Color, Fabrics & Customization Lead the Trends at RetailX

Our teammates at our parent company, S-One, made their debut at GlobalShop @ RetailX in Chicago last month, showcasing media options hand-selected for retail environments.

Fabrics were a huge trend all throughout the show, and S-One highlighted some tried-and-true favorites as well as brand-new to the market options.

“Fabric was everywhere, and it’s always going to continue to trend,” says sales rep Matt Radauscher. “The guys who don’t have dye-sub yet were happy to hear they had options to print fabrics on latex.”

Our team showcased HP Durable Backlit Fabric, a lightweight option suitable for SEG frames that’s latex-compatible. We also brought the brand-new adhesive fabric, Squid, which generated a ton of buzz. The fabric’s fibers are finished on one side with a special adhesive that is designed for windows. Squid can be printed or used alone to create privacy, block out the sun’s rays and/or display brand messaging. It’s an elegant solution for high-end retail and corporate environments. Stay tuned for more info to come soon!

Throughout the show floor, we were excited to see some emerging trends, most of which played around with dynamic color and customization. SuperColor Digital featured printable blackout fabrics that were enhanced with lighting features that actually changed the colors of the graphics (see photo).

We noticed that many of the exhibits focused on brick-and-mortar retail’s current challenge: competing with ecommerce by using dynamic, sometimes over-the-top displays to create a memorable in-store experience.

“When looking at the booth designs, nearly every one of them had some sort of electrical element in the displays themselves,” says S-One Marketing Director Terry Lynn Belzer. “Whether they were blow-up fixtures, floor fixtures or even animal displays with eyes that lit up. There was also a lot of focus on tactile experiences throughout the show.”

There was even an “Instagrammable” moment with a Game of Thrones-inspired display with a giant throne and sword that was a photo opp just waiting to happen.

Colorful, hyper-customized walls, windows, floors and even ceilings showcased the power of print throughout the exhibits at GlobalShop @ RetailX. To get a closer look at the materials that S-One showcased, please visit our RetailX page for product info or give one of our retail specialists a call at 800-453-9538.

Soft Signage Options for All Printer Technologies

Recent reports show that the demand for soft signage has seen double-digit growth in the last few years. That means you need options to create fabric banners, signs and exhibit graphics that work with the equipment and printer technology you own.

And while some fabrics may cost more for, say, trade show booth graphics, the upsell to your customer is that they can use fabric graphics more than once, and they’re less expensive to ship and stand up to traveling better than heavier, easily damaged options.

Let your customers know that the higher cost buys them easier installations that are foldable, reusable and even wrinkle resistant. Plus, they look more high-end and will drape more elegantly than vinyls or films they’ve used in the past.

So, in effort to make soft signage and printable fabrics more accessible to you, we’ve collected a list of products, based on printer type and application to streamline your search:

Latex

EnduraFab Textiles

Fabric solutions for Latex printers have hit the market in recent years, including the EnduraFab line of products, which are finished with a proprietary coating made specifically to work with Latex inks, while providing durability and a soft hand to the fabric. EnduraFab Stretch is a great option for SEG frames (or sew-less frames like SignComp). Check out this video review from HP’s Timothy Mitchell on how EnduraFab performs on Latex. For hanging banners and other indoor soft signage, try HP Light Fabric, for brilliant prints that stand up to creasing and wrinkling — now available at a reduced price.

Aqueous

LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth

You don’t need dye-sub to create great-looking fabric signage. You can get it done with an aqueous printer and the right printable textiles. For everything from banners to backlits to signage, LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth is a lightweight option that is finished with a coating that will hold high levels of ink saturation and maintaining its water resistance. One of our customers says: “The cloth is very durable! The fabric holds the colors well, and can easily be folded to fit into convenient packaging for transport. Any creases or wrinkles can be quickly reduced with a light ironing upon arrival.” For a slightly heavier, versatile fabric, consider LexJet FlexTek 170g, an aqueous-compatible, budget-beating option that can be finished with either grommets or sewing, and works indoors our out. It also works well as an alternative to canvas, and wraps easily on stretcher bars.

Solvent/Eco-Solvent

We’ve got the versatile LexJet FlexTek SUV 200g in a solvent-compatible version, as well. Great for outdoor projects, and a cost-friendly option for banners and gallery wraps. For a lighter-weight option for backlit displays or trade show graphics, check out LexJet Poly Select Light SUV. The tight weave and satin finish give it an elegant finish that looks great in retail spaces or even for décor items.

Dye-Sublimation

Teardrop flags.

Tried-and-true printed fabric results are traditionally achieved with dye-sub, and now we offer Fisher Textiles in wide-format widths. We’ve got a full portfolio of Fisher Textiles to choose from for a variety of projects, but we wanted to highlight 4019 Nirvana BOB for its award-winning soft knit fabric that’s coated with a black backing, so you get the lightweight fabric with excellent opacity and flame resistance certification. If you’ve got requests for the popular teardrop flags, there’s no better option than Fisher Textiles 1701 Primary Flag.

