Bringing it Home with HP Latex and Media

Gretchen, Jennifer Marshbank’s dog, supervises as prints roll off the HP Latex 365

More people are working from home these days, and Reynoldsburg, Ohio-based photographer Jennifer Marshbank certainly has found a way to make the most of this opportunity. Working with her LexJet sales specialist, Ramiro Torrez, she chose an HP Latex 365 for her home office. “It’s very fun, but it was scary at first,” she says. “I’ve had other printers, but this is my first latex, and I love it. I named it Oscar because when you have something this big in your house, it deserves a name.”

Many photographers have busy and slow seasons, and Marshbank says that working with the HP Latex printer has given her a chance to offer more applications and products for her clients. She recently added HP Satin Wrapping Paper to her portfolio and is currently promoting it as part of a special treat when she sends packages to her clients.

“I printed photobooks for some customers and wrapped them in special ‘Thank You’ gift wrap that also announces the launch of my custom wrapping paper,” she says. “Because it’s customized, people love to see the gift wrap with their face on it or something personal about them.”

Celebrating her mom’s birthday with a customized banner

Marshbank is excited about the variety of opportunities she now has with the latex printer. From photos to canvas wraps and banners to stickers, she can help her clients celebrate any milestone with multiple applications. Recently, she used HP 13 oz Prime Matte Banner to create a special treat for her mother’s 73rd birthday, and it was a hit with the birthday girl. “My mom loved it, she told me that she’d never had anything like that before,” Marshbank says.

If there’s one thing small business owners have learned this year, it’s adaptability, and Marshbank certainly has had to adapt long before COVID hit. “I got sick last year, so I slowed down a little bit, but then it picked back up,” she says. “It helps, being able to print from home where you can offer more things.”

When choosing media for her printer, Marshbank discussed her options with Torrez. “She’s working with a lot of HP media right now because all the profiles are pre-loaded on the printer,” says Torrez.

With her customized wrapping paper launch in full swing, her next step is to launch a sticker line using HP Prime Gloss Air GP, which will give her clients even more opportunities to personalize their photos. While once nervous about the prospect of working out of her house, now that she’s doing it, Marshbank is really excited about the way her business is growing.

Personalized stickers

With so many people looking for alternative ways to keep businesses up and running, Marshbank has certainly come up with a great solution. For those who are unsure of being successful, in her characteristic positive vibe, Marshbank says, “I think you can do almost anything out of your home if you put your mind to it.”

The Frame Room is Gifting Back Using HP Satin Wrapping Paper

Last year, Kory Mitchell, owner of The Frame Room in Baltimore, wanted to do something different and creative to help out local charity Friends of Patterson Park, the stewards of Baltimore’s iconic Patterson Park. He heard about the new custom printable HP Satin Wrapping Paper and saw an opportunity to raise money by selling made-to-order gift wrap and donating $5.00 of every sale. “Friends of Patterson Park is a smaller organization and it gave us a chance to prototype the idea,” says Mitchell.  “It went well, and we raised several hundred dollars for them in a very short time. This year we will start an outreach campaign with animal rescue organizations and a few others.”

Customized HP Satin Wrapping Paper designed for Friends of Patterson Park

Since it was his first time working with HP Satin Wrapping Paper, Mitchell played around with the settings on his old EPSON Stylus Pro 9800. “It took some time to find the right ink levels and the Epson wouldn’t do a full bleed,” he says. “We adjusted some of the images, and it was fine.”

For this year’s outreach, Mitchell expects a different outcome. Not only does he have more experience with the product, but earlier this year, he purchased a Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4100 printer, which will do a full bleed on 30-in media. Mitchell is excited about helping different organizations raise money. “We want to work with rescue organizations and artists,” he says. “In the past, we worked with Jordan Lawson – a young artist known as Art by JLaw – and he uses it for branding and holiday gifts.”

One of the reasons Mitchell uses HP Satin Wrapping Paper as a way to help raise money for local charities is because he knows he can sell customized gift wrap at a nationally competitive price and still donate a portion of the proceeds to a good cause.

Wrapped framed photos for employees of Legg Mason

It is an appealing price point that has also opened large-scale opportunities outside of charity work. Recently, Legg Mason – Baltimore’s last fortune 500 corporation – was purchased by another financial firm. Before leaving, the previous owners wanted to do something special for their employees, so they commissioned Mitchell and his team to create 1,050 framed photos of the Thunder Birds and Blue Angels taken during the “America Strong” flyover that recognized healthcare workers on the front lines of COVID-19. For the prints, he used Sunset Photo eSatin paper, framed and matted them, then wrapped them in custom wrapping paper.

