Printing Unique Promotions that Stick at the Point of Sale

Printing cornhole boards for tournamentsPrinting point of sale promotions and advertising can become a bit humdrum: banners, cooler wraps, window signs… They’ve all been done, but that’s the beauty of the plethora of the latest printer technology and printable materials; you can advertise on just about anything.

At Caffey Distributing in Greensboro, N.C., production manager Bob Korabek has been finding new places to stick adhesive-backed materials to boost their brands at the point of sale, like cornhole boards for tournaments and on mini-fridges.

Cornhole, in case you’re not familiar with it, is a bean bag toss game that has swept through bars and pubs across the nation. Rumor has it that the game, at least the version now being played, was popularized in Cincinnati, moving its way south as transplanted Ohioans moved to warmer climates.

Whatever its origin, Korabek saw promotional opportunity and ran with it as local bars began holding cornhole tournaments. It’s a simple process: Korabek prints LexJet Extreme AquaVinyl w/ PSA on one of his HP Z6100 inkjet printers, applies it to the approximately 4′ x 2′ board and cuts out the vinyl where the hole at the top of the board is located.

“The bars set up four sets of boards for the tournaments, and the winners get some kind of big prize. I printed some with Miller Lite, Blue Moon and other beers we wanted to promote, usually tied in with a beer special,” explains Korabek. “Instead of just a logo in the middle of the board, I covered the entire board to give us more promotional space.”

Printing mini fridges with logos and promotionsThe printed cornhole boards have been a huge hit in the market, creating widespread interest and driving demand for both the game and the printed versions of the game.

Another popular application for adhesive-backed materials that Korabek introduced to the market is decorated mini-fridges. The graphics are usually tied to whichever sport is in season, whether it’s football or basketball.

Because the temperature of the mini-fridges can vary, Korabek was looking for a material that wouldn’t expand and contract as the fridge got colder or warmer. His customer specialist, Kelly Price, recommended LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Self Adhesive Polypropylene.

“They’re very popular and our accounts will often buy a couple of extra ones. For one of the March Madness promotions the contest winner got a fridge with the team they wanted on the fridge. It’s a little perk that our competitors don’t provide; it’s something extra special we do for those accounts,” says Korabek.

“When I first started here 16 years ago all I had was a Gerber EDGE and a plotter. The technology has moved so quickly since then and Kelly is awesome because she keeps me up to date on new products and she gives me great suggestions that work for my printers and any application I’m trying,” adds Korabek. “Plus, with LexJet’s distribution network I get everything on time; turnaround time for me is super-fast.”

Epson SureColor S30670 Printer Review

Wide format inkjet printer reviewLexJet’s director of technical support, Adam Hannig, has been putting Epson’s new SureColor S30670 low-solvent inkjet printer through its paces over the past few months.

“With great image quality, better print speeds and improvements in media loading and the take-up reel system, Epson has taken a big step forward with its second generation of solvent printers,” says Hannig.

The new SureColor printer includes a variety of new features to aid in faster, more efficient and higher fidelity production printing, such as a take-up reel system designed for unattended production of large print runs, a LiftAssist that allows one operator to handle heavy roll media, a high-capacity ink system and print speeds of up to 619 square feet per hour in draft mode, and more.

Though there are improvements on the GS6000 found in the SureColor S30670, Epson’s Reed Hecht says the printer is not designed as a replacement. Rather, the GS6000 is geared toward applications for print shops that require a wider color gamut and need to hit specific spot colors, while the SureColor is geared more toward high-quality production at an entry-level price point.

You can hear more from Adam about the S30670, and its new features, in the video embedded below. If you have any questions about Epson’s newest printer technology, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

More than 100 Educational Videos Now at LexJet’s YouTube Channel

YouTube educational videos for wide format inkjet printingLexJet’s YouTube channel has been the go-to destination for professionals in the wide format inkjet printing industry, photographers who print in-house, fine art reproduction companies and others involved in inkjet printing with new educational and how-to videos covering a wide range of topics – from printer setup and workflow to demonstrations of new products – at

LexJet’s YouTube channel currently hosts more than 130 videos divided into nine featured playlists: Canon iPF Printers and Workflow, Epson Stylus Pro Printers and Workflow, HP Printers and Workflow, Education, Product Demonstrations, Onyx RIP, Display Hardware, Infinium and Around LexJet.

