benefit from FlexCon’s expanded product offering and our continued commitment to the highest quality of customer service.”

PrintLat to Distribute CET Color CET Color has signed an agreement with PrintLat to distribute the former company’s line of wide-format UV digital printers and routers in the Latin American market. “CET Color is becoming quite a force in the UV wide-format digital printing market,” says David Pachon, president of PrintLat. “Our partnership with them will enable us to expand our offering and round out our portfolio of products. CET Color will assist us in providing innovative print solutions to companies while lowering their cost of ownership.” Says Dave Cich, vice president of CET Color: “With the distribution and reach of PrintLat, sign shops, agencies, and corporate accounts across Latin America will now have new and affordable UV wide-format printing solutions available to assist them with reaching new markets that may have eluded them in the past.”

165 MILLION Number of registered Twitter users, who, together, send more than 100 million messages per day. Though Twitter accounts for just 5% of traffic to all social-networking sites (versus Facebook, which accounts for 78%), “tweets” with embedded links average 19 clicks, while Facebook’s shared links only get three. Source: A new report from social marketing consultancy, SocialTwist (, in which researchers analyzed more than one million links on both platforms.



Drum Wrap, Please In celebration of the 2011 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) annual tradeshow, Roland Corporation – the maker of digital musical equipment and sister company to Roland DGA – set out to showcase its instruments with a bang. It partnered with Iconography Studios ( in Los Alamitos, California, to create a unique look for its TD-20SX V-Pro series drum kit as well as the 307 SuperNatural piano to be displayed at the show. Iconography developed custom wraps, including an Americathemed piano wrap and a bright orange and blue Rolandpromoting drum wrap to ensure the instruments stood out on the crowded tradeshow floor. This was the first time Iconography had attempted to wrap musical instruments, and its staff quickly discovered that building the templates proved to be a challenge because of the high number of intricate measurements needed to ensure a clean, successful wrap. For output, Iconography used its Roland XC540 printer with Roland inks, printing onto 3M Controltac Graphic Film IJ180 with matching 3M 8518 overlam. The project took four days to print and another four days to install. Iconography recently put its newly gained instrument-wrapping expertise to use when it wrapped medical instruments for Focus Diagnostics. “Focus began using the wrapped tools as a marketing thing for tradeshows. They were so popular that the company now offers custom wraps as an option to its customers,” says Sarah Naccarato, Iconography president.

Danaher Agrees to Acquire EskoArtwork Danaher Corporation (, the Washington DCbased manufacturer whose products span various industries, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire EskoArtwork from Axcel for a purchase price of approximately $470 million. Upon closing, the business will become a part of Danaher’s Product Identification platform. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first half of 2011. “This is an important and very positive step in the continued development of the company,” says Carsten Knudsen, CEO of EskoArtwork. “I and the entire management team are excited to see Danaher’s strategic interest to acquire the company and develop EskoArtwork as an autonomous business. We see this as a vote of confidence in our strategy and a strong belief in our ability to continue to grow in the future.” 12


Danaher is a diversified technology company that designs, manufactures, and markets products and services to professional, medical, industrial, and commercial customers. Its portfolio of brands includes Alltec, Armstrong Tools, Craftsman Hand Tools, Dover, K-D Tools, Kobalt Hand Tools, Leica Microsystems, Matco Tools, Red Jacket, Sata, Tektronix, Videojet, and many others. Danaher has 47,000 employees in more than 125 countries; 2009 revenues were $11.2 billion. Esko and Artwork Systems combined their operations in 2007 when the principal shareholders of Artwork Systems Group agreed to sell their shares in Artwork Systems Group to Esko. Esko is currently owned by Axcel, the Danish private equity fund.




market metrics

Benefits & Employee Compensation Employee benefits make up nearly 30% of total employee-compensation packages in the private sector. Of the employee-benefits breakdown: • 8% is insurance benefits; • 6.7% is paid-leave benefits, such as vacations, holidays, sick leave, and personal leave; • 2.8% is supplemental compensation (overtime, premium pay, shift differentials, and nonproduction bonuses); • 3.6 % is retirement and savings; and • 8.3% comprises legally required benefits (Social Security, Medicare, workers’ compensation, etc.).





Wages + Salaries


Legally Required Benefits


Insurance Benefits

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report,


Paid-Leave Benefits

“Employer Costs for Employee Compensation:


Retirement + Savings

September 2010.”


Supplemental Compensation


graphics graphicson onthe thego go

Design Collisions By Jared Smith


sometimes wonder why we all chase vehicle-wrap jobs, when we know there are certainly more profitable, less stressful jobs to be had. Take banners, for example: You need to know the material selection, the size, and the finishing details, such as pole pockets or grommets – but that’s pretty much all you need to know. Wraps, on the other hand, are extremely detail-oriented. We all know that the more specifications a particular job requires, the greater the possibility for errors or difficulties. Unlike a simple banner job, there are a lot of ways to make mistakes and end up re-doing a vehicle wrap, and, so, attention to detail is paramount. One way to be sure you get an unhappy customer or a reprint order is to accidentally build in what we at bluemedia call a “design collision.” We have reserved this term for any occasion where the proof and reality collide. In other words, the “produced vinyl” in hand cannot accomplish what is represented in the two-dimensional proof. At best, these instances force the install team to stop their work and get clarification. At worst, they can cause a complete re-print of some – or even all – of the wrap. Becoming aware that design collisions exist, then learning how to look for and eventually avoid them in the first place, are skills that can make you more profitable in the long run. Let’s take a look at a few examples to ensure you have the greatest chance of skipping this avoidable issue in the future.

Taking a few extra steps The most common design collisions involve what we call a 360-degree wrap. This is a wrap design that calls for one

or more elements to line up around multiple sides or the entire vehicle. For instance, imagine a van with a two-inch red stripe that begins on the side, up by the headlight, and continues around the back of the van, ending up on the front of the other side, by that headlight. This, in itself, does not seem too difficult – and it isn’t difficult provided you take a few extra steps. First, be sure you understand that this two-inch line element “locks” both sides and the rear panels together. Basically, this means every single panel must be installed at the exact same height in order for that stripe to travel around the vehicle without interruption. A detailed template and/ or survey are key here. You will need to build in some insurance in other areas, too. By this, I mean don’t place a phone number too close to a wheel well, and give yourself an extra inch or two when deciding where to place a small logo. If you build other elements too close to edges or obstacles, you will not be able to adjust the panel placement due to that red stripe, and that can mean a logo or other element collides with an obstruction – presto, a design collision. This can result in a re-print because your customer most likely approved a proof that contained the stripe around the vehicle, and the entire logo in the right spot, and that is what they want. To combat this potential pitfall, be sure to build in some extra “blank” space between vital design elements and obstructions when you have a “locking” element going around the whole vehicle. Another way to combat this danger is to produce the stripe as a second layer: Install the wrap, then hand place the stripe by itself, right where you want it.

View from the bumper JARED SMITH is president of bluemedia (, a leading provider of design and printing for use in vehicle, large-format, and environmental applications, in Tempe, Arizona.



Another common area in which design collisions frequently occur is on the superwide rear fenders of any dually truck. If you have ever installed a wrap on one of these heavy-duty trucks, you know that just getting the vinyl installed is challenging enough, let alone trying to line up graphic-design elements in this area. The problem is, these fenders have a top, a face, and

sides, and then all four of these surfaces meet the standard bed side. This shape forces you to make a choice: Should this area line up to be readable from the side view or the top view? It’s almost impossible to do both. So what to do? Recognizing that this area should be addressed early on is the first step. Explain the challenge and the possible solutions to your customer up front. We recommend to our customers that they only use this area as background or non-vital display. Since the vinyl must be stretched and pulled quite a bit, the image alignment is never guaranteed here. I also recommend that you produce a separate panel to be used exclusively for the top surface of any dually fender. The corners of any vehicle can present a special type of challenge, too. To make this point, let’s think about the corner of the vehicle where the sides meet the rear. For this example, let’s use a Ford Crown Victoria. Most installers will tell you that the cleanest way to install a full wrap on this vehicle is to pull the side panel around back and trim the vertical line at the trunk lid. This also implies that the same will happen where we pull the vinyl up over the side and trim along the horizontal line of the trunk. Seems easy enough. “So where is the problem?” you might ask. The problem occurs when the designer shows a rear view that does not take into account that some of the side vinyl will be visible from the rear, and vice versa. This is true on modern bumpers, as well, where they cover the rear and as much as a foot or more on both sides. If the side of the vehicle is to be blue and the rear is to be white, you must strategically decide early on how to handle the bumper-wrap design. Where does the blue stop? Where does the white begin? Keep these areas in mind when producing proofs, so you can illustrate the options and recommendations to your client. This is much better than a surprise during the install.

Three easy steps These design collisions are easy to spot if you’re looking for them, so challenge your sales and design staff to become experts at avoiding these collisions. Here are a few tips: • Don’t send proofs to clients that are impossible to recreate in reality. • Walk around the vehicle with the installer and think about where each panel will start and stop. • If you plan out how the vinyl will land, it should be apparent if you could be in for a design collision. Then, be professional and clear when you communicate the options to the client. The best option, of course, is to design away from these problems from the beginning. It will avoid confusion and dissatisfaction in the long run, and goes a long way to remind them that you are the vehicle-wrap expert.

By Jake Widman

Green is Good

Print providers turn to sustainable production because it’s “the right thing to do” for the environment and for their business. It seems like every kind of business is “going green” these days, from SUV manufacturers to your local supermarket. The term usually encompasses some combination of lowered consumption of resources and reusing or recycling as much as possible. Print shops are no exception: Across the country, digital print providers are embracing the principles of sustainable printing. The basic approach includes paying more attention to the supplies they use, trying to print as much as possible on sustainably produced substrates, and utilizing environmentally sensitive inks. 16

THE BIG PICTURE march 2011

Many shops are going even further than that, rethinking and refocusing their business practices from top to bottom. The benefits they’re realizing aren’t just feel-good intangibles, either – some lead to increased operational efficiencies – and new marketing opportunities often arise from “going green.”

