Second-Generation Minuteman Press Franchisees Carry Family Legacies in Puerto Rico

For Frances Torruellas and Tere Quiñones, owning a business runs in the family. Frances is the co-owner of her Minuteman Press franchise in Cupey, working alongside her father Juan A. Torruellas. Tere is the owner of Minuteman Press located in Hato Rey, San Juan. Both family-run franchises opened in 1995, and both Frances and Tere are proud to carry on their family legacies for 27 years and counting.

Father & Daughter Team Juan Arturo & Frances Torruellas Make a Dynamic Team for Minuteman Press in Cupey

Minuteman Press in Cupey, Puerto Rico, first opened in July of 1995. Juan A. Torruellas originally began looking to own a business in 1994, and he found the right fit with Minuteman Press.

Minuteman Press Cupey Puerto Rico
Father & daughter Juan Arturo & Frances Torruellas at their Minuteman Press franchise in Cupey, Puerto Rico.

Juan reflects, “I was very determined to have my own business but had not defined what it would be. The year 1994 was the beginning of my journey seeking what type of business I would like to operate; I was sure that it would not be a food business but I did want a service-based business. For the past twenty years prior, I held managerial positions in finance and administration which helped me in that process. I was convinced after my participation in a franchise show in Miami, Florida, that my business would be Minuteman Press.”

After several meetings with Minuteman Press representatives in Puerto Rico, Juan officially signed his agreement and entered training. Juan says, “On July 1, 1995, our presses started running. Like all beginnings, we went out day by day to present our innovative services in the printing business. By following the training and advice from Minuteman Press, we raised a bank of loyal customers, many of whom continue with us after 27 years.”

In order to sustain their success and longevity, Juan talks about the need to adapt. He says, “We have recognized the need to evolve according to the needs of our customers, which is why in recent years the ‘printing on demand’ concept has been a priority in our operation, as well as offering a range of promotional products that meet the market needs.”

He proudly adds, “Over the years, we have been recognized by Minuteman Press International for reaching monthly sales volumes of $250,000, as well as receiving their Customer Service Award, Top Quality Award and Top Appearance Award.”

“Our philosophy has always been to treat the client honestly, to offer guidance on the best alternatives in terms of cost without affecting the quality of the product, and to have integrated services available to improve the image of each client,” says Juan A. Torruellas, owner, Minuteman Press, Cupey, Puerto Rico

Second Generation in Sight

Frances Torruellas first joined the team of Minuteman Press in Cupey in 2005, worked her way up from customer service to manager, and then became owner in 2018. Juan shares, “My daughter Frances Ivette joined the Minuteman Press team in the customer service area in the year 2005, a year after she attended the training in Farmingdale, where she was able to gain a broader perspective about our business. In a short time, Frances dominated the operation and became our manager. As her interest for the business kept growing, she became owner in 2018.”

He adds, “I am so proud of the job she has done, and this truly is a family business.”

When asked for his final reflections on operating his business, Juan says, “We must give an important and warm mention to now-retired RVP Jeff Robey, who supported us for many years. Jeff is truly special and was instrumental to our growth.”

Juan concludes, “We are proud to represent a franchise in Minuteman Press International that has maintained its relevance and prestigious name throughout all of our years in this exciting and ever-changing industry.”

 

Tere Quiñones Shares Insights on Running the Family Business and Carrying On Her Father’s Legacy as Owner of Minuteman Press in Hato Rey, San Juan

Minuteman Press in Hato Rey, San Juan, Puerto Rico first opened in April of 1995. At that time, Tere Quiñones was in college and her father ran the family business. Tere says, “After I graduated from college and began to work on my Master’s degree, I helped my father out at the shop. Little by little, I learned every aspect of the business and fell in love with it. Never did I think that I would continue his legacy, and in some ways, I believe that Minuteman Press chose me.”

Minuteman Press in Hato Rey San Juan
Minuteman Press franchise, San Juan, Puerto Rico – L-R: Jimmeliz Solivan, Hiram Negron, Nelmaris Gonzalez, Robert Garcia, Eliezer Ortiz, and Tere Quiñones.

As Tere reflects on her family’s 27 years in business, she shares the following three keys to the success and longevity of Minuteman Press in San Juan:

1. It’s very important to maintain an excellent group of employees, where we all feel like family. A comfortable working environment is important. If there is a good and happy staff, the daily workload feels easier.