For even more fabric ideas that match your printer technology, call a LexJet specialist at 800-453-9538 and grow your soft signage business, too!

Fisher Textiles Now in Wide-Format Sizes – Only at LexJet

LexJet is excited to announce that it will offer eight Fisher Textiles dye-sublimation fabrics, sized for wide-format printers. Previously available for grand-format printers, this is the first time these world-renowned, award-winning fabrics have been converted and distributed for wide-format applications.

LexJet will carry a variety of Fisher Textile products in 61-inch widths by 100-foot rolls for a multitude of applications, including trade shows, SEG frames, retail signage, back drops, home décor and furnishings, soft signage, backlit graphics, banner stands, table covers and more.

“At wide-format widths, these trusted, well-known and proven-to-perform dye-sub fabrics from Fisher open the door to the benefits of wide-format applications, such as smaller runs, one-off prototypes, quicker turn-around and customization, which is in higher demand than ever,” says LexJet VP of Sales, Justin Lehman. “With the success of our LexJet InFuze dye-sub transfer paper last year, we are seeing fast-growing, high-margin possibilities with dye-sub technologies for our wide-format PSPs.”

Products Now Available:

These fabrics round out LexJet’s dye-sub portfolio of products, which includes Epson printers and inks, InFuze transfer papers, ChromaLuxe metal photo panels and heat presses from Geo Knight and FLEXA.

For more information about Fisher Textiles or the possibilities of adding dye-sub technology to your business, call a LexJet pro at 800-453-9538.

Get the Most Out of Your Dye-Sub Printer

Adding a whole new technology to your wide-format toolkit can be daunting, but the versatility you gain with dye-sublimation transfer printing can open all new opportunities. With the Epson SureColor Production printers, you can get into it with an initial investment starting around $7,ooo for the F6200 ($14,000 for the F7200 and $25,000 for the F9370) for a 44- or 64-inch system. Once you’re up and running, the creative and money-making possibilities are only limited to your imagination.

Dye-sublimation transfer is particularly favored for textile printing since the ink from the transfer adheres into the fabric, rather than sitting on top of it, as it does with other ink technologies. Once sublimated, the ink won’t crack, fleck or scratch off, making it an ideal option for knitted textiles, particularly high-performance athletic wear. (Bonus: Dye-sub fabrics are also washable!)

Metal photo panels by ChromaLuxe, available at LexJet

In addition to garment fabric, textiles printed for soft signage perform extremely well with dye-sub transfers. Backlit displays, tradeshow graphics and flags are two of the top applications for dye-sub, as they fold and travel easily and are cheaper to ship than films or vinyl often used for similar signage.

Dye-sub is a great complement to your other wide-format printers, allowing you to get into high-demand print products like the popular metal photo panels, ktochkees like coasters, cups and more, and customized décor, like pillows, window blinds and upholstery.

In addition to the printer system, you’ll also need transfer paper. The LexJet InFuze line provides four transfer papers for all needs, including textile, apparel, rigid substrate and multi-purpose. You’ll also need a heat press to sublimate the image to your final substrate. LexJet offers a full line of options, from a 16×20-inch table-top swinger heat press for small jobs, to a 112x48x53-inch heat calendar machine.

If you’re ready to master the world of dye-sub, visit our LexJet.com/dyesub page to learn about more applications and watch some of the how-to videos to learn all the ways to make dye-sub work for you and your business. Here’s a quick look at how to create an all-over print for t-shirts:

5 Digital Printing Trends Every PSP Needs to Watch in 2019

While we don’t actually own a crystal ball, we did take a peek into the future to see what’s in store for wide-format printing in 2019. The segment will definitely continue to see growth, with banners, vehicle wraps, signage, wallcovering and window graphics rounding out the top five most profitable wide-format applications, according to a recent WhatTheyThink report.

The report outlined some key stats, including the fact that wide-format print is growing at a healthy 6.7% CAGR, jumping from $16.1 billion in 2012 to $22.3 billion in 2017. Nearly 3/4 of print providers say their wide-format print volumes have increased, while over 90% of print buyers say their volumes will hold steady or increase in the coming year.

So with all that potential, we took a look at some key activity that will help drive production and sales. Here are the top five trends every print service provider should keep an eye on as the new year kicks off:

Soft Signage Made Easier. Digital textile printing has been a hot topic for the past few years, but it’s far more than garment and apparel applications, especially for wide-format printers. Soft signage will continue to dominate, taking the place of rigid and heavy substrates for trade shows, high-end retail and backlit applications. Currently, only about 6% of textile products are produced digitally, according to an article in December 2018 edition of Printing News, but experts expect that number to get into double digits within a few years. Fabric manufacturers have been hard at work to develop textiles that run smoothly on wide-format options, such as latex and even aqueous printers. Also, SEG frames are essential for attractive soft signage displays, but have often required a lot of installation set-up, especially sewing the silicone edging onto the finished print. Now, with SignComp’s Front Load Soft Signage Frame, there’s no sewing necessary, especially when using a thick textile that works well with SignComp’s patented grip strips. It’s so easy to use that an employee in a retail shop can easily switch out seasonal messaging whenever needed. Check out this how-to video to learn more.

