HP Adhesive Vinyl Case Studies: ‘The Best We’ve Ever Used’

Last month, the launch of the new HP Adhesive Vinyl products had everyone talking at SGIA. By the sound of it, they’re still talking! For the print service providers who work with calendared vinyl every day, the new line has proven to be an easy and profitable alternative to other major brands.

Whether applying to rigid substrates, wall graphics, outdoor signs or die-cutting for stickers, LexJet’s customers are excited about a versatile product that reproduces images well, is easy to install and is cost-effective:

Sara Smith with Goodyear, Ariz., based Needle Supply Printing, recently purchased the HP Prime Gloss CP to print custom stickers. “The print was very fluid and made the colors pop,” she says. “There is very little deviation from the colors printed to the proof PDFs and the cuts are nice and crisp.” When compared to working with other brands available, she says, “the colors are truer than with my previous material and the gloss is more vibrant.”

William Roll of Signarama in Dothan, Ala., used the HP Prime Matte Air GP, laminated with the HP Matte Polymeric Overlaminate to create outdoor signage. For Roll and his team, the HP products are preferred over other options that are in the print shop. “My guys love the HP,” he says. “They grab it for every application they can use it on, and they tell me that the air-release component is the best they’ve ever used.”

Tyler Birch of Atchley Signs & Graphics in Columbus, Ohio, used HP Prime Gloss Air GP for an indoor application at a local gym. “We did an install onto a gym wall mat and it went on without a hitch! The rigidity of the material and the strength of the backer lead to a smooth installation,” Birch says.

Rounding out the first wave of customer reviews is Mason Ross of AlphaGraphics in Rexburg, Idaho. To create an in-house wall graphic, pictured at top, Ross chose the HP Prime Gloss Air GP and the Polymeric Matte Overlaminate to create a wall mural that was full of detailed text, spot-on colors, and multiple image depths. “The printing quality is just as good, if not better than other products I’ve used,” he says. “Since (LexJet sales specialist) Vince told me about the new HP products, I’ve switched completely from other brands.”

Due to the enormity of the project, with the various relief aspects, Ross estimated the whole install took about six hours; however, he said, “the vinyl installed very smooth and then when it came time to put the vinyl on the wall, that took the least amount of time for the whole project.”

These examples showcase the versatility of the new product line, giving PSPs the ability to condense the number of items kept on hand, freeing up space and reducing costs. If you are interested in trying one of the new HP Adhesive Vinyls, contact your LexJet sales representative at 800-453-9538 or visit us online at LexJet.com.

Prints That Win: Leaving with Dignity

For Muskogee, Okla. Photographer Kimberly Smith, 2017 was a brilliant year. Not only did she win the PPA SW Sunset Print Award, but she also won First Place in the 2017 National Sunset Print Awards for “The Beauty of Innocence.” For this Master Artist, 2018 looks to be just as strong: Her 2018 submission “Leaving with Dignity” won the Sunset Print Award for Portraiture in the PPA SW District competition.

Reflecting on her back-to-back wins, Smith says she’s very excited that her work speaks to the judges. “Impact is so important. I put a lot of emotion behind the story in my images and the judges can tell,” she says. “It’s not just another pretty picture. When they see the title [of the image], I want them to brace for impact, I want them to feel something, and apparently, they did.”

The inspiration for “Leaving with Dignity” struck when Smith saw a black and white image of an older woman with a disheveled crown.  She initially envisioned a queen leaving her throne for the last time. However, as she started working in postproduction, Smith says, “I noticed she had a peaceful look on her face, and I added a cloudy feel with rays of light. I felt like she was making her way into Heaven, with God saying, ‘well done, my good and faithful servant.’  I felt like she was leaving this world with dignity rather than leaving the throne. I chose to name “Leaving with Dignity” so people could form their own story.”

During the time between her “innocent” 2017 and her “dignified” 2018 PPA SW wins, Smith decided to step out of her comfort zone and teach an intermediate/advanced level course at the Texas School, which maxed out at 30 students – a rare feat for a first-time teacher. “I wanted to show the students how I create an image from start to finish,” she says.