SunDance Graphics: Value engineering SunDance Graphics ( in Orlando began as an art-publishing company 10 years ago. Then, about five years ago, it was purchased by the family of the

Setting Green Records

company’s current director of operations, John Henry Ruggieri. The new owners began doing some commercial printing and formed a separate commercial-printing division just over three years ago; more recently, they created a multichannel marketing division as well. “So now we’re a family of three companies,” Ruggieri explains, “including SunDance Fine Art Publishers, SunDance Graphics, and SunDance Marketing Solutions.” The graphics and marketing divisions produce hotel signage, pop-up displays, banners, and the other printed material needed in a resort town such as Orlando. “Our main piece of manufacturing equipment is the Agfa Anapurna Mv, the 63-inch hybrid UV system. We have an HP Designjet Z6100 that we use primarily for proofing, and we do some production work on that, too. And we have an HP Designjet 5500 with a SpinJet accessory that we use for two-sided work, plus an Epson Stylus Pro 9800 and 9600 we use for occasional giclée work.” The company’s owners had a long history of conservation before purchasing the business, says Ruggieri. “They owned a ranch in Kenya, and they’ve always had a concern for the environment. And that’s been our approach from the beginning. That means making sure that we’re recycling everything, that we’re not producing extra waste. And that if we have a job that gets messed up, we don’t throw it away but save it and use it for make-ready or to create profiles. We have a big 50-gallon drum from the offset side for recycling our ink – a company takes it and turns it into black ink used in newspaper printing. “We also try to push the more environmentally sound substrates,” he continues. “If the customer specs a nonenvironmentally friendly substrate, we will, of course, print on it, but we try to push other substrates. We’ll frequently value-engineer a product to help reduce waste and its impact on the environment.” In order to keep the business focused on the goal of sustainability, SunDance employees attend regular meetings to make sure they’re on board with the mission and know they’re empowered to enforce it. “We do a lot of training to ensure the employees are educated,” says Ruggieri. “If they see something wrong, they’re empowered and required to fix it.” In addition to being the first Sustainable Green Commercial Printer certified company by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) in the state of Florida, SunDance reports, it also has obtained certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC); the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). SunDance promotes its sustainable approach, but its effectiveness as a marketing tool is unclear. “It’s in our

What better way to gain some “green street cred” than by partnering with Greenpeace, the international environmental organization? In December of last year, Greenpeace International and Avaaz, an international civic organization, wanted to deliver a message bearing one million signatures to the European Commission – the executive body of the European Union (EU) – in Brussels, Belgium, as part of the first-ever Citizens’ Charter against genetically modified crops. That message from one-million European citizens, however, would not be in the form of a simple letter delivered via the postal service. Instead, the organizations wanted the message to have a big impact on the EU and the European press corps. With the help of Pyramid Visuals in the UK, the message would do just that – as an environmentally friendly, circular banner that would be unveiled at the European Commission headquarters in front of the world’s press. And for icing on the cake, the job would break two Guinness Book world records along the way: one for the largest image of its kind drawn by a single person, and, two, as the largest image ever printed on an eco-friendly canvas. The artwork for the banner was created in the US by American artist Kurt Wenner, a street painter famous for his realistic 3D street paintings. Wenner initially drew the image in his studio, replicating his famous street art, drawing it in sections before scanning and compositing the artwork (final image size was 11 gigabytes) and delivering it to Pyramid Visuals. “The files were so big that they had to be sent panel by panel, and we then had to piece it all back together in the UK,” says Pyramid Visuals director Justin Murray. After Pyramid’s inhouse designers had reformatted the images into printable sections, the files went to the shop’s output department, specifically to its HP Scitex XL1200 and XL1500 machines. The graphics were output using HP inks onto environmentally friendly Dickson Jet 220 fabric, part of that company’s EverGreen line. Pyramid output the graphics panels in sizes ranging from 10 x 10 to 10 x 39 feet; the signature panels were 3 x 10 feet approximately. Once all sections had been output, the banner was subsequently sewn and hot-air welded together using a Miller Weldmaster 112, matching up each section in accordance with the artwork to form one complete large-scale, circular fabric banner measuring approximately 72 x 72 feet. The banner (see image at left) was unveiled on the doorstep of the European Commission in Brussels in December 2010, in front of reporters from around the globe as part of the Citizens’ Charter against genetically modified crops. “We’ve had a lot of experience producing large-scale projects before, such as when we wrapped the Monument in London for its restoration,” says Murray, “but this took on a whole new dimension not only having to coordinate a client in Europe, an artist in America, and ourselves situated just outside London, but also making sure that we adhered to the environmentally friendly requirements that Greenpeace had specified from the outset and that we delivered the end product on time. But as ever, we relish a challenge.”



marketing material, but it doesn’t necessarily seem like people are seeking us out because we’re an SGP-certified printer, for instance,” Ruggieri explains. “It’s something the customer cares about, but unfortunately normally isn’t willing to pay a premium for it. Everybody’s pleased to hear about it, but if somebody wants something done in a more environmentally friendly manner, they’ll pass up that opportunity if it costs more.”

Modernistic, Inc.: Educating for sustainability Founded in 1938, Modernistic ( was originally a die-cutting company. It eventually morphed into a screenprinting company, and 10 years ago the Stillwater, Minnesota-based company began getting into digital printing. “Primarily our business was in point-of-purchase, so it was quick-turnaround,” recalls marketing manager DeAnn Strenke, “We also now do a lot of prototyping of different stores’ signage packages. We’ll print out one store’s worth, and they’ll set it up in a store near corporate headquarters, and the bigwigs will walk through.” According to Strenke, Modernistic has always recycled its substrates (when feasible) and other manufacturing products. “Probably in the last 10 years we’ve been getting more into sustainability and lean business practices,” she says. “In 2008 we decided to look at the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, and we got certified at the end of 2009. It’s in our marketing piece, among our top three reasons ‘Why choose Modernistic.’ We’re in the process of redoing our website to make that much more apparent.” Beyond using its green initiatives as a marketing tool, Modernistic also educates its clients about sustainable options and encourages their use. “We make recommendations to our customers about what’s out there as far as different materials they can print on,” says Strenke. “Say, for instance, a retail buyer was ordering a temporary sign and was used to doing it on a styrene substrate. We might say, ‘You know, if this is only for a short period of time, it might make sense to run it on card stock.’ Not only is that sustainably produced, almost every store has a cardboard recycling system, so the card stock will be much more recyclable than the plastic.” But sometimes customers have their own reasons for declining to switch: “If you’re switching from a styrene to a corrugated substrate,” Strenke explains, “the edge is no longer finished, so it has a rough kind of ‘granola’-y feel to it. Some people like that, and it makes sense for some businesses to switch depending on their clientele – like it makes more sense for a natural foods market to use a recyclable substrate with an unfinished edge than it does for a high-end fashion chain.” 18


Stella Color: Find the right path Lynn Krinsky, president of Seattle-based Stella Color (, started out with what seems like primitive technology by today’s standards. “I did rubdown transfers,” she recalls. “My customers – graphic designers – would go buy Pantone paper, we would mix the ink, take the sheets of Rubylith that they had cut, and we would make, say, a three-color comp.” But when Krinsky saw her first digital printer, there was no looking back. “One day in 1990,” she says, “an Iris printer salesman darkened my door. He said, ‘You don’t have to mix all those inks. We have a way you can do it through your computer.’ I went to New Bedford, Massachusetts, to see and I was hooked.” Stella has grown a lot since then. The shop now has an HP Designjet L65500 latex printer (acquired in the fall of 2009), two HP Designjet 5000s, and a 6100; an EFI Vutek QS3220 126-inch printer; a Leggett & Platt (now Polytype America) 98-inch flatbed printer; three Mimaki dyesublimation printers as well as a Mimaki JV-3 62-inch 4-color solvent printer; and a Xerox DocuColor. Krinsky was interested in sustainable printing from the beginning, but she also cites the business benefits of seeking SGP certification, which Stella Color achieved in 2010. “I’ve been on the path for a while, and getting certified looked like a really good thing to do,” she says. “It’s hard, but it makes you get more organized in your business. You have to keep track of things. We keep logs on our equipment, so I’m no longer guessing when we last cleaned the heads or changed the fi lters – it’s all written down. And because all the equipment is monitored and maintained, it’s going to last longer and print well. And if you’re printing better, you don’t have as many redos. It’s the whole gestalt.” Nevertheless, sometimes the best intentions have led Krinsky to go too far in an effort to be environmentally sound. “I had an electrician come in and put in automatic light switches in the lunchroom and the men’s and ladies’ rooms, because nobody was turning off the lights. And then the city of Seattle had a program to promote energyefficient lighting, so I ponied up and got all the new lights. They were supposed to last longer, but they kept going out in the lunchroom and in the two bathrooms. Finally, I did some research and found out that those kinds of energyefficient bulbs shouldn’t be on a timer, because the constant on and off makes them wear out. So I had the electrician come back and put the regular light switches back in – in the long run, it’s greener to leave the lights on.” As far as her customers go, Krinsky says their attitudes are “all over the map.” “There are plenty of people who completely understand what I’m saying,” she says, “and other people who under-

stand what I’m saying and reject it. A lot of the sustainable materials might have a rough edge. You can show it to some people and they say, ‘Oh my, that looks fabulous.’ And another 50 percent will go, ‘Will you look at that edge? I can’t have that in my store.’ “Other people are stubborn because a directive comes from above. Maybe they were told to use Sintra. We show them something that’s stiff like Sintra, prints beautifully, and is completely recyclable, but because someone else specified it, they can’t make the move.” Still, Krinsky has no doubts that she’s on the right path. She even sees a political upside to print shops’ embrace of sustainable printing: “I am of the mind that if we all don’t do it and have organizations that are third-party certifiers, then the government is going to start telling us what to do. The farther we get down this road ourselves, though, the government will probably follow along. I would rather be ahead of the curve.”