  1. Honesty. Always be honest to clients about the job request, whether it’s possible or not to meet their deadlines. That way they will always know that what you are telling them about any specifics of the job will be the truth.
  2. Quality. Maintain the same printing quality, go that extra mile and make sure that even with changes in technology/machinery the quality remains the same. If there is a slight change in the quality, always contact the client beforehand let them know. Avoid surprises to your clients.

When asked about the various ways Minuteman Press in San Juan has grown, Tere shares, “Three ways we have grown over the years are by adding promotional products, doing email marketing campaigns targeting specific industries, and direct referrals from happy clients.”

She continues, “Our key growth areas right now are wide format printing, hotel collaterals, and parking signage for companies. We also do a lot of Every Door Direct Mail as well as printing for schools. There is always going to be a need for printing; you just have to find what your customers are looking for.”

“Our community is mixed between small businesses, schools, and seniors. We have a potpourri of walk-ins that makes every day different. Our clients have different needs and degrees of knowledge. Being able to assist them all and provide products and solutions is very satisfying,” says Tere Quiñones, Minuteman Press, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Speaking of community, Minuteman Press in San Juan also stands out by making their center a place of learning. Tere says, “We have a copy center that is open to teachers and students, with special prices and offerings. It’s a nice resource for them and a great way to educate them about what we do.”

Tere also appreciates the support she has received over the years. She says, “Minuteman Press International has always been present in assisting in all situations. Having a group of people that are always willing to advise us and help is definitely an advantage.”

As she reflects further on the rewards of owning a business, Tere says, “The biggest reward of owning a business is having the ability to do something that you love. I also appreciate the flexibility because it’s much easier to be there for family activities and events than if you were working for someone else.”

She concludes, “If you love what you do and work hard, the rest just seems to fall into place.”

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Here’s a Refreshingly Honest Sales Line That Also Builds Trust with Clients

“Don’t let me or any other sign person talk you into something you don’t like.”

WHEN TO USE IT? During the sales process, this line helps instill confidence within the customer that you want to build a long-term relationship and that you are not hard-selling them.

Source: Rocco Gaskins, Abco Signs, Pennsauken, NJ

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Nazdar Celebrates 100-Years with a New Look

Nazdar celebrated the 100th anniversary of its foundation with the official launch of a refreshed brand identity. Nazdar’s new look reflects the company’s celebratory milestone and its commitment to innovation and growth as they embark on the next 100 years.

Nazdar rebrand
The new logos were presented to employees, board members, shareholders, and retirees at their global, company-wide anniversary celebration on May 13, 2022. “We are proud of this milestone and thankful for the people and partnerships that have helped us achieve it,” said Richard Bowles, President and CEO of Nazdar.

“The new brand identity reflects our company’s values, history, and future. Nazdar has a culture that values our customers and employees with a mission to exceed our customers’ expectations by delivering innovative print solutions. We are excited to introduce a fresh look that stays true to our roots but better reflects who we are today as we take our company and customers into the future.”

Nazdar’s refreshed logos features intentional design elements, including:

  • The Z element remains in the logomark but refreshed in a way that keeps it within the bounds of the word. This shows the logo’s simplicity as a whole; that it is one strong piece.
  • The Z is divided into two shades of red for two reasons:
  • The first and primary meaning is to show one Z made up of two parts – manufacturing and distribution. Without both, the Z would not be whole.
  • The second meaning is a nod to the 100th anniversary—the two parts of the Z mimic arrows. The lighter part conveys a forwarding-thinking future—soaring ahead. The darker part reflects Nazdar’s past and it’s celebrated as a part of what Nazdar is today.
  • A sans-serif font that is bold and strong, yet open-set suggesting friendliness and openness.

Nazdar is comprised of two divisions, and varying color pallets are implemented to visually represent each: green for Nazdar Ink Technologies and blue for Nazdar SourceOne. These have been used as primary colors for each division over the last eight years. Recognizing the equity that has been built over time, the colors are integrated into their refreshed logos. This provides a distinct look to differentiate the divisions to the various markets they serve.

The logos will be rolled out in a staged approach over the next weeks and months.

