LexJet Plays a Full House at The UPS Store Convention in Vegas

L to R: Bill Weiser, Kevin Drelich, Dylan Borden, Matt Bailey and Vince Bejar with Canon’s Pete Wright

The UPS Stores held their biennial convention in Las Vegas in early July. The franchisees meet every other year to allow the nationwide locations to get together to network, receive updates from corporate, meet with vendors who work with the stores and, of course, fun.

The theme for 2018 was “The Motivation Celebration” and several LexJet representatives were on hand to help motivate the attendees to celebrate.  Bill Weiser, Dylan Borden, Kevin Drelich, Matthew Bailey and Vince Bejar – along with Canon’s Pete Wright – were at the conference to discuss the benefits of adding wide format printing to the services offered by the UPS Stores.

The LexJet booth was one of the highlights of the show, as everyone who stopped by was interested in learning more about wide format printing. “Many locations aren’t printing yet, but they are eager to learn,” Bejar said. “Every time a customer would come to the booth, they always said ‘we hear you’re the people we need to see [to learn about printing]’. We were glad to get them excited about new opportunities.”

The team had the chance to discuss products like LexJet TRIBUTE Satin Photo Paper 240g, LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric, LexJet Sunset Reserve Gloss Canvas as well as many other diverse products with the attendees. As each person stopped by the booth and chatted with the LexJet reps, they received a raffle ticket for a chance to win a Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4000.

Raffle winner John Appel of The UPS Store – 1277 congratulated by Vince Bejar

As the show came to a close, the energy around the LexJet booth became electric because it was time for the drawing. Out of over 400 raffle tickets, the lucky winner of the 44-inch printer was John Appel of The UPS Store – 1277 in Seattle, Wash.

With one extremely happy winner, open discussions about wide format printing and the introduction of unique products to the 1,800 attendees, the LexJet team was happy to play such an important part of the success of the conference and they are looking forward to the next one in 2020.

An Economical Alternative to Dye-Sub Fabrics for Displays

Printing fabric banners with an inkjet printerWhen it comes to display graphics, everybody wants something “different” to help set them apart. That’s exactly what a number of customers were requesting from Productive Displays, Addison, Ill., for their trade show banners.

Some had seen dye-sublimation fabrics at trade shows and liked the look of it. So they wondered if Productive Displays could produce something similar.

“We had a different type of poly fabric in the past that was no longer available. Then we went tried another six or seven materials and none of them were really good solutions for us: they weren’t vibrant enough and the saturation was too high,” explains Bruce Ulrich, president of Productive Displays. “When we traded our aqueous printer for a Canon iPF8300S we talked to Bryce Montisano at LexJet and found the right inkjet fabric.”

Fabric banners for trade showsThe fabric is LexJet Poly Select Heavy, and Ulrich says it’s met their imaging needs and the needs of their customers for nice fabric banner displays.

“The LexJet fabric provides us the ability to present customers with a fabric alternative without the need for a dye-sublimation process. We’re able to utilize the capacity of our existing printers and it’s also a less costly process for the customer,” explains Ulrich. “We presented it to those customers, and we have about half a dozen customers who use that material regularly. The ones who are using it have totally bought into it. The LexJet fabric is a very nice solution, and it’s difficult to tell the difference between dye-sub and this material.”

A Successful Formula for Inkjet Printed Fabric Graphics

Inkjet printed fabric banners for trade shows

The last time we spoke with Formula Boats, the marketing department – led by director of communications Tonya Hamilton – had just completed a spectacular wall mural for the front lobby of its headquarters in Decatur, Ind.

Printing fabric banners for a trade showWhile the wall mural is an amazing accent that wows visitors and brings passersby on the nearby road in for a closer look, where the rubber really meets the road (or the rudder meets the water in this case) is at boat shows.

For a classy look that brings out the best in the boats the company is showcasing, Hamilton has been using LexJet Poly Select Heavy SUV. The inkjet printable fabric also images well and is lighter and easier to transport to the more than 50 shows at which Formula Boats exhibits its wares.

“We’re trying to draw attention to the booth and to the dealers in the booth. The banners provide the quick information they need to know about us and our dealers beyond picking up a catalog,” says Hamilton. “The Poly Select fabric is so much richer and nicer than a regular banner material or decals; it makes our boats pop better and gives the banners more visibility.”

But fabric can have a Beauty and the Beast quality about it. The Beast factor is the same one that makes it a Beauty. Since most fabrics are relatively light, it can be difficult to get enough tension for a smooth print.

“We’ve had some problems with the tension on certain fabrics. The take-up reel will fight against the main roller on the printer, where the head is located. We figured out a way to correct the issue by taping a few inches of the fabric in the center to the take-up reel. Then, we cut the edges of the fabric off in a 45-degree angle from the tape to the edge of the fabric so the leading edge taped to the take-up reel comes to a point and looks like an envelope, which gives it more tension as it prints,” explains Hamilton.

Running fabric through a printerP.S. I asked our technical support director, Adam Hannig, about the tensioning issue, and he uses the same basic method on all substrates, fabric or not, to ensure smooth printing all the way through. However, he cuts in a half circle from where the leading edge is taped to the take-up reel, creating a smoother edge that’s less likely to get caught in the rollers (see photo). Also, Hannig adds, be sure to use just one piece of tape in the center.

Problem solved, and Hamilton adds that she prints a lot of duplicates since the company attends so many boat shows each year. For instance, she printed 15 of the 13-foot-long Formula banners, which you can see in the righthand side of the first photo. She also prints banners for dealer showrooms and for the dealer to use after the show at their own follow-up event.

