5 Printing Trends to Watch in 2018

Welcome to 2018! As we begin the new year, we take a look at what’s hot now in wide-format printing and what’s going to gain traction in the coming months. Our team provided insight on what they see as the growing trends for 2018, so we can help you be prepared with the media and equipment you need to meet your customers’ evolving demands.

1. Digital Keeps Growing: During the past two decades, we were at the forefront as digital took the lead in the graphics, photography and signage markets. Now, we’re watching digital printing make new inroads in industries that range from décor to flexible packaging. In the same way digital printing made signage faster and more customized than technologies of the past, we’re going to see that advantage work for short-run, super customized, more quickly produced fabrics for applications such as signage, upholstery, drapery, bedding, accessories, fast fashion and much more.

Kornit Allegro roll-to-roll digital fabric printing system

Because digital allows a file to print directly to a substrate without expensive plate setup, short- or even micro-runs are a whole new possibility for fabric, specifically. With these shorter run possibilities, we anticipate more fabric printing here in the U.S., rather than mass production off-shore that equates to tons of inventory on shelves here. One-off digital printing means your customers no longer need to stock all that inventory from overseas.

Year in Review: The 11 Biggest Product Launches of 2017

As we look back on the year that 2017 was, there’s no denying that our customers are branching out into new areas and looking to offer their customers better performing, more cost-effective wide-format solutions. At LexJet, we strive to stay in-step with those demands. Our 2017 product launches brought to market everything from new outdoor banner materials and high-end fine-art paper options to all new technology portfolios and exciting, versatile media for multiple applications. Let’s take a look back at the changes 2017 brought in media products and equipment advances:

NEW MEDIA:

A Glossy, Opaque Banner: Many of our aqueous printer customers were requesting a glossy version of our ThriftyBanner, so we answered with LexJet Gloss Blockout ThriftyBanner. Not only does the gloss finish add extra pop to graphics and photos, it also eliminates the need to add a gloss laminate when requested, making it a one-step, cost-effective option. The 100% opaque blockout adds another unique feature for one of our most popular launches of 2017.

ClearShield SoftFeel Low Melt laminate applied to a menu.

Print Protection Portfolio: If you’re looking for any type of print protection, LexJet is the go-to source. We relaunched some products and added many new items to our Print Protection portfolio, which includes thermal laminates, water-based liquid coatings, UV liquid coatings and pressure sensitive laminates. This line includes nearly 70 options from the best brands in the industry: Marabu, ClearShield, Sunset, EnduraCoat, MaraShield and LexJet. If you need to protect a print in any application, our Print Protection page is the place to start.

Cheat Sheet: The Scoop on Our ISA Sign Expo Booth

Our ISA Sign Expo booth got a lot of buzz last week in Las Vegas. We’ve put together a cheat sheet that shows the innovative ways we used various products to create our Décor, Hospitality & Retail spaces.

On this page, you’ll discover how we maximized our new dye-sublimation solutions in the Blue Stone Grill; wall mural, banner and face-mounting techniques in our Blue Essentials room; and the latest wallcovering and canvas options in our residential space.

Plus, it’s not too late to take advantage of our ISA Show Specials, with discounts up to 30% on some of our newest and hottest products, as well as rebates on printers and equipment. Read about all the show specials on the LexJet blog. Offers valid through April 30, 2017.

Want to learn how you can use these ideas and products to expand your business? Give LexJet a call at 800-453-9538.

Discover the All-New ClearShield™ Thermal Laminates

LexJet is excited to announce our new, comprehensive line of thermal laminates under the ClearShield™ brand, available exclusively through LexJet. We’ve got 20 new products in a variety of sizes, thicknesses and finishes for a range of applications from menus and posters to banner stands and trade show graphics.

menu for blogClearShield™ brand highlights:

  • Variety of thicknesses from 1.7 mil to 15 mil
  • Finishes include luster, matte, smooth, glossy, textured and opaque
  • Thermal laminates work perfectly on any microporous coated paper/polyester
  • Better low-melt products at a 30- to 50-percent cost reduction

“With our expanded line of print protection products, we’ve got our customers covered with the largest variety of thermal, liquid and pressure sensitive products available on the market,” says product specialist, Kara Work. “With our new SoftFeel thermal laminates, we can offer printers the option to produce customized, shorter runs with a zero-glare, non-textured, soft velvety feel that they could only get with high-volume graphic finishing in the past. These are optimal for menus, luxury packaging and fine art prints.”

