A Cutting-Edge Update for Visit Sarasota County’s Visitors Center

The space dedicated for Visit Sarasota County’s visitor center started as a pretty blank slate — crisp white walls with high ceilings and lots of potential. The Visit Sarasota team asked LexJet to add some creativity with the possibilities of print. And we took it from floor to ceiling … and beyond.

Since we knew that desktop and bookshelves would be covered with colorful brochures and maps, we opted for a subtle watercolor print for the wallcovering. We chose Vescom Polster wallcovering with a slightly textured surface that provides the natural look and feel of stucco. And because this Type II PVC vinyl wallcovering is Class A fire rated and meets EPA requirements for low-VOC emitting products, we knew it would be a safe option for the busy visitors center.

Panels printed on EnduraFab Frontlit Premier

A large curved wall was just begging for a show-stopping graphic. Using EnduraFab Frontlit Premier latex-printable textile, we printed five hanging panels that created the quintessential Sarasota sunset family portrait.

Our most exciting print project paired canvas wraps with augmented reality. We printed a half dozen canvas wraps with images that photographers captured around the Sarasota area. Using our proprietary augmented reality app for smartphones or tablets, a video would play when the device was held in front of the canvas wraps.

The canvas wraps included images of beach scenes, paddle boarding, shopping and more areas of interest for visitors. We chose Fredrix 777VWR Vivid Matte Canvas with a smooth texture that delivers highly detailed photo reproductions.

Watch the video above to see how it all came together for the Visit Sarasota County group and their open house, which celebrated the new space.

New Exhibit Takes Flight with Floor-to-Ceiling Murals

When the design team at Field Museum in Chicago wanted to create an exhibit with the few James Audubon’s artifacts they had on-hand, they decided to give it a big treatment with floor-to-ceiling murals of reproductions of Audubon’s illustrations.

The exhibit idea started with an original over-sized book by Audubon, a 19th century naturalist and painter who dedicated his life to studying and documenting all the birds of North America. His bird expertise and illustrations are world-renowned. Field Museum had a few birds represented from the book as well as pages from one of Audubon’s sketch books. With only a few items on-hand, but a desire to showcase them, Nel Fetherling, supervisor of graphic production, worked with her design team to come up with a creative approach for the small exhibit.

The images in the book had been photographed years ago, and Fetherling was able to access the files. “I said: ‘Let’s do wall paper,'” she says. “We wanted to do something really, really big.”

Fetherling had used LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric for smaller jobs and thought it could work as a wall mural, as well. “Because we use aqueous inks, I knew I couldn’t print true wallpaper, so I used this product instead,” she says. Her team printed six 14-foot x 75-inch wall murals as well as one for the entryway (pictured at top).

“The colors were so brilliant,” Fetherling says. “Our designer was skeptical, but after we printed it, she said the colors were almost better than the actual illustrations. It’s just such a nice white to print on.”

Fetherling handled the installation herself, requiring a scissor lift and a bit of trial and error. “I was thankful that it was a little bit forgiving,” she says of the ability to reposition or remove Print-N-Stick. “We have had other products that weren’t quite as successful going through the printer — and the colors were not as good. This is better than other products we’ve used with an adhesive back.”

She says Print-N-Stick’s versatility has everyone talking about what they could use it for next, since it is a viable alternative to a solvent or latex vinyl that she could not print in-house on her two Canon PRO-Series PRO-4000s.

“The Canon PRO-4000 and Lucia inks are very nice,” she says, with her team relying on the printers for everything from educational panels to artwork to event posters and much more. “Our designers were amazed at quality of prints coming out of the Canons. And we liked that we can get a two-roll thing on the Canons to switch out papers quickly.”

To learn more about the Audubon exhibit, visit Field Museum. To learn more about LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric, call a LexJet rep at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

Florida Farmers Heed the Call to Help Nebraska

In recent weeks, Nebraska was devastated by flooding, with thousands of acres of farmland under water. Florida farmers know what kind of damage Mother Nature can bring, so Sarasota, Fla. cattleman, Chris Egolf, and some friends decided to help.

