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Widening Your Expectations for Inkjet Printing

(October 2010) posted on Tue Oct 05, 2010

When it comes to wide-format inkjet printing, printers have delivered some creative artistic, useful, and informative printed projects. Use this article to stimulate your own ideas as to how to approach such a challenge.


By Gail Flower

click an image below to view slideshow

Virtuoso Graphics specializes in signs, banners, large-format printing, and graphic design. They have three Roland digital printer/cutters: the VersaCAMM VP-300, VersaCAMM SP-540, and the VS-640, a model that can print metallic silver ink.

Wink says he used the Roland VersaCAMM SP-540 54 in. digital printer/cutter for this job because of its speed, accuracy, and size. Wink used artwork from Trios and designed a wall wrap in Adobe Illustrator measuring 14 x 32 ft. The design included PMS colors that required matching. Wink printed the wrap on Photo Tex fabric media in a series of 48-in. panels once Trios signed off on the design and color match. The wrap took two days to install.

Mills Display
Sydney, Australia

Trey Bailey, account project co-coordinator
Another restaurant wall graphic produced on a wide-format inkjet that stands out is one from the distant continent of Australia. Mills Display (a Styrox Signage Co.) makes display and point-of-sale graphics in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Mills specializes in product presentations and visual communications for the retail environment. The company also screen prints (rigid materials only), fabricates of signage, and works in design and production.

Outback Steakhouse challenged Mills Display to create a theme-based graphic for its restaurant walls. The restaurant brand has become successful in Australia and wanted to create an image of wide-open natural places under sunny skies. They came to Mills to produce their wall art. The original art was created by local designers to be consistent with the Outback theme, but with local, authentic elements. The artwork had to appear to be rustic, but nicely finished and hung precisely to present a clean look. The company asked Mills to print directly onto distressed 0.375-in. plywood.

At first, Mills was a bit nervous to print the graphic on its Inca Columbia flatbed inkjet printer. Mills applied a white basecoat to get the inks to pop on the plywood. The artwork (Figure 5) features red tones, where-as other similar displayed walls highlight blues and purples.

“The project had its challenges,” says Trey Bailey, account project co-coordinator. “Plywood tends to bow, especially when 3-m sheets are delivered on 2.4-m pallets. To make certain the printheads went undamaged, we placed the bow upside-down onto the vacuum bed. With careful loading, each board held its place on the Inca Columbia vacuum table and printed well.”


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