New Class A Fire-Rated Absolute Backlit Seals the Deal

Alpharetta, Ga.-based Octo Lights has built a flourishing business covering fluorescent lights, providing the welcome addition of colorful graphics to hospitals, office buildings, schools, dental offices and homes.

stress-free-fluorescent-light-coversThe finished prints add a whimsical or calming effect that eases the glare the fluorescents are known for, while still illuminating the room. “They still allow the light to come through, and everyone needs that,” says Octo Lights’ Bryan Fly. For the past five years, Fly has relied on LexJet 8 Mil Absolute™ Backlit film to get the job done. “It works great,” he says. “It prints well and the color shows up great.”

Seattle Exhibit Gives March Posters a Worthy Display

CoCA photos by Shirene Soleiman 

Outside of its political implications, the Jan. 21 Women’s March offered an opportunity for artists to showcase their skills, in the form of spirited poster art, which is currently on display at Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) through Feb. 25.

We-the-People-17x30-01-1-580x1024Prior to the march, the Amplifier Foundation put out a call for march poster art from women artists around the country. The organization received 5,000 submissions, and narrowed it down to eight official Women’s March poster designs.

Amplifier made the artwork available for download, which offered another opportunity … this time for printers … as 40,000 posters of the selected artwork were readied for the march in Washington, D.C.

Prints That Win: In Flight With Twigs

Photographer Uldis Ilvess was on a road trip through South Carolina when he took his Sunset Print Award-winning photograph In Flight with Twigs. “We happened to drive by a small pasture with some private houses, and in between the houses was this fenced in area with a pond, and in the shrubs were these birds nesting there,” says Ilvess. The image of the bird with twigs in its mouth instantly captivated him.

Based in Des Moines, IA, Ilvess has been a photographer since the 1970s. The art form originally started out as a hobby for him before developing into a full career. He taught photography through a local art center, which he says was a mutually beneficial experience.

How Bumblejax Gives Mounted Photos Some Real Pop

When Seattle, Wash.-based Bumblejax wanted to create an ecommerce site that allowed anyone to have access to high-end, modern face-mounted photo displays, they tested out several different photo papers before settling on the winning product.

“The thing about acrylic face-mounting is that not all papers work well with it,” says Tate Dwinnell, who runs Bumblejax with his brother, Corey. “Sometimes the texture in the paper causes ‘silvering.'”

About five years ago, they came across the award-winning LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper, and they were sold.

“After testing several metallic papers, we’ve found that the LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper offers up the best luminescence and dimensionality,” says Corey Dwinnell. “In other words, this paper really makes your images pop!”

While the metallic paper did its job with photo reproduction, adding the acrylic took their finished products to the next level. Bumblejax creates mounted imagery that’s anywhere from 6×6-inch squares to 96×48-inch panoramas. Projects range from corporate jobs and photo shows to decoration for offices and homes.

“We really see an incredible ‘pop’ from the Sunset Metallic Paper when it is face-mounted to acrylic, especially in a gallery setting with proper lighting,” Corey says.

With the right lighting, the artwork almost has a backlit effect. Bumblejax uses CrystalClear Permanent Adhesive to adhere the print to either 1/8-inch, 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch or 1-inch acrylic, which can give the finished piece an almost 3D appearance.

“It’s a more modern aesthetic,” Tate says. “It’s frameless and floats from the wall, so you don’t see any hardware. It’s a real sleek, high-end modern look.”

Take a look a the gallery below to see Bumblejax’s work:

Illinois Company Revs Up Custom Car Show Signs

Sometimes a passion can turn into an excellent business opportunity, which is exactly what happened to Gary Hedlin, who owns Show Car Signs, a business that specializes in designing, printing and mounting customized signs for car shows.

car show3“We got started after I made a sign for my truck for car shows, and everyone liked it and asked who did it,” says Hedlin, who was running a sign and banner print shop at the time. “So I set up a site specifically for those signs in 2005, and it took off from there. Now the car show signs are 100 percent of the business.”

The signs are displayed on the ground, on easels or mounted onto a 4-foot brushed-aluminum stand, and the verbiage on the sign describes details like the car’s make, model and year, horsepower, wheel types, suspension, vehicle upgrades and other tidbits to help the car stand out in the competition.

Hedlin custom designs each sign — no templates allowed — and prints them on LexJet TOUGHcoat Aquavinyl PSA using his Canon imagePROGRAF iPF8400 44-inch printer, then finishes them with LexJet Performance Gloss Vinyl Laminate 3 mil. The Aquavinyl is adhered to a 3 mil PVC board and finished with a plastic edge cap to protect the sides.

car show4“Most makers of car show boards use foam board to mount their signs,” Hedlin says. The laminate and PVC board create more durable, longer lasting signs. The LexJet products are key to the success of the niche business he’s created.

“We chose these products because we’ve used them in the past and have always had great results,” he says, noting also that the cost and product availability play into his decision. “I like knowing I can get a roll the next day.”

Hedlin says he and many of his customers will have their vehicles and custom signs at the March 3-5 Chicago World of Wheels, so look for his handy work if you checking out the show.

Freedom House’s Gallery of Hope Puts a Face on Homelessness

Each year Freedom House, a homeless shelter and family resource in Green Bay, Wis., holds a fundraising event to help support the work of the organization. Last year, photographer Mark Hawkins captured images throughout the facility, beautifully illustrating Freedom House’s good works and the families it serves.

Hawkins printed dozens of images and mounted them in a modern bare-metal-and-cardboard style, inspired by Chase Jarvis’s Seattle 100 project. The images were used to create the “Gallery of Hope,” a stunning collection on display during the annual fundraiser.