“We knew we needed to get the donated supplies to Nebraska,” Egolf says. “As fellow ranchers, farmers and Americans, we wanted to help as much as we could.” Donations consisted of 48 round bales of hay, 8,500 pounds of cattle cubes and feed, 200 fence posts, and 18 rolls of barbed wire and electric fence supplies.

The group loaded up one tractor-trailer, a gooseneck trailer, and another flatbed trailer and headed out from Sarasota to Elkhorn, Neb., a 3200-mile, 52-hour round trip. “We went straight up and back to be at work Monday morning,” Egolf says.

Egolf decided to have some banners made in support of “Nebraska Strong” and to decorate the trailers for the long drive. Bryce Montisano, a team leader at LexJet, heard about the supply run and donated some banners printed on LexJet TOUGHcoat ThriftyBanner.

“The banners were seen from Florida to Nebraska, and we had several people honking horns as a show of support. Someone even left a donation on our windshield,” Egolf says. “In fact, one of the drop locations loved the banners so much they kept one to display. The rest of them made the trip back to Florida.”

Thanks to all those who donated and participated in the 2019 Nebraska supply run. If you’d like to learn more about the durability of ThriftyBanner, give us a call at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

GeoJango Maps: Bringing the World (of Maps) to Everybody

Debbie Dennison and the team at GeoJango Maps in Pleasanton, Calif., have one mission: to help people learn more about the world. As a former employee of SOCOM in Tampa, Fla., and Livermore National Lab in California, Dennison is well trained in the art – and science – of mapmaking. With master’s degrees in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Environmental Science, Dennison decided to take her passion for maps and share it with the world.

While still working full-time, she started producing maps on the side. “I discovered I really enjoyed making maps for the public,” she says. “Once that business took off, I had to decide if I was going to continue a career in sciences or start my own business.”

GeoJango was officially launched in 2017. Once Dennison and her team opened the office, they began researching printers, inks and materials. That’s when they discovered LexJet. “My partner is an engineer and a scientist, and he knows how to research and find the right product for the right job, no matter the industry,” she says. “He’s the one who found your website. He likes that all the documentation is right there. That’s one reason why we started using LexJet.”

Having valuable information at hand is not the only thing that’s important to Dennison. “The quality of a product is paramount. We need to be consistent with our products and make sure that materials are available and easy to get. As a growing company, it matters how people perceive and review our products,” she says.

Dennison refers to her maps as a “happy purchase.” “When people buy a map, they do it because they want to learn more about the world, or they have a bucket list,” she says. The US maps include national parks and historical places so adventurers can plan and track their trips. The world maps are perfect for children who want to learn about global locations, events and facts.

Providing so much information requires the perfect media matched with the right printer to ensure all the finite details can be clearly read and understood. “We’ve done a lot of testing with different inks, printing methods and materials, and we’ve found the right ones. The customers are thrilled with the results.”

What is unique about some of their maps is that they are “push pin,” which allow kids of all ages to trace where they’ve traveled across the country, around the world or even which sports stadiums they’ve visited. With these maps, there is no glass protecting the image and Dennison says the ink and paper are critical ensuring the integrity of the map, even without protection. After extensive testing, the team at GeoJango chose HP Everyday Instant-dry Satin Photo Paper as the media for all roll-up maps.

When she first started ordering from LexJet, Dennison realized that the company is based in Sarasota, Fla., her hometown. On a recent trip to visit family, Dennison decided to visit LexJet headquarters. “I was blown away,” she says. “Wesley [Britton, LexJet representative] gave me a nice tour of the facility and the showroom. While I was there, we looked at some new products that we are testing and hope to launch next month.”

One of the contributing factors to the growth of her company is the availability and quality of the products she uses. “We keep the media in storage and I’m not always aware of when we are running low. Occasionally, the situation gets critical, but the ordering process is easy and LexJet ships from many different places across the country, so I receive deliveries quickly. I am in charge of the quality all the way – from data research to presentation to printing to shipping. It’s important that I get consistent materials in a timely manner.”

If you are interested in learning about new products for your business, please call a LexJet sales specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit us at LexJet.com.

