By Melissa Donovan
In recent years, media manufacturers have created materials suited for window graphics that give the illusion of not being there at all. The graphics are so good in fact, it may leave the viewer to wonder if they are painted or printed on the window. Decorative by nature, they can also serve functional purpose.
Retail to décor—home and commercial—are ideal environments for window graphics. Offices in particular benefit from the opportunity. Despite the growing trend of open concept, work environments do still call for some enclosed spaces. Glass walls are an option, and leveraging aptly applied window graphics provides just the right balance between privacy and spaciousness.
Above: Source One Digital of Norton Shores, MI created window graphics–in addition to other applications–for Unilever’s corporate campus. A majority of the window film used was Lintec’s E-2200ZC, an optically clear PET film.
Bringing It All In
Based in Norton Shores, MI, Source One Digital is part of RC Productions. RC Productions began as an advertising agency in 1981. Increased demand for large format signage arose overtime. Outsourcing was the initial option, but finding a printer to meet its high-quality standards was difficult. In 1996, RC Productions acquired Signs by Jim, and that is how Source One Digital became the company it is today.
The print service provider (PSP) operates out of a 25,000 square foot facility, which is complemented by a 10,000 square foot warehouse, production, and fulfillment base located nearby. Serving customers throughout North America, Source One Digital offers extensive grand format digital printing and finishing capabilities. It is G7 certified, with an intense focus on hitting clients’ brand colors 100 percent of the time.
“The hallmark of Source One Digital is an unwavering dedication to deliver the highest quality product. Our staff is an experienced team of digital printing specialists and preflight engineers. We utilize the latest printing technology and achieve brilliant, consistent color across all projects,” shares George Atkinson, VP of marketing and sales, Source One Digital.
Clients include retailers, design firms, and sports and event organizations. Applications range from in-store signage, floor graphics, and vehicle graphics to awards and promotional products.
Ten percent of Source One Digital’s business involves window films. Increasingly used in commercial office spaces, medical facilities, and retail, according to Atkinson, custom window films allow for a range of both decorative and privacy effects. “Custom window films offer the ability to incorporate branding into the design and provide stunning results at a fraction of the cost of custom glass, adding interest and color to glass surfaces,” he continues.
The PSP regularly works with optically clear film from Lintec of America, Inc. It is preferred for its scratch resistance, high-quality print, and true optical clarity. The scratch resistance in particular allows the product to remain in good shape during installation, use, and removal.
To print on window films, Atkinson admits achieving the painted-on look requires just the right equipment. The company spent over a year traveling and meeting with manufacturers, and testing printers until it found the correct combination to produce a high-quality, custom window graphic. It is currently using a UV roll-to-roll printer configured specifically to its custom specifications.
Atkinson agrees that open office environments are trending, meaning more glass windows and walls are incorporated into office designs. “With more glass comes the need to reduce the fishbowl effect and create distraction and privacy effects to create a more enjoyable work environment,” he explains.
With this trend, the use of optically clear polyester films is increasing. Invisible where there is no color or graphic, these films still beautifully show color and fine detail, says Atkinson. He also believes they are much easier to install than intricate cut and weeded patterns.
Corporate Campus Windows
The PSP was recently part of the printing process for all of the window and wall décor found in Unilver’s new corporate campus located in NJ. Source One Digital was chosen for the job through its client, InnerWorkings, which was the on-site partner project manager.
Custom printed window films in all shapes and sizes were created for four different office buildings. Designs included distraction bands, full privacy effects, unique etched effects, and graphics that matched interior wallcoverings. The variety was one of the most exciting parts of the entire project, according to Atkinson.
“Window films are used more as a décor item similar to custom wallpaper. Designers look for more color, transparent, translucent, and custom privacy effects. Window and glass surfaces are becoming a focal point of interior décor in many ways and are decorated just like walls with custom printed graphics,” he shares.
The majority of the window film used on this project was Lintec’s E-2200ZC. A scratch resistant, optically clear PET film, it features a UV permanent adhesive with a 2-mil thickness. It is available in 61-inch by 150-foot rolls.
In addition to the window graphics, Source One Digital also produced custom printed wallpaper, magnetic material, and standard cut vinyl.
“Source One Digital was a great partner to work with on this project, as it understands the latest techniques in window films,” says Penny Simon, production manager, InnerWorkings. Install was completed by the InnerWorkings team, which commented on the dynamic colors, high print quality, and easily installable materials.
Committing to New Trends
Source One Digital is committed to the growing window media trend. With job after job under its belt, its expertise in window films is unmatched thanks to a combination of quality media and specially configured printing devices.
May2018, Digital Output