Inkjet Printed Wall Mural + Social Media = Immediate Sales

Printing custom wall murals for businesses and homes

Samples sell. It’s that simple. Illustrate what you can do in your studio, lobby or showroom and the application sells itself.

At least that’s what Andy Wredberg, owner of AW Artworks in Sun Prairie, Wis., has found by decorating his studio with various inkjet media applications from photo paper to canvas.

Apply wall murals on textured surfaces
A closeup of the textured surface to which AW Artworks applied Photo Tex for its studio wall mural.

Wredberg’s most recent studio sample was a large 80″ x 72″ wall mural, pictured here, that he applied using Photo Tex Repositionable Fabric from LexJet. Wredberg posted the project on Facebook and almost immediately received four inquiries. Two of those have already led to sales and Wredberg is meeting with the other two next week.

“What I posted on my Facebook page is that this type of wall mural is perfect for doing something as permanent or temporary as you want for a home or business. If you live in a rental, for instance, and you want to do something that you can easily take down, this is an excellent way to do it instead of using wallpaper,” explains Wredberg. “The walls in my shop are heavily textured, yet I was able to apply it, and it looks great. I used the 42-inch wide version and overlapped it by two inches to fill up one wall and show people who walk in that it will go over just about any wall surface.”

Instant Marketing with Inkjet at Ridinger Photo

Printing window displays for a photography studio

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what about one that’s six feet tall, almost four feet wide and glows? Mike Ridinger, owner of Ridinger’s The Art of Photography in downtown Lewiston, Idaho, says the big photos he printed to hang in his storefront were worth not only a thousand words, but likely created more than a thousand impressions.

Ridinger explains that the town of Lewiston hosted its annual Hot August Nights car show, blocking off downtown for hundreds of show cars, live music and other activities. Thousands of people came from all over for the event, and Ridinger was ready for them at his downtown studio with five big prints: three senior portraits and two family portraits.

Printing promotional displays for a photo studio“I like sitting in the studio and watching people come by to stop to look at them. They’re so big that people can’t help but look at them,” says Ridinger. “We also posted photos of the window displays on Facebook and we had 41 comments just yesterday.”

Ridinger says he took his cue from The Gap and its storefront marketing approach. To give the prints more life at night, Ridinger backed them with halogen lights, creating a glow that lures people to the windows.

“We use the heavier Sunset Photo eSatin Paper for the display prints in our studio, but for this we chose a more economical and thinner paper, LexJet 8 Mil Production Satin Photo Paper, for the window displays,” says Ridinger.

Ridinger framed the prints with four-inch baseboard molding, stained the molding, cut it to size and stapled them together. The bottoms of the frames rest on the floor and are balanced with fishing line strung from the ceiling to the tops of the frames.

“Inkjet printing is our way of immediate marketing. I love it because if we want to put something up right away, we can do these big-time prints: we pick out the images and I just lay them out and print,” says Ridinger.

Promotional displays with wide format inkjetRidinger adds that they’re in the process of re-doing all of their studio displays using Sunset Photo eSatin Paper and Sunset Select Matte Canvas. At any given time, he says, the studio features about 30 large wall portraits in three different themed areas: children, families and seniors.

Ridinger also has a display program where he pre-sells prints for half off in exchange for being able to use them as display prints in his studio for a certain time period. “We call the client to see if they’re interested. If they are, they get a nice print for half off, which pays for my in-studio advertising,” says Ridinger.

Moving on Faith and Vision at Lizza Studios

Moving to a new studio space
Lizza Studios' new space in Forty Fort, Pa. Lizza was recruited by the building's owner, David Koral, to bring an extra splash of panache to the 130,000 square-foot multi-use building.

Faith can move mountains, but can it move a two-ton custom-built Cruse Scanner? Bob Lizza, owner of Lizza Studios, thought so and the results – a successful move – reinforced his faith.

Printing custom elevatory graphics
The Lizza touch can be found just about everywhere in the new building. Here, it's art reproduced on Photo Tex and applied to the interior of one of the elevators.

But this isn’t really about moving a Cruse Scanner from one location to another, or even faith, per se. It’s really about vision: the vision of David Koral who recruited Lizza Studios to move to his eclectic location in Forty Fort, Pa., just outside of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and the vision of Lizza Studios.

Years ago, Koral bought an old cigar factory, all 130,000 square feet of it. As the owner of UbU Clothing, the space was a perfect fit for manufacturing. It was also the perfect fit for a diverse range of commercial and residential tenants, from a fine dining establishment (Canteen 900) to doctors, lawyers, a yoga studio, lofts, and the fine art powerhouse Lizza Studios.

