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

How to Use Printing Proofs for Clients Living in the Online World

Guest blog by Ryan Stevens

Ryan Stevens

We all know that printed proofs are important, but getting this message across to clients — particularly to “digitalized” clients — isn’t always easy. We can’t deny that technology is taking over, and it’s natural to be excited and optimistic about new ways of working, about advanced functions and features, and about all the bells and whistles that come with futuristic tech, but many clients now can’t see the wood for the trees; they can’t see that the best way to view examples of printed materials is through printed proofs.

In order to get your digital clients excited and enthusiastic about printing proofs, you need to use them wisely. It’s all about showing clients something “real” in what is fast becoming a virtual environment.

Here are 3 ways to use your printing proofs to really amazing your clients:

  1. Make Printing Proofs Familiar. Perhaps one of the worst things you can do is surprise your clients with printed proofs; showing them something out of the blue that completely goes against their digital expectation. Instead, use the notion of printing proofs right from the get-go, and incorporate the idea into early discussions. You may even wish to show examples to give a better impression of what clients can expect, and make print more familiar, rather than more alien. Not only can this help clients to prepare for the proofs, but it also works to raise awareness of the importance of print and, ultimately, it may even help to minimize objections.
  2. Justify Your Work. Simply showing your client a printed proof when what they really wanted was digital isn’t going to be enough to win them over in most cases. While it’s frustrating, you may wish to use printing proofs while simultaneously justifying your work. One of the best ways to do this is to utilize your client’s own words; “we’ve done this to ensure consistency with your own branding;” “we’ve done this to instill confidence in your audience.” By highlighting the fact that the printed proof does the job and directly addresses the client’s needs, requirements and preferences, you can work to minimize the impact of “outdated” print.
  3. Hand It to Them. One of the best ways to use printing proofs to amaze your clients is, quite simply, to hand it to them! Tactile experiences are highly underrated, and many of us don’t appreciate how touching something can affect our thought processes. Children are actually much more in tune with this; that’s why babies put objects in their mouths, and why children can’t keep their hands off expensive ornaments. Use your printed proof to enable clients to get a feel for the paper stock, for the weight of the total product, for the texture, for the size. Even if clients don’t realize it, holding a printed proof can be hugely influential.

Share Your Knowledge

Ultimately, if you really need to amaze your clients who seem to be stuck in the online world, it’s worth taking a little time to educate them and share your professional insight — don’t be afraid to take the authoritative route. Explain that there is a difference between knowing what to do and knowing how to do it. Digital proofs, of course, have their place; they show clients that you know what to do. It’s only printed proofs, however — real, physical, hard copy proofs — that show clients you know how to do it.

Printing proofs are an integral part of business sustainability, so it’s essential that design and printing firms understand how to continue using printing proofs for best effect, even in the digital world.

About the author: Ryan Stevens is a print expert who enjoys sharing industry knowledge with print enthusiasts all over the web. As CEO of Replica Printing Inc, Ryan is involved with all major printing styles and options on a daily basis.

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.

Get a Free 1-Year Subscription of SAi FlexiPrint HP Edition RIP

At the beginning of July, HP announced a free 12-month subscription of the SAi FlexiPrint HP Edition RIP with the purchase of a Latex 365 64-in printer during July.

Some highlights of the FlexiPrint HP Edition include:

  • All-in-one Print-and-cut Workflow – Design multiple contour-cut lines and create accurate print-and-cut jobs in a few easy steps
  • HP Integrated Media Library Tool – Access to HP’s online Media library, which auto-syncs with Flexi to ensure the printer is current with media and print modes
  • HP WallArt Integration – Ability to produce high-margin wall décor and murals with the HP WallArt Solution and FlexiPRINT

Recently, SAi announced the end of Flexi RIP versions 10.5 and older. This change affected all users operating 10.x and older and all upgrades and support have ended for these legacy versions. If you are using the old software with an older model printer and have been considering an upgrade, now is the perfect opportunity.

