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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.

HAVING deep impact


Forward thinking graphics companies continue to seek out new markets and products to grow. Duncan Jefferies, marketing manager for Mimaki’s exclusive UK and Ireland distributor Hybrid Services, gives his take on developments and highlights companies that have done just this.

Your business will not die if you fail to use Twitter or LinkedIn. But, it may not grow as fast as it could either. Consultant Jacky Morgan uses her 25+ years marketing experience and business knowledge to uncover the truths and realities about online networking.

You’d have to to have been living in a cave for the last 12 months not to be aware of the impact that Social Media is having. But it’s an impact that, on the whole, seems to be passing printers by. The legendary Jeff Hayzlett, ex-CMO of Kodak, brands those in the print sector who don’t adopt social media as “stupid”. He’s convinced that there’s money to be made from it and can’t understand the reluctance. When I’m speaking to clients they’re ready with a wealth of reasons why they’ve not opted in. I too have a theory, but unlike Hayzlett, I don’t think it has anything to do with stupidity.

 

Giving Greenpeace a chance

How an eco-frindly, record breaking print by Pyramid Visuals helped demonstrate the EU-wide objection towards genetically modified crops.

The next big thing in 2011 is that there is no big thing. There’s no overarching management theory that promises success but considering a number of focused ideas could improve business. Walter Hale gives his top tips.

Failure is not something you would associate with fast-growing pixartprinting, but its expansionist plans have not delivered in the UK, which is why it has switched tactics.

Localise to internationalise is the strategic thinking behind Italian Web-to-print specialist PIxart’s new partnership with the UK’s Precision Printing to form pixartprinting.co.uk and behind the creation of ‘virtual shops’ across Europe and beyond. It’s a bold move by PIxart founder Matteo Rigamonti but it’s his bold moves that have taken the fast-growing company into a new 12,000m2 facility in Quarto D’Altino just outside Venice, which boasts an eye-watering array of wide- and small-format digital kit, plus two litho presses, and employs a staff of 120 working around the clock to deliver 2,000 print jobs per day. Rigamonti expects 2010 to have delivered a 55% growth over 2009, but he’s not satisfied.

Make the most of your talents by taking to the road and flaunting your capabilities and business knowledge.

Want to show off your talents? Then stage it so that you play to the biggest audiences possible. Scour the events and shows listings, highlight those that will attract the customers you most want to impress and get your act together. Using exhibitions outside the print trade arena could be the making of you in 2011.


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.

Who are you going to call to fix it? Sophie Matthews-Paul weighs up the options of manufacturers’ warranties and service agreements versus ad hoc arrangements.

It’s a hefty topic, service, and maintenance, with all of its implications, is probably an even heavier one. No-one wants to pay for something they never use but, conversely, everyone is swift to criticise kit and suppliers when a broken machine ends up costing money, lost jobs and lost confidence.

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