A History of Signs and Printing - Part 3

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How Printing Started with Gutenbergs Movable Type to Improvements by William Bullock

The world is full of signage displays in the 21st century. Even in “3rd World” countries, there are lots of signs telling you where to go or marking stores or advertising. And while most of us may give passing thought to sign makers and printing, that’s probably the extent of your thought on the subject.

A Little Recap

printing press by gutenberg

Recapping the previous two articles on the brief history of signs, we’ve now covered what they were used for and the standard media (wood) ones were made of up through electrical and neon in the past 100 years or so, Hopefully this is somewhat interesting – it must be or you wouldn’t be reading this! –  and your getting some interesting info. Today I’m going to cover the history of printing and how it eventually came to be integrated into graphic visuals.

Letter Pressing on Clay Tablets

Around 3000 BC or so, the Mesopotamians created cylinder seals that had alphabet characters on them for impressing the letters into clay tablets. Many of these beautiful tablets still survive to this day. The Chinese and the Egyptians used stamps and blocks to print various images, while in Egypt, Europe, and India, printing on cloth and papyrus was done rather than on clay tablets.

Printing from Cloth to Paper

In the 1400’s or earlier, sign makers from Europe shifted from imprinting on cloth to paper, though initially blocks were still used for pressing even on paper. However, in 1439, a German fellow by the name of Johannes Gutenberg created the first commercially viable movable type.

The Gutenberg Press

While movable type is generally ascribed to Gutenberg, the Chinese had developed it as early as the 11th century, and the Koreans in the 13th century. While Gutenberg gets the glory for “creating” movable type in Europe, it is likely that it was being simultaneously developed all over Europe by others as well. Regardless, in 1455, Gutenberg printed what is known as the Gutenberg Bible, and suddenly impressing of books exploded in Europe, paving the way for the Renaissance and the increase of knowledge and wealth in the West.

What is not typically known about Gutenberg, though, is that he made improvements in the type metals which affected the quality of the print, and also invented oil-based inks which replaced the less durable water-based inks that had been used previously. He also introduced colored inks.

Printing and Publishing

Printing as a profession spread rapidly throughout Europe in the 16th century, and by 1539, the first press was set up in North America in Mexico City by an enterprising Italian, Juan Pablos. It took another 100 years before one was brought to Boston by Elizabeth Glover, whose husband died on the voyage the press was on. She established the publishing house still known as The Cambridge Press.

Steam-Powered Press

The print technology remained essentially the same with minor improvements until the early 1800’s when Friedrich Koenig invented the steam-powered press. Up until this time all presses were manually operated, and the top speeds were around 250 pages per hour.

The Rotary Press

The next improvement was the rotary press, invented about 1847 by R.M. Hoe and improved on in 1863 by William Bullock. It allowed rolls of paper, plastic, or cardboard to be printed continuously and made high speed high output printing possible. This type is still in use today in many industries including the sign industry.

That’s about all I can fit into Part 3, so in the next article, we’ll cover improvements in printing into the 20th century and its influence in sign makers, where today they are more printed than built or painted now.

Find part four here: www.visigraph.com/signs/sign-makers-a-history-of-signs-and-printing-part-4/

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A History of Signs and Printing - Part 2

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From Neon and Internally Illuminated Signs to Full Color LED Displays

Custom road signage

Hi again…as I said last time, if you look around, or drive around, when you live in any industrialized country on earth, your locale is full of signposts. Most of us simply accept that sign makers are all about signs and printing and that’s the extent of your thought on the subject.

In this second article on the brief history of signage, we’ve now covered everything up until the 18th century until the present, and my hope is that you’ll have a great handle, whether you wanted a handle on it or not, all about sign making.

18th to 19th Century

As I stated in the final part of the of the last article, by the 18th century and into the 19th century, signage displays became an art form, and some artists actually made their living doing mostly of them. In the 19th century also, some establishments began to use oil lanterns to light the surface of their signs if they were available in the evenings for business, such as a pub or an inn or an apothecary. In a sense, this was the beginning of illuminated displays.