“Most of LexJet’s videos are produced based on customer requests for help with troubleshooting various print processes, from developing and preparing a wide format job in the software to finishing the graphic once it’s printed,” explains Sean McGettigan, LexJet’s video production director. “Though our customer specialists are here to provide free and unlimited product and technical support, the videos are an excellent supplement to our services.”

The Printer and Workflow playlists for Canon, Epson and HP include printer setup videos, how-to videos for printing through various applications (like Photoshop, Illustrator and PDFs), troubleshooting and demonstrations of various printer functions, like properly loading media and ink.

The Education, Product Demonstration and Display Hardware playlists include how-to videos on a number of subjects, like how to coat canvas, how to use Sunset Stretcher Bars for canvas wraps and step-by-step banner stand assembly.

The Onyx RIP playlist shows users how to use the Onyx RIP to maximize efficiency and color output in the wide-format printing process. The Infinium playlist shows how the industry’s first transportable and conformable print material can be applied to a range of substrates, from leather to wood, and the Around LexJet playlist gives an inside view of LexJet’s unique culture at its offices in Sarasota.

According to McGettigan, viewership at LexJet’s YouTube channel increased by more than 1,000 percent in 2011 over the previous year, and plans are in progress to continue this growth curve by introducing five to ten new videos per month in 2012.

For more information and to stay updated on the latest technologies and products for wide format inkjet printing and how to use them, go to

Killer Application Test for LexJet Infinium at SAS Systems

Inkjet printing on three dimensional irregular surfacesDon’t try this at home. Nevermind. Go ahead and try it, but don’t think you need to try it on a skull. Cale Frederick, graphic designer at SAS Systems in Muscle Shoals, Ala., was dying to test the new Infinium graphic material from LexJet and found something that would put the product through its paces.

Touted as the industry’s first transportable, conformable graphic, Frederick wanted to make sure it performed as advertised before trying it on a project. Looking around the shop, he spied a skull sitting on a shelf someone in the shop had been given as a gag gift.

The skull had all the elements he was looking for – lots of nooks and crannies and irregular surfaces – and Frederick went to work on it with an appropriate graphic.

How to apply a conformable graphic“They say it’s conformable, and the test was successful. We’re pleased with the way it turned out. I’ve got some more ideas but haven’t had a chance to test anything else. We have a customer we print templates for that uses them as guides to carve cedar logs. He’s bringing some rough cedar and we’ll experiment with that as well,” says Frederick. “I used a generic vinyl profile and it seemed to work fine; it prints especially well in the dark colors. We’re really excited about it for future projects.”

The Infinium was printed with the company’s Roland solvent printer and applied using a heat gun and foam-textured surface applicators from 3M; a hot laminator for flat substrates like leather or canvas will work as well. Frederick says it took about 30-45 minutes to wrap and some of the steps in the process are shown in the photos.

Before applying a conformable graphic“The material worked really well and sank right down into some of the really deep spots. I also found that using a printhead cleaning swab for the smaller areas worked really well,” explains Frederick. “I kept my heat gun set on about 970 degrees. That is the temp we usually use for installing textured wall wraps. The force of the air worked nicely for helping the material sink into some of the concave areas.”

New Photo Technology Brings Everything into Focus

Lytro technology
Lytro allows you to focus the picture to the background from the foreground, or bring the entire picture into sharp focus.

A new “camera” is emerging from the start-up mode and making noise in the digital capture market. Essentially, the new technology from a company called Lytro eliminates the depth of field limitations of traditional photography technology.

Simply put, the camera has harnessed the capture of the entire light field rather than one point of light, something that has been approached in the past by using a hundred cameras in one room. That capability has been brought into one unit the company says can fit in your pocket.

The primary benefit of the new camera is the ability to bring everything into focus after the shot is snapped. If there’s something blurry in the foreground, or the background, you can bring it into sharp focus after the fact.

As an example found in the video embedded below in which CEO and found Ren Ng describes the technology and its applications, an original capture with Lytro shows a boy blurred in the foreground with a sharply-focused background of water and mountains. Ng shows how Lytro allows the user to bring the boy into sharp focus while the background blurs.

