A Full Range of Wide Format Services
by Thomas Franklin
Part 2 of a 4-part exclusive online series
It may seem prosaic to observe that "digital has changed everything" but a quick conversation with printers reinforces just how significant a sea-change digital has initiated.
"The capabilities of the technology have allowed us to use graphics in ways we’ve never done before," says Rex Jobe, president of Dallas, TX-based The Color Place. One novel, if slightly morbid, new niche that Jobe’s firm has capitalized on is casket wraps. The Color Place has a contract with a firm that offers a variety of pre-set graphics for use in decorating their metallic coffins, Jobe says. His firm prints these designs—typically religious themes—on adhesive backed vinyl.
The Color Place has also taken the vehicle wrap to the high seas—and lakes. "Bass fishing has gone NASCAR," Jobe relates. With the popularity of competitive bass fishing growing, sponsors are clamoring for space on the hull and The Color Place has been enjoying a brisk business in wrapping bass boats. "Everything gets laminated and we use a good adhesive that can keep the graphic secure." The process, Jobe explains, is just like a vehicle wrap.
Many print buyers still require educating as to what the new technology can do. "This is new, not only to us, but the designers are just getting their arms around it," states Jerry Manikowski, president, Digital Imaging Resources, Inc. "As there are more and more materials we can print on, we have the ability to educate our customers. We find ourselves playing the role of consultant, which is an opportunity for us."
Chicago-based Digital Imaging Resources began as a firm catering to architectural design companies and, with the purchase of a Durst Rho 600 flatbed, has expanded to incorporate ad agencies and marketing communications firms. "We made a conscious decision to go after the color market," Manikowski notes. The company has found itself printing on a lot of Dibond—an aluminum based material with a thermoplastic center—on its one and half year old Rho. "It gives designers a chance to introduce metallic elements into their designs."
Photomedia Revolutions of Syracuse, NY, purchased a Roland SolJet XC-540—in fact, they bought the first one commercially available in July 2006. Since then, president Neil Kampas explains that the company has produced a variety of diverse signage. "We’ve printed and custom cut thousand quantities of 2x2-inch intricate decals," he observes.
"Most of our tradeshow output panels are in the 24x30- to 30x92-inch range," Kampas says. "At the other extreme, we have printed 4x30-foot banners in a single piece and 8x12-foot murals for museum and architectural design applications. We are just starting to demonstrate to our clients some cling film and floor graphic solutions to help enhance their branding and advertising," he adds.
For Mounir Murad, president, Imaging Zone, the purchase of an Agfa Sherpa Universal 90 has seen the firm producing a lot of outdoor signage and banners. "The market for outdoor banner business and special application prints on specific media has been good for us recently," he concludes.
Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, The Widening Reach