The post Nazdar Celebrates 100-Years with a New Look appeared first on Sign Builder Illustrated, The How-To Sign Industry Magazine.

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SAi Launches Flexi 22

SA International (SAi; Sarasota, FL) has announced the launch of Flexi 22, a fully-updated and more powerful version of the company’s signmaking software, according to a press release from the company.

The new version, “the only all-in-one design, print and cut software for sign and print providers,
is engineered to further increase productivity and workflow efficiencies for users,” per the release. It will be demonstrated live for the first time at the FESPA Global Print Expo in Berlin (May 31-June 3) and will be available by subscription beginning June 22.

New features

According to the press release, the latest version of Flexi has been engineered to provide improved connectivity for users through the SAi Connect dashboard, a feature unique to the new software. One central interface allows users to easily manage their software licenses or subscriptions, download new versions or updates, as well as monitor and review production data reports. SAi Connect also resides in the user’s toolbar, enabling instant accessibility without taking up valuable real estate in the screen workspace.

Flexi 22 streamlines the production workflow and delivers greater efficiency benefits by allowing more job modifications to be applied directly within Flexi Production Manager, thereby eliminating the need to back-track or redo. The software also offers the capability to add jobs to nested groups, without the need to first ‘un-nest’ other jobs. Users simply add the new job to the queue, then drag and drop to the nested group — also per the release.

“Flexi 22 represents the most powerful version to date and comes fully loaded with specific
productivity- and efficiency-enhancing tools that have been integrated following research into the additional tools needed by customers to address their precise needs,” Annette Plummer, VP marketing, SAi, is quoted in the release.

For more information, visit
thinksai.com.

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Mimaki Announces New Ink for 3D Printing

Mimaki USA, a leading manufacturer of wide-format inkjet printers and cutters, announces the release of the Pure Clear ink “MH-110PCL”. Intended for use with the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 full color 3D printer. The new Pure Clear ink “MH-110PCL” will be available beginning May 2022.

Responding to customer demand, the newly developed pure clear ink “MH-110PCL” negates the yellowish tint evident in the previous “MH-100CL” clear ink, enabling more transparent modeling. The ink delivers truly clear output as intended by designers and architects, which is expected to be used in product design for home appliances and cosmetics and design mock-ups and verification for industrial products. It is also suitable for medical and architectural models requiring visualization to confirm internal structures.

As with the conventional “MH-100CL” clear ink, the pure clear “MH-110PCL” ink is not only limited to just clear output. It can also be combined with color inks (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) to reproduce translucent color effects. Accordingly, the Mimaki 3D printer “3DUJ-553,” featuring the “full-color modeling capability with more than 10 million colors,” allows for use in designs emphasizing a broader range of colors and visuals than ever before with the addition of the clear and translucent color expressions enabled by the transparent pure clear ink “MH-110PCL.”

MH-110PCL will be available in 4.8 L capacity ink bottles.

 

FEATURES

Pure clear ink expressing glass/acrylic-like transparency

The noticeable yellowish tint of the conventional clear ink “MH-100CL” has been negated, allowing for the creation of more transparent modeled objects.

Mimaki Pure Clear ink MH-110PCL

Transparency is not lost even when the thickness of the modeling object is increased. Furthermore, designs with colored representation within transparent modeled objects are now represented with crisp expressions with MH-110PCL.

Possible applications for the combination of Mimaki UV-curable full-color 3D inkjet printer “3DUJ-553” and Pure Clear ink “MH-110PCL” include product design prototyping, medical and architectural fields, and 3DCG design modeling.

Product Design

MH-110PCL is ideal for expressing transparent parts required in product design and other fields. In addition to transparent expression using clear ink individually, translucent color (transparent with added color) output combining clear ink and color ink expands the range of design expression.

Full-color 3D printing is suitable for the creation of color-coded organ models. Translucent color (transparent with added color) expressions can also visualize the interior of organs, which is useful in practical medical models.

mimaki usa 3d printing
(Left: Full Color Expression. Right: Translucent color expression)

Partial transparency, such as the representation of glass windows and transparent exteriors, is a convenient means of showing the internal structure of models. This effect is difficult to achieve with handcrafted models or plaster-based 3D printer outputs. Partial transparency can be applied to architectural models, combining the exterior and interior structures.

