Good, Better, Best: HEYtex Outdoor Banner Material

Summer is here, and that means more outdoor signage jobs for you! When it comes to outdoor banners, the key is long-lasting graphics that can stand up to the elements.

For this installation of our Good, Better, Best series, we’re looking at three excellent outdoor banner options from HEYtex Textiles: HEYtex 13 oz TopazFLX, HEYtex 15 oz Topaz DS and HEYtex 18 oz Pole Banner.

Each of these deliver consistent quality at an affordable price that are compatible with eco-solvent, solvent, UV and latex ink technologies. We chose the matte options for outdoor use to avoid any glare from the sun that you might get when used outside. Let’s dive in to these three options:

GOOD: HEYtex 13 oz TopazFLX — This is an affordable and durable frontlit banner that’s ideal for one-sided printing. While there are other 13 oz options on the market, our partners at HEYtex are known for their highly consistent product with a 1000×1000 denier and 9×9 knitted base material that looks great grommeted for hanging banners.

What users say: “It’s a nice, thick media. The denier count is really high compared to the different vinyl substrates, which is crucial for outdoor signage.”

BETTER: HEYtex 15 oz Topaz DS — A heavier frontlit option with the added value of double-sided printing capabilities, as well as a higher tensile strength and a nice, smooth, matte surface for exceptional print reproduction. Excellent option for a variety of applications, such as the barrier graphic used in a retail space, pictured at top.

What users say: “We definitely needed a durable product that would be tough and hold up to a lot of abuse.”

BEST: HEYtex 18 oz Pole Banner — With a 1,000-by-1,000 woven denier, this pole banner material has a high tensile strength for long-term indoor or outdoor sign and graphic applications. Plus, it’s two-sided printable and provides 100% blockout qualities that makes it the ideal option for pole banners that are viewed whether people are coming or going.

What users say: “The 18 oz offers a very high tensile strength that’s great for printing on both sides. It looks great sewn with pole pockets, as well.”

Liquid Lamination Made Easy with the StarLam Laminator

For print facilities looking to increase speed and consistency in liquid coating applications, the Marabu StarLam Liquid Laminator is the go-to solution for water-based coatings, such as ClearShield Liquid Coatings.

Watch the video above to learn how easy it is to set up the StarLam and get it rolling. The machine can handle a variety of substrates up to 64-inches wide, as well as various coatings, such as Marabu ClearShield for the StarLam.

The StarLam can coat printed substrates for many applications, such as banners, canvas prints, vehicle graphics, wallcoverings, trade shows and more. Because the StarLam includes a heater and roll-to-roll design, the prints are ready to go with a finished, consistent layer of coating that offers the benefits of film lamination at a budget-friendly cost.

Applying coating using the StarLam is designed to be a one-person process, and it speeds up workflow for high-production shops. Plus, the StarLam cleans up in less than 10 minutes — no roller or pail rinsing and cleaning needed.

To learn how to shut down and clean the StarLam, watch the video below. If you have any questions about how to incorporate the StarLam Liquid Laminator in your operation, give a LexJet print specialist a call at 800-453-9538.

Get to Know the Installation Location Before Shooting for Large-Format

Guest blog by Billy Elkins

Billy Elkins

In my last blog, I wrote about communication and went over the five-part process for photographing for large-format printing. Let’s look more specifically at scouting the final installation location. This is the part that is usually the most intimidating for photographers who are not used to photographing for large-format.

Often it is not a simple single surface. In fact, most of the time, the location is more complicated. As the photographer, we normally do not have access to the location of the installation so knowing as many details about the location as possible is important when capturing the image. The previous example from the Sarasota International Airport illustrates that perfectly.

Riverwalk image after final installation at the Sarasota Airport

The image for the airport had to be installed on the back wall directly behind the baggage claim area. This presented a few challenges because of the actual baggage claim window, a large advertising display screen, a column in the middle of the wall and the actual baggage claim conveyor belt system.

Like any other large format photography project, having a photograph of the installation location is useful for conceptually trying to decide how to capture the right image and from the right angle and the right size.

Understanding the location of the final image applies to all large-format photography projects. If you consider vehicle wraps, wall murals or trade show displays, they all have their own installation challenges that, as the image maker, we need to be aware of for the best results.

For this next example project, I was commissioned by LexJet to create an image for their “Carnival” themed trade show booth. The booth itself was 50-feet wide, and they wanted the photo to be the whole backdrop. The installation would be printed on LexJet Simple Flo Wrap Vinyl, and then installed on the back wall of the trade show exhibition floor.

The final image size ended up being 50-feet wide by 25-feet high. This was huge! When you entered the trade show floor, you could see the “Carnival” in the background and could smell the popcorn from the booth. I worked directly with the marketing team to create different versions of the background so they could integrate the best option with the rest of the booth design.

