Michael Ingram, Sales Director, Dorotape (UK), reveals that the digital print media sector has evolved significantly in recent years, particularly where vinyl is concerned.
“Looking at digital vinyl specifically, things have changed very much in recent years, and I’d say particularly the level of price has been the primary thing,” he says. “The technology has changed in the industry, which when combined with the reducing cost of some of the commodity products like the monomeric self-adhesive vinyls, has had a knock-on effect that’s ultimately resulted in cheaper prices for the end-user.”
Dorotape stock a number of products to satiate increasing demand in a changing market, such as a number of bespoke window and glass digital print vinyls. These include a range of glass etch effect vinyls in both wet and dry apply.
“We have a fantastically optically clear polyester film with a solvent-based adhesive, which are commonly used for high-end corporate identity and branding jobs, as well as to create high-impact retail graphics,” adds Michael. For signmakers with the capacity to print in white ink, there is the opportunity to print an image with a white background to make it really stand out. The product, called Perfectly Clear, is therefore ideal for such high-impact window graphics, and is applied with a solvent-based adhesive. “It’s so clear, you cannot tell it’s there - it looks like the glass itself is printed.”
Also available is a film called Micro Tac, which is a dryapply glueless film that doesn’t rely on cling or adhesive at all. Instead, it has more of a nanostructure on the reverse side of the film that grips to the window. “Some people refer to it as a gecko film, because the technology is the same as the foot of a gecko that allows them to cling to smooth surfaces even on the vertical,” adds Michael.
Easy-change graphics are all the rage
With clients in retail and hospitality sectors particularly looking to use window and wall graphics for promotional purposes, there’s a keener interest than ever in products that can be easily installed and just as easily removed.
“With anything applied to glass, if it’s got a regular adhesive on it can potentially be a problem to take off,” says Michael. To combat this, Dorotape stock a number of niche speciality products that can reduce this problem. The graphics have no problems sticking, but can easily be removed to allow for quick changeovers. “With a quick wipe down of the glass, the new graphics can go on.”
For signmakers, vinyls need to look good, be practical for application, and straightforward for removal. These are not just where window displays are concerned, but also for another increasingly popular application – flooring. Dorotape stocks Aslan floor graphic vinyls that can be used indoors, outdoors, and even on wet floor areas such as leisure centres.
Reflecting on the current state of digital print media, Michael not only discusses the quality of the products available, but also the variety. “It never ceases to amaze me at how hard it must have been in years gone by to create something quickly and cost-effectively compared with how easy it is today - things have just advanced so much,” he says. “There is even a market now for digitally printed coffins. Digital print media from the moment we’re born is impacting every part of our lives – and now deaths!”