In 3DCG design, transparent components are helpful in expressing objects aloft. Applications such as elaborate 3D designs encased in clear protective components are also feasible with MH-110PCL.

Pure Clear Ink “MH-110PCL” is only compatible with the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 full color 3D printer . For the initial installation of MH-110PCL, the optional product (OPT-J0510: PCL support kit) and the replacement by a Mimaki service personnel are required.

The post Mimaki Announces New Ink for 3D Printing appeared first on Sign Builder Illustrated, The How-To Sign Industry Magazine.

Published first here: https://www.signshop.com/graphic/digital-printing/mimaki-announces-new-ink-for-3d-printing/

Check Out the Latest Signs Products for May

STS Inks Compact 24-in. Printer

The system can print onto non-treated cotton, silk, polyester, denim, nylon, leather and 50/50 blends.

Developed in partnership with MUTOH, the Direct-to-Film (DTF) modular system from STS Inks features a compact 24-in. printer built to fit on a tabletop or rolling stand in any size shop. With the ability to quickly create custom t-shirts and apparel, the system can print onto non-treated cotton, silk, polyester, denim, nylon, leather and 50/50 blends; works equally well with both white and dark textiles; and allows users to choose a matte or glossy finish. DTF also requires no cutting or weeding, producing less waste while creating crisp edges.

STS Inks


Mimaki USA’s JV330-130/160

Features Mimaki Weaving Dot Technology (MWDT), which changes the order of ink-droplet placement depending on conditions.

Large-format inkjet printer prints speeds of 226 sq. ft./hr. in standard mode with four colors and 142 sq. ft./hr. with eight. Features Mimaki Weaving Dot Technology (MWDT), which changes the order of ink-droplet placement depending on conditions; and value-added functions, including an XY slitter, media changer and more.

Mimaki USA


Ascent Equipment’s 3D Pro

The industrial 3D printer can process fire-retardant (FR) materials.

With a maximum object size of 24 x 24 x 5 in., the industrial 3D printer can process fire-retardant (FR) materials, uses SolidFuse slicer software to convert 2D to 3D, and can run two colors (two filaments in, one nozzle out). Includes a color touch screen, removable build surface plate and UL-certified power supply.

Ascent Equipment


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Avery Dennison’s Dusted Crystal

Available in a matte and luster finish, the frosted film offers privacy while diffusing light in interior spaces.

Decorative architectural window film features wet-apply, quick-release adhesive that allows it to be repositioned during installation, and removed after drying with no residue left on the glass. Available in a matte and luster finish, the frosted film offers privacy while diffusing light in interior spaces.

Avery Dennison


GF 765 Rainbow Holographic Film

Compatible with solvent, latex and UV-curable inks.

Featuring permanent adhesive and a 6-mil thickness for easy handling, this film is suitable for decals, retail displays, packaging and other applications. Compatible with solvent, latex and UV-curable inks.

General Formulations


Roland DGA’s ESM-SGC2 (Solvent Gloss Canvas)

The gloss canvas contains no optical brighteners and has archival properties.

Consisting of 65% polyester/35% cotton blends with an Oxford weave to mimic the look and feel of traditional artist canvas, this 22-mil media has an increased white point for enhanced image definition. The gloss canvas contains no optical brighteners and has archival properties. Available in 30- and 54-in. widths.

Roland DGA


SloanLED’s BrightLINE 2

Features prism lens technology to redirect otherwise wasted light.

Designed for single-sided, fabric-face lightbox illumination, this upgraded lighting solution consumes less energy than the previous version, allowing more product per power supply and 6500 K and 4000 K color temperatures (CCT). Features prism lens technology to redirect otherwise wasted light.