The fair image installed behind the LexJet trade show booth.

So how did we do it? We visited the Florida State Fair and spent most of the day capturing different scenes that were potential backdrops. I brought my full bag of lenses, and we decided on a focal length of 50mm, it is the closest focal length to what we actually see. I made very tight overlapping images so that we had as much resolution as possible knowing that final image size needed to be so big.

And because the marketing team was going to experiment with the concepts after the fact, we had to capture as many different scenes and as large as possible. The idea was to give the feel of walking right up to the carnival. In addition, we crafted images to be used for the rest of the booth and to be used for sample material give-aways.

Technical Details:

  • Camera – Nikon D800
  • Lens- Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8
  • Focal Length – 50mm
  • F-Stop – f/9
  • Shutter – 1/650
  • ISO – 200
  • Frames – 20 overlapping NEF files

The image was merged using Adobe Photoshop CC Automate > Photomerge. I provided a final layered PSD file to the marketing team so they could make any adjustments for layout and for printing.

Quick Tip: How to Hand-roll Liquid Coating

If your next print is going to be exposed to the elements or needs extra handling — like wrapping it on stretcher bars — you’ll want to add a protective layer of coating to keep that print looking sharp for a longer duration. This is especially true for images and graphics output on an aqueous printer.

Liquid coating is a cost-effective option for print protection, and is especially handy for canvas prints that need to be gallery wrapped. Check out the video above to see how easy it is to get a consistent, even application of liquid coating that looks great and lasts.

At LexJet, we’ve got the most comprehensive line of print protection products from the brands you know and love: Marabu ClearShield and Sunset. Check out our Print Protection page and browse through out “Water Based Liquid” coatings to see all the options for everything from canvas and photos to signage and wallpaper.

Opt for a gloss option to bring out the density in blacks and a matte finish to cut down on glare. We’ve also got options for anti-graffiti and transit graphics.

A few more hand-rolling tips:

  • When rolling, opt for a high-density white foam roller to help reduce bubbling — these come in a variety of widths for your needs
  • When rolling on the coating, opt for two thinner coats, rather than one thick one
  • Overlap your coating in a few passes, but not so many that the coating becomes tacky or bumpy
  • Small bubbles should dissipate, but if you get larger ones, try blowing on them to remove them
  • Rinse your roller until the water runs clear, and you’ll be able to reuse your roller for about six months

Not sure which coating to choose? Give us a call at 800-453-9538 for some expert advice.

Order Early — Summer Holidays Are Coming!

When you’re not firing up the barbecue and lounging in your flip flops this summer, we know you still want your printing supplies on time. Please keep in mind that UPS observes certain holidays throughout the year, too, so you’ll want to plan for your order shipments accordingly.

This summer, UPS will observe the following days:

  • Memorial Day – May 28, 2018
  • Independence Day – July 4, 2018
  • Labor Day – September 3, 2018

For a full schedule of UPS U.S. 2018 holidays, visit UPS.com.

If you have any questions about orders or shipments, please call LexJet at 800-453-9538.

12 Winning Reasons to Choose Vescom Digital Wallcovering

You’ve got lots of choices these days when it comes to digitally printable wallcoverings. One of our top brands is Vescom, manufactured by the world’s largest commercial wallcovering company recognized for delivering the best performing products worldwide and for their innovation, design and quality.

Vescom offers one of the “cleanest” vinyl wallcoverings on the market, as well as nine luxurious finishes like award-winning Metallic Sand, Matte, Sand, Leather and others that work in a wide variety of environments like corporate, hospitality or healthcare facilities.

Vescom meets many environmental certifications, making it an ideal choice for healthcare environments.

What sets Vescom digital media apart from the competition? We’re glad you asked:

  1. Product consistency from lot-to-lot
  2. Never stretched, providing a more stable product with no curling
  3. Cleanest vinyl on the market, meeting the most stringent environmental standards (Including California Prop 65 requirements)
  4.  Cotton backing which is stronger than the alternative and easier to install, cutting labor costs
  5. Top coated for longer shelf life than other PVC wallcoverings
  6. Osnaburg woven backing provides dimensional stability and support for high-traffic areas
  7. Customizable embosses and ground colors
  8. Compatible with Latex, UV and Eco-Solvent technologies
  9. Receptive to liquid coating for extra protection
  10.  Installs with common adhesives and installation techniques
  11. Commercial Grade, Class A Fire Rating
  12. Meets EPA requirements for low-VOC emitting products

Ready to get started in — or expand — your digital décor print services? Give a LexJet print specialist a call at 800-453-9538 to discover our extensive decor printing product portfolio and how you can use it to grow your business.