While some were fancy, and others plain, this technology didn’t change dramatically in the 19th century, although one type that has existed since possibly before this time were cast metal letters, particularly bronze. However, I was unable to find much information yet on the history of this type, but due to the cost of metal, I am assuming average business were more able to afford painted wood signs than cast metals or plaques.

However, with the introduction of electricity in the late 18th century, it was only a matter of time before an enterprising electrician would figure out how to completely change this kind of graphic industry.

Neon Signs

neon signs,glitzy element,lighted signs,fluorescent electric signs,gaudy neon signs,business sign

In 1910, Georges Claude first demonstrated neon display to a large public forum at the Paris Auto Show. The result was electrifying (hahaha!). Neon became very popular by the late 1920’s as a form of signage, especially in the US and Western Europe, and remained the most popular form of electrical sign into the 1960’s, when the internally illuminated fluorescent kinds (actually developed in the 1920’s) replaced it due to cost factors.

Neon is still popular today, although due to it’s cost is not used nearly as much as it was in the past. With the advent of LED lighting, neon’s popularity has continued to erode, mainly due to cost. Neon will never be completely replaced, though, as it is still the brightest light in this business.

LED Signs

Electric LED readerboard Signage

As of 2003, according to Signs of the Times industry magazine, 46% of all types manufactured have fluorescent internal lighting, compared to 41% which are illuminated with neon. The big gainer recently has been Animated LED (light-emitting diode) signage, also known as the electronic reader board.

The electronic reader board can be made as large as a huge billboard, and can have enough pixels (small LED lights) to make a moving picture like a movie screen. Oddly, while many municipalities have outlawed chase lights on the perimeter of a neon or fluorescent-lighted graphic due to the motion being dangerous to drivers, LED signs are popping up all over the country with their moving and changing copy, pictures, and logos.

However, I’m not big on government regulation, so as long as they’re able to collect taxes on these, they’ll probably continue to allow them, and the revenue is significant for the government.

In Part 3, I’m going to back up a ways chronologically and talk about signs and printing, from papyrus to Gutenberg to the desktop printer.

Find the third part of this series in here: www.visigraph.com/signs/sign-makers-a-history-of-signs-and-printing-part-2/

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A History of Signs and Printing - Part 1

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Where Sign Making, Printing and Sign Makers Came From – A Short History

When you look around, or drive around, if you live in most industrialized countries on the planet, your world is full of signs. If you’re like most people, you simply accept that sign makers are all about guide displays and printing, and that’s about it.

I’m going to give you a brief history so you’ll know, whether you wanted to know or not.

Stone Age

early medieval signageIn the Stone Age, Grog and his wife, Groggette, sent a smoke signal invitation to Thor and his wife, Thorina, to come over for a mastodon barbecue. However, they never showed up because, legend has it, they got lost. So, they re-sent the invite the next weekend, but this time made some crude display markers in the forest, and the Thor’s were able to come over for some delicious barbecued mastodon after all.

OK…I kinda just made that up, but it’s not too far from the truth. Early signs included piles of stones or sticks pointing in a direction that one wanted someone to go…of course, the range of travel was likely somewhat smaller before cars (B.C.), so most people probably didn’t need them for most things ‘cuz they simply just knew where things were.

Early Civilization

As people became civilized and began to travel via trade routes, the Egyptians were among the earliest civilizations to use road markers. The Greeks and Romans carried on the tradition, with the Romans making what we might consider the first modern ones of terra cotta. Christians were one of the first cults to use them, adopting the fish and the cross as a guide of where their churches were, although pagan religions had long used idols as symbols of their temples as well.

classic tavern signsLate in the 14th Century, King Richard III legislated that all nobility must post their lands with their family name or coat of arms, and that all taverns must clearly be marked as ale houses. This was done most likely to be able to collect taxes on booze and persons who actually had money, something which was done away with during the American Revolution, but reinstated soon after.

