Sign & Digital Graphics

September '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • September 2019 • 25 "This process is becoming more popular as inks are becoming more UV resistant," Zola says. "Using a digital printer, this technique prints a graphic directly onto the awning fabric. The printed design can be bonded to the fabric using heat." A plotter is used to cut out the graphic elements, which are heat transferred onto the awning material using a 7-foot by 17-foot heat transfer oven, Yopp says. The graphics, when done properly, can last up to five years, he says. "From a longevity standpoint, cast pressure-sensitive vinyl film is about the best option," Douglas says. "Some fab- rics are digitally printable. This allows multicolor graphics, but you won't get the longevity from them that you would from a film." There are several other methods to apply graphics and signage to awning fabrics. The graphics can be hand painted directly onto the fabric, appliquéd with the design separately created and then adhered, and eradicated, a process often used for back-lit awnings. "In this method, a solvent is used to remove the top coated surface color of a PVC fabric and a design can be created," Zola says. "This is an economical way to apply a graphic design to an awning. However, this method can't be used on most awning fabrics, and costs can go up easily due to the special types of white vinyl substrates the process requires." The pressure-sensitive graphics method is used for that type of graphic, where a computer-generated design is mapped onto a pressure-sensitive vinyl film, Zola says. The excess vinyl material is removed to leave only the graphic, and the design is stabilized using a masking compound, he says. "Next, the design is adhered to the awning using both an adhesive and pres- sure which allows for a tight bond," Zola says. "The more pressure applied, the better the bond." Once installed, awnings end up being an inexpensive addition to a building, Yopp says. "They enhance the overall appearance of the building. They give it dimensional shapes," Yopp says. "Rather than building onto a building, they can do so through the use of an awning." Adding an awning mostly pres- ents benefits with few drawbacks, Von Wachenfeldt says. "Benefits definitely include brand recognition and creating a stronger cor- porate identity, as well as extending the theme or décor of an establishment to the outdoors," Von Wachenfeldt says. "If there are any drawbacks, it just might be that in some cases, the fabric itself may outlast the printed image even with UV protection." SDG Awnings dress up and add elegance to an otherwise plain storefront.

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