Let’s Drive: Identity and Privacy with Perforated Window Graphics

LexJet Perforated Vinyl

When Legacy Nissan in London, Ky., built its new showroom a few years back one of the primary design features was glass. Visibility is crucial for car dealers; they want people to see what they’re selling inside.

The only problem with that visibility is, well, visibility. The upstairs conference room above the showroom offers no privacy. The owner of the dealership looked into glass walls with dimmers so they could “tint” the windows for privacy on the fly, but that proved to be too cost-prohibitive.

LexJet Perforated VinylThe solution was perforated window vinyl, which allows you to see out of the windows, but not in. Plus, it offers additional branding, also crucial to car dealers who want to cement their identity, showcase a particular car, or both, at the point of sale.

Legacy Nissan’s Missy Reid turned to LexJet, and the dealership’s personal customer specialist Brian Wilson, for help with the project. Reid says she ordered the wrong type and wrong size of perforated window vinyl the first time around: it was designed for solvent printers (she has an aqueous Epson Stylus Pro 9900) and it was too wide. Wilson promptly set her up with 36″-wide (to fit her printer) LexJet Aqueous Perforated Vinyl (70/30).

“He knows I’m very green working with this material, so he took care of me and steered me in the right direction because that can be an expensive mistake to make. Brian took the guesswork out of it for me,” says Reid. “We’re thrilled with the print quality and it’s holding up nicely. When the customer walks into the showroom, it’s front and center with the car and the logo. This printer is brand new and this was the first time I worked with the perforated vinyl. We’ve been exploring other ways we can use it and we’re finding a lot of different applications.”

The graphics were printed and applied in three different sections: the door, the logo and the image of the Nissan 370Z. The graphics were applied vertically on the door in one panel (34″ x 84 1/4″) after the hardware had been taken off, and the other windows were applied horizontally in two 36″ x 155″ panels and one 16″ x 155″ panel.

“We basically chalked it up and wallpapered it on. We have a team of people who work with window tint and decals anyway, so they’re experienced with that. They didn’t have any trouble at all; everything is aligned and it’s pretty perfect,” says Reid. “We approved the new logo in March, and the conference room canvas is helping us show it off. This is helpful because it provides an inexpensive way to achieve some high-impact wow factor, even though we’re slowly phasing it in everywhere else. It’s much more fiscally and environmentally responsible to launch a visual identity with a display like this than to throw away several thousand license plates and dealer decals.”

Perforated Vinyl on a Windshield
“Eyebrows” for the Nissan Altima printed on LexJet Perforated Vinyl (70/30) touting the Altima’s award for Best Retained Value by Edmunds.

Reid adds that she’s been using the printer for event signage, showroom windows and window stickers at the top of the windshields for what are called “eyebrows.”

“The Altima won an award from Edmunds for Best Retained Value and we put that on every Altima. Because you can see out through it, you don’t even notice it when you’re driving it, so it doesn’t hinder the test driver’s visibility,” says Reid.

Reid adds that they plan a much larger window wrap for Legacy Nissan’s used car building. “We’ll wrap that top to bottom as well because it has a lot of windows,” she says.

Printing the Town’s Grocery Store at Spectra Imaging

Inkjet Wall Mural

Spectra Imaging in Louisville, Ky., has a way with walls. When the opportunity to provide wall graphics rolls around, as it does quite a bit, Spectra Imaging takes it to the next level.

One of Spectra’s most recent projects involved turning blank walls into a grocery store for Junior Achievement’s BizTown in Louisville.

BizTown is a 7,000 square foot town where kids learn about life in the real world, like budgeting and finance, as they buy goods and save their money at the local “bank.”

Inkjet Wall GraphicsKroger sponsored two rooms and sent Spectra Imaging photos taken at one of their stores to replicate on the walls. Spectra put the files together to create one seamless image that would cover the walls from floor to ceiling in both rooms. Spectra also routed out dimensional letters and logos for the rooms.

