By Cassandra Balentine
Part 2 of 2
Wall graphics easily and cost effectively refresh indoor and outdoor surfaces. Depending on the media type, they serve temporary to semi-permanent graphics needs. In part one of this series, we discussed installation tips and tricks for both pressure-sensitive, adhesive-backed media and commercial grade offerings that adhere to surfaces with paste. To conclude the series, ink and color profiling considerations are examined.
In terms of ink compatibility, it is important to follow media compatibility requirements. Wallcovering media options are available for every type of digital ink process, but proper procedures must be followed to ensure the best results.
Arlon Graphics, LLC offers pressure-sensitive, adhesive wall film for interior and exterior wallcoverings. Kelly Kwo, technical service manager, Arlon, suggests for optimum bond strength, all eco-solvent and solvent-based printed vinyl require 18 to 24 hours of outgassing for the solvent to evaporate prior to overlaminate film. Longer dry time may be required for a higher saturated image.
Nate Goodman, product manager, Drytac Corporation, notes that its ReTac Wall offering is versatile in that it can be printed with solvent/eco-solvent, UV-cure, or latex technology. “When used with solvent/eco-solvent inks, an unprinted border should be left around the image to prevent the adhesive bond from being weakened around the edges of the graphic due to outgassing of ink,” he cautions.
Dean Strohmenger, product support supervisor, ORAFOL Americas, also stresses the importance of properly outgassing graphics prior to installation. “ORAFOL recommends allowing prints to sit on a loosely wound core for a minimum of 24 hours. Lack of proper outgassing can cause edge curling if trimming the graphic early as solvents will migrate around the edge of the print and break down the adhesive on the edges. Laminating early traps the solvents under the laminate, causing them to migrate down through the vinyl and into the adhesive, which can lead to adhesive failure,” he warns.
Jaimie Mask, product manager, LexJet Corporation, notes that when it comes to its wallcovering media—even with the textured LexJet WallPro SUV by York—there are no ink nuances because the material is designed so that the texture does not distract from the quality of the image, nor does it require any special ink limitations with solvent, low-solvent, latex, and UV-curable printers.
Al Bobst, digital market segment manager, Monadnock Paper Mills, Inc., says the company’s Envi Wallgraphics are formulated for latex and UV wide format inkjet printing.
Jim Tufts, business unit manager, Perception Wide Format Media, shares its wallcovering material handles large volumes of ink, so it is essential that enough time is given to dry prior to application. He notes that the material allows for printing out to the edge without performance issues.
“If the wallcovering media is high quality, there isn’t much to worry about with regards to ink nuances,” recommends E. Tyler Reich, director of product development, Qué Media, Inc. The company developed a wallcovering for each ink type, including UV, latex, aqueous, and eco-solvent.
Proper profiling is essential for achieving correct color on any type of media. Wall graphic options are no exception.
David Timmerman, technical services representative, Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions, recommends print providers test print a swatch of film to confirm color and ink output. Avery Dennsion’s ICC profiles are available in almost all printer and ink combinations. Additionally, the company offers a color matching service that can match and create a sample of almost any color.
Strohmenger says ORAFOL offers free printing profiles on orafolamericas.com. “These profiles are custom written for each product to provide optimal print quality and ensure the integrity of the vinyl is not compromised by the printing process. Each profile calibrates and regulates the ink levels, media feed speed, and heater settings for the printing process and ensures a consistent, high-quality print every time.”
Walter Gierlach Jr., president, Photo Tex Group, Inc., notes that since the color profile is based on the print provider’s version of inks, RIPs, and printers, it is best to check its Web site, or the distributors, for proper profiles.
“On water-based systems, the use of black ink instead of matte black ink improves durability and prevents ink from smudging,” says Tina Forbes, graphic design and color management, Coveris Advanced Coatings. “Utilizing the correct color profile will ensure the highest quality results.”
LexJet’s Mask says color management shouldn’t be any different from other inkjet media. “Either create a custom profile with an in-house color management system or use the ICC profiles LexJet provides for the materials.”
Tufts notes that Perception’s coated wall graphics fabric allows for easy profiling, as its surface has an even, bright white surface.
Reich notes that profiling for wallcovering media is straightforward. “There is some RIP software that compensates for fluorescent lighting. This might be helpful to keep accurate color representation in an office setting.”
Lily Hunter, product manager, textiles and consumables, Roland DGA Corporation, says the company’s offerings and other types of wallcoverings are treated like any other type of media. “When using canvas, however, make sure the media has a topcoat that’s receptive to eco-solvent inks. Also, whatever type of wallcovering you may be using, it is important to have the correct color profile for printing so you can achieve the desired colors and prevent oversaturation of the media.”
As with all graphics, digital print providers consider ink and color essential elements of any job. When it comes to wallcoverings, the same rules apply. Consider material type and intended wall surface prior to finalizing a job. If feasible, run a test print and apply a portion to the wall to ensure the desired effect. When in doubt, manufacturers and distributors are always happy answer any questions—whether via live help, tutorials, or downloadable instructions.
Nov2014, Digital Output DOWL1411