Sentinel Printing: Building a community Founded in 1858, Sentinel Printing (sentinelinnovation. com) in Hempstead, New York, is one of Long Island’s oldest companies, “perhaps the oldest company that’s still in the original business,” says company president Glen Boehmer. Sentinel had its beginnings as a town newspaper, but in 1950,when the paper folded, the company re-branded itself as a commercial printer. Boehmer’s family, printers for generations themselves, bought the business in 1983. Today the company employs 12 people and occupies four buildings. Two of the buildings are devoted to digital or hybrid printing: one contains a Heidelberg DI, and the other holds two Xerox DocuColor 5000s. The company currently has just one wide-format printer in-house, a 60-inch HP Designjet. “We use the DI for short-run nonvariable color work,” says Boehmer. “Business cards, brochures, fliers – anything that fits in a 12.5 x 18-inch footprint. The Xerox footprint is 13 x 19 inches, but it allows us to do even shorter-run color work plus variable data. Personalized newsletters and postcards are a big part of what we run through them, plus small jobs like PowerPoint presentations and seminar materials.” Sentinel is also currently a candidate for SGP certification. “What I like about SGP is that it’s a full philosophy of how your company behaves in its responsibility to the environment.” To Boehmer, it’s not enough to simply buy sustainably produced paper: “That doesn’t mean my company is green,” he says. “All it means is that I’m buying green paper. But that’s just one element in a printing company.” But Boehmer’s efforts didn’t start with his determination to seek SGP certification. “There were common-sense things that we had started to do before we went into SGP,”

he recalls. “For example, we looked at the cleaning we were doing, and we removed bleach from the building. Then one guy I knew started pushing certification and told me, ‘You’ve been environmentally responsible for years, why not just go through the process?’” “Now, every action we take is putting us in the proper place,” he continues. “From a purchasing standpoint, we want to make sure we’re using people that are going in the right direction. We don’t want to just run out and buy from sources that are polluting because they’re cheaper.” The whole-business aspect of Boehmer’s approach to green printing is exemplified by his decision to install solar panels on one of Sentinel’s buildings, which houses the DocuColors. “Once we get to the spring and summer months, we’ll have enough power to drive the two Xeroxes,” he says. “There’s always another project, though,” Boehmer continues. “Within the next year we want to reduce our energy consumption by five to 10 percent. So right now we’re changing all the lighting in our buildings. After that, I want to take a look at the VOCs we emit and figure out what’s a reasonable reduction I can make. We’ll reach out to our ink manufacturers for help with that.” And sometimes Boehmer’s commitment extends to helping his clients be greener, too. “We had a local notfor-profit, the Family and Children Association,” he recalls. “They have about 15 or 20 different brochures, and before they came to us, they were printing 500 or 1000 copies of each. But they probably used no more than 100 of each one before they were updated, so they’d throw the extras out and print 500 more. So we built a Web storefront, put all their brochures online, and created an on-demand solution for them. So now they order between 25 to 100 at a time. They’re only printing what they need and not throwing anything out.” Like many print shops that have embraced the sustainable philosophy, Sentinel led the market rather than responding to it. “Customers weren’t asking for this when we started it,” Boehmer says. “But now there’s definitely a community out there that’s asking for it. It’s still not the majority of our clients. They’re really trying to get jobs done, and there’s no question that the economy raised the fear of green being more expensive. But [being green] doesn’t necessarily have to be. I think in the next year and a half, we’re going to be hearing a lot more about it – we’re going to be hearing from corporate sources that are looking for companies that have been doing this stuff already. So I’m excited about that.” Freelance writer Jake Widman is based in San Francisco.


Growth and Opportunity:

ISA Sign Expo 2011 ISA Expo: At a Glance

Back in Vegas, the event is on track to be its largest since 2008.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Pre-Expo Education Workshops


The 65th annual Sign Expo hosted by the International Sign Association (ISA) will take over the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, April 28-30. As this article is written, ISA looks to surpass the crowd numbers of last year, with early registration being up by 47 percent and there is already a 12-percent increase in committed exhibitor space, with more than 1900 exhibit booths on the show floor. With the ISA show on track to be its largest since 2008, will the event be a harbinger of better times for the graphics and signage marketplace? “All signs point to an improved outlook for the industry,” says Lori Anderson, ISA president and CEO. “When speaking with our supplier and distributor community, they are sharing stories of growth and opportunity that we were not hearing a year ago. The optimism currently being expressed is also noted in the recent increase in [our organization’s] membership numbers.”

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open

What’s new?

1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. ISA/Western States Sign Council Golf Tournament THURSDAY, APRIL 28 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Opening General Session 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. American Wrap Star Competition FRIDAY, APRIL 29 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. American Wrap Star Competition 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. New & Green Product Showcases 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p. m. Custom Sign Company Meeting & Networking Reception 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Global Sign Forum & Reception

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. American Wrap Star Competition


By Britney Grimmelsman


Perhaps the biggest news for this year’s ISA Expo event is that, for the first time, ISA will co-locate its Sign

Expo with the International Reprographic Association (IRgA) convention and tradeshow. The world’s leading trade association for the reprographics and blueprinting industry, the IRgA ( represents businesses involved in large- and small-format imaging as well as fi le transfer technologies and document distribution and management. The co-location will provide an expanded platform for ISA and IRgA attendees and exhibitors to network, attend expert-led educational sessions, and visit a more robust tradeshow floor all in one location and at a reduced cost, the ISA reports. “ISA always strives to develop opportunities that create a win-win scenario for everyone,” says Anderson. “ISA has spent this year looking for ways to help unify the visual communication industry. It was only natural that IRgA and ISA work together to help increase value to our members, attendees, and exhibiting community.” And, says Steve Bova, the IRgA’s executive director: “The IRgA is excited to offer its attendees and vendors an opportunity for two shows with one trip. Vendors will be able to leverage their sales efforts by networking with

reprographers at the IRgA event. Reprographers will be able to attend the International Sign Expo and discover more about the world of color and new revenue opportunities. While the ISA and IRgA events will be separate, we are all part of one big industry. Connecting in this manner makes sense.” Returning to the ISA Expo are the event’s New Product Showcase and Green Product Showcase sessions. Although the sessions themselves aren’t new to the show, the products each will feature most certainly are. The third-annual New Product Showcase honors the latest technologies in the graphics and signage market by allowing 25 companies to pitch their most recent creations and developments (those that debuted after April 2010). Each company delivers a two-minute Powerpoint presentation promoting its wares and attendees then vote to choose the “Coolest New Product.” Ultraflex’s Descor, a specialty textile for custom interior design and graphics, received the honor in 2010. “With innovations such as Descor and the other products showcased, sign professionals can begin to visualize new business opportunities or ways to improve their existing services,” says Anderson. After a successful debut in 2010, the second-annual Green Product Showcase will mirror the New Product Showcase as 25 companies compete for the title of “Best Green Product of 2011.” The eco-friendly products will feature advances in energy efficiency, low-VOC, post-consumer waste products, and other similar traits. As with its sister showcase, companies have two-minutes to present their latest in green technologies. ConVerd’s Enviroboard, the company’s moistureresistant alternative to traditional foam and corrugated plastic boards, which is comprised of 10 percent post-consumer waste and 90 percent Forestry Stewardship Council-certified fiber, took home last year’s prize.

TNPG: Livening up the Luxor After checking out the latest in wideformat technologies on the ISA Expo floor, cruise down the Vegas strip and get inspired by the range of digitally printed graphics and wraps that adorn the hotels, transit systems, and other structures throughout Sin City. Along the way, you’re sure to come across output produced by The National Print Group (TNPG, which has partnered with Vegas hotspots like the Flamingo Casino, MGM Grand, and the Luxor to create building wraps and other large projects for more than 18 years. One example of TNPG’s wideformat at work was a project to welcome those attending the 2010 Latin Grammy Awards held in Vegas at the Mandalay last November. Heineken contracted TNPG to create a 20,000square-foot beer-bottle wrap for the east face of the Luxor Hotel pyramid. Using a customized HP Scitex XL Jet 1500 with custom-developed inks “designed specially to withstand the harsh desert conditions and extreme UV exposure,” the Vegas-based print provider output the giant beer graphic

in 100-foot sections onto proprietary perforated window media over the course of a week, says Doug Newson, TNPG president. The shop had to produce approximately 20-percent extra square feet because of the shape of the hand-cut artwork. “Cut-outs are a challenge because they take longer to do, and they have to be perfect so the install team can put them in the correct placement,” says Newson. The installation, coordinated by building-wrap specialist Skytag, took five days. “The Luxor is a challenge because you have to rappel to install and the pyramid can have only two installers at a time out on the face. They rappel with ropes from the vent level of the Luxor,” says Newson. The project remained installed for a week. Today, an 18,000-square-foot Criss Angel wrap covers the Luxor Towers thanks to production by TNPG, which used the same printer, ink, and media to create the graphic. The 57 x 317-foot-wide banner will remain up through the ISA Sign Expo, so be sure to stop and take a look.


ISA International Sign Expo 2011 Exhibitor List A & C Plastics #4029 A.L.L. Innovations Pty #609 A.T Inks #3766 AA LED Supply #5368 Abbeon/Forsthoff Tools #5270 ABC Sign Products #3124 Accent Signage Systems #3937 Action Lighting, Inc. #3019 Adaptive Micro Systems LLC #819 Adere Produtos Auto Adesivos #616 Adhesive Systems #1627 Admax Exhibition System (Shanghai) #5853 Advance Corporation, Braille-Tac #2526 Advanced Display Materials #3906 Advanced Greig Laminators #349 Advantage Sign Supply #4148 Aeromatrix #4521 Agfa #4153 AgiLight #4766 AI Innovations #2515 Air & Water Systems #4005 Akzo Nobel Coatings #2618 Allanson Lighting Electrics #3328 Alphachem #3450 Altec #1911 Alumet Supply #3416 American Biltrite #3350 American Express Open #2035 American LED Tech #4915 American Sign Museum #3317 Amperor #3845 Anajet #2508 Anderson DPC #709 Aristech Acrylics #3343 ARK Ramos #2224 Arlon #2512 Arris Sign Systems #3348 ArtCam by Delcam #2622 ATC Plastic Fabric #4217 AVA Technology/LED4Light #5339 Avery Dennison #5138 AXYZ Internat’l #3323 Baide Optoelectronics #3928 Baronsl #2322 Beijing Jingge Tech #5426 Beijing Kaitian Tech #1705 Better Life Tech #5534 Big Picture Magazine, The #2721 Bitro Group #5966 Blueview Electronics-Optic Tech #2115 BoDo Industrial #515 Bordeaux Digital Printink #1113

Budget-Inks #5053 Cadlink Tech #3510 CAIL / Argentinian Sign Association #1824 Caldera Graphics #4712 California Sign Association #4829 Candex Marketing #2806 CAO Group #3546 Casper-Easynet Solutions #3465 Central Sign Council #4727 Changkong Ad-Mart #2008 Changzhou Huawei Reflective Material #4006 Changzhou Refine Flag & Crafts #5952 Channelume/Let-R-Edge #2621 Charleston Industries #4137 Chemica US Corp #3023 Chengdu Dragonfly Signs #2118 Chengdu Saixing Electric #1120 Chief Enterprises #2320 Chromatic Concepts #5764 Cidan Machinery #2106 Clarke Systems #2113 Clear Focus Imaging #3755 ClearPath Signage Systems #3921 Clearstar LP #5343 CLN of South Florida #2317 Colex Imaging #5348 Color Master #4252 Colorwen Internat’l #3719 Computerized Cutters #2912 Continental Grafix #5961 Converd #2506 Cooley Sign & Digital Products #3564 Coroplast #5264 Cosign NV #1916 Custom Products Corp #5542 Cyrious Software #4464, 1632 Daktronics #3727 Dasan Ad #4662 Data Display USA #5942 Datacom International (dataSIGN) #3853 Denco Sales #1719 DGI #5538 DGS - Digital Graphic Systems #5342 Digifab Systems #4736 Digital Art Solutions #4115 Digital Designware #1011 Digital Technology Group #1615 Digitex Printing Tech #213 Dilli Precision #2126 Direct Color Systems #3543 Direct Sign Wholesale #4566 Dixie Graphics #3462

Both hour-long product-oriented showcases are free to registered attendees and will be held back-toback on April 29. All attendees are welcome to attend and judge. The exposition is also adding a few other elements to the event, including an iPhone-friendly conference brochure and a new virtual “help desk” that allows attendees to simply text a question from anywhere on the show floor, without ever having to locate an ISA official. Other new features like a rock-climbing wall adorning the ISA booth and a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy giveaway will add elements of surprise and excitement to the show.