For Smith, it isn’t just capturing an image that’s important, it’s telling the story. To pass along the techniques and methods to future generations is exciting. “One of my favorite projects for the class was when I printed about 30 copies of one of my photos to teach the students some of the ways I finish a print: enhancing the image with colored pencils, hand tearing the edges, matting, etc.”

Smith chose LexJet Sunset Bright Velvet Rag to use as a teaching tool because “I love the way it tears and the way it feels. It prints really nice.”

Prints That Win: Winter Pastel and Dressed to Impress

For Dorr, Mich. photographer – and recent double Sunset Print Award winner –  Kari Douma, photography has always been a part of her life. From darkroom classes in middle school and yearbook photographer in high school to recently completing the judging class to become an affiliated juror, photography is no longer just a part of her life, it’s intertwined in everything she does.

She initially started taking pictures to capture her children in special moments, but soon, family and friends were asking her to photograph them. “Eventually, I had to do a mental check. I wondered if I could really do this and make it a business, or continue as a hobby, where I might eventually have to turn people down,” Douma says of her decision to go pro. “I decided to go the business route and joined professional organizations so that I could learn more about the business.”

The first professional association Douma joined was Professional Photographers of West Michigan. It was the members of that local group who encouraged Douma to start competing. Before jumping straight in, she observed. “The first competition I attended, I just watched and hung on every word spoken. I had a notebook and wrote down everything the judges were saying. Every critique, every compliment. It’s all feedback.”

The notes and observing paid off. As a first-time competitor, she scored somewhere around 77-79, which is considered “above average.” As her experience and talent has grown, so have her scores. Competitions, by definition, are tough, but one of the biggest lessons that Douma has learned is that a score is simply the opinion of five judges on any given day. “It’s fun to create an image and match up to the Twelve Elements of Merit, but you can’t get caught up thinking about what five people are going to think about it.” She realizes the judges are there to help, “they are giving you feedback – good and bad – because they are there to help you grow as a photographer.” For Douma, the PPA – Northeast competition was successful, with wins in Landscape with “Winter Pastel” (pictured above) and Portrait with “Dressed to Impress” (pictured below).

In “Winter Pastel,” Douma was able to capture the beautiful pink sky, just as the sun was rising over an early-season Michigan snowfall. For the print competition, she used LexJet Premium Archival Matte with a torn edge and a traditional mat, which helped extend the texture of the clouds and snow beyond the edges of the image.

Douma’s second winning image, “Dressed to Impress,” was a photo that happened because of her husband’s morning trip to a local McDonald’s. While waiting in line, her husband spotted this gentleman saunter into the restaurant dressed to the nines: fire-engine red 3-piece suit, wing-tipped shoes, hat, pocket square, the works. She said, “he just walked right up to the man and said ‘my wife would love to photograph you.’ So, we set up a session, and the rest is history.”

When it was time to print “Dressed” for competition, Douma chose LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g to add an authentic photographic feel to the black and white image.

For Douma, what started off as a hobby to take beautiful images of her children has led to an opportunity to provide feedback and guidance, enabling photographers to grow. One day, there will be a photographer observing her first competition, and with notebook in hand, she will be hanging on every word Kari Douma says.

Prints That Win: The Gentle Giant

When it comes to capturing the personality of pets, Wyoming photographer Jen Hargrove has it down to a science. In fact, fellow photographer Dan McClanahan calls her the “Dog Whisperer” and has told her she should embrace this rare talent. That’s just what she did for her Sunset Print Award-winning photo “The Gentle Giant.”

For Fynn, a big, lovable English Mastiff – which Hargrove calls her “non-human muse” – the young chick was almost too much to handle. He’s so big in comparison, but the chick had him on edge. “Next year, I think we’ll try baby ducks. They aren’t quite as small and don’t seem to intimidate him as much,” she said of her very patient muse. “In fact, I would like to do an entire series with Fynn and other farm animals: cows, ducks, turkeys.”

When it’s photo shoot time, Hargrove doesn’t scold or discipline the dogs and she doesn’t want the owners doing so either. She gives them about 15 minutes to get acclimated to the set and then she starts shooting.