SloanLED


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“33 Things That Annoy Sign Pros” Article Proves a Hit with Readers

All Too Relatable

  • The “33 Things That Annoy Sign Pros” article made us realize we are not alone in our frustrations (see St, March 2022, page 28). I personally love the oddball signage posts like “14 Unusual Warning Signs You Won’t Find … ” (see signsofthetimes.com/052201). Makes me laugh every time. — Sean Hughes, Signarama Clinton Township, Clinton Township, MI
  • Even though we’ve been in the business a short time, the “33 Things” article was so appropriate. I think we’ve run into all of them. — Jeffrey Fusaro, Fastsigns of Pflugerville, Pflugerville, TX
  • I liked the “33 Things That Annoy Sign Pros.” It’s nice to know that I am not the only guy experiencing these kinds of bang-your-head-against-the-wall problems with customers, employees, the government and life in general. — Gary Johnson, Great American Sign, Basking Ridge, NJ

On Women In Signs

  • Women in Signs are everywhere; love that this is a feature for April. — Jeannie Biller, Independent Project Manager, Laurelville, OH
  • I have been a “Woman in Signs” now for over 40 years … At 86, I still go into the shop every day … Being a woman in what has become a construction-oriented business means you aren’t always taken seriously, even if you are wearing steel-toed shoes and a hard hat! And, when you are the boss in the shop … you sometimes have to remind the men who work for you that you are the one signing the checks. — Sharon Toji, H Toji and Co., Lakewood, CA

Words of Encouragement

  • I really love the new format with “sign news” and Brain Squad. — Theresa Cross, Cross Custom Signs, Lampasas, TX
  • I really like the diversity of your articles. Reaching a much broader audience. — Ben Phillips, Phillips Signs, Seaford, DE

Healthy Market

  • I did like the healthcare article (see St, March 2022, page 38). This segment of the sign industry should only get bigger. — Tim Ward, Sign Solutions, Frederick, MD

We always love to hear from you. Send your Inbox letters to us at editor@signsofthetimes.com.

The post “33 Things That Annoy Sign Pros” Article Proves a Hit with Readers appeared first on Signs of the Times.

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Soft Signage Elevates the Look and Feel of Its Many Applications

AMONG THE MANY layers of fabric signs that customers find so pleasing when they use it to dress their surroundings is the material’s ability to convey a high-end, luxurious feel. “Salons are very selective and discerning as to the images and image quality being displayed in their salons,” says Tim Johnson, owner of ZōN Retail Environments (Long Lake, MN). “Fabric adds a very noticeable alternative to traditional signage substrates. It is a richer, more eye-grabbing look.”

Whether in salons or other stores, museums or tradeshow exhibit halls, fabric signage is enjoying increasing popularity due also to its versatility, ease of use and shipping, and more.

PRINTED FABRIC AS ART <br />Dye sublimated prints comprise both dress and background in this museum exhibit — two of the many uses for soft sign products.

PRINTED FABRIC AS ART
Dye sublimated prints comprise both dress and background in this museum exhibit — two of the many uses for soft sign products.

BOUTIQUE BEAUTY

Zōn Retail Environments
LONG LAKE, MN

ZōN Retail Environments specializes in fabric, dye sublimation printed signs, wall graphics, banners and applications related to retail fixtures, which the company also manufactures and has done since its beginning. “Almost every fixture needs a graphic,” Johnson says.

Given the company’s Twin Cities proximity to the Mall of America in nearby Bloomington, several team members regularly walk the mall to fluff up new business. Recently, Dan Kurth, business development for ZōN, walked into the six-months-open Fabulous Diva Boutique, a women’s specialty clothing store, and immediately recognized the need for interior graphics. “The store was a white box, a blank slate,” Kurth says. He wasn’t the only one who saw the need. The store’s owner Martena Jones was also wondering what to do for her signs, he says.

HIGH-END ONLY <br /> Quality images are required for any sign, but never more so than for soft signage in salons like this one.

HIGH-END ONLY
Quality images are required for any sign, but never more so than for soft signage in salons like this one.

Kurth asked probing questions of Jones and uncovered that she was looking for hanging banners, wayfinders (visible through the front window) and separators (to indicate different parts of the store). Even though the new boutique owner was on a modest budget, ZōN was able to accommodate her — and not only on price. She also needed help to determine placement of the signage.

“She provided the images of models wearing her clothing and the wording for the wayfinders,” Kurth says. One of the signs, for the store’s front window, is a double-sided image, so that its back side displays to the store’s interior. ZōN uses a unique process for this, involving only one piece of fabric, not two sewn together. About this offering, which Johnson feels separates his company from all others, he only says that it has more to do with the registration process than with the blockout fabric.