Early sign displays within towns had symbols indicating what a shop might produce or what service was performed. A bush was an early symbol of a tavern, but as towns grew and there might be several taverns, distinction had to be made by the owners, so you might see a tavern with the symbol of a dragon or a rooster (sorry tavern owner, but a dragon seems just a tad more powerful than a rooster!) to signal ownership of the tavern.

So a conversation might go something like this…”Hi Cotswold…let’s go grab a beer at the Rooster Tavern.” Nah,” says Cotswold to Harald, “I prefer the Blue Dragon, it’s more manly sounding.” “I don’t care about that,” retorts Harald, “I’m your wife!”

16th and 17th Century

metal copper and iron hang signs

By the 16th and 17th century A.D., most cities were full of businesses trying to attract customers to their store, and the signage became more elaborate. It was during these years that sign makers established their profession, and they’ve been broke ever since. During this time, these graphic designs probably were the most artistic of any time in recorded history, and often beautiful wrought-iron hangers displayed like this one.

However, some displays got too big, and where the streets were narrow, speeding wagons would sometimes collide their driver’s head on the over-sized signage, especially Cotswold and Harald who were not paying very close attention after downing a few at the Rooster Tavern (she won the argument). It was in these times that the most enterprising government officials learned the truth about them- that you could both regulate the size and tax them at the same time!

Discover more about the printing industry, visit here: https://www.visigraph.com/

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Basic Screen Printing Compared to the Basics of Digital Printing

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How to Screen Print, and Comparisons Between Digital and Screen Printing

Several hundred years ago when I made the fateful decision to get into the sign business, my first position was screen printing signs. Back when I started, you could print signs with lacquer inks and get high at the same time…those were the days!

screen printing device

Many companies who used on-screen print processing have switched over to digital printing, but there are still numerous companies that make use of this traditional method, and as far as I can tell, it isn’t going away anytime soon as was prognosticated by myself and other experts 5 years ago.

While digital imprinting has increased in popularity, it still cannot match the speed of screen impressing, especially as the quantities increase. The digital method, though, has rocked the sign world over the past decade with it’s cost-effective, full-color printing of short runs of banners, posters, display graphics, decals, and other great products that many companies may only need a few to a few hundred of.

Anyway, back to screen printing signs and other stuff. Especially on lower quantities of colors and higher quantities to be imprinted, it takes around an hour per color to set up to run each color on average. The variety of materials that can be screen-printed is wider than most digital printers are able to do unless they have a more recently developed digital UV flatbed printer, in which case they are about par.

Screen Printing Inks

There are many types of ink used in screen printing signs, but the most common ink bases are lacquer-based inks and UV inks. Within those categories there are inks for vinyl, various plastics, wood, and more. It may be good to note here that you can also print cloth/fabric banners with digital UV printers now as well, but we’ll cover that exhaustively in another article later.

Basic Screen Printing Process

The basic process involved several steps. First, you need to start with a good frame with the right mesh fabric for the ink you’re printing with. With UV inks, the mesh is finer than with Lacquer-based inks as the color particles are more finely ground.

Using a “Newton Meter“, you check to make sure the screen has proper tensioning, usually around 18 to 22 N/cm, but sometimes higher.

Next, you’d coat your screen with a photo-reactive solution (usually) and allow it to dry in a darkroom – this can take 15 minutes to a couple hours, depending on the humidity of the room.

After the it has dried, it’s time to affix the film positive image on the print side of the screen (bottom). Film positives can be made from an image setter or even from a cut vinyl image applied to a clear acetate, depending on how high tech your shop is.

When I started doing this, we literally used a light bulb and a sheet of glass (or the sun if it was shining) to expose our screens…over time, we made enough money to purchase a “proper” vacuum frame and exposure unit, and exposing our films that we printed on an image setter became much easier.

