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.

Post-COVID-19 Prep: Optimize Your Inventory During Downtime

We’ve heard from some print shops that activity may be slowing down in some areas, so we put together some ideas of how you can use your downtime wisely. We all know that storage room inventory can get backed up, so now’s a great time to figure out what you’re using, what’s collecting dust and maybe identify some new, multiuse products that can save you both space and money plus you can earn up to 4X Edge Rewards.

“A good exercise is to put a list together of products you buy regularly and reach out to your vendor and let them know this is what I use regularly,” says LexJet sales rep, Ramiro Torrez. “And ask: Do you have something that is comparable at a better price point?”

Torrez worked with a customer who was buying 25 different products and he made recommendations to whittle the list down to 12 more versatile items. In some cases, the customer saved when buying more of the streamlined list.

“We saved her about $1,200 if she’d replenished one of everything in her old inventory,” he says. “Plus, when you buy in bulk, you’re going to get a better price for it.”

Next, we identified several applications that can be covered by one super-versatile product. Learn more about these products and stock up, so you’re a step ahead when it’s time to ramp up production once again:

VINYL: If you are stocking up on different products for self-adhesive window, signage and car decal graphics, HP Prime Matte Air GP is a one-size-fits-all option. Additionally, HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP can work across the board for wall graphics, corrugated plastic, windows and can even be mounted to Styrofoam.

SIGNAGE FILM: Another super versatile option for signage is LexJet’s Production Display Film, which can stand in for grommeted banners, retractable banner stands, and hanging signage, thanks to its lay-flat characteristics. It’s a cost-effective solution for indoor or short-term outdoor graphics, which is also available in a Solvent version.

POSTER PAPER: If you’re looking for a poster paper that works well outdoors and also doubles as a photo paper with good resolution, check out LexJet Satin Poster Paper 200g. At $0.12 per square foot, it’s a highly cost-effective, PVC-free option that delivers richly detailed, water-resistant prints.

FABRIC: When events start back up, you’ll want to have a fabric on hand that can work on a variety of applications. EnduraFab Frontlit is a 100% polyester knit fabric for Latex users that’s appropriate for lightweight and elegant table skirts, backdrops, step-and-repeats and flags. For aqueous printers, try LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth for a multitude of applications.

MULTI-PURPOSE: One of the most exciting product launches in recent years is LexJet FlexTek. This non-woven technical fabric is a winner thanks to its highly functional and versatile characteristics. It’s recyclable and PVC-free, making it an environmental win, too. FlexTek can be wrapped around stretcher bars to create canvas wraps (as an alternative to polyester canvas) or used for posters, banners or even hanging signage. It’s also available in a Solvent version, and both versions offer long shelf life.

For more ideas for versatile products and good-better-best options for your application, call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538.

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!

LEARN MORE: Watch this video to see how we created cut lines in Adobe Illustrator:

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

10 Customer Print Projects that Inspired in 2019

From floor-to-ceiling murals to thought-proving graphics for a children’s art center, LexJet customers printed some awesome – and awe-inspiring – images in 2019. Here are a few examples of what our creative and innovative customers designed throughout the year:

University Brings Football History to Life with Extreme AquaVinyl When it was time for the University at Buffalo to celebrate 100 years of football history, Kris Miller turned to LexJet for help designing the 35-foot by 10-foot mural that was the centerpiece graphic. “I’m not a professional installer, so whatever I use has to be easy to work with and install,” Miller says. READ MORE

Mixing Up the Painting Process with Canvas & Coating Combining oil painting and wide-format printing, San Francisco photo retoucher Leonard Gordon has his Surrealist-style artwork printed on Sunset by Fredrix Canvas, then protected with Sunset Satin Coating. Then he added additional texture with oil paints. “That’s what’s giving the painting depth. It’s all about bringing out the color of the print itself,” he says. READ MORE

