By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Floor graphics are often created for events, promotional purposes, retail, and trade shows. Media is usually determined based on the graphic’s purpose and usage. Floor graphics are used for short or long term, indoors or outdoors. Part two of this series features a print shop that carefully considers its clients’ needs when choosing floor graphic media.
Founded in 1991, Beautiful Displays is a local communication and media arts company in Carbondale, IL. The shop offers fabric graphic displays, grand format printing, portable displays, banner stands, floor products, and printed accessories. It started with two employees and offered graphic design, large format printing, and portable exhibit products. Today over 20 employees serve clients nationwide from a 20,000 square foot workspace.
The shop focuses on grand format printing and operates several grand format fabric printers. “We produce grand format graphics for nearly any application including exhibits, events, retail, and institutions. We print all kinds of graphics used on floors, walls, windows, displays, and exhibits,” says Todd Freeman, president, Beautiful Displays.
For over 15 years, the print service provider (PSP) has produced floor graphics. “We chose to make floor graphics because they are the ideal complement to other types of graphic communication products, whether for trade shows and events, or for retail and other promotional purposes,” explains Freeman.
The PSP uses a range of media for floor graphic applications. For short-term projects Continental Grafix USA Inc.’s panoRama Walk&Wall is preferred. Freeman says it saves on lamination and provides an excellent non-slip surface with a crisp graphic print.
For traditional laminated adhesive floor graphics, General Formulations Concept series of vinyl and laminates is used.
Most of the shop’s floor graphic printing is completed on non-adhesive materials, including Better Life Technology, LLC’s G-Floor Graphic. “It is ideal because the print is made on the second surface of the material and is therefore never exposed directly to foot traffic,” explains Freeman. G-Floor Graphic is used for permanent installations, portable trade show and event flooring, and floor mat applications.
For dye-sublimation (dye-sub) flooring, Beautiful Displays uses Fisher Textiles’ GF 2000 Rebound, a polyester needle-punch felt top with a non-skid rubber backing. It is mostly used for temporary and portable flooring applications like trade shows and special events.
According to Freeman, “floor graphics are an affordable way to attract attention, add visual excitement, and provide strong reinforcement of branding and other messages. Large floor graphic installations kick any environment up a notch and create more interesting spaces to engage audiences.”
Despite the benefits, the print shop still experiences challenges during floor graphic production. These range from proper material choices to installation troubles. For example, Freeman believes dye-sub flooring materials are dimensionally inconsistent during the printing process, making them difficult for large floors with intricate tiling and seaming requirements.
San Francisco Flooring
swissnex San Francisco of CA approached the PSP for a large custom printed floor graphic for its Everyone a Humanitarian event series—a two month long event that turns the swissnex gallery into a humanitarian hub for technologists, creatives, diplomates, entrepreneurs, and innovators to explore new forms of humanitarian action.
Beautiful Displays printed floor graphics using transfer dye-sub on Fisher Textiles’ GF 2000 Rebound flooring. “This material was chosen for its soft feel and texture,” says Freeman. The original artwork was designed by Manuel Herz, Swiss architect and designer.
A Mimaki USA, Inc. JV34-260 printer and Beaver Paper & Graphic Media, Inc. were used. Eight individual 8×32-inch material strips were printed, totaling 1,536 square feet of media. The graphic was hand cut and heat pressed using Practix Manufacturing LLC’s OK-12 digital dye-sub rotary transfer machine. It was then installed on concrete using double-stick carpet tape.
The project was printed and delivered within two weeks of receiving the artwork. According to Freeman, the only challenge was in regards to dye-sub. “Because the dye-sub printing process involves high heat and intense pressure, this type of material tends to change dimension during the printing process.”
Freeman believes the floor graphic industry is evolving. “We see more requests for larger floor projects that involve tiling, accurate seaming, and more complex installations,” he explains. To meet client demands, PSPs offer floor graphic applications using different materials and installation methods for every scenario.
June2017, Digital Output