Staying current Beyond the tradeshow floor, attendees can take advantage of an array of industry-specific educational programs, 22

THE BIG PICTURE march 2011

Drytac Corporation #4343 DSA Phototech #3461 Durable Office Products #3345 Durafos Inc. #2616 Durst Image Technology #4932 Dynapac Rotating #2124 E. L. Hatton Sales #1919 Eastern Metal Supply #2626 Eastsign Internat’l #4558 Edward Segal #5169 EFI #3558 EGL #3326 ElectraLED #5164 Electronic Sign Supply #3703 Elkamet #915 Elliott Equipment #4052 Elumatec USA #3821 Embroidery CAM #2108 EnCore Products #5748 Enplas USA #1715 Enseicom #4806 Epilog Laser #2715 Epson America #1512 ESbright Lighting Innovations #5955 Esco Mfg #3018 EskoArtwork #3512, 2415 Extreme Time #2926 EZ Pen Promo #1316 Ezy Taper #4509 Faces #3530 Fairfield Displays & Lighting #4926 Farco Plastics Supply #2105 FASNAP #3451 FastSigns Internat’l #5751 FDC Graphic Films #5566 Feelis #2111 Ferrari Textiles Corporation/Stamoid #3428 Fisher Textiles #5150 Fletcher-Terry LLC, #2239 Flexmag Industries #4953 Flexpost #2705 Forsstrom #5048 Foshanshi Shundequ Ronggui #2328 Foster Keencut #4539 France #2928 Fujifilm #5353 Gandy Digital #3403 Gaya Land #2329 GBC #4761 GCC America #3947 GD Han’s Yueming Laser Tech #1432 GE Lighting Solutions #4366

Gemini #2728, 3027 General Formulations #4331 Geneva Capital #3209 Gerber Scientific Products #3353 Global - Leed #5964 Glux OE-Tech (Shenzhen) #5537 GOQ #5019 Grandwell Industries #3939 Graphic Accessory Products #2428 Graphic Materials Internat’l #2915 Graphics One #4708 Gravotech #1833 Gregory #611 Grimco #3549 Griplock Systems #1521 Guangzhou Fangcun Hongmei Neon #1115 Guangzhou Linong Lighting Tech #5162 Guangzhou Suihui Adv. Equip. #1014 Gyford Productions #4858 Hainingn Fuxing Compound #1918 Hangzhou Hongze New Material #4536 Hangzhou Multi-Color #1318 Hangzhou Taipusheng Machinery #1925 HAPCO #1510 Hartlauer Bits #2624 Hebei Runlin International Trading #1621 Heely Brown Co #4955 Heico Lighting #2324 Hendrick #3506 Herculite Products #4164 Hexis #1709 Heytex Bramsche #4741 Hiker USA #2413 HiTech LED Displays #5569 Hongyuan Techtex #4218 HP #4543 Hudson & Hudson Neon #4126 Huifeng New Materials #4562 Hyperion Displays/Electro-Matic #5766 ID Signsystems #2136 Identia #3846 Illusion LED Limited #2805 Image First Creative Sign Solutions #2132 Image1 Impact #3109 Imago North America #918 Impact Advertising #3764 Imprintables Warehouse #3101 Imprintor/Badge-A-Minit #1721 Ink 2000 #3518 Ink Mill #5747 InkTec #5166, 5364 Innovity #4970

with seminars focused on digital imaging, environmental issues, legislation, business management, sales and marketing, and more. “Educational events allow attendees to stay current on the latest information. ISA International Sign Expo is the place to be for businesses that want to be ready to capitalize in an upward economy,” says Anderson. Here are just a few of the 75 educational sessions available at this year’s ISA Expo, categorized by programming tracks: • Digital imaging: “Image Optimizations: Save Ink and Produce Awesome Color,” presented by Mike Ruff (Nazdar Consulting); “Thermal Transfer is Not Dead,” Dana Goodale (Gerber Scientific); “Getting the Most Out of Your Wide-Format Printer Investment,” Reed Hecht (Epson);

InPro #4028 inStall Xpress #2927 Integra Technologies International #2803 Inteplast Group Ltd/World-Pak #5137 International Light Technologies #2410 International Sign Association #4326 International Welding Technologies #3926 Interstate Electric Company #1110 Intertek #5326 INX Digital #4315 IPS Corp #3952 Island Clean Air #3206 ITW Plexus #4034 Jain Americas #2522 Jasper Plastic Solutions #4224 Jet USA Corp #2528 Jiangsu DMNI Industrial #5433 Jiangyin Huahong Alubond Metal #2709 Jiangyin Litai Ornamental Material #1535 Jianshun Digitech #5746 Jingjiang Naisi Digital Technology #4033 JPG Corp #3609 J’s LED Power #3745 JSD Display Mfg #1015 JTLED #2138 JUTU Technologies #5055 K.K. Label #1920 Kammi Digital Printing #5265 KAPCO Graphic Products #5434 Kenzrun LED Lighting #1928 Kintex Ltd #4264 KIP America #2308 Kommerling USA #4054 Konka Video & Comm. #2908 Laminators Inc #3753 LED Inc #3346 Ledco #605 LEDConn #1515 Ledman Optoelectronic #3417 LEDsCreation Technology #2033 LG Hausys America #4532 Light Engines #3951 LightingLux—Electrobits #3525 LightKing Optoelectronics Tech Group #1216 Lintec of America #3955 Little Giant Ladders #2919 Lockfast #3443 Lord Corp #3026 Louis A. Green Corp #5269 Loxcreen Company #3964 LT Flex #5864 Lumificient #4964

“Beyond Banners: New Applications for Growth,” Roman Barba and John Stevens (HP). • Production/fabrication: “Expand Your Market with Fabric: Generate a New Revenue Stream,” Nora Norby (Banner Creations) and Jeff Leagon (Fabric Graphics Association). • Sales/marketing: “How to Build an Online Marketing Machine,” Bob DeStefano (SVM E-Business Solutions); “100 Ways to Make Money with a Printer/Cutter,” Skip Grant (Skip Grant Productions). • Graphic arts and design: “Maximizing Productivity and Creativity in CorelDraw X5 for Digital Output,” Craig Mertens (Digital Art Solutions); “New Markets and Applications with Metallic Silver Ink,” Robert Ozankan and Dana Curtis (Roland DGA); “10 Killer Software Tools for Graphic

MacTac #5367 Magnum Magnetics #3008 MagX America #4639 Main Tape #3843 Mainstar Lightbox #3709 Manitex #118 Master Magnetics #5366 Matthews Bronze #2719 Matthews Paint #3115 MDI Worldwide #4320 Mean Well USA #5256 Mehler Texnologies #5147 MetalForming #4143 Micron America Tekstil Deri #1915 Mid South Sign Association #4726 Midwest Sign Association #4725 Miller Weldmaster #4966 Milliken Distribution #4937 Mimaki USA #4958 Miratec Systems #3224 Mitsubishi Plastics Composites #4215 Montroy Sign & Graphic Products #2707 MTL Print #5544 MultiCam #4338 Mutoh America #4312 N. Glantz & Son #2725 Nanjing Lopu #1635 Natura Media #5743, 5337 Nazdar SourceOne #3912 NC LED #2310 Neolt USA/Digital #3855 Neonpro #3930 Neschen Americas-Seal #4132, 4031 New Force Magnetics #2315 Ningbo So-Fine Paper Products #5865 Northeast States Sign Association #4828 Northwest Sign Council #4728 Nova Polymers #3848 Nuclear Coating Fabric #5856 Nunn Products #4251 NuSign Supply #5858 Obeikan Technical Fabrics #4064 Océ Display Graphics Systems #4258 OK Industry #5254 Onyx Graphics #4139 Optec Displays #4128 Oracal USA #3715 Orbus Exhibit & Display Group #2028 Orient Technology #5018 Orientflex New Materials #2236 Orlanto Signs Materials #5852, 5439 Ornamental Post, Panel & Traffic #3361

Osram Sylvania #4564 Over Target USA #1013 Paige Electric #3362 Palram Americas #4222 Park Place Sign Systems #4032 Parker Davis Company #2521 Peachtree City Foamcraft #2421 Permlight for Signs #3943 Photo Tex Group #3106 Piedmont Plastics #4853 Pivot Decorative #4118 Plaskolite #4351 Polytype America Corp. #4103 Pregis Corporation #3227 Presto Tape #1637 Principal LED #5370 ProEdge Systems #2032 Pro-Lite #3723 Proveer #4305 PVI Solar #4124 R Tape Corporation #3315 Radocy #2615 Rainbow Hi-Tech #5153 RAS Systems #1921 Right LED #1823 Rishang OptoElectronics #2121 Ritrama #4105 RNS Channel Letters #2517 Rocus Electronics #1733 Roland DGA #3111 Rollscroller/Colex #5953 Royal Sovereign #1423 SA Internat’l #4335 SABIC Polymershapes #5351 Safety Speed Cut Mfg. #3107 Saw Trax Mfg #3103 Sawgrass Tech #3503 Scott Sign Systems #3119 Screen USA #2336 SDS #1312 Seattle Textile Company #4537 Seiko I Infotech #4715 SFC Co #5943 SGS North America #1012 Shanghai DER New Material #514 Shanghai Gomagic Internat’l #2313 Shanghai Hanker Plastics #2617, 2412 Shanghai Hawk Eshow #1731 Shanghai Jump Display Products #5968 Shanghai Pallas Electric Co #5328 Shanghai Unisign Industrial MaterialL #5949 Shanghai Zeafee Digital Inkjet #1723

Design,” Mark Rugen (givemehelp. com); “How to Integrate Vehicle Wrap Design into Your Sign Shop,” Mark Rugen. • Estimating: “Aligning Your CostBased Structure to Your Strategy,” Scott St. Cyr (Cyrious Software); “How to Estimate and Price Signs,” Dan Hale (QRS Sign). • Customer service: “Striving For Excellence: The Key To Superior Customer Service,” Tom Hudgin (Wilmington Quality Associates); “Delivering the Ultimate Experience,” Kevin Dougherty. • Management: “The Chaos Factor: Bracing for the Next Economic Revolution,” Brad Dawson (LTV Dynamics); “How to Manage Your Time When You Wear Too Many Hats,” Bob Losyk (Innovative Training Solutions). Pricing for educational sessions

