5 Products that Changed the Game for Wide Format in 2019

In 2019, we looked to the market and our customers to find the gaps we could fill with problem-solving product innovations. As a company that marked its 25th anniversary this year, we’ve built our foundation on finding new ways to help our customers thrive. As the year comes to an end, we take a look back at some of the product launches customers and the industry asked for.

In case you didn’t catch them previously, here’s a look at five new media products that changed the game for the wide-format industry:

Squid, for High-End Window Graphics. Likely one of the most buzz-worthy products of the year, Squid is a self-adhesive, printable window textile that offers an elegant-looking alternative to window films that is more environmentally friendly and provides privacy while blocking the sun’s rays. With several color bases that range from a light Chalk to a dark Coal, Squid can be used alone or enhanced with eco-solvent or UV-curable print. In November, we announced that the Chalk version of Squid is now available for Latex printers.

Fredrix Metallic Canvas in Pearl and Gold. Maybe you didn’t think you needed a metallic-based canvas product, but now that it’s here, we don’t think there’s any going back. Before Fredrix dreamed up these dreamy canvases, the only option for creating a metallic gallery wrap was to use a wallcovering product, with dubious effect when wrapping it around those stretcher bars. Today, we’ve got Fredrix Metallic Pearl, which provides a glamorous, iridescent base that puts print jobs like bridal portraits in a whole new stratosphere. The Fredrix Metallic Gold is a showy option that looks amazing with rich, black inks. It also took the 2019 SGIA Product of the Year for Media – Textile – Canvas.

Dye-sub Fisher Textiles in Wide-Format Sizes. With the introduction of wide-format width dye-sub printers hitting the market from the likes of Epson and HP, the industry was in need of some quality dye-sub fabrics in the right widths. Until we partnered with Fisher Textiles, there weren’t many options. We brought right-sized rolls to the industry for a variety of applications, such as flags, soft signage, table skirts, drapery, banners, backdrops and much more.

New Sunset SUV Fine Art for Large Runs. As the preferred printer technologies in the market begin to shift to eco-solvent, we’re finding a bigger need for traditionally aqueous-based media to be re-formulated. Where better to start than with the fine-art segment? We introduced Sunset SUV Fine Art Paper 210g for high-volume art and photography reproductions at a cost-conscious price. For customers loyal to aqueous inks, we also launched Sunset Hot Press Smooth Bright White and Sunset Cold Press Textured Bright White papers to give them another budget-friendly, high-quality option.

High-Tack HP Grip Matte for Stickier Situations. All year we’ve seen the relatively new HP Adhesive Vinyl portfolio of products become customer favorites. Yet, the line was missing a high-tack option that could be used on hard-to-stick-to surfaces, such as trash cans and other low-energy plastics. So we brought on HP Grip Polymeric Air with its aggressive, high-tack clear adhesive, which works on rough surfaces as well as low-energy, while providing an easy, bubble-free installation.

Do you have any product favorites from 2019? Tell us in the comments below, or let us know what other solutions you’ve been looking for.

Easy Variable Data Printing with HP Print & Cut + SAi Flexi

Looking for a quick way to use variable data in your next print project? When the Suncoast Jeep Festival asked us to create 500 numbered decals for their event, we opted for an easy software and print-and-cut solution to get the job done.

Each Jeep that entered the event needed to be tagged with a decal, and each needed its own number, which was to be displayed on the windshield. We chose HP Latex Print & Cut Solution, which comes with SAi FlexiPRINT RIP software that makes variable data printing a breeze. For the decals, we chose to print on HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP, which has a removable and repositionable adhesive.

In the video above, we provide easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions on how to set up your design file for auto-serialization numbering, as well as marking cut-lines for kiss-cuts and perforations, to illustrate how fast and simple making these decals was.

Working in tandem with the HP Latex Print & Cut system, the Flexi RIP software creates a barcode during the printing process, and the cutter will read and recognize this barcode, and is then programmed to know the exact pattern to cut and perforate — no additional programming is needed when moving the print job to the cutter.

While we chose a simple number serialization project, the Flexi RIP software could be used to swap out photos, graphics, logos or anything else to create individual or personalized prints for labels, decals or whatever your customer can dream up!

For more information about working with variable data, give a LexJet print specialist a call at 800-453-9538.

Thanks, Digital Output Readers, for Naming LexJet to the Top 50!

We’re thrilled to announce that LexJet has, once again, been named to Digital Output’s Top 50 Readers’ Choice list! This annual list determines reader interest based on the magazine’s editorial content and advertisements. Check out the February 2020 edition of Digital Output for all the details!

“Our goal at LexJet is to provide our customers with not only the products and technology they need to keep production going, but also industry know-how and strong business relationships that help them grow and evolve right along with the market,” says Justin Lehman, VP of Sales at LexJet. “We couldn’t be happier about being recognized by Digital Output’s readers, and we hope we can continue supporting them for years to come.”

In the magazine, we’ll be featuring some products that have been customer favorites throughout 2019, such as:

Sunset Hot Press Smooth Bright White 300g, a new, cost-effective option to help photographers bring their vision to the print.

HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP, practically a cult favorite for 2019! This adhesive vinyl from HP has been one of the biggest and most popular launches we’ve seen in years.

LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric, this long-time favorite continues to delight customers with its detailed print reproduction and ease of use for everything from floors, windows, walls and more.

“In 2019, our company celebrated our 25th anniversary, and we’re definitely looking forward to entering another decade with our vision set on helping our customers master print technologies and bring even more opportunities to their customers,” Lehman says.

We Joined the Printing United Convergence!

Last month, the LexJet team joined our parent company, S-One, to host a comprehensive booth at Printing United in Dallas, with the theme Media Matters. At LexJet, we know how important it is to pair the right media substrate with the right printer for the right job — every time.

