Sign & Digital Graphics

April '19

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38 • April 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS W ith the breakthrough tech- nology of today's digital dye- sublimation printers and the plethora of printable fabrics as well as robust inks available, now is the perfect time for shops looking to either enter or expand in the soft signage market. In this article, SDG examines the soft signage market's outlook and opportu- nities as well as equipment and applica- tions, plus the economics of adding or expanding the service to an existing sign business. B Y B I L L S C H I F F N E R Bill Schiffner is a free- lance writer/editor based in Holbrook, New York. He has covered the imaging industry for 29 years and has reported on many evolving digital imaging technologies including wide- format printing and newer electronic digital signage. He was the editor for a number of imaging publications and websites. He can be reached at Above the Fold One of the major appeals of soft sig- nage is the natural drape of the fabric, which has been used for centuries in design and interiors. Fabric has an overall softer look and feel, and it can be effort- lessly draped around curves. Digitally printed soft signage has changed the landscape of the trade show exhibit seg- ment because it is very lightweight, easy to install and costs less to ship, plus can be folded or rolled without being dam- aged. It's also important to note that soft signage materials are also finding their way into other short-term events, including festivals and temporary retail promotions. Fabric LED backlit displays are also increasing in popularity, with almost translucent-looking fabrics, allowing for eye-catching advertisements and brand signs designed to generate consumer awareness. Backlit soft signage can be very dramatic or used to create a soft lighting effect. In addition, outdoor flags and fabric banners have become popular ways to attract consumers' attention to retail and events. Silicon Edge Graphics Lead the Charge Randy Anderson, product manager, Dye-Sublimation and Textile line of ValueJet printers at Mutoh America Inc., Phoenix, Arizona, says right now there are two major trends in the soft signage market, depending on how you break it down: silicon edge graphics ( SEG) and banner replacements. "SEGs, both in non-lit and backlit, are perhaps the highest-margin products pro- Roland DGA's Lily Hunter says some of the more popular applications include banners for exhibits/displays, flags, backlit, backdrops and silicone edge graphics (SEGs). (Image courtesy of Roland DGA) There's no better time than now to jump on the flexible fabric bandwagon

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