For Wall Graphics, HP Adhesive Vinyl Saves Money & Improves Results

Tyler Birch of Atchley Graphics in Columbus, Ohio, was browsing the LexJet website looking for an alternative to his current vinyl and laminate solution that would still be compatible with his Latex 360 and 570 printers. That’s when he found the HP Prime Gloss Air GP.

“I called Dave [Grotkiewicz], my LexJet sales representative who is very knowledgeable and helpful, especially with new products. We discussed the product and he sent me a roll to try,” Birch says.

With a mission to provide quality and value to his customers, Birch is selective about the products he uses. “It’s about peace of mind and long-term value,” he says. “You don’t want someone coming back in two years because their graphic failed or they had a bad experience. It comes down to the materials that you use, and the people who are printing, laminating and installing.”

Birch looked at what he was paying for his current materials and realized he could save as much as $100 when buying a roll of each vinyl and laminate. Because it’s not just about saving money, he needed to see how well the product would image. “The print quality is great, profiles are set, and I don’t have head strikes or color issues as compared to my other products.”

Birch wears multiple hats at Atchley — “As a press operator, I knew the product was doing its job, just like Dave told me it would,” he says.

He also finishes projects, which includes laminating graphics or working with print & cut. “The Prime laminated great with the HP Polymeric Overlaminates and the print and cut capabilities are also excellent,” he says. “The adhesive is a little different. It’s a bit harder, which means you won’t see gray adhesive poking out of the edges of a cut application.”

Not only has the new HP Adhesive Vinyl line helped Birch improve his output, but it also helps ensure his customers are benefiting from the increase in image quality and the decrease in cost. “HP Prime Air really helps us provide value to our customers and at a price point that makes us competitive, which is great since we are a small shop,” he says.

With many more projects lined up, Birch is excited to try other products as well, including HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP – a high-performance product that offers a gray repositionable adhesive – and the new Prime Matte Air GR, which offers a gray removable adhesive.

To learn more about the HP Adhesive Vinyl products, visit LexJet.com or call one of our sales specialists at 800-453-9538 to find out which solution is right for your next project.

HP Adhesive Vinyl Case Studies: ‘The Easiest I’ve Ever Used’

Shannon Norwood of Fullmoon Graphics in Athens, Tenn., has been making graphics for race cars for more than 22 years. Recently, his LexJet sales representative, Dave Mayer, told him about the new HP Adhesive Vinyl products. “At first, I was hesitant to switch,” Norwood says. “I’d never had any complaints, but nobody ever said anything about the other stuff I’ve used.”

That’s not the case anymore. “I have one driver who usually installs his own graphics,” he says. “After I switched to the HP vinyl, he called me and wanted to know what material I’d used to print his images. I was initially worried. Usually, nobody asks. I asked him why and I knew I’d get a straight answer from him because he’s very blunt. He said ‘I love it! It went on so easy, it almost falls on. It’s the easiest I’ve ever used.’ I was glad to hear it.”

Norwood orders 2-3 rolls a week, using the HP Prime Gloss Air GP with both the HP Gloss and Matte Polymeric Overlaminates, depending upon his customers’ requests. “I used the matte finish for a rust effect on a car and the finish was perfect. After all, you don’t want glossy rust. Some matte finishes are too coarse and when you take pictures at night, there’s a glare.”

Norwood created a faux rust look using HP Matte Polymeric Overlaminate

While he has been getting positive feedback from his customers who install their own work, it’s the person who is doing the printing who is the hardest to please: himself. “It prints much brighter than my last vinyl. My colors seem to pop better. Also, the images don’t have the mottled look,” he says. “My ink goes on real heavy and on other products, it would look like it was puddling. When I print with this on my 64-in Mutoh, the image is completely smooth, no mottling.”

With drivers all over the country, from Blue Ridge, Ga., to Arizona, to Mississippi, Norwood says that all of them tell him the product is a dream to install. “Nearly everyone tells me it almost installs itself, it’s so easy. All of my guys have worked with products from 3M and other brands.”

If you are working with adhesive vinyl and laminates and would like to learn more about the benefits of the HP Vinyl portfolio, call us today at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.