Fri, Aug

When we remind ourselves about the early days of wide-format digital technology one thing we’ll all acknowledge is that we were pretty limited by the inks and materials available, and how well the machines of the day could handle them. If the results came out well on our chosen substrate, then we were pretty satisfied; if the end product wasn’t fit for purpose, then the ink tended to get blamed.

Wide-format digital print is all about ink and its inherent behaviour during the processes we expect it to endure. For machine manufacturers, it’s the element in their equipment that actually proves the unit is as good as it claims to be. Ink also represents the part of the printing process which tends to play a major role in carrying the responsibility for quality even though it is dependent on machinery and technology for being transferred from cartridge or bottle through to the printhead nozzles and jetted onto the material beneath.

See-through graphics offer a huge opportunity but the most commonly used materials have their drawbacks. As leading player Contra Vision points out with their technical knowledge, new developments mean it’s worth looking again.

Mention see-through graphics, or one-way vision graphics as the medium is also popularly known, and thoughts immediately turn to perforated self-adhesive materials that are printed and then subsequently applied to all manner of transparent surfaces from vehicle windows to office partitioning; architectural glazing to impressive expanses of buildings’ exteriors and retail windows. That however, far from encapsulates the medium. There are other ways of producing see-through graphics, and other materials to use. They work practically anywhere perforated media can be used, and in thousands of places, situations, and applications where they simply can’t.

Sophie Matthews-Paul unravels some of the elements used when working with colour, and stresses why we need a standard.

The application of the term ‘colour management’ in the wide-format display sector is all about control but, until the chaps from ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) step in with an overall compliance initiative, this remains each to his own. Everyone knows that the parameters surrounding accuracy of output compared with the original data are reliant on several criteria but, in this industry sector, it is still filled with confusion and queries and, to a certain extent, blame.

Sophie Matthews-Paul speculates on the next year in wide-format production and technical knowledge.

As we venture into 2011, having experienced relatively few changes to the wide-format world of technology in the past twelve months, it is probably folly to try and predict what the coming year will bring. Acceptance, overall, that we have reached a plateau in developments, albeit a relatively temporary one, should be viewed in a positive light, however, as this pause can enable everyone involved in the industry to make the most of the systems they already own.