Lizza Studios effectively completes the space, bringing fine-art sensibility and the ability to brand and decorate it with a variety of inkjet materials from LexJet.

Printing window graphics
Lizza Studios printed the window graphics for the patio outside the fine dining establishment Canteen 900 on Simple Perforated Window Vinyl (60/40).

“I have found great use for the sticky papers Bob uses, like window treatments, door poles and elevator graphics. His ability to take images and reproduce them on all sorts of things is an incredible experience for me; it helps put my madness on the walls,” explains Koral. “I found an old album of photographs of this building prior to starting the work on it ten years ago, and he blew them up and put them on canvas. They’re clean and clear. People are coming from all over the East Coast corridor.”

The timing was perfect. Lizza loved his studio in rural Pennsylvania, but wanted to simplify his product offering and get closer to the East Coast action. It was Lizza’s combination of faith and vision that sparked the move following a discussion with Koral about bringing Lizza Studios into the fold.

“Dave is such a visionary and such a great guy. He has placed a flourishing oasis in a desert. Our space is spectacular, and we’re moving to this building to be one of the finest fine art sources in the Northeast. He found me and talked me into moving here, and once I got down here and saw what he was doing, it was clear that it needed to be where we moved,” explains Lizza. “Now I’m seeing the bigger picture of what we can bring to the Northeast related to fine art – from sculpture to paintings – and making that a real experience for people to come here with all walks of life.”

Moving to a new buildingLizza adds that their previous location was a hindrance of sorts for attracting high-end clients from the Northeast corridor and big cities like Philadelphia and New York City. Moreover, Lizza says it was time to concentrate on what really differentiates Lizza Studios: incredibly detailed and spot-on fine-art reproduction. Framing and other peripheral services would be left behind, while the scanning and printing equipment would travel to the new location.

“The biggest lesson for me was to keep an open mind. I was able to move to an area closer to the action and really get rid of the services that really weren’t going to fit the mold of what our business really is, rather than sticking with rigidity to an old decision,” says Lizza.

Ultimately, says Lizza, it boiled down to working with the right partners, from Koral down to the vendors Lizza chooses to work with, including LexJet.

“LexJet has been an amazing part of it all; they’ve given us all the leeway we need because they’re so focused on customer service, and LexJet products are the best because of the way the company does business,” says Lizza. “When I can call at 5:55 in the afternoon on a Thursday to get canvas the next day because I need the weekend to get it done, the customer service is in place to get it done with distribution centers everywhere. It all fits together.”

As far as the physical move itself, the most important component was safely transporting the two-ton, custom-built Cruse scanner. As usual, Lizza had faith that he would find the right people to do it, though the initial mover dropped out at the last minute.

Printing decor for buildings“Moving the scanner was monumental. It’s a two-ton piece of equipment and there’s a risk that something will go wrong. There might be 100 scanners in the world like this, but this was custom built by hand; I have three lenses on my scanner, giving me a bit of an edge,” explains Lizza. “We thought we had a moving company in place, but they backed out because they had fear. We ended up finding someone just down the street from our new location who stepped in. They were flawless; we moved that scanner in four hours.”

Of course it took about four days to put it back together, and there was all the other printer equipment that needed to be moved – Lizza Studios’ Epson Stylus Pro 11880, 9900 and the low-solvent GS6000. Lizza plugged in quickly and soon made his mark all over the building with murals printed on Photo Tex Repositionable Fabric, LexJet Simple Flo Wrap Vinyl, and Simple Perforated Window Vinyl (60/40).

Flexible Backgrounds for Any Studio Setup

Backdrops for photography with an inkjet printerFor Heather Kallhoff, the old cliché about necessity being the mother of invention proved to be not only true, but a real boon for her one-woman portrait photography studio in Watertown, S.D. Having moved from a residential studio to a commercial studio, she found she had a lot less flexibility, at least as far as creating ambience for various shoots.

Kallhoff began experimenting with different materials to use as backdrops, settling on LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Self Adhesive Polypropylene. “It’s non glare, with great color saturation and has the right price point,” says Kallhoff.

Kallhoff works with White House Custom Colour on the majority of her print projects and says the backdrops quickly proliferated beyond her studio as other photographers requested the unique two-panel backdrops. They were so much in demand that Kallhoff started a website at where they’re sold.

“What I’ve done with our backdrops that makes them different, aside from the peel-and-stick aspect, is that they’re two panels printed at 42” x 96” each so we can create dimensional sets versus just flat backgrounds,” she says. “You can have split walls, make corners or use one as a background and one as the floor. It just gives you a lot of flexibility. In my studio I use them as semi-permanent backgrounds that I stick to a wall. I also have a wall of pink foam that I Velcro them to so that they’re easy up, easy down and reusable.”