After the film has been exposed, you remove the screen to a washout tank. We used a 1500PSI pressure washer to develop the film (not too close or you’d blow the emulsion out of the screen). When the emulsion that had been covered by the film positive had been washed out, you had printable image on the screen.

After it is dried, it’s moved to the press and set-up with the substrate, micro-adjusted, taped off (so the ink stayed on the screen), and you’re ready to print. With UV printing, the display is printed on the press and dropped onto a belt that carries it through a UV dryer. Imprinted signage displays are manually stacked or stacked by a stacker, and then are delivered to the client.

If you want to discover more about screen printing signs, check this out.

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Digital Electronic Traffic/Highway Signs vs. Illuminated Road Signs

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Digital/Electronic and Illuminated Road, Highway, Traffic, Street Airport Signs

While these two types can cross over, Illuminated Traffic Signs and Digital Traffic Signs aren’t necessarily the same thing. Digital guide markers are typically lighted with LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) and may have a small section that shows a number or series of numbers and letters, such as you might see at some airports, or may be an electronic reader board with messages for oncoming motorists.

Illuminated Traffic Signs

Illuminated Traffic Signage

Illuminated Traffic Signs, on the other hand, may include digital kinds, but may simply be a signpost that is lighted from below with directional lamps, giving it the appearance of being illuminated. They typically have a sensor that flips the switch on the lights as it gets dark and then reverses the process as daylight arrives in the morning.

As you can see, on the rail below the signage and to the outside of the service platform there are lights affixed to the rail that shine onto the reflective surface, making it highly visible at night, which is a good thing, especially if you’re new to the area or passing through.

Digital Traffic Signs

Digital Traffic Signs Electronic readerboard

Digital Traffic Signs are different in that they use LED’s, as mentioned earlier, and can look like this. The one on the left is a “message center” type and is programmed remotely with a new message as needed…typically something like “Road Construction starting August 1st and Never Ending…hahaha” or the like.

airport traffic signs

The one on the right is generally programmed from a booth and will say something like “Open” or “Lot 2 Full” or similar. Obviously, they are more expensive than your standard aluminum panel road sign, especially the message center style…the one on the left, for instance, probably cost taxpayers in excess of $100K.

In the previous article I discussed standards for traffic markers with reflective sheeting which are set nationally by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), or by local states conforming to the USDOT’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). This manual gives all the regulations for various aluminum-based displays, but doesn’t offer regulations regarding LED types. However, any type used on an interstate or state highway will still need to be approved by your local authority.

There are many manufacturers in the US, but only a few that manufacture the big message center LED displays. A few more make the LED panel types. Due to the complexity of the message center displays, many companies can sell them as distributors and do.

Internally Illuminated Signs

interior lighted signage

One other type of internally illuminated signage is used almost exclusively at airports or public transportation facilities. It is standard ballast-driven fluorescent bulb lighted type with a decorated polycarbonate face, one or two-sided, similar to the one shown here.

Obviously, this type needs to have a power source, so it’s not practical under many circumstances to use this in rural area plus they’re considerably pricier than standard aluminum panels. They are also customized and are not covered in the MUTCD, but are typically regulated by local authorities. There are many companies that manufacture them, but any of them would need to be approved by the proper certifying authority.

Click here to check out more about digital and illuminated traffic signs.

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Custom Reflective Aluminum Signs for Businesses or Communities

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Customized Aluminum Street Signs for Businesses, Private Communities, or Parking Lots

customized parking signage

Today I’m discussing custom traffic signs. Just for definition sake, they are the kinds that are non-standard. Standard types, as discussed in the previous post, are the ones that include Stop, School Zone signs, or Speed Limit markers.

Now, for those of you who think that signs are ugly and barely a necessity, you may have a valid point as you wander around, lost, in the world you want without them. However, for the rest of us who like to know where the heck we are, they are the grandest invention for finding your way ever invented!