At the end of your free one-year subscription, you can continue to use FlexiPrint HP Edition for $49.95 per month or choose to receive the HP Basic Edition for free. Other subscription plans are also available. If you have questions about this promotion, please contact your LexJet printer specialist at 800-453-9538.

Save the Date: July Webinars Are Here

Beat the summer heat by joining us for these free webinars, conducted by industry specialists. You will learn about the latest Canon PRO-Series and HP Latex printers on the market and help you determine which one is right for you. We know your time is valuable, so as a “thank you,” you will receive additional savings on a qualified printer purchase. Sign up today, space is limited.

Canon PRO-Series Webinar: Join us Thursday, July 19 at 11 a.m. ET to discover the latest advancements in Canon printers. Attendees will receive an additional 5% off their PRO-Series printer purchase. SIGN UP NOW

HP Latex Webinar: Join us for a webinar on HP’s Latex printer technology on Friday, July 20, at 2 p.m. ET. When you attend this webinar, you’ll save $1,000 on an HP Latex 315 Print & Cut Bundle or HP Latex 335 Print & Cut Bundle; or save $3,000 on an HP Latex 560 or HP Latex 570. SIGN UP NOW

If you’ve got questions, we can help. Give us a call at 800-453-9538.

Captured on Canvas: Memories & Moments That Last

When Kathy Ogg first became a mom 23 years ago, she soon realized she wouldn’t be returning to work as she once knew it. Instead, photographing and printing pictures of her kids, now age 4 through 23, became a hobby, then a passion, then a whole new career.

Five years ago, with her original Canon imagePROGRAF 8400 printer, she started Re:Image Printing, perfecting the art of using photos not only taken by professional photographers, but amateurs who were capturing family moments on their cell phones, as well.

A customer’s candid image captured on canvas.

“I’ve worked with a lot of families who thought that Facebook would be the way to store all their pictures and they got rid of their originals,” Ogg says. “But then they realized that once they’re on Facebook, the photos are tiny.”

So Ogg helps families determine which photos would work best as prints on either photo paper or canvas wraps. She’s now upgraded to the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000 and is a loyal user of Fredrix 777VWR Vivid Matte Canvas and LexJet Sunset Select Matte Canvas.

Often, potential clients shy away from canvas wrap prints because they think they need a professional photographer in order to get professional prints made. However, Ogg says, “I’m trying to teach people that cell phone pictures do print really well now — I can blow them up to 24×36-inch canvases. You just have to ask yourself: Does that picture do something to your heart? If so, then it’s worthy to print to a canvas and put on your wall.”

Memories aren’t only photographs. This recipe card is forever remembered on a canvas print.

Ogg moved from Indiana to Winter Garden, Fla., a few years ago, where she now runs a print and canvas wrap shop. When testing the media that she prints to, she looks for consistent results, vivid, accurate colors without a lot of texture and handling without cracking in the corners when stretched on canvas bars.

She’s opted for the canvas wraps because she finds the finished look to be “timeless,” unlike frames that can go out of style and glass that can stick to — and ruin — the printed image. She tops the canvas with a coating for extra protection — gloss coating for landscape images and colors that need a lot of “pop” and satin for family photos.

“Some professional photographers think there’s no way that canvas can reproduce their colors,” she says. “But I just say – why don’t you let me show you. Between the printer and the Fredrix or LexJet canvas, I can guarantee the quality.”

Ogg has also been experimenting with LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric, a removable repositionable self-adhesive product that delivers great image quality, as well.

LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric used for a nursery room mural.

“Print-N-Stick is the most fun material I’ve ever printed to,” she says. “I love how versatile it is, and it will stay up as long as I want it to. It’s truly removable without peeling paint or damaging the wall behind it. It feels more like fabric and really adheres to the texture of the wall.”

Ogg uses Print-N-Stick mostly for her children’s room murals, but is starting to offer it to her customers, too. Between the fun wall murals and canvas wraps, her own home is a reflection of what she can create for clients’ homes. “There’s a reason behind every picture hanging up on my wall,” she says. “I walk in and I’m home — I’m happy and at peace.”