Three Major Wide-format Trends to Watch in 2020

If you’ve been in wide format printing for a while, or even if you’re new here, you’ve probably noticed that things move pretty quickly in this space, from customer expectations to equipment upgrades to new material launches. These changes, upgrades and improvements are never-ending, so here’s a quick list of what we see as the hot topics to watch as 2020 gets started:

Strategic Convergence. You heard a lot about convergence at Printing United, specifically. There was a wave of chatter about diversifying and jumping into different segments to stay relevant, serving at least two segments, like sign & graphic, apparel or packaging. Sales and profitability were both up the most in 2018 for sign & graphic producers, according to NAPCO Research and SGIA. But when diversifying, businesses may have growing pains from adding staff or lacking focus. Working with a good partner who supplies material as well as education and business consultation is key to helping you make the best decisions of material inventory, equipment upgrades and workflow efficiencies. Get a handle on these issues, and your team can converge strategically.

Environmental Responsibility. If there’s one topic on everyone’s tongues, it’s sustainability. At Printing United, some customers who visited our booth were only interested in eco-friendly material options. There’s a generational divide to keep in mind: While Baby Boomer customers tend to embrace their brand loyalty, Millennials and younger are willing to pay more for products made with sustainability in mind. This is true in the consumer world, and growing increasingly true in the business decisions they make. Our industry is working hard to find ways to make materials from recycled or reclaimed items, like plastic water bottles, and, in turn, ways for those products to be recycled or reused to create a circular economy that the print world hasn’t seen previously. Stay tuned for product releases that are better for the earth so you can plan to market them to the customers who are the most receptive to them.

Increased Competition. This isn’t competition from the sign shop down the street. It’s competition from your own customers, who now have access to lower-priced, entry-level printing equipment that’s allowing them to do their own in-house printing — like retail outlets, schools and more. Combat this by excelling in areas they can’t, such as more complex decor applications that require more intense set up and installation; investment in new technology, like dye-sublimation, which can advance you into textile printing; or offer customization in printing with software that allows your team to use variable data to create unique prints (like these serialized decals). Wow your customers with your experience, craftsmanship and innovation, and they won’t want to do it without you.

Don’t Miss Our ISA Show Special on Fisher Textiles

If you’re attending ISA Sign Expo later this month in Las Vegas, be sure to swing by Fisher Textiles’ booth #4017 to learn more about these award-winning dye-sublimation textiles.

Formerly only available in grand-format sizes, we’ve partnered with Fisher Textiles to offer nine fabrics in 61-inch or smaller rolls. You can only purchase these smaller Fisher Textiles rolls at LexJet!

LexJet ISA Show Special:

When you purchase any roll of 61-inch-by-100-foot Fisher Textiles fabric from LexJet, you’ll get 50% off your choice of one roll of LexJet InFuze dye-sub transfer papers:

Please call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538 to learn more about this show special, available April 23 to May 1.

Discover the full line of wide-format-compatible Fisher Textiles fabrics, available exclusively at LexJet:

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:

Explore New Markets with Fisher Textiles for Dye-Sub

Now that we’re carrying a versatile portfolio of Fisher Textiles‘ fabrics for wide-format dye-sublimation transferring, you can explore more options to offer your customers. Providing dye-sub fabrics in wide-format sizes makes it easier for you to create great-looking outdoor signage, trade show graphics and even high-demand décor items at lower prices than other wide-format print technologies.

Fabric signage has become increasingly popular in the last few years, edging out vinyls and films for its ease of use, inexpensive shipping costs and ever-improving reproduction results. Plus, our finishing partners like SignComp, are creating more options to make them easier to install the final display.

For exhibits and signage or table skirts, try Fisher Textiles 1707 Soft Knit for a lightweight option or the award-winning Fisher Textiles 4019 Nirvana with a block-out banner when you need lightweight fabric plus opacity.

For photo backdrops, like the one pictured, we recommend Fisher Textiles 1708 Heavy Knit, which can also double for roll-up banner stands or Fisher Textiles 4608 Power Stretch, which can be shaped into geometric displays and tension displays.

Fabrics in backlit displays are another preferred choice these days. Fisher Textiles 8864 Triple White and Fisher Textiles 8862 Single White Backlit both perform excellently.

Teardrop flags for sales and seasonal promotions are stylish and easy to use, and we’ve recently added Fisher Textiles 1701 Primary Flag specifically for this high-demand application.

One of the most exciting dye-sub applications is in the décor market. Sew-free SEG-type frames, such as those offered by SignComp, give dye-sub printers the opportunity to create finished wall art that’s a less-expensive option than traditional canvas. For instance, if you use Fisher Textiles 1709 Heavy Knit with a SignComp Front Load Soft Signage Kit, you’ll save at least 50% on the fabric over typical canvases on the market, and the frame can be used again and again as the graphics and messaging changes — what a great price savings and usability to pass on to your customers!