Of course, anyone can still get lost, even with a plethora of signs showing you where to go, which is why there are gas stations. You may’ve thought they were for gassing up your rig, and that’s a little bit true, but the main reason for gas stations is to have a place to stop and ask directions (if you’re a woman) or a place to zoom past (if you’re a man) ’cause you know exactly where you’re going!

At any rate, fortunately, most of us men are now kinder and gentler, thanks to George Bush the first, and have been trained to stop and ask directions (or at least that’s what our wives think we’re doing!).

In the previous article I discussed standards for reflective signposts which are set nationally by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), or by local states conforming to the USDOT’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices MUTCD).  This manual gives all the regulations for those various aluminum-based kinds, but doesn’t address non-standard or custom traffic signs.

Interstate Signs

So, when you’re driving down the interstate, and you see a signage for the next exit that says there’s a Shell Station, a Conoco Station, and a McDonalds restaurant, who sets the standards for these types?

Well, if you guessed your state DOT, you’d be correct…almost. Some states allow only copy on the display, whereas others allow full color logos for the business being advertised. Businesses pay an annual fee to have their logo or name displayed, and usually only gas stations, restaurants, and hotels/motels are eligible to be listed. Obviously, those that allow company logos like a McDonalds logo on the sign allow design standards that they don’t set, just size and material standards.

There are many other customized types though.  The US Postal Service has its own specs for its facilities, as do military bases. Private developments are able to customize according to their own specs as long as it’s approved by some money-sucking inspector from the county or state. HDU or wood signposts are used in some high end developments.

Standards on Traffic Sign Materials

Material-wise, repeating standards from the MUTCD, for interstate highways, the varying thicknesses of used are .080″ thickness, .100″ thickness, and .125″ thickness aluminum. As I also stated in the last article, the size of the signage and local environmental conditions will determine the thickness of the signage material to be used, and some states require extruded aluminum for those larger than a specific square footage.

The MUTCD specifies what types of aluminum to use on any custom traffic signs. One of the most used grades of aluminum is classification 5052-H38. The number refers to the purity and hardness of the material. All aluminum also must be alodized or anodized to prevent corrosion. Corrosion is to aluminum as rust is to steel, only faster. Check this to see a collection of those approved by the DOT.

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USDOT-approved Reflective Road, Highway, or Street Traffic Signs

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Reflective Aluminum Traffic Street Road and Highway Signs – Approved by the USDOT

USDOT approved reflective highway signs

Today I’m discussing reflective traffic signs or road signs. As you drive down the various roads and highways, you’d certainly be lost frequently if you didn’t have them. Back when I was a young man in my early 20’s, I spent a few winters in the Southern U.S. and was amazed at the lack of signage. Even more, I was amazed at how people knew how to get around without them.

One conversation I remember having with an old-timer went something like this…”ya’ll just travel yonda up Hwy. 357 and you’ll see a big old oak tree standin’ off by itself and there’s a road there. Ya’ll turn right on that road and drive ’til you see an old barn and ’bout half mile past you’ll take a left on a dirt road. Drive on that ’bout half a mile and you’ll see a brick house and just past that take another left and you should be there.”

Most of the time, by the way, we got lost. And that was back before cell phones, so when you were lost, sometimes you lost the whole day!

USDOT Manual on Traffic Control Devices

So, who sets the standards for these reflective traffic signs? In the US, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices specifies not only the materials to be used on certain types of road markers, but also determines the designs to be used, the shapes, and what reflective values are needed for various areas.

The MUTCD has over 600 various sign designs specified within its covers (although I prefer the PDF version as it’s much lighter and is always as near as my computer!). You can browse here to see some of the designs. Currently the 2009 edition has been adopted by 12 of the 50 states, so some latitude is given individual states as to when to adopt the standards, although by January 15, 2012, all the states are required to adopt the standard or have equivalent state standards.