What’s really amazing about it, at least to me, is that you can bring both foreground and background into focus, a trick that really brings the potential of Lytro to light, so to speak. You can also change the orientation of the photo (as shown in the same example in the video) and there are 3D rendition possibilities with the technology.

According to TechCrunch, Lytro has attracted $50 million in capital from NEA, K9 Ventures, Greylock Partners and Andreessen Horowitz. It would seem that Lytro is in position to make a mark, and quite a big one, in digital photography in the near future. The questions now are when, how much (money) and at what resolution?

Check out David Halpern’s Blog for Tips and Great Photography

Photography blogFollow more than 50 years of photography wisdom at David Halpern’s new blog, simply and fittingly called David’s Blog. Though an old-school photographer, Halpern has also embraced new-school technology, whether it’s front-end editing software or the latest large format inkjet printers and media. Halpern’s old-school approach is in the capture – lighting, perspective and emotion – not in the tools.

Halpern’s forte is outdoor photography and has been capturing the best America has to offer as an artist in residence for the National Park Service, from Rocky Mountain National Park and Glacier National Park all the way to Acadia National Park in Maine.

For the full story, check out the profile below reprinted from an earlier edition of LexJet’s In Focus eNewsletter. And, since the article’s a few years old now, make sure to catch up with Halpern at David’s Blog:

Pilgrim Eye: David Halpern’s World of Discovery

Beyond the sheer volume and quality of David Halpern’s body of work over the past 50 years or so, perhaps most impressive is his continual pursuit of maximizing his art through new ideas and new technology.

Panoramic photography Tetons
Halpern shot this scene of the entire Teton range from north to south in June of 2005. It's a composite of about five images stitched together. He's printed it to a length of six feet.

“I have a photo of a scene I took in Muir Woods in 1952. I took that negative and scanned it a few years ago, and for the first time I discovered that there are people in the background walking in the woods. I never saw them in any of the silver prints I made. I was able to bring out so much more through the scan and was able to create a range of tone I had never seen before,” recalls Halpern. “That is really exciting. I’m producing images now that are digital from the start, but I can go back and take those wonderful film images I did 50 years ago, scan those pictures, and bring them so much more to life than they ever were before. I get up every day and figure, hot dog, today I’m going to learn something I didn’t know yesterday. And I do, and it’s really wonderful.”

Outdoor photography night
This photograph of Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park at 2 a.m. required a flashlight to see what he was doing and an exposure time of several minutes.

Halpern started shooting digital about ten years ago, and began doing his own printing for exhibitions and re-prints of his work almost immediately.

“When I first started printing I was mostly concerned about my black-and-white photography, and I wanted to produce something that compared favorably with what I did with silver prints,” explains Halpern. “There’s a purist ideal we’ve grown up with for years that there’s nothing as good as a silver print that will last for centuries. This is quite true, and it’s a wonderful medium, but on the other hand I wanted to move on to something else. I wanted to see what was around the bend. I’ll never stop taking and making pictures; doing what I really love, which is putting these images on paper and hanging them up for the world to appreciate and hoping they’ll love this natural landscape that is America as much as I do.”

A Pilgrim’s Travels
With the recent publication of his retrospective photography book, Pilgrim Eye, Halpern has been able to do just that. And, he plans to create a small traveling exhibit of his work that will mirror the intent of the book, which is to bring America’s landscapes to the wider public.

Halpern says a smaller retrospective showing will allow people in smaller towns who normally don’t get a chance to see this type of artistic interpretation the opportunity to do so. Starting with his home base in Tulsa, Halpern’s exhibit will also feature a mix of photographic papers, from traditional silver prints to inkjet prints on LexJet Sunset, Hahnemuhle, and Epson papers.

Lower Antelope Canyon photograph
In Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona, by David Halpern.

“I want people to be able to see a silver print and a digital print of the same image hanging side by side, not to say that this is better than that, but to say it’s different, and look where we’re going,” he explains. “We put together an exhibit of Milestone Images that accompany the initial presentation of the book at a local gallery. They’re pictures taken over the course of my 50-plus years of my career that represent a shift in my thinking or a discovery of something that I felt was important.”

By a Clearer Light, Halpern’s 1992 celebration of the 75th anniversary of the National Park Service, followed the same pattern. For five years, the exhibit traveled to 39 public venues from California to Massachusetts, and from Texas to Montana, and was seen by more than half a million people.

