By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Clients request framing systems to display finished graphics in a protective casing. Framing systems generate more profit for print service providers (PSPs) and serve a variety of industries from retail to fine art. They are designed to quickly switch out graphics while offering a variety of shapes, finishes, and sizes.
“Fast change framing systems offer not only a quick and easy assembly and install, but also provide the end user a fast graphic change by simply flipping out the frame, inserting the graphic, and re-closing all four rails,” says Darius Augustine, president, Alpina Manufacturing LLC. Fast change banner systems and newer silicone edge graphic (SEG) frames offer ease of assembly.
In addition to easy installation, framing systems also keep media safe from handling. “First and foremost, framing systems are enclosures, therefore offering protection to the sign,” explains Charlie Kelly Jr., president, Clarke Systems. Some systems feature a discrete locking function that allows simplified media changes while impenetrable to vandalism. According to Kelly, this offers a highly valuable interior signage situation for high-traffic areas.
Framing systems are available in a number of mounting options that provide a wider range of uses for displaying frames in untraditional settings. Kelly says mounting options include wall mounted, suspended, and desk or countertop frames.
A range of substrates and media are also compatible with framing systems. “Every supple and flexible media is a good candidate,” says Michael Cormon, founder, Tensioning Solutions Inc. These include vinyl, mesh vinyl, polyester, fabric, canvas, poplin, and Tyvek.
Environments and Industries
Framing systems are utilized in environments or industries where printed graphics need to be displayed. This includes banks, corporate buildings, mass transit, parking structures, restaurants, theaters, and vehicles. Frames can be assembled for a onetime event, reused for multiple purposes, or fixed in place as a permanent display.
According to Augustine, framing systems are commonly used in traditional retail stores, malls, grocery, and convenience stores. He believes banner systems are ideal for outdoor advertising, either on buildings or billboards.
“Framing systems are great for attaching graphics to buildings, walls, and trucks,” agrees Bret Mileski, founder and patent holder, Ackland Media Frames. Additionally, industries like schools, stadiums, casinos, malls, airports, and race tracks are proven to be great venues for framing systems.
In trucking, Mileski says framing systems are especially useful. “Trucks and trailers are a fast-growing industry for framing systems because of the low cost of changeable media compared to traditional PSV wraps.”
Framing Systems Modernize
In recent years, framing systems evolved to grant PSPs more ease with added features. Traditional framing systems were once offered in fixed dimensions with little to no availability in color and finishing.
Lisa Scarafoni, Midwest territory sales representative, Global Imaging, says systems have advanced at an incredible speed over the last five years. “They used to be exclusively a rectangle with a channel to fit a SEG inside it,” she explains. Now, framing systems are produced in various shapes and sizes including a large variety of lighting options like programmable RGB lights. “The potential is limited only by the extent of someone’s creativity.”
Cormon believes today’s stretched banner frames are the logical evolution from hems, grommets, sewing, cables, and springs. Stretched banners offer a professional look that many companies seek. “With the competitiveness of the sign market, the company image perception is more and more crucial, and banners are a component of the global image,” he explains.
New framing systems snap shut around the graphic to hold it in place. Christian Bahnweg, marketing copywriter, Tex Visions, says this is much easier than trying to slide it and risk damage. He offers, “many newer framing systems also include a protective sheet as part of the stock product, something that may not have even been included with older systems.”
Before using a framing system, consider several factors like sizing and added features. To select the best solution, PSPs should determine where and how the frame needs to function.
Bahnweg suggests PSPs consider the frame’s intended location and graphic sizes. If clients don’t have enough wall space to hang the frame, they may need to find something to attach it to or consider a standalone frame. “Most framing systems are designed with set standard sizes and cannot be custom made,” he admits.
Other considerations include panel changing needs, portability, and whether it’s temporary or permanent. “One of the biggest challenges our customers face is finding the right frame to adhere to local permit codes,” shares Rebecca Klco, sales manager, 4Ever Products.
According to Klco, some locations have rules regarding sign face area, total height above grade, or how deep posts need to be installed into the ground. The codes vary depending on location but it’s important that PSPs know what codes apply before purchasing a frame.
While framing systems are a classic finish for a polished display, a constant influx of trends keep these systems modern and appealing.
According to Connie Macias, sales manager, DSA Phototech, fabric light boxes are increasingly popular due to their ability to handle large format sizes while retaining a lighter weight than snap frame designs. “Illuminated framing systems such as light boxes are now primarily used with LED lighting instead of fluorescent because of the longevity and energy efficiency of LED technology,” she says.
Dye-sublimation (dye-sub) is a popular printing method for media used in frames. Macias believes dye-sub printed fabric is usually rich in color saturation for eye-catching graphics and features minimal light reflection—ideal for interior applications.
In Europe, Scarafoni says superior Mandrel benders bend the extrusions to create rounded frames. This gives framing systems a fresh new look.
Additionally, Cliff Stevens, managing director, Joseph Struhl Company, Inc., says black framing systems are in high demand because they work with any graphic and act like a holding line, so the graphic stands out in any location. He offers, “black frames with radius corners add a clean look and dimension to any sign panel.”
A variety of industries rely on framing systems for a professional look used for one-time events or as a permanent display solution. It’s important to determine where the framing system will be used and how it needs to function before selecting a solution.
Mar2018, Digital Output