By Olivia Cahoon
Clients seeking a creative twist for display and point of purchase (POP) applications turn to dry erase and chalkboard media. Boutique shops, retailers, and educational environments request this media to present visually appealing displays that offer helpful services to an establishment.
The popularity of these specialty substrates has risen due to ease of installation and customizable features. However, print service providers (PSPs) considering material should be aware of its printability due to its versatile components.
Dry Erase and Chalkboard
Dry erase and chalkboard media is used in a variety of settings including homes and learning environments, corporate board rooms, offices, hospitals, restaurants, and retail. Applications include décor, message boards, creative centers, wall art, and calendars.
Nate Goodman, product manager, Drytac Corporation, says dry erase and chalkboard media is found wherever ideas, concepts, or brainstorming sessions need to be recorded. This includes hospitals where patient information is displayed and restaurants for menu boards, drink lists, or pricing boards.
Elizabeth Ziegler, technical service specialist, 3M Commercial Solutions, explains that whiteboard products are applied to many types of smooth, flat applications including wood, gypsum with skim coat and sealer, metals, glass, and plastics. “The actual surface to which the whiteboard product is applied may be a bare application surface or a finish of an application surface such as paint, varnish, or laminate.”
The top layer of whiteboard products is different from traditional vinyl and films because of its formulation. Whiteboard has a top surface finish that is writable and erasable. Most dry erase films are polypropylene and used for shorter term applications unless paired with a hard coat.
Drytac features WipeOut dry erase PET overlaminate that includes a hard coat. It is chemical and scratch resistant and includes a gloss finish. Because of its durability, WipeOut is best used in schools, hospitals, offices, and board rooms.
On the other hand, chalkboard media is a black textured vinyl that differs from traditional printable vinyl in color and texture to create a chalkboard finish, explains Goodman. Traditional vinyl also tends to be used for outdoor applications and isn’t capable of being written on with chalk or dry erase markers.
Drytac’s ReTac ChalkMate chalkboard film is intended for retail, daycare facilities, restaurants, and delis. The media is die cut for custom shapes.
Joann Dupre, technical service representative, FLEXcon, sees this type of specialty media used in environments from trade show graphics to do-it-yourself (DIY) applications. She explains, “because the media is fun and provides an interactive and functional element, it’s ideal for educational settings, business environments, and DIY, and can also be used as a portable communications tool.” Both dry erase and chalkboard media is designed for indoor use and short-term outdoor use.
Recently, dry erase and chalkboard media is popular amongst end users seeking customization. Goodman explains, “the ability to custom print on the media adds to its desirability. Additionally, greater capabilities of the media and the versatility of adhesives allow for many applications that were not possible before.”
Whiteboard products are fast and flexible to apply, suitable for office spaces, open spaces, schools, healthcare, and other interior environments. Ziegler believes, “businesses and educational organizations are moving toward more holistic and collaborative environments.” The media adds personalization but also efficiency.
“It is adaptable to the changing trends and collaborative environments happening around us. Whiteboard solutions enable easy interaction and sharing of information,” adds Ziegler.
Because the media is fun, interactive, and conveys a personal message, Dupre says that it fits the trends of local, social, and mobile communication. “Think about the places that we frequent as customers and how we are drawn in by a daily special, a motivational quote, or some other product or service that businesses from small to large may highlight,” she says.
Stepping aside from traditional dry erase and chalkboard media, modern modifications implemented into the media keep it popular and trending. Griff Paper and Film Inc. offers colors and holographic materials in standard and custom sizes. Its dry erase media, Griff-Erase, and chalkboard media, Griff-Chalk, is made with a flexible vinyl-based material available as permanent, removable, and magnetic. “We find the Griff-Erase and Griff-Chalk has become popular by giving our customers the freedom to be creative with an easy peel-and-stick product line that goes beyond the standard black and white,” says Alex Phinn, director, Griff Paper and Film. He adds that the Griff-Chalk is popular in green in contrast to standard black.
Chalkboard and dry erase media is currently trending for its DIY usage. Pinterest, a social media website dedicated to visual bookmarking for discovery and creative ideas, includes many postings optimizing the media. Dupre sees the media’s usage trending amongst Pinterest audiences for applications like party favors, home décor, dorm décor, and other applications including organizational and lean management.
Phinn agrees and says that as a colorful application, the media is commonly applied to a child’s bedroom to use as a reminder for responsibilities at home and school.
Most whiteboard products meet U.S. building regulations for flammability resistance and are compatible with standard dry erase markers and erasers—making it a fun but safe option.
Adding New Media
Prior to offering this media, PSPs should be aware that most dry erase products are not directly printable, but are overlaminates paired with printable media. “In combining an overlaminate and media, PSPs can print an image on their preferred media and then laminate it, transforming it into a complete dry erase solution,” explains Goodman.
