Let’s Take It Outside with Aqueous Printers & Media

It’s time to dispel the myth that graphics printed with aqueous technology can’t stand the test of time when displayed outdoors. With wide-format printer manufacturers like Epson, Canon and HP advancing their pigment inks, media is performing better than ever when facing the elements.

“When you’re talking about outdoor durability, it comes down to three things,” says Jaimie Mask, LexJet product specialist, “the inks — which have definitely advanced — and the inkjet coating (including top coat and anchor coating) and the substrate itself. Take LexJet’s TOUGHcoat Water Resistant Polypropylene. The reason we call it TOUGHcoat is because its coating is engineered to withstand outdoor climate changes, like wind and rain.”

Magnets and Polypropylene Combine for a Simple, Economical Display

Printing banners for churches

What do you get when you cross magnets with inkjet printable polypropylene? An easy-to-use, eye-catching display system. While that may not be much of a riddle, it’s the answer Andy Wredberg, owner of AW Artworks, Sun Prairie, Wis., found for the banner display shown here at Cornerstone Church in Waterloo, Wis.

Banner hanging system
Here's a closeup of the oak banner holder system designed and built by cabinet and furniture maker Eric Neevel that uses rare earth magnets to hold the banner in place top and bottom.

“Their previous banners were being printed on paper, and they were having issues with them wrinkling and creasing. I thought that LexJet’s TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene would be a better option and started designing and printing them for them,” explains Wredberg. “The banners are 36″ x 108” and the church already had a neat system to hang them. The material prints beautifully and we’ve gotten a lot of work out of it from people who have seen the banners.”

The hanging system is an oak strip on top and bottom with a hinging oak strip that holds the banner in place. Instead of screws or another attachment method, the oak strips have rare earth magnets that stick together and hold the banner in place.

The oak banner holders were designed and made by local cabinet and furniture maker Eric Neevel (920-253-7233).

“Basically what we do when we hang them is a use a ladder to reach the top. Then we’ll take the outside board off, line up the top of the banner, sandwich the banner with the other wood piece, unroll it and sandwich it at the bottom. The magnets are strong enough to hold the whole thing up; in fact, they’re very strong. It couldn’t be easier and the system doesn’t ruin the banner when you take it in and out,” says Wredberg. “And the Water-Resistant Polypropylene is fantastic; it’s economical yet it’s durable and doesn’t wrinkle or crease. It’s a nice, versatile, lightweight material that prints beautifully.”

Printing window displays
AW Artworks also uses LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene as backdrops for its seasonal self-promotional window displays.

Wredberg adds that he also uses Water-Resistant Polypropylene for studio displays. The material is perfect for the window displays Wredberg uses to promote seasonal work for Valentine’s Day, Christmas and other holidays and special occasions. 

Selling Beer with Banner Stands

Printing banners for banner standsThere are a million and one ways to promote beer (or anything else for that matter) at the point of sale, but one way that’s often overlooked is the use of a simple retractable banner stand.

“They’re lightweight, portable and collapsible so that it’s easy for our account reps to take the banner stands from one place to another,” says Bob Korabek, POS designer for Caffey Distributing in Greensboro, N.C. “They’re also great for tight spaces. You can utilize them in small areas, like c-stores, where you can put them next to a beer display. And, since it’s retractable, you can also create a smaller banner that’s not as high if ceiling space is an issue.”

Korabek recently completed a couple of winning projects using retractable banner stands. One was a promotion for Blue Moon, which was tied into today’s (Aug. 31) astronomical event called, coincidentally, a blue moon (click here for another project with the blue moon promotional tie-in).

Using banner stands for point of sale displaysThe other banner was designed to be displayed in the entrance to sports bars, featuring the 2012 Carolina Panthers schedule. Since the schedule goes through the end of the year, it’s a perfect relatively long-term promotion that puts Miller front and center at least through December.

“For shorter promotions we can easily take out the previous promotion and re-use them for another one,” explains Korabek. “I just use the usual LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene that I get from LexJet for all my banners and apply Heavy Duty Banner Tape on the edges of the tall sides to strengthen the edges and prevent long-term curling possibilities.”

LexJet carries a full line of banner stands for any budget and any application. Here are three to check out initially:

XStand: Available in 24.5″ x 63.5″, 26.5″ x 71″ and 32.5″ x 71″ fits the bill for a cost-effective, lightweight indoor display. Click here to see the demonstration video.

MediaScreen 1: Available in 33 7/16″, 39 3/8″ and 60″ widths, this more-durable banner stand also includes a lifetime warranty and the telescoping pole adjusts the height from 63″ to 88 5/8″. Click here to view the demonstration video.