This year, SGIA partnered with NAPCO to create Printing United, which celebrated the convergence of printing segments that aren’t so segmented any more. Many printers are expanding their offerings into signage, décor, commercial and packaging.

Squid window graphic demonstration

With this industry-wide convergence going on, some print service providers are struggling with juggling too much, according to industry experts. During the Key Industry Trends and Insights Research Breakfast, SGIA’s Chief Economist Andy Paparozzi discussed pain points for companies that are affecting the bottom line, such as rising wages and benefits costs, shortage of skilled personnel, workflow inefficiencies and cost of materials.

To help PSPs make smarter material purchasing decisions, we showcased a number of innovative, versatile products available exclusively at LexJet, including:

  • Squid, the innovative new self-adhesive textile for window graphics in retail, healthcare, residential and corporate spaces.
  • HP Grip Matte Polymeric Air, a high-tack, aggressive adhesive-backed vinyl for rough surfaces and low-energy plastics.
  • Fredrix Metallic Gold Canvas, the 2019 SGIA Product of the Year – Media – Textile – Canvas, along with its Metallic Pearl counterpart.
  • Sunset SUV Fine Art Paper 210g, the new-to-market option for large-volume fine art décor printers looking for a cost-conscious option that also has on-point quality.

If you couldn’t make it to Printing United, you can still experience our booth. Please check out the video below. Our print specialists are also available at 800-453-9538 to answer any of your questions about making smarter materials purchases or focusing on the segments you specialize in.

LexJet brandUP: Wheels Up at Suncoast Jeep Festival

In the LexJet brandUP tradition, we supported a community event with wide-format printing and dye-sub transferred graphics of all types to highlight event activities and direct foot — and vehicle — traffic for the second annual Suncoast Jeep Festival at the Sarasota Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Fla. (Watch the video above to see all the activity and printed projects.)

The Festival is a gathering of Jeep lovers from all around Florida who convene for two days of fun that includes obstacle courses, relay games, kids mini-Jeep courses, a Tug-O-Jeep competition, food trucks and a vendor area with Jeep styling options to trick-out your ride.

Even though there’s a saying that Jeep stands for “Just Empty Every Pocket,” somewhere between the lift kits, bumpers, lights, winches and other modification options, these folks were digging deep to help charities, too. A major purpose for the event was supporting organizations focused on mental health, first responders, veterans and children in need.

“The Festival is a gathering of vendors and community and enthusiasts to raise money for charities,” says Billy Elkins, the Festival co-director and designer for this year’s event graphics. “We decided this year that we were going to take it up a notch across the board. We got a lot of new activities and we also wanted to step-up all of our signage and take advantage of all the stuff that’s available to us in the graphic world today.”

That stuff includes things like panoRama Walk & Wall textured self-adhesive material that marked the finish line for the Tug-O-Jeep competition; HP Print & Cut and HP Adhesive Vinyl for event decals and mini-Jeep graphics; and Fisher Textiles for outdoor flags in the Jeepers Midway.

“This was a highly branded event, and we wanted to take it to the next level, and we were able to do that with all of the graphics we had,” Elkins says.

Visit Suncoast Jeep Festival to learn more, or call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538 to learn how LexJet products can enhance your next event.

Temporary Solutions: Have Your Walls Your Way

Not all wallcoverings are the same — and that’s a good thing! While sometimes a customer may want a long-lasting wall paper, chances are they are looking for a more temporary solution for company brand messages, home décor or trendy retail spaces. Digital print technology makes customizing the visuals simple. The right media will make installation — and removal — quick and easy, too.

Printed Photo Tex used in place of tiles on this kitchen backsplash

At LexJet, we offer a wide range of wallcovering options, from glossy vinyls to satin fabric textures with just the right amount of adhesive backing to stay on the wall … til you customer changes his or her mind.

Here’s a look at several of our most popular temporary wallcovering media options:

Photo Tex – Opaque (Solvent) is a 95% opaque fabric that won’t shrink, wrinkle or rip, but it will come down from a wall without any residue left behind. The matte finish makes it a good choice for residential spaces, and it will stick to any non-porous flat surface. The detailed print quality makes creating a faux finish a breeze (see kitchen backsplash photo). It’s also available in an Aqueous version.

Avery Dennison’s MPI 2600 Series Wall Film, pictured at top, offers scuff resistance that holds up in busy areas. The films also offer a variety of textures for extra interest, like canvas, crushed stone or stucco. Create quick, customizable wall decoration with easy installation and removal.

LexJet Simple Flo Vinyl Wrap offered awesome branding for Scorch Fitness

LexJet Simple Flo Wrap Vinyl is a favorite of both printers and installers, with a glossy white finish with an ultra-conformable calendared adhesive backing for easy handling. As one customer says: “It produces great image quality and the air-egress liner makes it extremely easy to work with.  This is a great go-to product for all types of different applications.”

LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric is a customer favorite not only for its ease of use when creating an accent wall or an entire room, but it’s one of our most versatile products that can be used on walls, windows, floors and even metal (like elevators). It’s been Class A, ASTM E84 Fire Rated and provides a higher ink saturation for richer colors. It’s also available for Solvent printers.

HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP used on an accent wall in an office setting

HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP is a great vinyl that’s optimized for Latex printers, and priced just right. This newer product is quickly becoming a customer favorite for its ease of use, consistent results and budget-friendly price point. “The print quality is great, profiles are set, and I don’t have head strikes or color issues as compared to my other products,” says one customer. For similar results in a matte finish, try HP Prime Matte Air GR.

To learn more about wallcovering options, both temporary and permanent, call a LexJet pro at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com/wall-murals.