Direct printing opens up a world of possibilities for POP displays. So, what is direct printing and what is so great about it?
Direct printing is a process whereby graphics are directly applied to a substrate such as wood, acrylic, metal, PVC, plastic, cardboard, or other similar materials. Direct printing is typically achieved by using a large format flatbed digital printer.
Flatbed digital printers are relatively expensive compared to roll-to-roll printers. Roll-to-roll printers are generally used to print on materials like vinyl which then usually needs to be adhered to a rigid substrate like PVC or sintra. While roll-to-roll printers can print very nice, high resolution 4-color process graphics, extra labor steps are required to adhere the graphics to the substrate, and the graphics may not perform as well over time as exposure to temperature and humidity can cause the vinyl to delaminate from the substrate.
How about screen printing as a direct printing alterative to digital flatbed printing? Screen printing, or silk screening, is considered a type of direct printing since the ink is directly applied to the end-use material. And, it can definitely be a viable, cost-effective alternative to digital flatbed printing in certain circumstances. When art work is 1 or 2 colors and the quantity is relatively high, screen printing can be very cost-effective. However, when the art work is 4-color process, digital flatbed printing is the way to go.
Being able to incorporate flatbed digital printing into the POP display manufacturing process expands the creative possibilities for many display projects. Let’s look at a number of examples of how we use our flatbed printer at RICH LTD. in designing and manufacturing POP displays.
1. Woodinville Whiskey– We direct printed relatively complex, high-resolution graphics on the sides, header, and shelf lips of the wood shelf display shown below.
2. Coola– On the bamboo sign below, we could have direct printed to the bamboo, but we wanted to create a higher-end look so we laser cut acrylic letters and then direct printed the letters on the front side before gluing them to the bamboo.
3. Second Surface Printing– Second surface printing is where you print on the back side of a clear or translucent substrate, most typically acrylic or plastic. On the Hari Mari logo block example below, we direct printed on the back side which creates some depth and dimension to the logo block instead of just printing on the front side. Second surface printing is frequently used in creating lightboxes as well.
4. Roxy Sign– If you are looking to achieve a weathered wood or distressed wood look, direct printing is a good alternative to the labor-intensive process of painting or staining and sanding multiple coats. For the Roxy sign shown below, we created white weathered wood art work and then direct printed on the plywood sign.
5. Direct Printed Landscape Sign– The direct printed landscape sign shown below is a good example of how a picture can be direct printed on wood. One of the benefits of direct printing on wood is being able to see the wood grain through the ink, thereby creating a more interesting visual effect.
6. RICH LTD. Stock Wood Shelf Displays– We used direct printing to create interesting wood textures on some of the wood shelf displays in our stock line. A couple of examples are shown below.
7. Fruit Guys Tradeshow Booth– The Fruit Guys asked us to create a tradeshow booth which featured a backdrop that looked like barnwood. Since real barnwood was too expensive and too heavy for the application, we built a lightweight wood frame and direct printed barnwood graphics on PVC panels.
8. Fruit Guys Header Sign– We direct print a lot of wood header signs. In the example shown below, we first grey stained the wood header and then direct printed the logo. We could have direct printed the grey background, but the staining process was simple and proved to be more cost-effective than printing it.
9. EZVIZ Counter Displays– On the Best Buy counter display shown below we direct printed the back panels and interchangeable acrylic base panels, which was a much more effective approach than printing vinyl and laying it down on acrylic.
On your next POP display project, remember that it is possible to print any type of art work on almost any flat substrate. You’ll soon discover a wide range of very cool possibilities.