As an example of MUTCD standards, in a residential zone or school zone, “Slow Children” signage might be required to have a highly reflector “diamond grade” sheeting laminated to the sign blanks because of the over-riding concern for the safety of our children.

There are varying signage thicknesses of the materials available in the US, but the most common thicknesses used are .080″ thickness, .100″ thickness, and .125″ thickness aluminum. Depending on the size and local environmental conditions, it is often left up to a local inspector as to what thickness of material will be used on various signs. A 48″ Stop sign, for instance, may be .100″ or .125″ if specified by an individual contract, whereas a 24″ size likely would be specified at .080″ in most instances.

On very large freeway signs, you probably won’t see it, but many states specify extruded aluminum panels locked together because of the size and wind load. Alternately, many states simply require a strong framework behind the metal panel. You’ll need to check with  the DOT in your state to learn which type is specified.

The MUTCD also specifies what types of metal can be used…one common types is 5052-H38 aluminum. This specifies the purity and hardness of the metal. It also specifies that the aluminum be either alodized or anodized to keep it from corroding.

The MUTCD also specifies categories by a letter/number code, such as the S1-1 which would designate a School Zone or the R1-1 which designates a Stop signage. There are also Guide markers which start with D, E, I, or M, Regulatory types which start with R, school zone types that start with S, and Warning sign types that start with a W. Not an exhaustive list, by the way, and not entirely accurate, but you get the idea.

Military bases often use many traffic marks as well and generally conform to MUTCD standards as well, but are not required to. They also have many custom signage needs, so there are many ways that signs are used on bases.

In the next article, I’ll discuss some variations in reflective traffic signs that have come around in the past 20-30 years, as well as some articles regarding custom aluminum sign posts that can be used if approved by the DOT or in private communities as well.

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Parking Permits – Hang Tags Decals, Stickers, and Static Clings

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Hang Tags, Stickers, Decals, and Static Cling Parking Permits – Serialized Permits for Every Use

Custom parking permit tags

There are two basic types of vehicle parking permits – hang tags and stickers. Hang Tag types hang from the rear-view mirror and come in various shapes and sizes.  They come with plain backgrounds, reflective backgrounds, prismatic backgrounds, and chrome backgrounds. In our area, they are used to identify cars whose owners are disabled or elderly.

Hang Tag Parking Permits

The advantage of a hang tags is that it can be removed as you leave or placed on the mirror upon arrival, so it isn’t a permanent fixture on your vehicle. The primary disadvantage is that they are a little more costly. You will generally find government and medical facilities use them over the decals, although this is not a hard and fast rule.

Parking Permit Stickers or Decals

Park Permit Stickers or Decals are used most often by any organization wanting to verify membership on your arrival by quickly looking at your sticker which is usually place at the lower left (driver’s side) of the windshield (unless, of course, you live in the UK or associated country’s that drive on the opposite side of the car and road).

They most frequently are printed on either clear polyester decal stock or on clear static cling sticker material and are adhered to the inside of the windshield. However, some organizations require reflective graphics on the front or rear bumpers of vehicles for quick identification, night or day.

Sequential numbering of parking permits is also very common as any organization requiring a park pass can easily see to whom it was issued by checking their computer to make sure the car and the number match up. This can be done on any of the aforementioned styles of permits.

Organizations Requiring Parking Passes

Here are some of the organizational types that we’ve provided parking passes to over the past 20 years –

Schools, Colleges, and Universities

Sports Arenas

Handicapped Parking

Homeowner Associations

Employee or Tenant Parking

Hospital Parking

Parking Garages

Entry Permits

Boat Permits

Government Facilities

Military Bases

Hotels

Convention Centers

Learn more about parking Permits in four different classes: Die-Cuts, Reflective and Vinyls, Hang Tags, and Square-Cuts.

