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.
By Ed McCarron
Backlit displays are effective eye catchers and an ideal component of trade-show exhibits. As with the opaque displays, matte to textured, lustre finishes are preferred. Backlits are commonly imaged on polyester or polycarbonatebased films. Polycarbonates are reverse printed and then viewed through the film or from the non-print side. Polycarbonate films are available with a textured finish on the viewing side of the film.
Backlit films—especially polyester—are increasingly popular among users of solvent inkjet printers. There are four parameters to take into consideration when producing graphics for light projection displays: calculation (amount), location (where), application (how), and duration (longevity). This information determines the best methodology for producing the graphic.
Semi-opaque materials are the ideal form of media when it comes to trade shows. By using more opaque materials, you can ensure that the the graphic will look great under the reflective lighting of the show floor, as well as when it’s backlit. The best choices for backlit tradeshow displays are white films or polypropylene media that offer 90% opacity. Papers in the same opacity range are also a fine option in this environment.
If the backlit graphic’s light will be turned off during the day, then you must take into consideration color accuracy when viewing it both as a reflective and projected image. It’s not possible to have the exact same graphic calibrated and profiled for both worlds, so you should look for a substrate that allows for a small color shift between reflective and projected viewing condi tions. Reverse-printed backlit materials do not display well when the lightbox is off, rendering them unusable.
These applications are commonly static or rotate over an exhibit booth, showcasing the exhibitor’s name or brand across the show floor. Lightweight, fireretardant materials are the best choice for hanging signs, because they tend to be placed in close proximity to lighting. Sublimation fabrics are another appropriate choice for hanging signs, because sublimation inks penetrate deep into the textile and therefore tend to be more durable and longer lasting than directprint fabrics.
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