Sheffield Plastics #3527 Shenyang SkyAir-ship #4142 Shenzhen Aoto Electronics #3909 Shenzhen Bako Optoelectronics #4309 Shenzhen Besdled #2901 Shenzhen Chip Optech #1415 Shenzhen CLT LED Technology #816 Shenzhen Createled Electronics #3308 Shenzhen Eastar Electronic #2012 Shenzhen Gloshine Technology #2903 Shenzhen Hong Ri Xing #3508 Shenzhen Huahai Chengxin #3305 Shenzhen Kmtekled Photoelectricity #4609 Shenzhen Lanke Electronics #1905 Shenzhen LEDWay Optoelectronic #1315 Shenzhen Leyard Optoelectronic #4109 Shenzhen Liantronics #5118 Shenzhen Lingbenyang Industry #3105 Shenzhen Mary Photoelectricity #4913 Shenzhen Only Optoelectronics Tech #5428 Shenzhen Runtianzhi Image Tech #2302 Shenzhen Taidilen Optoelectronic #1831 Shenzhen Top Tech #1421 Shenzhen Topvision Optpelectronic #5958 Shenzhen Unique Star Optoelectronics #4035 Shenzhen Yaham Optoelectronics #5129 SID Signs #4921 Sign Association of Canada #4827 Sign Builders #3321 Signal Sign Systems #1626 Signarama #4706 SignComp #3228 #3935 Sign-Mart #1526 SignPresence By Firespring #2327 Signpro Systems #2030 Signs By Benchmark #4856 SignsCal (Kunshan) Coating #2516 Signsearch-A Visual Communications #4738 #4121, 4122 Simona America #4106 Sinclair Equipment #4019 Sinology Enterprise #1428 Siser North America #3907 SJ-D5 #5334 Skip Grant Productions #3509 SloanLED #4066 SM Media Group #3207 SMI Corporation #5855 Southern States Sign Council #4826 Spartech Plastics #5152 Spectrum Communications #1722

Splash of Color #2710 Spraylat Corp #2825 SS Light #1932 Stamm Mfg #119 Starflex #5458 Steel Art Co #3021 ST Media Group #2721 Stud Welding #4053 Stud Welding Products #5466 Sullaway Engineering #1610 Summa #5043 Supertex Fabrics #1821 SuZhou ChengYang Manufacturing #1930 Suzhou Jeihui Exhibion Equipment #1532 Suzhou MoonStar Show Equipment #5951 SWSC #4825 T.P.M. #5564 Taiwan Calcom International #5052 Taizhou Baiyun Jixiang Decorative #2331 Tape Technologies #2221 Techno #2429 Teckwin Internat’l #5558 TecnoLux, Incorporated #4869 Tecre Company Incorporated #2519 Tex Visions #2523 Texture Plus #3864 The Great Wall Photoelectric Science #2333 The Signage Foundation #4030 Thermwood Corp #5333 T-LED System #414 Top Value Fabric #4918 Trademark Designs #5335 Transco #2627 Trans-Lux #3515 3A Composites #3521 3M #714 Tri Vantage #3953 Trigard Bronze #614 Triplesign USA #5970 Trumpf #3934 Tubelite Co #318 U.S. Banner Corp. #3919 Ultraflex Systems #3358 Underwriters Laboratories #3448 United Visual Products #5253 Universal Laser Systems #2311 Universal Lighting Tech #2918 Universal Products #3519 US LED #4323 US Sign & Fabrication Corp #3721 US Tech #3705 USA Sign Frame & Stake #2427

is $129 per session or attendees can choose from among three package-pricing options: Genius ($459, unlimited selection from 75 sessions Wednesday - Saturday); WorkSmart ($359, unlimited selection from 57 sessions Thursday - Saturday); or JumpStart ($259, unlimited selection from 18 Wednesday sessions). Discounted prices are offered to ISA members. In addition to the more formal educational seminars, attendees can make their way to the American Wrap Star competition to experience live vehicle-wrap applications done by wrap professionals from across the nation. Sponsored by 3M, HP, Royal Sovereign, Eurosystems, Digital Designware, CADlink, Yellotools, Leister, and Master Magnetics, the contest will have 64 competitors wrapping four vehicles. During the three-day event,

USHIO America #411 Value Vinyl #4939 Van Ladder #1435 Ventex Technology #3932 Versalift #2321 /C16 Verseidag Seemee #4764 Virginia Optoelectronics #3464 Vision Engraving & Routing Systems #2016 Visual Magnetics #1518 Visual Point #2808 viviLED Display Co #1529 Voltarc #3127 Vycom Corp. #4364 Vytek #5125 Wagner Zip-Change #3128 Wasatch Computer Technology #4758 Watchfire Signs / Time-O-Matic #3121 Weifang Handun CNC Equipment #2123 Western States Sign Council #4729 Wilkie Mfg #3029 Wonpoong Corp #4321 World Wide Sign/Tischler #3734 Wuxi Guoshun Ad Material Corp #2223 WYNIT #1729 Xi’an Qingsong Tech #2905 xpedx #1623 Xtreme Graphic Collections #3126 Xusen Coat Material #4237 Young Electric Sign #4928 Z3 Graphics #3415 Zhaoqing Heng Yi Industrial #2431 Zhejiang Botai Plastic #2706 Zhejiang Husheng Warpknitted #4026 Zhejiang Tianxing Technical Textiles #715 Zhongshan Lixing Building Materials #1624 Zhuhai Jinbo Kechuang Electronics #3927 ZLight Technology #5770 Zund America #5549 Zuni Scrolling Signs (Bei Dou Xing) #1935

Exhibitor list courtesy of ISA and accurate as of press time; for latest list, visit Note: This list does not include IRgA exhibitors.

the competitors will compete in five rounds vying for more than $250,000 worth of prizes. Here’s the schedule of events: • Thursday, April 28: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Round one, with eight 30minute matches. • Friday, April 29: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Round two, four 45-minute matches; and round three, two 60minute matches. • Saturday, April 30: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Round four, two 75-minute matches each and a single 90-minute round. Prize ceremony begins at 3:30 p.m.

Targeted networking The Sign Expo offers several events designed to allow attendees to meet and potentially build solid business relationships, including the >38


By Mike Antoniak


FABRICS In the high-profile worlds of fashion, theatre, and entertainment, Dyenamix ( is not a name that’s instantly recognizable – except to those in the know. This New York City specialist in custom fabric and textiles produces the material for the latest designs and costumes seen on Broadway and in the movies. “With digital printing on fabric, today’s designers can design with less limitations than before the process became available,” says Raylene Marasco, Dyenamix founder and president. “Digital printing gives us a way to provide them with custom textiles that just didn’t exist before.” Her digital capabilities have become so integral to the specialty services she provides, Marasco estimates 60 percent of her business now involves digital printing at some point. She taps digital printing, via a pair of Mimaki Tx2 printers, for coloring material, recreating vintage designs, 24

THE BIG PICTURE march 2011

Photo: Kevin Sturman.

Dyenamix’s digitally printed textiles grace fashion runways, Broadway stages, and other venues.

or printing fabric with new graphics created on a computer. “We print with low minimums, but also have the capacity to do large production quality print runs,” she says.

A specialty niche Digital printing wasn’t even on Marasco’s horizon when she launched Dyenamix as a two-person shop in Hoboken, New Jersey, back in 1991. Her intent then was to fill a void she identified in a highly specialized market niche: custom-designed finely crafted fabric in small quantities. In those early days, the company established its reputation as a supplier of unique materials through a combination of hand silk-screening, painting, and dyeing textiles. The business took off immediately. “Our early clients included Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren, various architects, as well as costumers for myriad Broadway shows and

At right: For the play, Madame Butterfly, performed during the Minnesota Opera’s 2011-2012 season, Dyenamix output 13 variations of kimono designs, all with the Mimaki Tx2 onto two different fabrics, including the silk jacquard shown here.


“The core of our business has always been fashion people and the fashion industry,” says Raylene Marasco, Dyenamix founder and president. At left: For a Christian Cota show this spring, Dyenamix produced this design onto leather using a Mimaki TextileJet Tx2 printer.

major feature fi lms,” reports Marasco. Within two years, she relocated the business to a larger space – Mercer Street in Greenwich Village, its home through 2007. There, Dyenamix thrived as word of its unique capabilities spread within New York City’s creative community. “To this day, we’ve never done any advertising,” boasts Marasco. “All our growth has come through word of mouth.” By 1999, the business had reached a critical juncture. “We were still doing all our designs by hand, but were getting more and more requests for quantity production,” she recalls. “I was searching for a way to reproduce these hand techniques for larger applications, without compromising the integrity or quality of our designs, and I was interested in how the technology could expand our capabilities.” That search ultimately led her to digital printing on fabric as the possible answer. Still, Marasco found her choices in state-of-the-art systems – as far as printing on fabric goes – limited. “There weren’t many options for dye-printing fabric, so I wasn’t quite sure how realistic my search was,” she says. She identified several systems that could be used for printing samples, but very few that could deliver consistent quality, in quantity, on textiles. And, the price of those systems, until proven, seemed prohibitive. Eventually, she reached an intriguing deal with one manufacturer, Mimaki, which would allow her to “test” its 7-color Tx-1600 in her shop and train her and an employee on its operation. In return, Marasco agreed to appear at tradeshows and talk about the technology, and introduce digital printing on textiles to at least one client working in New York’s fashion and theatre sectors. “They gave me six months to find those clients, but we were doing work for them both within two,” she says.

Initial resistance Those first clients were the exception, however. Initially, most of her customers resisted this new approach to creating custom fabrics. “Changing perceptions about digital printing was our biggest challenge in those early days,” Marasco says. “In the fashion industry, most people thought digital printing meant dye sublimation, and that’s not what they wanted. It wasn’t until we produced enough examples to show them all that we could now produce digitally that they began to see the possibilities.” As they did, digital quickly grew to become a more integral aspect of her specialized services. Eventually, Marasco traded up from the Tx-1600 for the faster Mimaki TextileJet Tx2 version of the 1600, and two years later purchased a second Tx2 to meet ever-growing demand. Today, the company uses the printers and DuPont dyes to print on more than 40 different fabrics kept in stock. Dyenamix also offers custom pre-treatment of client’s fabrics for printing. “Digital printing has been the perfect complement and expansion to our existing business,” she says of these systems. “And some of our projects utilize the traditional processes combined with digital printing. We continually push the limits of the technology to provide our clients with provocative new designs.” By the time Dyenamix added the second Mimaki, though, potential competitors began to appear as others looked to her niche as an opportunity to recoup their investment in digital fabric-printing systems. However, her years of experience working with fabric, and familiarity with the high-pressure steam-finishing process and washing that textiles require, gave her company the competitive advantage. “We had a definite advantage because we had


Photo: Dyenamix Home.

digitally printed textiles

already been dyeing, printing, and painting on textiles, and understood how to properly finish and treat the fabric,” Marasco says. Her intimate understanding of the digital-printing process, as it impacts textiles, grows with each project. “Every piece of fabric accepts color differently, so every job is a special job,” Marasco says. “We do a ridiculous amount of color matching, and a lot of sampling before we’ll approve the color.” That expertise, commitment to quality, and willingness to partner with clients to meet their deadlines, has allowed Dyenamix to expand its client base. The company has digitally dyed and printed fabric used for costumes seen on major Broadway shows, in feature films, and on TV: Wicked, Hairspray, The Taking of Pelham 123, Shutter Island, and American Gangster, to name just a few. For the 2009 film Duplicity, for example, costume designers turned to Dyenamix to create material for a dress to be worn by Julia Roberts’ character. A section of a vintage dress was scanned into a Mac where the design was repeated in Photoshop, then printed on 100-percent cotton used to make the dress. “Designers often find a vintage garment they might want to use for a costume but the original might be damaged, it’s not the right size, or they need it in a different color,” Marasco explains. Dyenamix routinely solves such 26

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problems, and offers clients more choices in the final appearance of their designs.

