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.

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.

Tips for Applying Hahnemuhle Protective Spray to Inkjet Prints

HahnemuhleProtectiveSprayHahnemuhle Protective Spray is a non-toxic, spray-on coating that is particularly well-suited for photographers and artists who need to protect small quantities of prints produced on desktop photo printers. The spray seals the print surface and protects it from dirt, fingerprints, moisture, and other environmental hazards. While the spray makes prints more resistant to water, scratches, and the damaging effects of UV light, it is completely transparent and doesn’t influence the colors on the paper.

Product literature that Hahnemuhle distributed at their booth at the PhotoPlus Expo show in October included some practical advice for using the spray:

•         Spray the coating directly onto the image and allow it to air dry.

•         To ensure that the print is fully protected, apply three light coats: one vertical, one horizontal, and one corner to corner.

•         To provide maximum protection to prints that won’t be mounted or framed, apply the coating to both the front and back of the paper.

•         Use the spray to protect both glossy and matte prints. The finish of the spray mimics the base media, meaning that a gloss or luster paper will remain glossy or lustrous even after it has been sprayed. A matte paper or fine-art media will absorb the spray into the surface, retaining the non-reflective finish of the surface.

According to Hahnemuhle, each 400-ml aerosol can will provide two to three protective coats on up to twenty 8.5 x 11-in. images.

At LexJet, we encourage customers to apply the coatng in a well-ventilated area. We also recommend spraying a light coat on some small test prints first to get a feel for how much you should apply and how much time it takes each coat to dry.  

You can order Hahnemuhle Protective Spray from LexJet or through the accessories section in the online store on the www.hahnemuhledirect.com website.

If you need to protect a higher volume of larger prints, including prints on canvas, ask a LexJet account specialist to tell you more about liquid clearcoats such as Sunset Gloss and Sunset Satin coatings. These coatings can either be brushed on, rolled on with a high-density foam roller, or applied with a spray gun. Because the coatings are self-leveling, the applied coatings have a uniform thickness and appearance, without visible strokes from the roller or brushes.

Call 800-453-9538 and we’ll be happy to answer any specific questions you may have about Hahnemuhle Protective Spray or the Sunset Coatings.

Read more about Sunset Coatings in the post entitled Clearcoating Inkjet Photo and Art Prints