Whether printing adorable, adoptable dogs and cats to help raise money for an animal rescue or creating heartfelt parting gifts for a wonderful group of employees, Kory Mitchell and his team at The Frame Room are doing some amazing work with HP Satin Wrapping Paper. “It’s not just for profit, we are doing some good as well,” he says. And it’s the perfect message to remember as the holiday season quickly approaches.

Karin Giusti Uses Art to Create Thought-provoking “Third Space” Piece

Rhode Island artist Karin Giusti – a Professor Emerita of Art at Brooklyn College – enjoys creating pieces that are close to her heart, but also speak to anyone who sees them. Several years ago, she created a piece honoring the firemen who lost their lives as a result of 9/11. It was an all too personal piece, as her fiancé was one of those who died as a result of health problems developed from that dreadful day.

It was that piece, Three Seasons at Black Forest Farms, that helped her land a coveted spot commissioned by the Providence Art in City Life Commission for PVDFest 2020, public art installations in downtown Providence, R.I. The members of Providence ACT (Arts, Culture + Tourism) were familiar with Giusti, but that doesn’t mean they were just going to give her the opportunity, she had to earn it. “They saw my pillar piece, so they knew my work, but it still was a competition,” she says. They looked at the presentations and selected me as one of the three finalists. We then had a run-off against each other.”

Giusti was awarded the Civic Center garage, a 3-story parking deck with a unique grid pattern that she could incorporate into her design. “I looked at the building, but things got very serious in January,” she says. “I measured and photographed it and I didn’t know if my idea would work, but I had to give it a try.”

Her “idea”? She wanted to treat the grid pattern on the exterior of the building as a loom and weave brightly colored ribbons of LexJet 8 Mil Absolute Backlit – the same material she used to create her 9/11 exhibit – to create a fabric appearance.

There was a lot to consider about using the backlit material, so Giusti reached out to LexJet’s Dean Lambert and Ramiro Torrez. “I didn’t know how the material would hold up, but I wanted to use it because it’s so beautiful,” she says. “I know the team at LexJet couldn’t make promises for such an unusual application, but I’ve worked with the material before and I know it’s really strong.”

Another difference between this project and the backlit columns is interior vs. exterior application. Her 9/11 exhibit was inside and not exposed to Rhode Island weather or a downtown environment. Torrez suggested the Performance Matte UV Vinyl Laminate to protect the artwork. “I’d never put this combination of materials outside for six months, so I really didn’t have an idea as to how it would stand up,” Giusti says. “But it’s been amazing! No fading, no damage, no tearing. This stuff has been indestructible out there, and it looks just as good now as when I put it up earlier this year.”

Giusti was excited to have her work displayed on the building since the colors would provide a bright contrast to the building, but also because it was supposed to be backlit at night. Unfortunately, the city went into lockdown, so the exhibit didn’t get the lighting it deserved. Although the extraordinary conditions of the pandemic are limiting her audience, she is thrilled with the results of Dreamweave for a Third Space. Originally scheduled to be on display through November, Giusti learned that her exhibit has been extended into 2021.

“Nobody was going out or going downtown. Normally, I would’ve been hosting parties on site all summer long and doing PR, but it’s just been insane,” she says. “The colors are beautiful, and as an artist, not every sculpture you create will be that pretty or photogenic, and this one is. It’s a shame more people aren’t going to be able to see it.”

The different patterns were representative of countries around the world. “Even though the patterns are from varying countries, they are related. Some countries have copied other countries, some have occupied other countries, bringing their ideas to those countries. Of course, they don’t stop at borders, these patterns have a life of their own,” she says. “It’s all so interconnected, Third Space. it’s an urban theory about people learning to work together, not in ‘your’ space or ‘my’ space, but in a third space.”

While Dreamweave may not have been viewed by as many people as she would’ve liked, that’s not going to stop Giusti from coming up with her next great piece using Absolute Backlit. “I want to play and see if I can make this stuff permanent. Maybe sandwich it in plexiglass. I really want to push the limits of it and see what it can do,” she says. “Playing with this material has been phenomenal, and I can see doing more projects like this. I want to do this kind of project at festivals all over Europe.”