Art and fashion Dyenamix has worked with several artists, including Louise Bourgeois, to produce digital prints on a range of fabrics. In the fashion industry, “Our textiles grace the runways of top fashion designers like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Narisco Rodriquez, Jill Stuart, and Proenza Schouler,” she continues. “We’ve worked for a mix of ever-changing clients and projects, but the core of our business has always been fashion people, and the fashion industry.” Unlike the entertainment industry, where the need for a costume can be anticipated well in advance, the fashion industry is much more fast-paced, especially in the days leading up to and during New York’s Fashion Week. It’s a proving ground, and a high-pressure environment that Marasco and her staff thrive on. “In fashion, everything can change right up until the last minute,” she says. “Because of the fast turnaround with digital printing, we can do a lot of experimentation and development of their ideas. They can see what a print looks like at different sizes, in different colors, or against different backgrounds. It’s allowing them to solidify their concepts before committing to large yardages.” Dyenamix’s stellar reputation within the fashion

The company’s Dyenamix Studio Collection comprises 30 designs of digitally printed fabrics for home furnishings and interiors. At left, its Versailles Baltic fabric, digitally pigment-printed on the DuPont Artistri 2020. For the “Project Runway” reality TV series, Dyenamix helps participants choose colors and designs, then prints on fabrics selected from its catalog. At right: the shop’s work for Season 7 winner Seth Aaron Henderson, using the Mimaki Tx2, onto cotton sateen.

industry has helped bring the company visibility on TV. For the past two seasons, the company’s custom work has been featured on the Lifetime Network’s reality series, “Project Runway” and its annual digital printing challenge. Marasco and members of her staff have helped participants choose the colors and designs, which Dyenamix then prints on fabrics selected from its catalog.

The show gave viewers a look at the consultative services Marasco and company bring to all projects and all jobs. “We have an in-house design team that provides direct consultation and development,” she says. “Experimenting is an important part of the process. And with digital we can easily produce several samples, on different materials if necessary, until we can provide our clients with exactly the look they are after.” She encourages clients to consult with her and her team early in their creative process. “We can print just about whatever they want, but we encourage them to come to us and discuss what they want before their ideas are set,” she says. “And, whenever a new customer approaches us, we invite them for a consultation to discuss their project and view the techniques we offer on samples. That really opens their mind to all we can do.” In addition to its work for high-profile clients, Dyenamix has expanded in another direction: developing and offering the Dyenamix Studio Collection of digitally printed fabrics for home furnishings and interiors. Currently, the line includes 30 designs, which can be printed on cotton sateen, linen, or shantung fabric. Marasco considers it another example of how digital printing opens up new opportunities in custom fabric design. “In the past we would have had to retain large screens in our archives for every one of these designs. Any alternations of the designs meant creating new screens,” she explains. “But now, with digital technology, designers can re-color or re-scale a design as needed and print it on whatever material they want.”

Photo: Lifetime Network.

Consult and experiment

It’s this flexibility that guarantees digital printing a continued role in Dyenamix’s future: “There are very few limitations in the types of images that can now be printed on fabric,” she observes. “But we’d love to see systems which are even faster, with inks that have better light fastness and wash fastness, and more fabric options.” She expects to expand her digital department in the future, as the technology advances, without compromising the service which has made her company a contributor to so many of its discerning clients’ successes. “We’re still a small shop, and that’s because of the specialty nature of the services we provide, working closely with our clients,” she concludes. “Our business is to provide our clients with custom textiles, whatever they need. Digital printing has given us a way to present them with new possibilities.” Freelance writer Mike Antoniak is a regular contributor to The Big Picture.



SOLVENT SUCCESS A narrowing of choices when it comes to solvent printers.

It’s getting more and more difficult to track down a printer that utilizes solvent inks. As a result of a combination of factors – the onrushing surge of UV technologies coupled with green/ sustainable aspirations, to name two – solvent-machine options are much more limited today than they were a few years ago. In looking at The Big Picture 2004 rollfed printer charts, for example, we listed specs for nearly 60 rollfed solvent printers. In last year’s charts, however, the number of rollfed solvent machines had dwindled to about 25. So if you opt to go the solvent route today, your hardware options are much more limited. Or, some would say, you can be much more focused when it comes to choosing a machine and you don’t have to “wade through” five dozen possibilities. For this month’s sourcelist, we’ve identified 15 major manufacturers badging solvent machines in 2011, and present information on those companies and their “solvent rosters.” For 28

THE BIG PICTURE march 2011

most companies, we’ve spotlighted one of their printers and added information on other solvent units when available. Keep in mind that for the sake of this list, we’ve included solvents as well as mild- and eco-solvents, but we have not included any other ink technologies for this article (including aqueous, dye-sub, UV, or latex).

if machine sits) plus an automated air vacuum system that eliminates manual head wiping. The 5024 can output onto reinforced vinyl, pressuresensitive vinyl, canvas, fabrics, mesh, paper, and more. Options include a modular backlit camera unit for registered printing on both sides of the media; a rewind (takeup) unit; and a retro heater. The printer is also available in a 300-dpi, 4-color, high-speed version (1108 – 1650 sq ft/hr). Other Agfa solvent printers include the Jeti 3312/3324 and the Jeti 3348 HSS (high-speed solvent) units.

Jeti 5024 AGFA

Beyond Manufacturing The DL-5400 is a 6-color (CMYKcm) printer-cutter that utilizes eco-solvent inks (Beyond Eco-Sol Bulk Inks) and runs outdoor graphics as well as large and short-run labels. It accommodates media from 12- to 54-in. wide (53-in. printing width), and can handle 12-in.-diameter rolls with 3-in. cores. The DL-5400 generates a top

Agfa The 198-in. Jeti 5024 features 24 Spectra printheads, true 600 dpi (1200 apparent), and 6 colors (CMYKcm); it can reach a top speed of 1190.25 sq ft/hr. Other features include automatic head-capping (auto caps in 15 min.

At left: Image Options ( in San Diego utilized its Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 printer with Ultrachrome GS solvent inks to produce the output for this 32 x 12-foot trailer for Titleist golf balls in preparation for the 2011 PGA Tour. It took the company nine hours to output the job onto 869 feet of Avery MPI 1005 Supercast vinyl, followed by an Avery 1360 gloss overlam. Decal Technologies wrapped the trailer in a day. speed of 441 sq ft/hr at 360 dpi, and offers resolutions as high as 1440 dpi; cutting speed is 11.8 in./sec. Roland’s VersaWorks software RIP is included, as is a PC work station. DGI Offers the following solvent machines: PS-3206D, PS-3204D, PS-3206S, PS-3204S, PS-2504S, XP-3204T, XP2506DX, XP-1804D. Also offers the OR-1806 light-solvent machine. DGS Solvent machines include the ColorXpress CX2504S, ColorXpress CX2512X, and ColorXpress CX3216X.

Vutek 3360 EFI EFI The 126-in. EFI Vutek 3360 is available in Entry Level and Full Production Level models. It offers: compatibility with Vutek BioVu inks; a choice between regular and Fast 4 printing; and 4-, 6-, and 8-color printing. A fully configured Full Production printer is capable of both 8-color and Fast 4 printing up to 1622 sq ft/hr, solvent and dye-sub applications, 2sided backlit printing, and more. An Entry 8-channel printer produces up to 632 sq ft/hr and prints good-quality solvent applications and can also be upgraded in the field to Full Production Level printer. All 3360 models offer 720-dpi

apparent resolutions (360-dpi addressable), and 80-pl Spectra Nova printheads. Top speeds vary with the model chosen: Entry Level model, 316 sq ft/hr; Entry Level Fast 4, 632 sq ft/hr; Full Production model, 341 sq ft/hr; Full Production Fast 4, 1622 sq ft/hr. Customers can choose between the EFI Fiery XF RIP or ColorBurst RIP. Optional equipment includes an alignment system to enable front/ back registration required for twosided printing. Also available is the 204-in. EFI Vutek 5330. Epson America The Stylus Pro GS6000 is a 64in. roll-to-roll printer featuring Epson UltraChrome GS inks formulated from Epson’s proprietary solvent-ink technology. The 8-color (CMYKcm+orange+green) GS6000 features a Dual-Array MicroPiezo AMC printhead, prints at 340 sq ft/hr for banner-quality printing and up to 91 sq ft/hr for photographic signage (it’s also capable of printing fine-art reproductions at 71 sq ft/hr). Maximum resolution is 1440 x 1440 dpi with droplet sizes as small as 3.7 pl. The UltraChrome GS inks offer nearly odorless printing and eliminate the need for special ventilation or air-purification systems, says Epson. The inks do not require a hazard-

Scitex TJ8350 HP

JV5-320S MIMAKI ous-materials designation for shipping or storage; in addition, the yellow inks do not contain nickel (Ni) compounds. The inks also dry fast, eliminating the necessity for drying equipment. Eight 950-ml “hot-swappable” ink cartridges comprise the printer’s ink system. Included with the Stylus Pro GS6000 is the ColorBurst Professional Production RIP; other features include: printhead ink-repelling coating technology for reduced nozzle clogging; an automatic take-up reel system for unattended production of large print runs; intelligent preventative maintenance system; a mediaheating system; standard USB connectivity with a USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet port. Flora Digital Printing System The Flora LightJet LJ320P solvent printer is available in 4- or 6-color (CMYKcm) configurations and features Spectra Polaris printheads. It offers speeds up to 1184 sq ft/hr in Draft mode and 807 sq ft/hr in Standard Quality mode, and resolutions up to 800 x 1200 dpi. The LJ320P’s top printing width is 126 in. and it can accommodate paper, advertising banner media, PVC, mesh fabrics, adhesive vinyls, and more. RIP is Photoprint 6.1 Flora edition. Other Flora machines include: the HJII 5000SW, HJII 5000SE, HJII 5000P, LightJet LJ320X, HeavyJet HJ3200 Turbo, LightJet LJ320SW, LightJet LJ320SE, and LightJet LJ320P (all solvents); and the LightJet LJ320K (eco-solvent). HP The HP Scitex TJ8350, designed for long runs and high speeds, can print


solvent printers up to 5166 sq ft/hr using solvent inks. The 6-color (CMYKcm) printer offers a top resolution of 600 dpi (apparent) and can accommodate media from 47 x 63 to 65 x 145 in. up to 0.5-mm thick. It can print on uncoated flexible substrates ranging from self-adhesive vinyl, paper, and backlit materials to flag, PVC banner, window graphics, and more. The TJ8350 utilizes TJ100 Supreme or TJ100 Flash inks (the former are more durable; the latter are more economical). Caldera GrandRIP+ or Onyx ProductionHouse included, as are a dedicated collecting table and dryer; a TJ Double Side Upgrade is optional.