Plus, the SignComp frames are quick and easy to use. Check out this how-to video:

 

InFuze® Transfer Paper “Well Above” the Competition, Customers Say

For Fort Myers, Fla.-based Bella Signs and Designs, the key to great dye-sublimation output is a high-quality transfer paper that minimizes ghosting — the shadowing effect that commonly happens during a dye-sub transfer.

Earlier this year, we brought the dye-sublimation market four new LexJet InFuze® transfer papers created for specific applications with a microporous ink-receptive coating that provides exceptional performance. Our LexJet InFuze® Apparel Dye Sublimation Paper was just what Bella Signs and Designs was looking for.

“We look for a high-value paper with a tacky surface to ensure minimal ghosting,” says Bella’s Jennifer Fineran. “We also look for a paper that has a quick ink drying time. The InFuze® paper worked very well, as it has reduced the amount of ghosting we have experienced. The quality of the tacky surface is well above that of other paper brands we have used.”

Dye-sub printed t-shirt from Bella Signs and Designs, using LexJet InFuze® Textile Dye Sublimation Paper and Epson SureColor F6200

Bella uses dye-sublimation transfer technology for printing onto polyester t-shirts with Florida-centric fishing and fun-in-the-sun designs.

“In the past, we have outsourced all of our dye-sub printing needs,” Fineran says. “Since purchasing our own printer (the Epson SureColor F6200) and using the InFuze® paper, it has greatly increase our production rate of dye-sub projects.”

Bella offers its customers a wide variety of digital printing services, including vehicle and boat wraps, signs of all kinds, custom apparel and promotional products. The team has used dye-sub specifically for the shirts.

“Dye-sub is definitely becoming more and more common since it provides bright colors and a soft print that is not heavy on the shirt,” Fineran says.

LexJet InFuze® is available in four options:

LexJet InFuze® Multipurpose Dye Sublimation Paper for flexible fabric or rigid substrates, like mugs, promotional items and banners

LexJet InFuze® Textile Dye Sublimation Paper for flexible polyester fabrics for fast fashion, sportswear, banners and soft signage

LexJet InFuze® Apparel Dye Sublimation Paper for elastic-type textiles, like moisture-wicking, quick-dry performance sports apparel

LexJet InFuze® Rigid Substrate Dye-Sublimation Paper for metal panels used for wall art, table tops and high-end photo art

Year in Review: The 11 Biggest Product Launches of 2017

As we look back on the year that 2017 was, there’s no denying that our customers are branching out into new areas and looking to offer their customers better performing, more cost-effective wide-format solutions. At LexJet, we strive to stay in-step with those demands. Our 2017 product launches brought to market everything from new outdoor banner materials and high-end fine-art paper options to all new technology portfolios and exciting, versatile media for multiple applications. Let’s take a look back at the changes 2017 brought in media products and equipment advances:

NEW MEDIA:

A Glossy, Opaque Banner: Many of our aqueous printer customers were requesting a glossy version of our ThriftyBanner, so we answered with LexJet Gloss Blockout ThriftyBanner. Not only does the gloss finish add extra pop to graphics and photos, it also eliminates the need to add a gloss laminate when requested, making it a one-step, cost-effective option. The 100% opaque blockout adds another unique feature for one of our most popular launches of 2017.

ClearShield SoftFeel Low Melt laminate applied to a menu.

Print Protection Portfolio: If you’re looking for any type of print protection, LexJet is the go-to source. We relaunched some products and added many new items to our Print Protection portfolio, which includes thermal laminates, water-based liquid coatings, UV liquid coatings and pressure sensitive laminates. This line includes nearly 70 options from the best brands in the industry: Marabu, ClearShield, Sunset, EnduraCoat, MaraShield and LexJet. If you need to protect a print in any application, our Print Protection page is the place to start.

Now Available at LexJet: Geo Knight Swing Away Heat Press

As part of our expanding dye-sublimation portfolio, we now offer the Geo Knight DK20S Digital Knight 16×20 Swinger heat press, a state-of-the-art swing-away heat transfer press ideal for t-shirt and substrate transfers.

With its sturdy, heavy-duty solid steel welded framework and cutting-edge digital microprocessor, the DK20S is made and supported in the USA. The ease of use also makes this a leading choice, thanks to its SuperCoil-Microwinding heat platen, with coils that cover nearly the entire platen, ensuring accurate, even heat and level pressure.

The DK20S is one of Geo Knight’s most popular models with it’s swing-away design that allows for full access of the table — making t-shirt transfers a breeze, in particular.

Here are a few product highlights:

  • Fully digital temperature control
  • Automatic digital timer w/ pre-press
  • Digital pressure bar graph
  • 70 Programmable presets
  • Interchangeable tables
  • SuperCoil-Microwinding™ heater technology
  • Accommodates materials up to 2” thick
  • Temperature readout accuracy +-2°F.

Want more info? Call a LexJet rep at 800-453-9538 today.