Flex Tek for Aqueous Wins on Color, Durability & Price

Earlier this year, we launched LexJet Flex Tek 170g for aqueous printers, and it’s turned into a fast favorite among print service providers looking for a cost-effective, easy-handling option for banners.

Photos: Jackson Beverages, La Grange, Ga.

This lightweight, 100% non-woven polyester is finished with a slight embossed texture that gives it the look and feel of a woven fabric, making it an ideal option for both banners and canvas wraps.

At Jackson Beverages in LaGrange, Ga., it’s become the new go-to for short-term outdoor banners.

“Since our primary use of banner/canvas material is outdoor signage, the two most important qualities are water resistance and physical strength in windy weather,” says Jackson Beverages’ Tom Weeks. “Flex Tek’s coating proved to keep the ink colors bright in foul weather and blazing southern sun.”

The polyester base also adds to its durability. “Although it is quite light and easy to handle, it is considerably more tear-resistant than any other non-woven fabric based banner material I have used,” says Weeks, who often finishes Flex Tek with grommets for easy hanging. “My overall impression of Flex Tek is that it is a very good medium for outdoor banners that will hang for less than a year.”

Photo: Orgill

For Vern Goodner, print services manager at Orgill, price was a big concern. Orgill supplies products to 6,000 hardware stores and dealers in more than 60 different countries. Goodner runs the print shop where he produces hundreds of flyers, posters and more for store displays.

Orgill also hosts a 1 million square-foot tradeshow two times per year, in which the company creates multiple mock stores to showcase the latest hardware goods. In these stores, Goodner makes 200 retractable banners, which he has now switched over to Flex Tek.

“I was looking for something with a bright white that gives an eye pleasing to eye popping color,” Goodner says. “And was as affordable as possible.”

At $0.50 per square foot he’s now considering switching all the tradeshow banners to Flex Tek. Both Weeks and Goodner print Flex Tek on Canon imagePROGRAF wide-format aqueous printers.

LexJet Flex Tek 170g Product Highlights:

  • PVC-free / recyclable
  • Versatile media for wall art, banners, gallery wraps
  • Can be grommeted or stitched and used indoors or out
  • Images look great close-up or at long-range viewing
  • Also available: LexJet Flex Tek SUV 200g, compatible with eco-solvent, latex and UV-curable inks

Sunset Bright Velvet Rag for Perfectly Distressed Edges

For Oklahoma photographer Kimberly Smith, 2017 was quite the year; not only did she take home a Sunset Print Award for her entry “The Beauty of Innocence” in the Southwest PPA regionals, but in February, she was presented with the 1st Place prize for the 2017 National Sunset Print Award at Imaging USA.

To create her signature style in these winning images, Smith uses LexJet Sunset Bright Velvet Rag 315g with distressed edges that create a fine art finish to her work.

In quite the follow-up to 2017, Smith won another Sunset Print Award in the 2018 Southwest PPA District, and she stepped to the head of the class for the first time to teach a group of students about the art of black-and-white photography … as well as her favorite deckled-edge finishing technique.

While preparing her curriculum, Smith wanted to include the distressed technique for her students. “I want to print out a few different images for them to practice tearing the edges,” she said. Of Sunset Bright Velvet Rag, she says “the thickness (of the paper) means the tears on the edges are perfect for a soft, multi-layered look.”

Sunset Bright Velvet Rag is a 20-mil thick (315g) 100% rag paper with a velvet surface. The bright white finish is the perfect complement to Smith’s preference for high-key black-and-white printing. “The cottony feel and thickness is what caught my attention and it prints beautifully,” she says.

With all the print competitions she does, it’s important that her prints stand up to being held, shipped and displayed all over the country. “Several of my images have been handled a lot, packed in print cases and shipped several times,” she says. “They come back looking the same.”

Bright Velvet Rag will continue to be part of Smith’s award-winning formula for a while. “It’s a beautiful product that I will continue using myself and highly recommend for others.”

If you are looking to give your photographs a fine-art finish, call your sales representative at 800-453-9538 to discuss LexJet Sunset Bright Velvet Rag 315g or visit us at lexjet.com.