ValueJet 1618 MUTOH Infiniti Digital Equipment Available with 8 or 12 Xaar 30-pl printheads, the 98-in. Fina 250A features CMYK solvent inks, an auto media-feeding and take-up system, drying fan, and head-cleaning system. Top speed for the 8-head system is 274 sq ft/hr at 540-dpi resolution, while the 12-head printer offers 414 sq ft/hr in 540-dpi mode. Top resolution: 1440 dpi. A media-width auto detector is optional. Other Infiniti solvent printers include: Fina 160A, 320B, 320SW, 3360AS, and 3360SW. Mimaki Mimaki’s grand-format JV5-320S offers a print width of 128 in. and is designed to combine long-time/continuous printing with high speeds and image quality. It features a staggered printhead arrangement and can generate a maximum resolution of 1440 dpi. The 320S can hit a top speed of 645 sq ft/hr at 540 x 720 dpi and a speed 30

THE BIG PICTURE march 2011

AdvancedJet AJ-1000i ROLAND DGA of 279 sq ft/hr at 720 x 1440 dpi (all speeds in 4-color mode). Offering a 6or 4-color mode (CMYKcm or CMYK), the printer can utilize Mimaki’s ES3 eco-solvent inks as well as its HS rugged solvent inks. The 320S can print on media up to 1-mm thick, and automatically detects media thickness and adjusts head-height gap to generate the best print quality. A media encoder feeds media evenly without any influence of media weight. Other features include: an automatic nozzleout detection to reduce loss of media and wasted ink; a feeding and take-up device for heavy media (the 320S can handle a roll weight up to 286.6 lb); auto-change double ink cartridges for long, consistent printing (maximum capacity of 1.76 liters/color); large postheater to enable high-speed printing (in addition to pre-heater and print heater); and a RasterLink Pro II RIP. An external dryer is optional. Other Mimaki solvent printers include: the CJV-30 series of printer-cutters (four sizes), the JV5-130S/160S, and the JV33 series of printers, including the JV33-130, JV33-160, and JV33-260. Mutoh The Dual-Head ValueJet 1618 from Mutoh is a 64-in. roll-to-roll mild/ecosolvent printer that images onto coated and uncoated media with Mutoh’s Intelligent Interweaving and drop-on demand piezo technology for increased print speeds and elimination of banding and ink mottle. Sporting two 180 nozzles x 8 line printheads, the 1618 offers 2x CMYK Eco-Ultra inks in 16 channels. Imaging in full color directly onto posters, banners, backlit panels, P-O-S displays, signs, and stickers, the 1618 features 12 printing modes-from 540- to 1440dpi resolutions-and users can print as fast as 480 sq ft/hr at 720 dpi. Other

features include a media preheating and drying system, as well as a takeup system for rolls up to 67 lb; an optional HD take-up system is available. The machine comes standard with an Onyx Mutoh-edition RIP. Other solvent printers in Mutoh’s lineup include: the mild/eco-solvent ValueJet 1304, 1614, and 2606 printers, as well as the ValueJet MubioHybrid 1608-64 hybrid that utilizes Mutoh Mubio bio-solvent inks. Roland DGA The AdvancedJet AJ-1000i is a 104in.-wide machine that can reach print speeds of 968 sq ft/hr at 360 x 180 dpi and produce 6-color graphics (CMYKcm) onto coated and uncoated media. Other speed/resolution pairings include: 323 sq ft/hr at 360 x 360 dpi, 162 sq ft/hr at 360 x 720 dpi, and 65 sq ft/hr at 720 x 720 dpi, its top resolution. Users can choose either EcoXtreme i inks for high durability or EcoXtreme LT inks for relatively short-term applications (both 1-liter ink cartridges). Other features on the AJ-1000i include: Roland Intelligent Pass Control to eliminate banding; integrated tri-heater system and blower; automated media-feed and takeup system; and VersaWorks RIP software. An MU Mesh Printing Unit, for unlined mesh media, is optional. The machine is also available in a 74-in. version (AdvancedJet AJ-740i) Roland DGA’s other solvent printers include: the VersaCamm SP 300i/540i and VersaCamm VS 640/540/420; the VersaArt RS 540/640; and the SolJet Pro III XJ 540/640/740 and SolJet Pro III XC 540MT.


Seiko-Infotech USA Seiko Infotech’s ColorPainter V-64s is a 64-in. inkjet printer specifically designed for the mid-volume sign and banner printing market. The printer produces true 720 x 720-dpi prints with its 6-color (CMYKcm) mildsolvent inksets, either EG-Outdoor EX or EG-Outdoor LX inks. The machine’s six printheads allow the printer to achieve, in production mode, a printing speed of 172 sq ft/ hr at 720 x 720 dpi; the machine can hit 322 sq ft/hr in draft mode, and 88 sq ft/hr in production mode. Features on the V-64s include: Smart Pass Technology that automatically creates unique gradient overlaps between each printing pass to reduce/ eliminate banding (the technology also optimizes dot placement to improve overall print quality); a threeway independently controlled heater to optimize ink receptiveness on media and ink drying time; standard blower to speed drying, and integrated four-way take-up unit; adjustable head height for different media thickness– 0.08 or 0.1 in.; and manual media cutter with media clips. Also available are the Seiko ColorPainter H-74 and H-104 mild-solvent printers.

8254E/8264E XEROX (240 x 720 dpi, 2-pass); it can reach speeds of 570 sq ft/hr at 360 x 720 dpi (2-pass). Features include a preheater, two infrared heaters, a fan system, and more. RIP software is PhotoPrint 6.1. The SC II can accommodate vinyl, perforated vinyl, polyester, banner, and canvas media. Other solvent printers in the SID lineup include: the Xpress 320 8H and the XCS Plus 320 8H, XCS, XES 250/320, and XE 210/320 models; as with the SID SC II, all of these printers can function as either solvent or eco-solvent machines.

Xerox The 8254E and 8264E printers from Xerox utilize eco-solvent inks. Designed for a range of users, the two share these specs: eco-solvent Ultra CMYK inks; resolutions up to 1440 dpi; dynamic variable-dot imaging and Intelligent Interweaving; the ability to print on a variety of materials from uncoated vinyl to high-quality coated media; and a standard take-up roll that can handle rolls up to 42 lb (8254E) and 67 lb (8264E). The 54-in. Xerox 8254E offers print speeds up to 143 sq ft/hr in banner mode and 55 sq ft/hr in quality mode; the 64-in. Xerox 8264E features a top speed of 172 sq ft/hr in banner mode and 58 sq ft/hr in quality mode. Xerox also offers the 8265/8290 eco-solvent printers, which offer 6color capabilities.

SID XC II SIGNS INTERNAT’L DISTRIBUTOR Signs International Distributor The SID XC II is a 6-color (CMYKcm) printer that offers a maximum printing width of 126 in. and can function as either a solvent or eco-solvent printer (SID offers XtremeColor Solvent and Eco-Solvent inks, both certified for the printer). The XC II offers resolutions up to 720 dpi and can hit a top speed of 807 sq ft/hr



Ultraflex Debuts UltraMesh Paramount UltraMesh Paramount has been added to Ultraflex’s mesh line. A bright white 9-oz PVC-coated polyester mesh, Paramount offers two-sided printability with UV, solvent, or screen print. Featuring a 10% open area and slit-like holes allowing for 30% airflow, Paramount is best suited for building, stadium, and fence wraps; murals, signs, banners, protective barriers for scaffolding, and theatrical and TV backdrops. Has achieved NFPA701 and CA Title 19 fire-retardant certification. Available in 126- and 196-in. widths. ULTRAFLEX

Supply55 Releases ReelPro Supply55, Inc. has released ReelPro, a take-up system for wide-format printers that’s designed to be easy-to-use and improve efficiency when printing longer and unattended jobs. Other benefits to the ReelPro system include avoidance of dust and dirt on printed images, plus elimination of kinking and scratching of prints as they are moved from printers to work tables, or as they hit the floor. The ReelPro system can accommodate media weighing up to approximately 45 lbs. It’s compatible with various models of printers from Epson, HP, Mimaki, Mutoh, and Roland. The company says that it can also custom-configure the ReelPro system for other devices. Price: $695; bracket kits for some models are optional. SUPPLY55



Xanita Launches X-Board Lite

Neolam PE Laminator From Neolt Neolt has launched new print-finishing products: the Neolam PE cold laminator and a new version of its Electro Textile Super Trim trimmer. The Neolam PE is an entry-level solution for cold laminating and mounting. Available in 43-, 55-, and 65-in. sizes, this machine features an easy-to-use pneumatic system to adjust the nip opening and upper roll pressure. The Neolam PE can handle media up to 1.18in. thick and its running speed is 13 ft/min. Optional add-ons include an electric roll holder and an electric rear take-up system. The latest version of the Electro Textile Super Trim enables the user to create a semi-automatic cutting workflow through operator-defined positioning and trimming programs. Up to 20 programs can be defined to meet different requirements and materials. The motorized rotary blade of the trimmer can be heated in order to cut natural and synthetic fabrics and to seal them at the same time to avoid fraying. With the heat switched off, the trimmer cuts any other flexible substrate up to a maximum thickness of 0.32-in. Available in 65-, 110-, 134-, and 205-in. widths. NEOLT

