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Framing Solutions for Digital Print


By Melissa Donovan


Part 1 of 2


Frames finish a graphic. As more digital printers fall into the fine art market and consumers increasingly order customized art online, traditional framing mechanisms from metal creations to wood stretcher frames are becoming popular in print providers’ shops. In response, manufacturers develop user-friendly signage solutions that installers of any level of experienced can use.


Responding to Growth

Changes in frame usage—new applications and cost considerations—make for a constantly evolving market. The recent boom of online ordering and do-it-yourself design capabilities affect framing.


“Consumers purchase millions of digital reproductions of their own photos, many of them requiring framing for display. It logically follows that a huge market exists for framed silicon edge graphics (SEG) of consumer prints, especially now that fabric printing is visually appealing and readily available. Most fine art, photography, and graphics sold today are reproductions on paper, canvas, and metal,” says Steve Hegseth, president, EFKA LED Frames.


Made-to-order print Web sites grow in popularity and as such, custom size framing becomes prevalent. “Similar to panoramic photos, frames may have disproportionate dimensions, for example 12.75 inches tall by 48 7/16 inches long,” shares Ric Brady, president/CEO, ProEDGE Systems, a division of Advantage Systems, Inc.


Jessica Heldman-Beck, marketing manager, Rowmark, notes that as the market grows and expands into less traditional areas, so too will product finish selection. “There will be a big movement toward stainless steel and plastic/polycarbonate options for its look and ability to be used outdoors and in harsh environments. I also think we will continue to offer a large selection of frame systems that appear to be invisible but provide all the benefits of mounting and updating of conventional systems,” she explains.


While new markets, such as décor, see growth, traditional ones embrace solutions as well. Increased printing onto textiles changes the way traditional signage is finished. “We see more traditional markets such as exhibits and point of purchase moving away from vinyl and rigid prints to fabric printing that is then framed. This is a marriage between beautiful, rich fabrics and traditional rigid applications,” adds Mike Syverson, director of special operations, PrinterEvolution.


As Darius Augustine, GM, Alpina Manufacturing, sees it, digital print and the frames that finish them will be used in years to come. “They will continue to be important in communicating information to the public due to low cost, ease of use, and durability. Framing systems are integral to professionally displaying these products.”


Innova Art Ltd. USA, traditionally a fine art paper manufacturer, expanded its reach with its JetMaster Display Systems brand two years ago. “This family of display systems gives us the chance to work with clients who may never use fine art paper or may not even print themselves,” explains David Williams, NA market manager, Innova.


New Products

Alpina continues to develop its line of frames. More profile shapes, colors, and wood options will be introduced throughout 2014. What remains present in the product portfolio is the ability to constantly change graphics out easily. Simplicity of use is a strength, as it only takes seconds to take out a graphic and place another in—allowing for easy updating of information.


EFKA offers SEG aluminum and wood frames for the print industry. The print includes a silicon strip sewn on the perimeter, when stretched slightly, the silicon edge tucks into a channel in an extruded frame. Some of the frames from EFKA are available with LED backlighting, can be single or double sided, wall hung, suspended, or free standing.


In the next six months Hegseth reports that EFKA plans on adding 100 new wood picture frame moldings, increasing its SEG aluminum frame selection by 25 percent, offering four new sizes of framed LED panels, and continue researching anodizes and powder coaters to offer more aluminum frame color options. This is all in response to the sudden boom in finishing graphics.


Innova began shipping in 2013 the JetMaster Direct Print Photo Wrap, an adhesive-backed display board designed for use with UV flatbed printers. Users print then remove the liner on back and fold into a gallery wrapped display. They are available in two finished sizes of 16x20 and 20x30 inches and in both smooth and canvas textured finishes.


PrinterEvolution, part of the Global Imaging family of companies, recently partnered with REXframe, an aluminum reusable framing system for textiles. Customizable, the system uses a silicon bead sewn into the textile to snap into the frame and create tension.


ProEDGE plans to introduce a new size frame in late Spring 2014, this is directly related to the enhanced usage of environmental boards, which are thicker and require a bolder standoff from the wall. In addition, the company plans on expanding its designer colors of brushed aluminum and brass into other widths.


Rowmark’s ClearPath Signage Systems division offers a traditional metal and plastic frame system and an off-the-shelf solution curved frame system.


The Frame Boom

Everyone wants a finished product. Framing options offer that in a quick and easy way. “All finishing services will continue to grow. End users are demanding more innovative and more professional finished solutions. Leaving mounted artwork or an image with raw, sharp, or unfinished edges is no longer an option,” shares Brady.


Hegseth concurs, particularly in regards to SEG frames. He points to its huge popularity in Europe. “They are widely used by global brands in trade show exhibits and retail merchandising. Its use is growing rapidly in North America. Sales to consumers for personal use and applications for fine art are coming. Recent advancements in the quality of printers, inks, and fabrics make SEG viable for these huge markets,” he continues.


Frames provide a professional end product. However, they aren’t the only option when it comes to finishing a print. In the next part of this series we examine how standoffs and mounts evolve in response to market demand.

Click on the link above to get more information on the vendors mentioned in this article.

Mar2014, Digital Output DOFR1403

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