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Reflective Decals and Stickers – Advertising After Dark

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Reflective Stickers, Decals, and Labels Glow in the Dark When Light Hits Them

reflective decals and labels for vehicles

Why reflective decals or reflective stickers? There are lots of uses for them…some of the main reasons to use them are emergency vehicles, such as police and fire department vehicles, but also as emergency graphics in buildings that point to a fire extinguisher or an escape route, to name a couple.

In the past twenty years, some of the uses our clients have used them for have been to place on the helmets of a US Navy Helicopter pilot squadron, as accessory stickers for bicycles, and as graphics on commercial vehicles.

Some companies have purchased them just as unique advertising displays – not just any old bumper or window sticker, but one that jumps out at you when your headlights hit it.

We’ve also done full color digital photo reflective decals or reflective stickers for realtors who want their signs to “pop” when you drive by them at night.

Vinyl Reflective Sheeting Grade

There are several grades and manufacturers of reflective vinyl. The USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) requires at least a “prismatic” grade, and a “diamond grade” for school zones or high danger areas.

Engineer grade is the least reflector grade and is what we generally use for most private clients who are getting helmet decals or real estate signs because we can print it on a digital printer. Diamond or Prismatic grades have to be screen-printed or decorated with EC film, a translucent film that comes in about 8 different basic colors.

Most signs that you see on the highway or interstate freeways or around town are constructed using a sheet of aluminum that has a reflector graphic adhered to it and then printed. If you are not under USDOT jurisdiction, you can make reflective signs like this using Engineer grade decal material and it’s a lot less expensive.

Different Uses

Uses that we’ve had clients use these products?

Mailboxes

Boats

Delineators

Hardhats & Helmets

Equipment/Machinery

Fire Trucks

Police Vehicles

Traffic Signs

Emergency Markers

Security Stickers

Homeowners Associations

Parking Permits

Commercial Signs

Commercial Vehicles

Reflective decals or reflective stickers can be purchased in almost any size you need, view here: https://www.visigraph.com/custom-decals-stickers-magnets-and-labels/reflective-stickers-and-decals/.

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Advertising with Floor Graphics Decals

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Floor Graphic Stickers and Decals in Full Color and 3D – Floor Advertising at its Best

Floor graphics decals are a great way to promote events, products, or even use as a way finding device. And, if you expand your thinking with this type of decal, you can also use it on walls as well. Due to the tough over-laminates used on this type of decal, it can be used anywhere human (or otherwise) contact might be made.

Floor Graphic Printing

Custom Floor Advertising Stickers

Any graphic design can be printed digitally or screen-printed, using a specific vinyl with adhesives that will stick to most types of floors including concrete, carpet, tile, and many other types of flooring. Because such decals are used for specific events such as trade shows or conventions, it is not often that so many are needed that it justifies screen-printing, so more often than not, we produce them digitally.

The Adhesive

The adhesive used on floor graphics decals are a removable type of adhesive so as to be able to remove them upon completion of an event. However, if you’re going to use them on walls, you’ll want to use the same laminate, but not the same vinyl. You’d need a more permanent adhesive. If you’re ordering this type of product, make sure that the printing professionals you are dealing with know these details.

Usage and Application

Another type of floor decal display is actually now being termed a “sidewalk graphic.” This has a thicker, gooey adhesive that fills the pores in concrete or asphalt sidewalks, walls, pillars, and the like. Again, if you are interested in a product like this, your graphics professional should be able to get you the right thing if you request something of this type.

One of our clients sells shoes, so he wanted a design that advertised his shoes that were, of course, in the shape of a footprint. As you went into a shoe store, you could follow the “footprints” to the section of the store where their shoes were located.

Stanley Tools did a promotion with some 27″ diameter stickers with in the Lowe’s Home Improvement stores a couple years back promoting a new tool that they were selling at Lowes. Die-cut shapes can add interest to the designs as the previous two examples show.

There are other ways, see here, to create floor graphics decals, but none so quick and easy as digital printing or screen-printing the vinyl material then laminating it with the appropriate durable laminates.

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