Visit our LexJet Print Protection page to learn all about the new ClearShield™ brand as well as liquid and pressure-sensitive coatings and laminates, and discover all the ways that We’ve Got You Covered.

Walls to Windows: Creative Interior Imagery Makes a Perfect Match

 

Creative Interior Imagery
Creative Interior Imagery not only seamlessly carried the “tree” theme from walls to windows (from left to right), but perfectly matched the interior paint.

Creative Interior Imagery, based in West Pittson, Pa., merged interior décor and design with digital printing for a medical center that wanted something less conventional and more inviting for its patients.

Eric Marsico, a partner at Creative Interior Imagery with Keith Tomkins, recommended hundreds of feet of wall and window murals to carry the common “tree” theme recommended by the medical center’s architect throughout much of the facility.

“They were hesitant at first because they had used wall murals on other projects that didn’t hold up. We pitched LexJet Velvet WallPro SUV with ClearShield Wall Armor and found that the stuff is tough when partnered together. We beat it up in the shop to test it beforehand and it held up really well,” says Tomkins.

Atrium Decor PrintingFor the windowed nurses’ station Tomkins chose LexJet Simple Perforated Window Vinyl (70/30). The trick was to ensure a perfect match from walls to windows. Not only that, but Tomkins took great pains to match the interior paint as well.

“They painted their building with a specific paint color, so we went to the paint manufacturer’s website, pulled those paint numbers, and plugged them in to make sure we matched their paint. We got the RGB formulations, converted them to CMYK and incorporated those colors into the graphic. They were impressed with how closely our prints matched their paint colors. You can’t tell where the wallpaper ends and the paint starts,” says Tomkins.

Tomkins adds that to ensure a seamless transition along the walls through the windows and back onto the walls from panel to panel he took pictures of the empty spaces and manually lined everything up instead of using the tiling function in the RIP software.

Creative Interior Imagery
The combination of GigaPan photography printed on LexJet Velvet WallPro SUV with an Epson SureColor S30670 brings the tree theme to life in the main atrium.

In addition to the vector tree art that adorns the walls and windows, Creative Interior Imagery installed a gigantic photo of a tree Tomkins found and captured in a local park. Tomkins photographed the tree with his GigaPan camera so that fine details would be apparent in the final print, also on LexJet Velvet WallPro and protected with Wall Armor.

“They wanted the tree to go up the wall and across the ceiling so you felt like you were sitting underneath it. I took the shot going up the trunk and through the canopy. By the time it was done it was a 1.2-gigapixel image. It’s 11 feet off the ground, goes up 19 feet and across the ceiling 14 or 15 feet and is about 10-12 feet wide. The resolution is amazing. If you get right up to it you can see the texture in the bark; it’s just like you’re standing in front of the tree,” says Tomkins.

Tomkins adds that this is the company’s largest project to date and that the combination of the right materials and a precise color management system made it a successful project sure to bring similar projects through the doors in the future.

Creative Interior Imagery“We spend a lot of time working with profiling software. We have an i1 and custom-profile all of our media. There are manufacturing tolerances in everything – printer, ink and media – and when we do it in-house we can get it spot on, like we did with the paint colors, which shows how the profiling helps. That’s one of the things that sets us apart, and when you get into a major project like using different materials and matching décor and paint color management is a big issue,” explains Tomkins. “And, at nighttime when the inside is lit, you can see it from the highway and it looks fantastic.”

The project was printed on Creative Interior Imagery’s Epson SureColor S30670 low-solvent printer. To illustrate the tight color tolerances Creative Interior Imagery’s color management system can produce, Tomkins recently created a gigapan wall mural of New York City using 12 different inkjet media on four different printers (the S30670, and the Epson Stylus Pro 11880, 7900 and 4880).

“With this 2 1/2′ x 6′ mural in our showroom we can show people how their print will look on the different media and show off our color matching skills, because that’s difficult to do,” says Tomkins. “The architectural firm did a walk-through of the medical center with interior designers after we installed the murals, and person who was leading the group remarked that no one else could match the quality of the materials and workmanship, so we were feeling pretty smug about that.”