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A Guide to Graphics Installation

(August 2011) posted on Tue Aug 23, 2011

You can make it fast or make it right. Continue reading to find out how to optimize your graphics for appeal and application.


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By Paul Roba

What is the desired gloss level or finish? The finish of the graphic is usually dictated by the gloss of the overlaminate being used. Media manufacturers offer a variety of choices. The finishes range from very glossy to a semi gloss or luster finish to a matte look. The gloss level of the laminate can have a significant impact on your final graphic. Gloss laminates bring out the vibrancy of the colors in a graphic while matte laminates cause the colors to be muted. Matte laminates also significantly reduce glare. The satin and luster laminates are somewhere in the middle. They provide a nice sheen to a graphic but help reduce glare from overhead lighting.

What are the budget guidelines? Budget can play a significant role in choosing the best material. However, keep in mind that quality shouldn’t be sacrificed for price. For example, if a customer’s budget is not enough for a full vehicle wrap using premium cast films, switching to a less expensive calendered film may not be the best solution. It may make more sense to show the customer alternatives such as a partial wrap. This way they can still use a premium product with a longer life and have high-impact graphics.



To what surface are the graphics being applied? This question is very important because the adhesion of the vinyl and adhesive being used for a graphic will vary with each substrate. It is important to check the data sheet or check with the product manufacturer to ensure that what you want to use will adhere as expected. There are some surfaces that manufacturers simply do not recommend for vinyl application. These include tin, copper, unpainted fiberboard, and unpainted wood. Other surfaces may require special preparation, such as galvanized steel, stainless steel, aluminum, polycarbonate, etc. Be sure to check the media manufacturer’s instructions for guidance.


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