MediaScreen 3: Available in a 33 7/16″ width, this banner stand features changeable graphic cassettes so you can change the message in seconds, a lifetime warranty, a base that compensates for uneven floors, and more. Click here to see the demonstration video.

For all of the Display Hardware demonstration and how-to videos at LexJet’s YouTube channel, click here. And, if you’d like to read more about banner stand applications, tips on production and the right banner stand for the job, download LexJet’s educational white paper, Making the Most of Banner Stands, at www.lexjet.com/banner-stand-white-paper.aspx.

And, as always, if you need any additional help or information, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538. Happy Labor Day weekend!

Gaining Market Share with Quantity and Quality at Carolina Premium Beverage

Large format inkjet printers for point of saleYou would be hard-pressed to find someone who loves their job more than Sandy Woods, who runs the sign shop – make that “art department” – at Carolina Premium Beverage in Concord, N.C., which is near Charlotte.

“I prefer to call it the art department because I have a degree in art  and we really focus on design as opposed to just mass producing signs,” explains Woods. “I love what I do. I have been here at Carolina Premium Beverage for five years, and have been in design my entire career. I know in my heart that I will retire here. This is home to me; I love this company.”

Using typography for point of sale designThat attitude alone is worth its weight in ink, a.k.a. liquid gold, and the art department has been instrumental in making Carolina Premium Beverage’s brands, chief among them MillerCoors, tops in the distributor’s market, which includes Charlotte and about six surrounding counties.

As you can see by the samples pictured here, design takes precedence over everything else. It is that foundation which secures valuable, premium space for Carolina’s Premium Beverage’s point-of-sale graphics.

The second piece that builds on that foundation, and which ensures the quality and timeliness of the finished prints, is the right equipment and the personal support to go along with it. “I would never want to do my job without LexJet and Kelly [Price, Woods’ customer specialist],” says Woods. “Kelly is a life saver. Most of the time, I order materials a week out, but they’re usually here the next day. When there are occasions when I need to order something right away, she’s right on top of it; she’s awesome to work with. I have two Canon iPF8000S printers that I got from LexJet as well and I love them. They’re super fast and you can’t beat the quality. Those are my babies; I can’t live without them.”

Cooler wraps at the point of saleThe “Siamese Twins,” as Woods calls them, help ensure fast turnaround times for Carolina Premium Beverage’s accounts, which is another way in which the distributor beats its competitors to the punch at the point of sale. Woods, who runs the art department by herself, also has an OKI laser printer for cooler tags, table tents and other small format point of sale.

“Our goal was to surpass the main competitor in our market, and we’ve largely succeeded. Part of that success is the fact that we can get our point of sale out the door much quicker,” says Woods. Ultimately, it is possible, and necessary, to provide quantity and quality point of sale graphics in order to build market share.

She estimates that the art department produces about 3,600 banners and posters a year, not counting special events and venues, like the Carolina Panthers’ football stadium and the Bobcats’ basketball arena.

Point of sale design and printingWoods says her “go-to” print material is LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene, which she uses for both indoor and outdoor point-of-sale projects. She also uses LexJet 11 Mil Valeron Banner for outdoor projects that need extra durability, and Photo Tex adhesive fabric for cooler wraps and special events, such as a recent Sugarland concert at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Charlotte.

Special event and promotional bannersCarolina Premium Beverage was created in 2010 through the merger of three companies: Rudisill Enterprises of Gastonia, N.C., Cunningham Wholesale Company of Charlotte, and the Charlotte-based division of Caffey Distributing.

Each company has a long history in the beer distribution business. The owners of each company believed that by merging their businesses into one they could bring the best portfolio of beers to consumers in the Charlotte market area, says Woods. “It is our goal to be the leading beer supplier to retail customers serving consumers in the Charlotte area,” she adds.

Year End Sale for the New Year on LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene

Printing promotions, posters and banners with polypropyleneStock up on LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene for the New Year and beyond with a great year-end sale: Save 50 percent when you buy a 36″ x 200′ roll of TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene, and there’s no limit on the amount of rolls you can buy.

LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene is compatible will all aqueous printers and is perfect for short term banners, tear- and water-resistant posters, backlits and banner stands. The 8-mil polypropylene film provides a wide color gamut for all types of quality photographic and graphics reproduction.

“Water-Resistant Polypropylene from LexJet prints nicely, it’s scratch-resistant, easy to work with and quite economical,” says professional photographer David Ziser, who prints hanging display banners for special events and promotions.

This year-end 50% off promotion is good until Dec. 31 or while supplies last. All orders come with LexJet’s $9.99 flat rate shipping from its nationwide network of distribution centers for quick delivery. For more information, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

And, to find out more about LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene, check out the product video below…