Sustainability Goes Mainstream. Get ready for a wave of printable media that offers sustainability characteristics that are either recyclable or made from recycled materials, such as the award-winning HP Recycled Satin Canvas, which uses 22 recycled water bottles for every square meter of canvas. These types of products will become increasingly important to your customer base, as many of them will demand more Earth-friendly options. Plus, you’re going to see more major corporate brands, like Kellogg and Kraft-Heinz vowing to use sustainable packaging that will be fully recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. Our S-OneLP team is on the case to provide more sustainable packaging films to those printers, as well. In the textile arena, expect to see more natural fiber fabrics and improved pigment inks to accompany them.

Digital Décor Market Expands. As the typical “sign guy” has tip-toed into becoming an all-around décor expert with everything from photo reproductions to canvas wraps to wallcoverings, you can expect to see digitally printed décor options branch beyond retail and hospitality settings and expand into residential offerings. As print providers become more adept at printing décor materials and the materials themselves become easier to handle (think: LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric for wall murals), the opportunities are going to explode, while consumers catch wind of all the possibilities to customize their homes. And not just on the walls — windows become prime real estate for digital décor displays, as do the floors … and let’s not forget the ceilings.

Ecommerce Gains (Even More) Traction. If you’ve been ecommerce shy with your business so far, 2019 may be the year you finally embrace its possibilities. Offering customers the ability to upload their artwork that you fulfill in a variety of print products gives you a huge advantage over your competition. But if you’re wary of starting ecommerce options on your own, consider the possibility of offering fulfillment services to a number of up-and-coming art houses that are partnering with artists to use their original art to create everything from wall tapestries to canvas wraps to notebooks to t-shirts. A few big online names you may have heard of — Ikonick, Society6, Art.com … yeah, they’re all using digital wide-format services. Go grab those opportunities!

Digital Print for All Surfaces. A few years ago while at SGIA Expo, it became apparent that the new directive seemed to be: Print Everything! And while that was supported by a wide variety of print technologies, today, we’d edit it to say: Print Everything with Digital!  We’re seeing every surface covered with printed media, and more and more of those materials are digital wide-format compatible, such as LexJet Sunset Textured Fine Art Paper 310g used to create lamp shades. The key to printing to more surfaces is a wide variety of versatile, all-in-one substrates, such as LexJet Flex Tek, available for aqueous or solvent print technology, and can be used for hanging banners, roll-up banners or even canvas wraps.

Stay tuned throughout the year to discover even more new and innovative products and exciting application opportunities to help you grow your business well into 2020 and beyond!

 

Get the Most Out of Your Aqueous Printer

Are you using your aqueous printer to its full potential? From canvas prints to temporary outdoor graphics, your aqueous printer is the utility player every profitable printshop needs. We’ve put together some applications and media suggestions to help you get the most out of your printer:

Décor: If you are considering décor applications, you may have thought an aqueous printer limited your capabilities, but, in fact, you can print plenty of décor applications, including wall art and wall murals. LexJet Sunset Select Matte Canvas is a customer favorite for photo prints or fine art reproductions. It can also be easily stretched for canvas wraps, like the GOframe system. If you are looking for wall murals, decals or window graphics, try LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric, an easy-to-use and apply option that’s forgivable and repositionable during installation. Check out our Digital Décor Printing Line Card for more aqueous options, as well as many others.

Soft Signage: One of the fastest-growing trends in the market is the transition to soft signage using fabric rather than rigid vinyl or polyester films for POP displays, banners, framed graphics and even trade show booths. The advantage to fabrics like LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth or LexJet FlexTex 170g is that they are easier and lighter to ship, image nicely and can be used for indoor or temporary outdoor applications. With soft signage textiles, you’ll need some easy finishing techniques — watch this video for quick tips on using a hot knife for perfectly finished edges.

Outdoor Banners: When it comes to outdoor advertising and event signage, LexJet TOUGHcoatTM Water-Resistant Polypropylene and  TOUGHcoatTM ThriftyBanner are two of the most popular products. Both products are easy to handle, offer scratch- and water-resistance, and a bright white point which means vibrant prints, even in outdoor weather. Need more outdoor aqueous options? Check out this blog for more ideas and applications that will look great and stand up to the elements.

Still unsure how you can use your aqueous printer to expand your market offering? Call one of our specialists at 800-453-9538 or visit us at LexJet.com.