“The walls are fairly textured so I asked my LexJet rep, Sammi Calabrese, what would work best. She told me that an adhesive vinyl would be more likely to peel off the walls, so she recommended we use something designed for rough and textured walls,” says Brian Rogers, owner of Spectra Imaging. “The project turned out really cool.”

Spectra used LexJet Simple MTS Adhesive Vinyl for the application. Simple MTS Vinyl has a more aggressive adhesive for textured walls and surfaces that don’t form a secure bond with conventional removable adhesives. The vinyl can also be easily removed for up to a year after installation.

Prints that Win: I Could Be Great!

Dog Photography by Kenny King

Kenny and Debra King help rescue dogs. That’s not all they do with their stellar portrait photography, but they’ve honed their process for animal photography to the big benefit of a local animal shelter, and particularly the animals themselves.

“We are big dog people and we rescue. One of our cocker spaniels passed away about five years ago. We started looking around at the rescue sites and noticing that all the photography was not just poorly taken, but it made all the animals look like you didn’t really want to take them home with you,” explains Kenny King, who with his wife, Debra, owns Dream Copy Photo in downtown Owensboro, Ky. “My wife and I decided that we would look for a local shelter and take more happy pictures, not behind a cage or a screen, or on a leash. Since that time, about four or five years ago, we’ve been photographing about 100-150 animals per year for them.”

Though it’s easy to say they have the process down, Kenny says, “It’s really like we’re doing it for the first time every time; it’s just unpredictable with an animal. They’re not able to adopt animals out until they’re fixed, and once they are they’re immediately able to put them on the website, so sometimes the day of their surgery is when they’ll bring them into the studio. So they’re a little groggy and easier to hold still for a few minutes, but on the bad side they don’t look as playful.”

The dog that garnered a Sunset Print Award, and a perfect 100 score to boot, at the recent PhotoPro Network competition in Owensboro was a little different. In this case, the dog was a little wild and King took about 50 shots until someone came into the room and dog stood at perfect attention for the perfect capture.

“I was on the print crew at the competition, so I was setting the print on the turntable spinning it around and I can hear the judges saying, ‘This has to be a show dog. The pose is just amazing; I don’t know how they got the dog to pose like that,'” Kenny recalls. “You get what you get most of the time, and that’s exactly what happened. I think the judges liked the lighting and how the rim light came down the side of the dog and the back of the legs to create separation from the backdrop. It’s just a two-light setup, but keeping it off the trunk is always a major deal because it has a shiny surface.”

Kenny adds that Debra does a lot of the color schemes for backgrounds and props, and this particular setting was the perfect complement to the dogs coloring. “The white in the dog is cream enough so it works well; it toned just perfect.”

Congratulations to the Kings, who are now automatically entered into the Sunset Print Award national competition. To find out more about a regional or state competition where a Sunset Print Award is being presented go to www.sunsetprint.com. Remember, only winners of each of those competitions are entered into the national competition. Good luck!

Practical and Promotional Window Graphics

Window Graphics by Spectra Imaging on LexJet Vinyl

It’s always nice when you can kill two proverbial birds with one proverbial stone. In the case pictured here, the stone used was LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl SUV – Gloss, and it was thrown, so to speak, by Spectra Imaging, Louisville, Ky.

The practical issue Spectra Imaging set to solve for this Kroger wine and spirits store was to hide the wine racks that sit across the windows. It’s just not a particularly pleasing presentation.

Applying Vinyl Window GraphicsBrian Rogers, owner of Spectra Imaging, says when the stores first started opening a few years ago the windows were covered in black window tint to hide the racks. The problem with that was that it appeared the store was closed, at least to the casual passerby.

Spectra Imaging did a test project in Lexington shortly thereafter, and it solved all the problems: it hid the racks and brought more business in the doors. “The first week after we put the graphics up in Lexington my contact there said sales went up about 37 percent. We’ve produced several window graphics for them since then.”

