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Creative Fabric Solutions

Tension Fabric Pieces with Pizzazz

By Kim Crowley

For events, trade shows, fashion, and décor—dye-sublimation (dye-sub) brings vibrancy to graphics, with added durability, longevity, and ease of transport. “Dye-sub is the best mix of detail, saturation, and lifespan. It offers crisp lines, beautiful deep blacks, and photorealistic details,” states Debra Roth, CEO/creative director, Pink Inc.


The company celebrates over 25 years of experience. Its main offices are located in Manhattan, NY, with varying production partners throughout the U.S. With the aid of dye-sub printing, Pink’s innovative tension fabric solutions provide live action and intense visual experiences.


Dye-Sub at Work

Roth says Pink’s volume of printing increased greatly in just five years. “As people learned about the versatility and usefulness of tension fabric, the requests for printing grew,” she says. Sustainability also aided in the growth. The company now prints on recyclable fabric. In addition, the tension displays allow for the same frame to be used for multiple events by switching out the textile.


Pink is pleased with the evolution of dye-sub technology. “Over the last few years digital dye-sub printing made great technical inroads, moving away from the pixilated images of the past to crisp, photo-quality prints,” explains Roth.


The only real dye-sub challenge, according to the company, is managing stretch fabric. A close eye on the prepress phase, printing process, and the finished fabric running through the heat press is necessary.


Approximately ten to 15 percent of Pink’s business is dye-sub. The company works with event planners to trade show organizers, lighting designers, audiovisual companies, hotels, and churches.


Flying Fish

The Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco, CA is an annual, three day celebration. The event organizer requested six, six- by 15-foot fish lanterns to suspend in trees for the festival.


The Pink design team designed and built the fish, from the patterning and structure down to the in-house artwork. Roth says the project was challenging. “From getting the size and shape of the fish correct while keeping the weight down, to creating the artwork and laying it into tricky patterning, these pieces were very design-heavy.”


Each of the fish required about 15 yards of Dazian LLC’s Trapeze Plus, a flame-resistant polyester with two-way stretch—90 percent in one direction and 50 percent in the other.


The company’s print partner, Minneapolis, MN-based Pictura Graphics, used a Roland DGA Corporation SOLJET PRO SJ-1045 printer with Sawgrass Technologies, Inc.’s SubliM aqueous ink. This allowed them to print graphics onto Beaver Paper’s TexPrintXP-HR high-release, water-based transfer paper and sublimate onto Dazian’s 100 percent polyester fabric using a transfer heat press from Klieverik.


The vibrant printing made the lanterns stand out during the day, and once the sun went down, internal LED lighting provided a glow. Lighting is one reason dye-sub was chosen. “It called for a strong saturation of ink and had to be colorfast in case of rain,” says Roth.


Expo Wayfinding

Pink is also responsible for directing trade show attendees. The International Vision Expo is the U.S.’ largest exposition catering to the optical community.


Using freestanding Quadrigon signs, Pink helped its client make a visual impact without the expense of rigging or a union installation crew. Proprietary, custom-printed Hourglass Divas incorporated tension fabric displays and human performers. Each was color coded and assigned a section of the trade show for directional purposes.


The Quadrigon signs featured four two- by eight-foot panels of Dazian Trapeze Plus, printed using Pictura Graphics’ SJ-1045 printer with Beaver Paper’s TexPrintXP-HR, Sawgrass SubliM ink, and the Klieverik transfer press.


Dye-sub is especially beneficial for trade shows and traveling events like these. “As opposed to traditional signage, our pieces breakdown for ease of travel and storage. The fabrics are reprintable and replaced separately from the frames,” states Roth.


Pieces with Pizzazz

Temporary or permanent, eye-catching fabric can be to be applied to material that is lightweight, flexible, and adaptive to transform an environment. “Our stretch fabric structures are known for design and manufacturing consistency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness,” concludes Roth.

Jul2010, Digital Output

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