GeoJango Maps: Bringing the World (of Maps) to Everybody Debbie Dennison at GeoJango Maps is excited to share her passion for maps with the world. Using HP Everyday Instant-dry Satin Photo Paper on their HP printers, Dennison and the team did a tremendous amount of research before deciding which products to use. “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,” says Dennison. READ MORE

New Exhibit Takes Flight with Floor-to-Ceiling Murals Inspired by an over-sized book by James Audubon, Nel Fetherling at the Field Museum in Chicago wanted to “go big” for an exhibition showcasing Audubon’s 19th-century work. Fetherling and her team printed six 14-foot x 75-inch wall murals as well as one for the entryway using LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric. “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.” READ MORE

What They’re Saying: HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP – ‘It Really Shines’ Husband and wife team Rick and Connie Rhind Robey, of SpeedPro Imaging in Silver Spring, Md., had the opportunity to use HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP and HP Gloss Polymeric Overlaminate on storage spaces of downtown Kensington, Md., businesses. “I loved the high-quality look of the images,” Connie says. “It’s important that the final piece looks great and the artist loves it. It really shines in the high-end market place.” READ MORE

C’est Magnifique! Turning Antique French Postcards into Wall Art Photographer David Humphreys was tasked with turning old French postcards into 5-foot by 8-foot canvas murals for off-campus housing at Louisiana State University. Knowing he would need a 60-inch wide printer to accommodate the width of the images. Humphreys bought a Canon PRO-6000 and he’s pleased with the results. “The printer is incredible. It’s user-friendly and did a beautiful job,” he says. “Now I’m doing a lot of larger images for other people because of the 60-inch capability.” READ MORE

Artist Jonathon Romain Creates a Colorful World for Children Jonathon Romain and his wife purchased an old school in Peoria, Ill., to build the Romain Arts & Culture Community Center where they hosted their first summer program where kids could talk about issues that affect them and then create murals to present to the local school superintendent. “Each one of the children received a smaller framed copy of images to take home to their family and friends,” he says. READ MORE

Sunset Photo Metallic Paper Beats Aluminum for Gallery Exhibit Hollywood director Blair Hayes wanted to create a new exhibit called Light of Future Past, from his movie-site images. He originally set out to print them on brushed aluminum for a sleek, modern look, but the bright gallery lights bounced off the aluminum and muddied the colors. Turning to Chris Glassman at Casual Graphics for suggestions, they settled on Sunset Photo Metallic Paper. “They stated to me that if it weren’t for Casual Graphics, the show would not have happened due to the lighting issues,” says Glassman. “I must state that if it wasn’t for the LexJet media, I wouldn’t have been able to provide a cost-effective alternative solution to aluminum prints.” READ MORE

Bringing Children’s Books to Life with Wall Decals John Etienne of Wall Adventure, offers activity books with matching fabric wall decals that are ideal for children’s spaces. He prints the decals on LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric on his Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-Series PRO-4000S. “My customers love the products. The colors on the fabric are bright. The combination of printer and fabric is working well,” he says. READ MORE

Real Color Design Partners with EPSON for Marvel-ous Results Alex Costa, of Real Color Design in Torrance, Calif., works closely with Marvel, WB, DC Comics and other studios. With a customer base like that, there is no margin for error. To meet the demands of qualifying as an authorized print resource, Costa and his team work with a fleet of EPSON printers. “We’ve been with Epson since the beginning,” he says. “Currently, we use the SureColor F6200 (dye-sub), SureColor S80600 (solvent) and SureColor P10000 (aqueous)”. READ MORE

Do you have a story you’d like to share on the LexJet blog? Email us your projects and you could be featured in 2020!

A Welcome Addition: HP Clear Gloss Cast Overlaminate

Late last year, LexJet introduced the HP Adhesive vinyl line to the industry at SGIA and the response from customers has been fantastic. Earlier this year, HP Prime Matte Air GR was added to the portfolio. It offers the same imaging quality as the Prime Matte Air GP, but with a gray removable adhesive.