Printed backgrounds for photographyKallhoff first started creating the backgrounds from photos she would take of interesting scenes around the country. Now the catalog has more than 200 different backdrops from which to choose. Plus, since they’re printed on-demand, custom backdrops are also available and can be printed in more than two panels, if desired.

Kallhoff says she does four-panel backgrounds for a dance studio she works with so that there’s a background for every costume they use. A network television series recently inquired about backgrounds for their set, so Kallhoff is excited about the possibility of seeing her work on television.

“We have an artist team submission group and if someone shoots something cool they’ll send it to me, I’ll convert it into a background and they get a discount on the custom background for them and a kickback on every background sold of their design,” she says.

Making Your Own Spray Booth for Coating Prints, with Dan Johnson

How to make your own studio sized spray boothYou may remember Dan Johnson from such LexJet Blog posts as, Night and Day: Flowing City Panorama Printed on Satin Cloth, and the ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Mich., Dan’s hometown. Dan recently called in and told me he had been searching for a way to spray coat his canvas prints, but lack of space at his studio, Dan Johnson Photography, was his nemesis. So, Dan went searching for a way to build his own space-saving spray booth. Here’s what Dan, in his own words, found…

“So we have always wanted to be able to spray our Sunset Select Matte Canvas prints with LexJet’s Sunset Satin Coating instead of rolling it on, but did not think we had the room for an actual spray booth in our small studio. After some thought, we took a small space and made it happen.

We had some storage shelves in the studio that were not all full. After moving some of the shelves up and down we were able to create a large enough space to build a booth large enough for us to spray a 40″ x 40″ print (see the photos). Here are the details of the booth:
2 clamp lights, $12.32
40×46 pegboard, $7.52
4×8 sheet of 1/2″ OSB, $7.97
36″ dowel, $2.44
Surge protector, $8.97
Wood glue, $1.98
2 clamps we already had, $0.00
Wagner professional spray gun $23.60 (on clearance)
Total price, $68.69 (without ventilation unit)

The great employees at Lowe’s gladly cut my plywood down to size for me at no charge. I took the parts home and with some glue and a brad nailer we had it put together in about half an hour.

The most expensive part of the booth was a ventilation unit that we purchased afterwards from eBay.  This unit – an Artograph 1530 spray booth system for about $340 – vacuums in most of the overspray. We did not install the top part of the unit. Instead, we flipped it over and it rests on a shelf above our booth facing down into the booth. We probably could have done it without this, but it does help contain the spray.

Now we coat prints in about half the time with less mess and better results. Nice!”

The Branding and Presentation Role of Large Format Inkjet at The Marketing Store

Color management inkjet printingHeadquartered in Chicago, The Marketing Store is a global branding and promotions agency with offices on five continents. An important component of its creative services is its ability to print large format, both for its clients and for presentations and mock-ups.

“Being able to print large format images sets you apart from other agencies when you give a creative pitch, plus we’re able to produce graphics for trade shows and special events,” says Steve Fischer, production artist for The Marketing Store.

Whether it’s packaging, promotional materials or something out of the ordinary that needs to be brought to life, The Marketing Store’s print shop studio is able to meet the challenge with its contingent of three printers – a Canon iPF9100, Epson Stylus Pro 7900 and HP 5500 – plus media advice from its LexJet customer specialist, David Finkel.

Print production studio inkjet“As more projects and requests come in for specialty applications it’s good to have LexJet in our back pocket. Sometimes there are weird requests and with every pitch there’s some sort of specific challenge that requires a new way of presenting materials. If there’s something I don’t think I can achieve I can call David to help me find what I need. He’s been great at finding materials and making suggestions,” says Fischer.

Fischer adds that they try to do as much in-house printing as possible, occasionally farming out larger projects that go beyond the capabilities of their current printer mix. The concept of The Marketing Store is to be as full service as possible and to meet any need their clients may have. The studio blends photography, color management, file preparation and print production seamlessly to help fulfill the overall mission.

“The studio supports the rest of the agency, and we’re always looking to expand our capabilities,” says Fischer.  “So, instead of having to go out to produce creative we can keep it in-house, which not only keeps our costs down but allows us to ensure quality.”

Inkjet printing presentation boardFischer adds that The Marketing Store’s studio has had great success with LexJet 8 Mil Production Satin Photo Paper and LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Self Adhesive Polypropylene for presentations boards, promotional product mock-ups and displays.