Sublimation for Signage Applications is Growing
There are quite a few technologies used throughout the signage industry: vinyl cutting, laser engraving, traditional printing, sand blasting and more. Sublimation, however, is one technology being used more by sign shops, especially as new substrates and applications are brought to market.
What is the reason for the growing use of sublimation? Sublimation offers full-color digital capabilities, high-definition graphic output, economical start-up and production, and provides product diversification to deliver increased value to customers. Here is a look at some of the ways the sign industry is using sublimation printing to meet the needs of customers.
Every organization — from cafes and offices to schools, hospitals, government agencies, nonprofits and beyond — has a need for interior signage, making it an ideal market for sublimation. Sign shops are making everything from small directional signs to tabletops with menu options, to large wall murals or hanging panels with important information, banners welcoming visitors and more.
This is a completely new area for sublimation, since it has long been a decorating technology used mostly for indoor applications. Like many kinds of inks used for imprinting, sublimation inks react to UV light, which causes fading over time in outdoor conditions. However, now there are several new sublimation panels on the market designed to withstand direct exposure to light for up to five years or more, in some cases.
This is giving sign makers the ability to make headway into markets where outdoor imaging is in demand. Outdoor sublimation applications for these substrates center on photo installations, artistic decoration, outdoor exhibitions, landmark placards, point-of-interest or educational signs, branded signage for businesses/organizations and other signage or decorative purposes.
Sublimation is the ideal imprinting technology for point-of-purchase (POP) signage because of the detail, color and graphic capabilities it offers. POP signage can be anything placed within a business that helps drive a customer toward a sale. These signs need to grab attention, delight the eyes, create affinity and entice the viewer into action. Sign makers are finding that sublimation’s extreme color, definition and clarity results in signs that demand attention. Specialty ink sets that offer true fluorescents and expanded gamut are also giving sign makers the ability to make signs really “pop” — no pun intended.
Sublimation applications for soft signage tend to run toward larger substrates, as fabric makes the most visual impact when there is a lot of surface area shown. Banners, flags and stretched fabric displays all offer different advantages. Colleges, malls, convention centers, museums, government buildings, corporate headquarters, fitness centers, restaurants and more can all use pop-up fabric signs, wall hangings and flags, pole or rally banners. A strong selling point for sublimated soft signage is the ability to add photographic elements, as well as generate on-brand colors.