By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Primarily used indoors, digitally printed wallcoverings not only visually enhance areas but are also used for brand awareness and informational postings. Locations include educational settings and the home to retail and restaurants.
Signs & More, Inc.
Located in Cartersville, GA, Signs & More, Inc. was established in 2007 with three employees and offered a variety of banners, promotional products, signs, and vehicle wraps. The shop began in a strip mall with 2,100 square feet and served Bartow County and neighboring counties.
Signs & More now operates in a 4,300 square foot workspace in an industrial area with ten employees and two interns. The shop handles projects across GA and into neighboring states. “We have always stated that we make anything that is not an 8.5×11-inch piece of paper. To me, this means any kind of signs, banners, or vehicle graphics,” says Bill Swanson, CEO, Signs & More.
Its current offerings include designing and printing three dimensional signs, full-color banners, wall graphics, wraps, and light box signs. Five years ago, the shop started printing wallcoverings. “It seemed a natural addition to our vehicle wraps—designing, printing, and installing are similar,” admits Swanson. Five to ten percent of Signs & More’s volume is wallcoverings from cut vinyl to printed wallpaper.
Different materials are used for different applications. For wallpaper, the shop uses Photo Tex Group, Inc.’s Photo Tex OPA, an opaque adhesive fabric media with no laminate. For jobs applied on concrete blocks, 3M Commercial Solutions 3M Envision Print Wrap Film LX480Cv3 with 3M Scotchcal Matte Overlaminate 8520 is preferred.
Over a year ago, Signs & More purchased an HP, Inc. HP Latex 360 printer. “We like the durability of the ink on the substrate, the quick drying, and the look of the finished product,” explains Swanson.
According to Swanson, the biggest challenge in wallcoverings is convincing customers of their merits. He says the shop shows customers examples of completed projects to help overcome hesitation.
Swanson believes that digitally printed wallcoverings are slowly becoming more popular. “Just as vehicle wraps took a while to catch on and gain universal acceptance, wallcoverings are moving in that direction. These things don’t typically take off overnight,” he suggests.
Wraps for the Kids
In 2016, repeat customer Frey Elementary school, approached Signs & More for its first wall graphics project. The client wanted the shop to place graphics on concrete block walls to update previously painted wall graphics and introduce a new learning mantra to incoming students for the new school year.
Because all the graphics were going onto concrete, 3M Envision Print Wrap Film LX480Cv3 with 3M Scotchcal Matte Overlaminate 8520 was used and printed on its HP Latex 360. Two larger wallcoverings at about 80 square feet each were completed. 15 smaller pieces were also created and contour cut using a Roland DGA Corporation VersaCAMM VP-540 printer/cutter. In one month, the shop printed 300 square feet of graphics.
Installation included soft squeegeeing the material onto the rough concrete block wall followed by heat and a soft foam roller. “Since the staff and teachers had never seen a process like this before, we had a large audience watching the installation of the main graphic,” says Swanson.
He believes one of the largest benefits of digitally printed wallcoverings compared to normal wall paintings is that the edges of the vinyl stay sharp. Paint can sometimes run into the crevices of the block leaving the image without a crisp edge.
After the project was completed, the elementary school was very impressed with the graphics quality and how it adhered to the concrete blocks. “We always enjoy working with schools. Showing the staff and teachers how much nicer the vinyl graphics are compared to painting was very gratifying,” adds Swanson.
Clients like Frey Elementary are ideal candidates for digitally printed wallcoverings. Short-term messaging means high turnover and repeat business. Using trusted media and hardware like Signs & More did for this particular job ensures a polished finished product anyone can be proud of.
Sep2017, Digital Output