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Vinyl, Vinyl Everywhere

Vinyl Remains Ubiquitous Media Solution for Large Format Graphics

by Gretchen A. Peck

Part 1 of a 4-Part Series

There may be a lot of industry buzz of late about new, sexier substrates for large format print suppliers and their customers. To some, vinyl may seem old hat, a tried and true option for banners and other wide format print applications. But just because the digital print industry has a relatively long history—and intimate familiarity—with vinyl, doesn’t make it any less important to the print supplier’s business model these days. Vinyl remains an incredibly popular medium, and for good reason.

Vinyl has become a ubiquitous substrate in large format graphics. Today, it’s being used all across the nation in a variety of indoor and outdoor applications—posters, POP displays, floor and window graphics, tradeshow signage, billboards, murals, vehicle graphics, and more.

Why does the industry continue to love vinyl? Why do customers continue to demand it?

It’s a no-brainer. Vinyl is affordable, durable, and available in an array of colors and levels of opacity. There is a plethora of manufacturers that supply vinyl substrates to the wide format industry. It’s a readily available substrate from companies like Avery Dennison, FLEXcon, Roland DGA, Sihl, and many others.

Similar to the variations you’ll find in paper substrates, vinyl isn’t a one-size-fits-all medium. Printers may choose vinyl products in any number of weights and configurations, including very wide format rolls.

Vinyl substrates are versatile, often compatible with dye, pigmented, UV-curable, and eco-solvent inks. And most large format print specialists have already invested in the digital print engines adept at printing on vinyl.

But the challenge for print suppliers remains—How best to complement printing-to-vinyl services with stealthy, accurate, and cost-effective cutting solutions? There’s plenty of equipment in this space—from standalone cutting systems to in-line, print-to-cut options. The trick is to find the right complement to your workflow and digital print equipment.

While vinyl may have once been the only substrate option for durable and cost-effective large format print jobs, today, it’s just one of many.

Certainly, it’s important to explore the sexy new realm of substrates. Introducing your customers to new media options—like fabrics, textiles, and the latest in coated and uncoated papers—is an essential strategy for print suppliers hoping to expand their market reach. But don’t count vinyl out; it will continue to be a staple for years to come.

Don’t miss the next issue of Digital Queue, featuring an in-depth look at vinyl media and vinyl cutting solutions for large format graphics.

Apr2007, Digital Output
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