Increasing variety to its overlaminate line, HP announced the addition of Clear Gloss Cast Overlaminate earlier this month. “The new cast laminate is a way for print service providers to see an increase in profitability on box trucks with rivets as well as fleet graphics,” says Tiffany Liashek, National Accounts specialist. “The new overlaminate provides significant cost savings to comparable products. As much as $200 per roll, in some cases.”

Partnering HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP with the new cast laminate, gives PSPs have a total graphics solution for around $0.92/sf. Liashek eases concerns of mixing the calendered Optimal with the cast laminate. “If the laminate is a higher quality vinyl than the printed vinyl, you can mix it. But you never want to use a calendered laminate on a cast vinyl. That’s when shrinkage and edge curl can occur,” she says.

In the past, when an installer heard “calendered vinyl,” he expected that product would be lower quality when compared with cast vinyl, but manufacturing and adhesive technology have improved. “The terms ’cast’ and ‘calendered’ should now be thought of as the way the film is made, not an indicator of quality,” Liashek says. “With calendered film now offering the same or better durability, finish and appearance as many cast films, the only remaining factor is the cost.”

Often, customers want to know which laminate is right for them. To help them choose, Liashek asks some important questions: “To make sure that I offer the right solution, I ask where the graphic will be displayed? What is the temperature like? Is there a lot of sunshine? Is it a vertical or horizontal surface application?” she says. “How they answer these questions will determine if they should consider a cast overlaminate.” The HP cast overlaminate offers protection against abrasions, heat and UV rays, and is extremely conformable. It also adds longevity to underlying graphics, with 10-year durability.

With the newest addition to the portfolio, PSPs can provide high-quality, durable results at a reasonable cost. “Any experienced installer can use calendered vinyl, and he knows when it will be more economical,” Liashek says. “That means an educated consumer can save a lot of money without sacrificing quality.”

Call a LexJet specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com to stay up to date with the latest information on additional products to the HP Adhesive Vinyl portfolio.

What They’re Saying: HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP – ‘It Really Shines’

Husband and wife team Rick and Connie Rhind Robey are the owners of SpeedPro Imaging in Silver Spring, Md. Recently, the SpeedPro headquarters in Denver asked for volunteers to test one of the new HP Adhesive Vinyl products from LexJet. The Robeys responded and brought in a roll of HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP and HP Gloss Polymeric Overlaminate.

The first project they created with the Optimal and Gloss laminate was a wall mural. “Wall graphics can be tricky with the new paints,” Rick says. “We did a test with the Optimal and it was a go. It went up well and stayed up well. It was a great start.”

“We’ve been using another product, but it’s kind of pricey. The Optimal has the same characteristics and maybe even a little better holding power,” says Rick. “I’ve been using it [Optimal] based on what the 40C can do: vehicle decals, flat surface, even subtle rivets. One customer was so thrilled, he’s sending us another job.”

While the Optimal is perfect for walls, vehicle decals, and other outdoor signage, there was an opportunity to use it in an unorthodox manner in Rick’s hometown of Kensington, Md. Some of the stores in the downtown area planned a storefront-style appearance on the back of the buildings.

Local artists were commissioned to create art that would decorate these “storefronts” and Rick and his team printed the artwork on Optimal, laminated it with Polymeric Gloss and installed it to hide storage space from street view. 

“I loved the high-quality look of the images. Each section was designed by a different artist. It’s important that the final piece looks great and the artist loves it. It really shines in the high-end market place,” Connie says.

The artwork has generated a lot of interest on “Antique Row” in the quaint downtown area. “The pieces have garnered a lot of attention, it speaks to the work of the artist, the work of the printer and the material,” she says. “With this job, there’s no marketing message to hide behind. It’s showcasing art. And this product really shines.”

Connie, who is also the Marketing Director, says that they are delighted to have a product like this for customers. “It’s fun to find a product that we like so much. We are excited to use it moving forward.” Rick agrees, “the graphics go on and stay on. That’s important. We’ve gained a lot of confidence in the product and will recommend it to other SpeedPro locations.”

If you are interested in trying any of the products from the HP Adhesive Vinyl portfolio, give us a call at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.