Storytelling on a Grand Scale at Group Delphi

Trade show exhibit design, manufacturing and printing
Photo by Jamie Padgett

With roots in theatrical stage scenery, Group Delphi, based in Alameda, Calif., understands the importance of storytelling. As Group Delphi has grown and expanded its reach, the company’s storytelling approach continues to be the foundation of its work.

“Over the years we’ve transformed the company into what is now our core business: the design, manufacture and management of large-scale trade show programs, corporate events, museum exhibits and, most recently,  retail operations,” says Group Delphi CEO Justin Hersh. “The commonality across these different areas is storytelling. Our interest is in trying to understand what our customers want to tell their audiences and then in finding the environment and experience that most effectively tells that story. We’re more agnostic about the solution and much more interested in delving into the story and finding the most effective way to tell it. Sometimes that may be a permanent installation in a company’s lobby, graphics, multi-media and three-dimensional work. For us, it’s being able to bring a wide variety of tools to the table, working with the client to find the right solutions and delivering those solutions.”

CEO of Group Delphi
Group Delphi CEO Justin Hersh

As Hersh notes, Group Delphi has many tools at its disposal, from wide format and grand format inkjet printing to the use of dynamic digital signage. In other words, at Group Delphi the medium is not the message; the message is the message, and the medium follows.

Hersh sees digital content that arrives on-screen, whether at an event or as part of a display, as a complementary technology to digital printing. “There’s a tendency by the proponents of a new technology to present it as a category displacer,” he says. “However, we see new technology as different media that become complementary to existing media. One of the things that’s exciting to us is that as prices have come down and quality has gone up with wide format printing, the ability to use graphics to change an environment  and then to overlay digital content, providing a level of interactivity, creates an opportunity for a much more dynamic experience.”

Graphics and booth design for Pixar StudiosWhile storytelling is its foundation, Group Delphi has built diversification, integration of media and processes, and a focus on customer service into its corporate culture. Diversification, for instance, helped Group Delphi weather the recent economic storms as the trade show industry suffered. Fortunately, it appears that the trade show business is coming back, but being able to operate in a broad spectrum of markets with a diverse product mix picked up the slack.

“It’s hard to be in a single vertical market and not be concerned about economic volatility,” says Hersh.

“There are few fundamental things that have never changed: we’ve always put creative first, whether it’s our own design or one from an outside agency. We’re always stretching to make sure, no matter how tight budgets are, that we’re delivering on the creative side. We’ve also had a relentless pursuit of quality. Coupled with that is a real focus on customer service. Those are things that never go out of fashion. Other things come and go, but if you do those three things, then you stay on track,” Hersh adds. “With customer service you have to have a lot of visibility at the management level where you’re talking about it all the time. Each employee needs to be deeply ingrained in the culture of the company so that anyone in the organization knows that they have permission to do the right thing for the customer and that the company will back them up. You have to give a lot of power throughout the entire organization, and you have to be comfortable giving people that power. They won’t always make the right decision, but in general they will. The only way to support them is to help them get better at it, but you don’t take that decision-making power away from them.”

The woodshop at Group DelphiUsing this formula, Group Delphi has grown both organically and through the recent merger with General Graphics Exhibits (GGE), a full service trade show and exhibit company, with photo and fine art printing services as well. “GGE offered some of the same services with a stronger presence in the graphics business, enhancing our graphics offering,” explains Hersh.

The merger fit perfectly into the diversification component of Group Delphi’s business model, expanding and enhancing the company’s core capabilities.

“The acceleration of integration is only going to become more important in the future. Customers don’t want to have to go to ten different providers; they want to find companies that can bring design, digital content, graphics and fabrication all in one package. We’ll continue to look for ways to enhance the variety of our services and offerings as well as the way we integrate those services,” adds Hersh. 

Try before You Buy: Pick up Your Free Fabric Swatch Book While Supplies Last

Selecting fabrics for inkjet printing applicationsInkjet printable fabric is an excellent alternative for a variety of graphics applications – including banner stands, table drapes, point of sale, trade show, backdrops and special events – but picking one can be tricky. Each has its own feel, texture and weight, so that’s why LexJet is offering its customers free swatch books of its popular line of Poly Select fabrics while supplies last.

The swatch book includes un-printed samples of the Poly Select Aqueous and SUV (compatible with solvent, low-solvent, UV-curable and latex) lines.  Each swatch is 3″ x 4.5″ and appears in the order shown on the inside front cover of the book…

LexJet Poly Select Light: Weighs in at 155g, is 7.5 mils thick and with its tight, barely discernable weave it’s ideal for reproducing colorful, finely detailed high-end images and designs.

LexJet Poly Select Medium: Combines the tight weave of the lighter fabric with additional durability and thickness (12 mils).

LexJet Poly Select Heavy: It’s 13 mils thick, 230g and lays nice and flat so it’s easy to work with in production. Plus, it’s glare resistant for consistent viewing in any lighting situation.

LexJet Poly Select Light SUV and LexJet Poly Select Heavy SUV: The solvent/low-solvent/UV-curable/latex compatible versions have similar qualities as the aqueous versions, but are more durable for outdoor displays.

Call a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538 to pick one up before we run out, and here are a few posts that show how LexJet Poly Select fabrics are being used in the field:

Short Term Promotions with Punch at Colonial Beverage

Lighting up a Room with Inkjet Printed Fabric Window Shades

Fabric Fanatics: Creative and Colorful Fabric Applications by FBIS

Meet Photo-Printing Experts from LexJet at Regional Photography Shows

If you’re new to professional photography or can’t attend one of the national conferences and shows every year, you will find some top-notch education and networking opportunities at one of the regional conferences and trade shows conducted by regional affiliates of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA).

Plus, you can see how your own photography stacks up compared to the award-winning prints produced by other photographers in your region. Many LexJet customers enter prints in the regional print competitions held in conjunction with these shows.