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Tips for Producing Portable Trade-Show Graphics

(December 2007) posted on Wed Dec 05, 2007

The demand for high-quality, portable trade-show graphics is growing. Find out about the media for these applications and learn how to pair inks and substrates for maximum impact.

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By Ed McCarron

Direct printing onto image-receptive backer and laminating with textured polycarbonate film or textured vinyl is the best solution for pigmented inks or solvent inkjet production. Pigment particles are larger than dyes and tend to sit on the substrate’s surface.

The typical product constructions for pop-ups include direct printing onto a 10-mil, opaque backer with frosted polycarbonate laminate, or reverse printing on polycarbonate with an adhesive- backed laminate. This construction offers an 18- to 20-mil-thick imaged panel that can be finished with magnetic strips that adhere to the face frame of the popup stand.


Roll-up displays

Many different materials are used for roll-up-display systems. Regardless of the media used, it is critical that roll-up displays feature an opaque substrate (Figure 3).  Additionally, roll-up displays must be flexible, as they are often wound in a floor canister on a spool and unwound (like a window shade) to be displayed. Furthermore, due to the fact that vinyl, fabrics, and other soft substrates are prone to edge curl, you should use an opaque film that lies perfectly flat. Edge curl makes roll-up displays look unprofessional and can diminish the message conveyed by the signage. The quality of presentation on lay-flat materials is significantly more impressive than on products that curl. Typical product constructions for roll-ups include 8-mil block-out polyester film and polypropylene or vinyl banner materials.

As for lamination of roll-up displays, the thinnest laminates are a good choice, because the canister has limited room. Lamination of roll-up graphics changes the image’s gloss level and adds durability in this application, where the panel will continuously be rolled in and out of the holding canister. You should use liquid coatings, very thin pressure-sensitive adhesives, or hot-melt laminates.


Backlit displays

Backlit displays are, quite simply, graphics that are illuminated from behind. Backlit displays have been around for many years, but recent technological advancements in digital printing and media have eliminated some of the production problems of the past, making it easier to produce high-quality, costeffective backlit graphics. That, coupled with the boom in demand for promotional graphics, has resulted in a sharp increase in illuminated signage.


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