Xanita has introduced X-Board Lite, comprising an expanded honeycomb core pressed between a print-receptive laminate. The substrate is directly printable on both sides using UV-curable and solvent inks; once printed, X-Board can be mitrecut, folded or curved, and shape cut, and is suitable for flat-panel or three-dimensional applications. It’s designed to be laminated, veneered, pressed with decorative foils, painted, or upholstered. Manufactured from post-consumer paper waste and 100% recyclable and re-pulpable after use, X-Board Lite is VOC-free and contains no polyethylene or waxes. Available in standard 48 x 94- and 48 x 120-in. sizes, and in 5-, 10-, and 16-mm thicknesses; other sizes and thickness available on request. XANITA

Moab Debuts Lasal Exhibition Luster 300 Paper Moab has launched Lasal Exhibition Luster 300, a heavyweight (300-gsm), archival exhibition-quality luster paper, designed for use with all inkjet printers. The new paper replaces the company’s Photo Luster 270 paper and features a new coating designed to produce an extra-wide color gamut and an improved scratch-resistance, enhanced stiffness, reduced curl, and increased opacity. Available in rolls (17-, 24-, and 44-in. wide) and in sheets (4 x 6-, 5 x 7-, 8.5 x 11-, 11 x 17-, and 13 x 19-in., plus A2 and A4). MOAB PAPER



3M’s New Metal Finishes For 1080 Film 3M has announced new brush finishes for its Scotchprint Wrap Film Series 1080. Metal finishing options include brushed aluminum, brushed titanium, brushed steel, brushed steel blue, and brushed gold. These pressureactivated, 3.5-mil cast fi lms are designed to provide dimensional stability and durability without the need for an overlaminate. The fi lms feature non-visible airrelease channels and 60-in. widths. Scotchprint wrap fi lms are also available in carbon fiber and four matte colors: black, white, silver, and military green. 3M

INX Digital Introduces PDQ Inks INX Digital has debuted its Triangle PDQ inks – mild-solvent pigmented inks designed for superwide-format printing systems utilizing Spectra, Xaar, and Ricoh printheads. The lowodor, cyclohexanone-free inks can adhere to various vinyl and banner stocks including PVC-based substrates such as self-adhesive vinyl. The CMKY inks work best for shorter ad campaigns and offer up to one-year outdoor durability, INX reports. Available in 1-liter bottles. INX DIGITAL

Nazdar Debuts Lyson 7470 Inks Nazdar has introduced Lyson 7470 Series ink for use in UV digital flatbed printers. The new ink series is designed for superior performance on fluted polypropylene materials, the company reports, as well as substrates such as styrene, Sintra, Dibond, and foamboard, plus reinforced vinyl banner, and pressure-sensitive vinyl. Primary uses include P-O-P displays, durable graphics, and billboard banners, where flexibility and adhesion is of primary importance, says Nazdar. It’s designed for excellent resistance to edge chipping when used with a knife or router cutter. Available in 1-and 5-liter bulk bottles; CMYKcm, white. NAZDAR


r+d The best resource for books, videos, and CDs for the visual communications industries.

New Versions Of Twist and ES Software Dalim Software has released its latest version of Twist, the company’s workflow engine, and ES, its streamlined customer-facing environment. Twist 6.3, the new standalone version of Dalim’s automated workflow engine, now provides a fully automated PDF “comparison” workflow, based on the Adobe PDF Print Engine. Before a job goes on press, it ensures that the final PDF output is consistent with the intent of the original, delivered fi le. Also new is an integrated Adobe Color Management Module to help users achieve a more consistent color workflow, as well as a new GMG Link tool for more transparent integration to GMG color management. ES 2 now utilizes the production workflow features of the Twist Engine to extend its soft-proofi ng capabilities as well as collaborative project-management and automated prepress processes. Specifically, the new ES 2 now adds a built-in FTP server for fi le delivery and a reverse fl at-plan view for projects created for Asian markets. In addition, the interactive “compare” feature of Dialogue Engine, the optional ES 2 soft-proofi ng component, has been updated. DALIM SOFTWARE

QUICK SHOTS Global Imaging’s Panoply Inks: Global Imaging, has introduced its Panoply Inks brand, alternative inks in solvent, eco-solvent, and UV formulations. The inks are warranted to last a minimum of two years on qualified media with no coating or lamination required, says Global Imaging. Available in liter bottles or bulk-ink systems.

Drytac dry-erase coating: Drytac’s new UV-curable liquid coating for dry-erase applications, InstaCure Dry Erase, has a semi-gloss finish that creates a dry-erase surface on most common substrates for dry-erase boards (including foam board, Gator board, and eco-board-type products). Can be applied with the company’s small-format UV coater, VersaCoater DocuMate Plus, or the VersaCoater XL60 or 80 models.

Green Power.

Falconboard™ is the stronger, flatter and greener alternative to foamboard. With striking printability and versatility, Falconboard is the perfect choice for screen or digital direct printing, as a mounting medium, or for custom displays and POS. Its unique hexacomb design allows superior toughness with less inner core density. So cutting is easier, for cleaner, more accurate, more attractive die-cuts. Best of all, it’s from Pregis Hexacomb,® the global product quality and service leader in high performance, engineered, 100% paper solutions for over three decades.

SA Internat’l, Zund partner: SA International has debuted the Zund Edition of its Enroute Pro 4 CAD/CAM software. The new software offers various tools for creating unique surface effects quickly, including Rapid Texture, Smart Toolpathing, a complete Nesting Suite, and more.,

Falconboard’s unparalleled strength and sustainability make it your preferred alternative to foam board and other paper-based options.

L25500-compatible: Four of Clear Focus Imaging’s One Way Vision products have met HP’s compatibility standards for the HP Designjet L25500 Printer: ImageVue, EconoVue, ReflectVue, and PosterVue. All four perforated vinyl films are suited for producing PO-P posters, retail and commercial window signage, and exhibition graphics, the company reports.

Stronger. Flatter. Greener. Better.

For more information, visit, or call us at 877-692-6163.

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DynaStrip 6.5: Dynagram has released DynaStrip version 6.5. The latest version of its imposition software updates the Layout Reflow feature with layout and mark enhancements as well as the addition of dynamic page sizes.

COMING UP IN THE BIG PICTURE Look for these articles in upcoming issues: • • • •

It’s a Superwide World Software for Business and Management Top Vehicle Wraps & Graphics The RIP and Print Management

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<23 Global Sign Forum and Reception, the Custom & National Sign Company Meeting & Networking Event, and the ISA/Western States Sign Council Golf Tournament. Hosted by ISA’s international committee, the Global Sign Forum and Reception gathers hundreds of industry leaders from more than 30 countries to discuss issues and exchange ideas while developing international business relations. All attendees are welcome to attend, but must indicate so on the registration form. Attendance is capped at 120 guests and the event has hit capacity the past five consecutive years. The Forum takes place Friday, April 29, 4:30-6:00 p.m. The Custom & National Sign Company Meeting & Networking Event invites sign and graphic company ex-

Maximizing your experience

ecutives to gather with representatives from major sign companies, who are on hand to answer questions regarding installation needs throughout the country. An informal networking event with a cash bar will immediately follow. No special registration is required to attend the event, simply bring your registration badge. This event also takes place on Friday, April 29, 4:30-6:00 p.m. Offering a more relaxed networking platform, the ISA/Western States Sign Council Golf Tournament takes place at the Las Vegas National Golf Course and is open to 144 golfers of all skill levels. The tournament will be in scramble format Wednesday, April 27. Registration fee is $150 and includes green fees, cart, unlimited range balls, a boxed lunch, two drink tickets, and entrance to the awards party.


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Online registration for the Sign Expo (at before April 14 costs $25 ($15 for ISA members); after that, registration is $40 ($30 for ISA members). Registration for those under 17 years of age is free. To further assist participants in coordinating their Sign Expo experience, ISA once again offers its online app, MySignExpo, an interactive portal to map out booth visits, educational sessions, and networking opportunities. By walking into the show with a strategic course of action, attendees can maximize a return on the triptaking investment for the biggest ISA expo in years. Britney Grimmelsman is associate editor of The Big Picture magazine.

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March 2011

Bordeaux Digital Print Ink Ltd. OBC Durst U.S. 35 Encore Products 34 Epson America Inc. 6-7 Fisher Textiles 39 Flora Digital Printing 15 Hewlett-Packard 5 Mimaki USA, Inc. 3

Palram Americas 1 Panel Processing 31 Pregis Corp. 37 Seiko I Infotech IFC ST Book Store 36 ST Book Store 39 Ultraflex Systems 13 Vycom Corp. IBC

job log

Making an Entrance The Client Prada The Players Altitude Color Technologies ( Tools & Supplies EFI Vutek UltraVu 2360, HP Scitex XL 1500, Caldera RIP, 3M IJ3552C media and 3M 3519/8914 overlam, INX Triangle Inks, AGL 64i laminator The Job The Crystals Retail and Entertainment at City Center in Las Vegas is home to the world’s most elite couture and luxury brands, including renowned fashion house, Prada. During the early development of Crystals, construction delays forced the retail stores to devise a solution to hide the unsightly construction from Vegas passersby. Prada’s answer: digitally printed graphics. Prada contracted Vegasbased Altitude Color Technologies to wrap nearly 21,000 square feet of windows on Crystals’ entrance. To promote the store’s international appeal, collaged images of hundreds of Prada stores from across the globe would adorn the windows. Prada also called for a large portion of the design to be completely black for two reasons: to ensure no one could see through to the unfinished storeroom, and to reflect the subtlety that Prada is so famously known for. After they received the initial phone call from Prada, the Altitude staff had only four days to complete the eye-catching job.

“Our action plan consisted of meeting two goals: providing the client with quality printing solutions and keeping within the tight specified time frame.” 40


Production The Prada store images were delivered in collage format via Altitude Color’s FTP site from Prada headquarters in Italy. Prada also provided a design for the all-black graphics, but left the more meticulous measurements of the design to Altitude. The print provider created the design using Adobe Illustrator and mapped out corresponding diagrams for the installation team to follow. Once Prada approved the images, the photo-collage graphics were output onto 3M Controltac IJ3552C selfadhesive cast vinyl using an EFI Vutek UltraVu 2360 with INX Triangle inks. For the all-black graphics, meanwhile, Altitude turned to its HP Scitex XL 1500 – because of the increased speed it offers, says Altitude Color’s Amy Terrile – also with Triangle inks and onto the same media. Finishing was done on the company’s AGL 64i laminator with 3M 8519 and 8914 laminates. The hand-cut graphics were assembled on site by Vision Sign Company (, and the installation was completed within two days of the final print work. Prada signage, comprising simple channel letters, was placed on top of the graphics during the second phase of installation. “Given the caliber of this client, we knew we had to move forward diligently and efficiently. The team leveraged every opportunity possible to get the project completed,” says Terrile.



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The Big Picture - March 2011  
The Big Picture - March 2011  

The Business of Wide Format. In this issue: Green is Good - Embracing sustainability; Dyenamix; High-Fashion Fabrics; Previewing ISA Expo;...