This is the latest version, found in La Grange, Ky. Rogers said he chose to use an opaque vinyl, rather than perforated window vinyl since you can still see the racks at night with the lights from the store backlighting them.

“This store was brand new and the windows weren’t tinted, so all you saw were the back of the racks. To get the project started I took a picture of the windows, came back into Photoshop, dropped the images into the windows and emailed it to them,” explains Rogers. “If they want to make changes I can do that in Photoshop quickly. Then, when they sign off on the design, we lay out the panels, print them and laminate them. It took us about six and a half hours to apply the panels.”

An Inkjet Wrap with Dimension that Hides and Promotes

Down One Bourbon Louisville Graphics by Spectra Imaging

Spectra Imaging, Louisville, Ky., is always on the lookout for a challenge. As owner Brian Rogers puts it: “Those are the projects we love to get; the ones that make you think and find new and different ways to make it successful.”

In the case pictured here, the challenge was turning an eyesore into something both pleasing and promotional for a restaurant/bar called Down One Bourbon Bar. Located at the ground floor of an upscale hotel in Louisville, the covered outdoor seating area had an industrial feel with a yellow generator dominating the scene.

Down One Bourbon asked Spectra Imaging to transform the space into something unique and inviting. Working from a file supplied by Down One Bourbon’s ad agency, Spectra Imaging wrapped the generator with LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl SUV – Gloss (5 Mil) and laminated it with D&K 6 Mil UV Textured Vinyl PSA from LexJet.

Spectra Imaging Generator Wrap for Down One BourbonIt was a fairly time-consuming process as Spectra Imaging had to ensure the integrity of the generator, meticulously cutting around and wrapping the access door, panels and louvers.

The coup de grace on the project was the illusion of bourbon flowing out of the top barrel and splashing down on the bench. Spectra Imaging routed the flow of bourbon out of 1/4″ acrylic and applied LexJet 9 Mil Opaque Display Film to the back of it with LexJet GraphicMount Clear Adhesive. And since it’s located in the “zone of destruction” it was further backed with the textured laminate.

The individual drops that fly off the splash were included in the main graphic panel since those pieces were too small to route out individually.  “We drilled three small holes, put spacers behind it and screwed those into the generator offset about 1 3/4” so it gives the illusion that it’s away from the graphics and coming out of the barrel,” adds Rogers.

Prints that Win: Elevating a Popular Setting

Award winning inkjet prints

It takes a special talent to uniquely reproduce a scene that’s been photographed thousands of times. Think Ansel Adams’ shot of the Grand Tetons. Now a scene that’s a staple of photographers of all abilities, it’s difficult to capture a unique perspective on that particular scene.

So it is with the grist mill in Babcock State Park. This iconic West Virginia scene was the LexJet Sunset Award winner at the recent Photo Pro Network expo and print competition in Covington, Ky., as well as the Southeastern PPA District competition.

This shot of the popular grist mill location in the park also won the Inkjet Print category, and for good reason. The capture looks similar to HDR photography, but it’s not. “What you see is what I got,” says Stan Jones, owner of S & N Photography in Cave City, Ky., who captured the scene and rendered it in black and white.

“I heard about it from other photographers so I wanted to check it out for myself. It’s a beautiful place. When I arrived, there were already about 15 other photographers set up and ready to go,” recalls Jones.

The key to this version of the grist mill scene was in the exposure, which Jones set up at around six seconds at ISO 100. The picture was perfect, as you can see in the extreme detail Jones was able to pick up in the capture.

Of course it doesn’t end there. Jones is also a professional print maker, producing his own competition prints as well as those for other photographers with his Epson Stylus Pro 7900 and ColorBurst RIP. With a spray booth for finishing and competition lights so he can pre-judge the prints himself, Jones’s prints provide the needed fidelity for award-winning prints.

“The judges commented on the print quality, presentation and subject matter, especially the black-and-white print presentation; it looks really good under the lights,” adds Jones.