Even though there is so much going on during the creation of this piece, Giusti says she really enjoyed working on it and was glad to have something to do while in quarantine. “I spent the whole lockdown producing the piece here in my studio. Ramiro got the materials to me and it went smoothly,” she says. “He also helped me with the laminate material, but it was an absolute blast! It was so much fun because the backlit and the laminate were manageable and easy to work with.”

Giusti is grateful to so many people who helped Dreamweave become reality including FirstWorks, the City of Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism, and Bliss Properties, owners and operators of the Civic Center Garage, as well as her friends here at LexJet.

Through COVID, through quarantine, through cities being on lockdown, Karin Giusti drew upon the positive Third Space energy and had a great experience working on Dreamweave, “I had the time of my life on this project.” Hopefully, when people finally do see her work, they will have the same positive experience.

What They’re Saying: “HP Satin Wrapping Paper is a Unique Way for One Small Thing to Have Impact”

Andrew Hodge, who – along with his wife Kristy – owns Red Barn Canvas, has been running a successful home-based online business for the last nine years. “We started in Connecticut. We were also in Dallas, Ga., for about five years before we relocated to Lake Hartwell, Ga.,” says Hodge. “Because it’s an online model, we were able to move with the business and have no interruptions, which is great.”

Hodge says Kristy is the creative one and he’s the one that looks at his printer and wonders what other exciting things it can do. “I’m always wondering what I can print, other than canvas on the HP Latex 115,” he says. “I asked my LexJet sales representative to keep me updated on other products and one day, he suggested the HP Satin Wrapping Paper.” Realizing the potential, Hodge tried a roll. “I got a roll in, checked it out, ran some tests to see if we liked it, and to see if we could find a way to use it.” Red Barn Canvas - Satin Wrapping Paper

They added the customized wrapping paper to their repertoire about two years ago, right before the holiday season started. They feared they wouldn’t have enough time to get the new product set up online to have an impact on the 2018 holidays. So, they thought outside of the gift box, so to speak, and designed one-of-a-kind wrapping paper with the Red Barn Canvas logo and used it for packages and gifts for special clients.

However, it was when they designed a few sheets of customized wrapping paper for the daughter of a family friend that they realized what that little extra personalized detail can mean. “They sent us pictures of her opening the gifts, and the level of excitement of her seeing her name all over those boxes, it’s hard to replace,” says Hodge. “We knew then that it could be a fun, unique way for one small thing to have an impact.”

What They’re Saying: “The HP Films are Good Quality and They Look Great”

Over 30 years ago, Tony Evans saw his childhood dream come true when he opened Evans Graphics in Monessen, Pa. “I lettered my first fire truck in 1985, and I started my business four years later,” he says. “Ever since I was a little boy, it was my dream to work with fire trucks, and I would say that now, around 80% of my work is on emergency vehicles.”

Throughout the years, Evans has changed the way he creates the graphics for his clients. He’s always wanted a printer, but he wasn’t spending enough outsourcing his printing to make it worth it. When he realized he was paying as much as $1,000 a month to have another shop print his graphics, he purchased an HP Latex 115.

“I wanted to give my customers prints that mimicked gold-leaf lettering, but I couldn’t do it without a printer,” he says. “Having a printer in-house saves my customers money, saves me from outsourcing, and it allows me to be more creative with what I can do.”

Once he got the printer installed, Evans knew he would need some material for commercial jobs and non-reflective products. Although he’d never purchased from LexJet before, he reached out to sales specialist Trey Kelly who was happy to talk to him about the HP Adhesive Vinyl line.

“I print with a lot of reflective material for the emergency vehicles and I use the HP Clear Gloss Cast Overlaminate,” he says. “The cast laminate is unbelievably awesome! It has a nice high gloss, with no silvering, and it cuts beautifully. It enhances the characteristics of the reflective vinyl and makes it a little easier to handle.”

Reflective Vinyl with HP Gloss Polymeric Overlaminate

Sometimes, certain jobs will call for a little thicker laminate and that’s when Evans chooses HP Gloss Polymeric Overlaminate. “Some trucks have roll-up doors and I have to trim between every slat and for those jobs, because the Polymeric is a little thicker, it makes it easier to use,” he says. “These are flat surfaces, so it works great.”

When he’s not working with reflective vinyl, Evans uses HP Prime Gloss CP and HP Prime Gloss Air GP for various projects like signs and stickers. “I used the Prime Gloss GP last year on a cargo van and I see that van around town all the time and it still looks great,” he says. “The CP, which doesn’t have the air channels, I use for labels. Since they get cut and handled by multiple people, I don’t want the air channels to possibly cause the label or sticker to separate from the backing.”