Halpern has been an artist in residence for the National Park Service 11 times, serving at Rocky Mountain National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Glacier National Park, and Acadia National Park in Maine.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity, because how often do you get the chance to live in a park? You get access to everything in the park, and you share a portion of your work with them so it can be used for educational and interpretive purposes,” Halpern says. “While I’m technically retired from commercial practice, I get called out of retirement regularly. I’m probably working harder today than when I officially worked full-time.”

The bulk of the images in Pilgrim Eye come from Halpern’s photographic interpretation of America’s landscape, particularly the West. Judging by its contents, and by conversing with Halpern, there’s no doubt that this is where his photographic passion resides.

An Artist’s Medium & Message
However, this is only part of Halpern’s story in photography. Much of his philosophy and the honing of his talent came from years of commercial and architectural photography, which he began to do professionally in the ’70s.

But Halpern’s abilities go far beyond the camera eye as he played the role of marketer, creative director, and consultant for many of his clients. Halpern has an innate knack for seeing beyond the surface, whether it’s a natural landscape or an industrial photo shoot.

Taken in Montecito, Calif., from a 150-year-old house Halpern was staying in during a photo assigment for a developer in 1989.

“I took a slightly different approach to commercial photography. I didn’t look at my job as strictly making pictures; I was solving problems. I would ask clients what they hoped to achieve, and they would sometimes indicate through their answers that they weren’t at a point where they needed to be talking about photography, brochures, and all that,” recalls Halpern. “What they really needed to do was analyze their marketing objectives and see where they wanted to go. A lot of times I would try things they might have tried before but hadn’t worked because of flawed execution.”

In Halpern’s book, Pilgrim Eye, he is quite candid about the evolution of photography, and brings a refreshingly objective view about his art and the state of the art in general in what is a subject-oriented tome. Just as he guided commercial clients years ago, the book explains the importance of having a Pilgrim’s Eye view of the world. As Halpern puts it, “The explorer travels to discover and investigate; the pilgrim travels and investigates to discover the sacred. When the eye beholds the sacred, one begins to better see oneself.”

In analyzing inkjet printing, Halpern writes in Pilgrim Eye: “In the past few years, print collectors have been introduced to the term giclee (jee-clay), a word derived from the French verb gicler (to spray), describing what is, essentially, a high quality ink-jet print. I am certain the word was invented because art dealers were fearful of using ink-jet to describe a fine art process. Legitimately, the process does need to distance itself from the output of the common desktop printer, but I dislike the pseudo sophistication of the word giclee and prefer simple, more descriptive terminology. Inasmuch as the traditional black and white photographic print is regularly called a silver or gelatin silver print, it might be apropos to call a print made on one’s digital printer a pigmented ink print. Collectors should be informed clearly and simply with information substantiated by reliable research and expertise. After all, the protection and preservation of fine art is not an issue confined to photography, and no medium is truly permanent.”

Pilgrim Eye beautifully enshrines almost 71 years of life, and almost as many years in photography, through its prose and a generous helping of Halpern’s attuned photographic pilgrim eye.

Halpern says his love for photography began when he was 11 or 12 years old. He was fascinated by his uncle’s Argus C-3 camera. Once he began shooting, he would take pictures of people for a quarter apiece and eventually saved up enough to buy his own “real” camera, a Century Graphic purchased around 1951. “A real camera was one where you could actually adjust something,” laughs Halpern.

“I was fascinated by the process. I loved the smells of the darkroom, and that sticks in my head to this day. There was a time when I could tell the difference between different brands of chemicals and different types of paper, just by their smell,” says Halpern.

The Avalanche Gorge sculpture, photographed in Glacier National Park in 1992, adorns the front cover of Halpern's book, Pilgrim Eye.

The future of Halpern’s work is best told in the closing words of Pilgrim Eye: “What will I be doing years from now? Making pictures. And no doubt embracing new technology about which we can now only speculate. What I will be doing tomorrow will be better than what I can do today, and I will continue to be more excited than ever about photography, its challenges and its potential application to creative art. There will be more landscapes to explore, and I will try to find more ways to interpret them.”

For more information about David Halpern’s book, his work, and his philosophy, go to and