Graphic Printing

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Over the last 15 years or so, graphic printing options for designers and advertisers have increased dramatically. Many of these advancements are the direct result of the development of new kinds of vinyl and vinyl adhesives. But the development of better and larger printers, inks, and computer technology has no doubt played an equally important role, though.

In the past, vinyl decals and images were seen as a quick and easy alternative to hand painted graphics. For the most part, they vinyl graphics were more durable, less time-consuming to install, and easier to remove when the time came. But the technology used in the adhesives and printing was still in its infancy, which often necessitated the use of dangerous chemicals or equipment, such as power torches of heat guns.

Advancements in Graphic Printing

Graphic printing and materials has advanced far past that, though. Many sign shops now own and operate high-tech computer aided vinyl printing machines that can apply photo-realistic output to the surface of multiple types of vinyl. The solvent inks that are often used can withstand harsh weather and sunlight, and resist fading for a number of years, depending on the climate.

The vinyl itself has also advanced. Self-adhesive vinyl, which saves graphic printing and sign shops hours of labor, is now the norm. Moreover, many companies that produce vinyl are continuously developing new technology, such as pressure-sensitive self-adhesive vinyl, which will only affix to a surface is firmly applied.

These new developments in vinyl technology and graphic printing allow non-professionals the freedom to work with custom graphic printing and vinyl decals as professionals would. Many businesses have sprung up as a result of the increased demand for vinyl automotive graphics, for instance. Many decals and FX shops now offer sales over the Internet, as installation no longer requires professional services.

Commercial Applications for Graphic Printing Technology

The new kinds of vinyl have also given rise to a number of new advertising trends. One prime example is the recent trend to cover vehicles in full-color advertisements known as vehicle wrapping. Vehicle wrapping consists of carefully laying thin sheets of photo-printed vinyl over the surface of a vehicle to create a seamless visual image.

Vehicle wrapping combines the strengths of billboard graphic printing and advertising with the functionality of mobile promotion teams. In many cases, companies will use wrapped vehicles to attract attention to special events and promotions, similar to how vinyl banners may have been used in the last century. Now, however, the banner is a functional part of the promotion team, cruising the city increasing brand awareness and distributing coupons, samples, or other merchandise.

Window graphics is another recently invented vinyl technology that is often integrated into vehicle wraps. It uses vinyl that is regularly perforated and printed on one side to create graphics that are only visible from the exterior of the car. From the interior, the holes in the vinyl allow the human eye to create a seamless representation of the cars surroundings, giving privacy while allowing the driver a clear view of the outside.

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