However, it was his recent experience with the HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP that really got him fired up. Combining the conformable Optimal with the cast laminate, Evans set out to install a ‘supergraphic’ on the side of a minivan for a local pest control company. “I wasn’t sure if the Optimal would conform well because it’s not a cast film. Wow! It was great,” he says.

Panel vans have recessed areas where rear windows would be in passenger vans, and Evans thought those recesses may require the use of the heat gun to soften the vinyl during installation. As it turns out, he didn’t need to warm it up. “Everything went on without a heat gun,” he says. “The entire application, including the gas filler door. I mean, the van looks like it came that way.”

HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP with HP Clear Gloss Cast Overlaminate

It’s not just the ease of installation that Evans loves about the vinyl. Because he’s working with the HP printer and inks, HP adhesive vinyl, and the HP laminates, he’s using quality products and getting quality results. “It prints beautifully, it cuts and weeds easily,” he says. “The HP films are good quality, they take the ink well, and they look great.”

Adding the printer last year has not only allowed him to expand his customer service and his creativity, but it also has kept him busy, especially as things started to slow down earlier this year. “With the work that I do, primarily emergency vehicles, I’m staying busy through COVID. Having the printer made me essential. I’m busier and more profitable than I’ve ever been,” he says.

If you are interested in learning more about the HP latex printers or HP Adhesive Vinyl, contact a sales specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

What They’re Saying: Vescom “Really is Incredible”

Earlier this year, the design team at Century Sign Builders in Albuquerque, N.M., partnered with All American Wallpapering to decorate the final phase of a three-phase project that started in 2017. Nuevo East – the Graduate Student housing at the University of California San Diego – was to be redecorated and ready to go in March; however, Damien DeMenno, Project Manager for Century Sign Builders, says that COVID-19 altered their plans. “We completed it in March, but we had to finish quickly because the buildings had to be turned over to the State of California to be used as quarantine pods.”

After researching different products and finishes, DeMenno and the Century Signs team chose Type II compliant Vescom Polster for the wall décor for the UCSD grand finale. “We narrowed it down to a couple of different finishes and ultimately selected Polster for this project,” he says. For phase one of the project, DeMenno used Korographics Glassed Out and they originally looked at using Vescom Matte for phase three because the texture was a close match to the first project.

“When you’re dealing with putting a ‘matte’ product on a super smooth surface, you still get a little reflection off of it,” DeMenno says. “What’s cool about the Polster product is that it has a super light stucco texture to knock down any glare and it just made the whole project seem much more high-end.”

Giving his clients a high-end look is important, but working with a product that is easy to print and install also factors into his product selection. “We previously used a lot of laminated vinyl graphics, but the industry trend seems to have shifted to wallpaper. Since we have an HP Latex 365, we started working with Vescom and have for several jobs, now.”

For large projects like UCSD, he sees the consistency of Vescom as a huge benefit. As a precaution, DeMenno normally adds an overage allowance to job estimates to account for material errors, printer errors, or anything that may happen during fabrication. However, with this project, there was no need to use the extra material. “This material printed beautifully, and the color was consistent. We didn’t have any issues and we ended up using exactly what we specified and didn’t need any extra. This material really is incredible.”

Prior to working with Vescom, he’d experienced installation or color issues with other products but did not run into any delays while working with Polster. “In the past, I’ve noticed other brands will stretch or be 1/8” off at the top or bottom or sometimes the colors won’t match up and you’ll have to reprint a panel,” he says. “We had none of those issues with this product.”

DeMenno says it was important to have a product that would allow them to cover 34 walls, each with a unique graphic, in a very short timeframe. “With other products, we had the primer and the glue, and all the tools of traditional wallpaper,” he says. “When we started working with Vescom, we realized we didn’t need any of that. While we did still prime the walls, we were able to roll the glue right on to the wall rather than use a pasting machine. This job required fewer tools than the traditional wallpaper process, and that time-savings makes us competitive.”

After working with Vescom for several projects now, DeMenno says he would recommend it to future clients or anybody doing wall décor. “Everyone should get the samples and practice with them, that’s how you get the best results,” he says. “We did test prints on several different things to make sure we were happy with our choice. The effort is far worth it.”

With minimal waste – of both product and time – and easy installation, DeMenno and his clients were happy with the final outcome. “It’s an incredibly affordable product and to get results like that, everyone was just thrilled.”

If you are interested in Polster or any other Vescom textures, visit us online or call a LexJet representative at 800-453-9538.