3M DI-NOC Whiteboard Finish WH-111 is a polyester film with architectural finish. The media is not printable but may be applied on steel to become a magnetic surface. The material comes on the roll in the final state. Ziegler says, “it is easy to apply due to the 3M Comply Adhesive Technology and can be applied to a variety of surfaces.” DI-NOC Whiteboard Finish WH-111 is best applied to a flat, nonporous, smooth surface and is intended for interior use only.
To print on chalkboard products, printers require white ink capabilities. This is to ensure ink is not lost against the black finish. Dupre adds that printing white before colors gives the graphic an improved visual presentation.
Installation of the media often requires squeegees on a clean, smooth surface. Media may also be adhered with a felt pad by hand. Installation is generally simple and should be based on the intended final location. Dupre suggests thicker dry erase overlaminate to provide easier installation.
She adds that chalkboard products should be as close as possible to room temperature 24 hours before printing. She advises PSPs consider the color of the media, as it can vary from black to grey, and to investigate its adhesive system—removable or permanent.
FLEXcon features WALLdeco Chalkboard 6787BK black vinyl that includes a removable adhesive. It is the same color as traditional chalkboards and wipes clean with a dry eraser or soft, lint-free cloth. The media is refreshed with damp water periodically as needed. It is printable on UV inkjet and conventional print methods. Its colors and adhesives are customizable.
FLEXcon also offers overlaminate polypropylene vinyl MARKwrite OPV 500 F white and white opaque. It is a dry erase media recommended with cold lamination. The media is a permanent adhesive available with roll or sheet form liner.
Goodman warns that end users should understand the proper usage of these products, such as proper writing utensils and cleaning supplies to avoid, to get the maximum lifespan and best results.
Melissa Freed, corporate brand director, Nekoosa, cautions that media used with metallized PVC must be used with a PVC profile. Nekoosa’s division, RTape Corp., offers EZ Erase, a 3-mil metallized PVC film coated with removable PSA adhesive. It is recommended for restaurant menu boards, to-do lists, promotional displays, and short-term whiteboards. ChalkTalk is a 6-mil non-vinyl substrate coated with removable PSA adhesive.
Durability, versatility, and ease of cleaning should be considered. “End users look for solutions that last longer with heavy use while maintaining their ability to erase cleanly. Products that are easy to wipe off and that do not leave a mess are ideal,” explains Goodman.
Founded in 1905, St. Catherine University is home to nearly 5,000 students in St. Paul, MN. It is an accredited institution through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The mission of the university is to provide a clear framework for institutional planning and decision making, and to serve as a guiding compass during times of opportunity, challenge, or uncertainty.
St. Catherine University offers an interior design program that suits smart, creative, and critical thinkers. The program offers a BS/BA degree in interior design to students interested in making environments healthier, more serene, productive, and aesthetically pleasing.
Located in the school’s design center, St. Catherine University implemented 3M DI-NOC Whiteboard Finish WH-111 in 2012 on walls and glass surfaces. The school chose a whiteboard solution to optimize space during classes and lectures.
DI-NOC’s whiteboard surface allows notes to be taken directly on glass and walls. Classroom brainstorming is instantly recorded on the surface by the instructor or student using a dry erase marker. For creative environments like interior design, whiteboard solutions allow students to break free of modern notetaking.
DI-NOC is a writable and erasable polyester film. Intended for interior use only, it’s best applied to flat, smooth surfaces like walls or glass. The whiteboard film meets U.S. building regulations for flammability resistance and is compatible with standard dry erase markers and erasers.
Justin Wilwerding, program director, interior design, St. Catherine University, says the school hoped to provide as much whiteboard surface as possible for students to collaborate. “We wanted to have a whiteboard surface from the baseboard up to six feet above the finished floor,” he explains.
The interior design studios are 25×40 feet. Two of the 25-foot long surfaces and one of the 40-foot surfaces are completely covered in DI-NOC. “What’s unique about our space is that we have three sizable areas of rotating wall surfaces,” says Wilwerding.
The rotating walls’ surfaces are 8×12 feet with a pivot in the center for mobility. Each side of the wall is coated with DI-NOC for double-sided writing. Wilwerding adds, “we literally turn the walls around and have more whiteboard space.”
With an architectural finish, DI-NOC resembles natural materials. Combined with 3M Comply Adhesive Technology, DI-NOC eliminates bubbles for a simplified application. Its pressure-sensitive bonds apply to several surfaces.
Wilwerding says the school is satisfied with 3M’s whiteboard solutions. He credits the media’s durability as its strongest feature. “The first year we had it, the academic year ended. I decided to leave all the writing and drawing on the board during summer break. When I came back in the fall and erased it, the markings were completely gone—no ghosting or anything.”
DI-NOC architectural finishes are available in over 500 designs. It is a lightweight product developed with the intention to create an entirely new look. It’s commonly used for walls, fixtures, elevators, doors, table tops, and partitions.
Dry erase and chalkboard media’s usefulness and easy installation keeps it popular in the display and POP space. A variety of applications are possible including menu lists, art, and message boards in educational, healthcare, and retail settings. As manufacturers advance dry erase and chalkboard media to provide customization and new colors, its popularity continues to trend.
Apr2017, Digital Output