Adding New Layers to Displays
When you hear the word “display,” what immediately comes to mind is flat, two-dimensional signage. This has been traditionally what has been meant by “displays” — as in “POP displays.” In many ways, it’s synonymous with “signage.” While that wasn’t always the case, something more elaborate was usually the exception, rather than the rule. However, that is changing.
“We are seeing increased interest in adding dimension to what used to be typical 2D signage,” says Tom Trutna, President and Owner of BIG INK, a visual communications company that creates branded solutions for events, exhibits and commercial environments for Fortune 1,000 companies nationwide. “Simply adding layers of PVC, printing to textured material and adding dimensional foam elements are ways customers are enhancing their pieces to get more attention.”
The more elaborate and complicated the display, the greater the need for communication among all the players in a project, from designers, to printers, to installers. Does the display fit the space in which it is going to be installed? Are the various pieces of the display being produced by different providers, leaving it up to the installer to hope that everything fits together as designed? How much engineering expertise is required to ensure the display is structurally sound and is not a safety risk? 3D displays add a dimension in more than one sense of the term.
Dimension can be added to displays in a number of different ways. A simple method is to print on textured substrates, or to add texture and dimension by ink layering. Many UV flatbed printers can layer ink to add a variety of 3D effects, from simulating the thick strokes of an oil painting to more practical applications like adding Braille lettering. Canon Solutions America (Booths 2435 and 2525), for example, is showing how its Arizona series of UV flatbeds can be used for these kinds of applications.
Another option is to use magnetic media. Graphics printed on magnetic substrates can be layered, to create displays that are visually appealing, as well as easy to install and swap out. Visual Magnetics’ (Booth 3127) MagnaMedia can be creatively layered to create highly modular designs. MagnaMedia also comprise an expanding collection of surfaces, such as chalkboard, dry-erase and other textures and effects. Visual Magnetics also offers magnetic 3D objects — such as magnetic shelving — can be applied to a magnetically receptive surface. Magnum Magnetics (Booth 2723) also offers a wide range of magnetic substrates that are compatible with virtually every kind of printing technology. Mohawk (Booth 1026) also offers a line of magnetic media.
Another up and coming way of adding dimension to a display is 3D printing. Mimaki (Booths 1231 and 1345) is demonstrating a prototype of its 3DUJ-P color 3D printer, slated to be officially launched late this year. And one company actively promoting the use of 3D printing for POP and other kinds of displays is Massivit (Booth 2279). The Massivit 1800 is based on the company’s additive Gel Dispensing Printing (GDP) technology, and can print objects up to five feet nine inches tall, four feet nine inches wide and three feet nine inches deep, at a speed of about 14 inches an hour.
Designers, printers and installers should be conversant in all these methods to ensure they have a full range of solutions to help meet customers’ changing needs.