Fabric signage for discerning salons and boutiques must look as good close up as it does far away, Johnson says, which is why high-resolution images are crucial to the success of fabric signs. “Getting quality images that can be reproduced through the dye sublimation process to look lifelike or have a high picture quality on fabric [is vital],” he says. “It is important to truly understand how the graphics will be used by the client to ascertain the optimal combination of inks, paper, fabric, transfer settings and finishing for best outcome.”

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IN THE MALL OF AMERICA ZōN Retail Environments outfitted the Fabulous Diva Boutique with fabric banners, wayfinding and other dye sub soft signs.

IN THE MALL OF AMERICA
ZōN Retail Environments outfitted the Fabulous Diva Boutique with fabric banners, wayfinding and other dye sub soft signs.

Because the Fabulous Diva was new to the process, it took longer than anticipated to get photos with the proper resolution, Kurth says, “but after three tries we were able to make everything work.” The team at ZōN uses Ergosoft and the Adobe Creative Suite of design tools to iron out the look of their signs.

The wayfinding signs were imaged using the company’s Star Inc. Panthera S4-3.2m dye sublimation printer on Fisher Textiles Tri-Poplin and Soft-Knit fabric. The hanging banner for the front window was printed on a proprietary white-black-white double-sided fabric. ZōN installed the hanging wayfinding signs, as well as the front window hanging banner in two hours with two people, Kurth says. The silicone edge graphic (SEG) frames and prints took one person an additional hour to install.

ZōN hung the banners and wayfinders to work with the existing lighting, Kurth adds. “With fabric prints you don’t get the glare from lights like you do with vinyl or paper, so it is easier to work with lighting as is.” Johnson emphasizes the glare-resistance as a major selling point for fabric signs. His company recently replaced more traditional graphics at a Red Wing Shoes location that had invested in frames but had not anticipated an unacceptable glare from the lighting. “We recommended, and they chose to start updating company stores, with matte finish fabric soft signage that had no glare,” Johnson says.

A SHOE-IN <br />Red Wing Shoes is trying on fabric signs to prevent glare from lighting.

A SHOE-IN
Red Wing Shoes is trying on fabric signs to prevent glare from lighting.

Fabric signage is easier to ship at lower cost than many traditional offerings (such as rigid prints) and SEG prints are easy to install by store personnel, adding to their appeal. However, like many material commodities in the sign industry, acquiring the fabric has recently become more challenging. “Two mills in China that I buy from are closed at the moment,” Johnson said.

Within the growth of this market, Johnson says that a trend now very clearly upon us is the use of fabric made from recycled water bottles — for example, “reprieved thread” made into fabric by Fisher Textiles and which ZōN markets as Renew Fabrics. Two years ago, recycled products had been more expensive than other fabrics, Johnson says. “Now, the look, feel and price are all in line with regular fabrics.” And as more major retailers such as Target, Best Buy and others demand more sustainable products, Kurth expects continued growth in this area.

One final piece of advice Johnson has for sign companies thinking about getting into dye sub fabric sign sales: “Use a current soft signage printer as you build your business … to establish a client base for your new offering, before investing heavily in the equipment, labor and learning curve necessary to have a successful fabric graphic business.” ZōN provides wholesale services in this way, to enable sign companies to get the hang of it and the comfort level they need. When the proper fit and feel have been achieved, Johnson says, they’ll happily part ways with any wholesale client ready to go it alone.

ON EXHIBIT <br />The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art has worked with AlphaGraphics Seattle on exhibits by Molly Vaughan (top left and center), Daniel Smith (top right) and Davida Ingram (below).

ON EXHIBIT
The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art has worked with AlphaGraphics Seattle on exhibits by Molly Vaughan (top left and center), Daniel Smith (top right) and Davida Ingram (below).

MUSEUM MARVEL

AlphaGraphics Seattle
SEATTLE

Testimony to the satisfaction that fabric signage has been bringing to its customers was recently on display — literally — at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art in Bainbridge Island, WA, which is near Seattle. A repeat customer of AlphaGraphics Seattle for many years, according to Elden Goe, account manager for the sign company, “We have worked with [the museum] a long time so each side knows what to expect,” he says. For the museum’s exhibit and self-promotional displays, the museum provides the original art design file, and on certain images AlphaGraphics creates a tile of that art.

With the use of Adobe Illustrator, the design process could not have been quicker: “One proof and go to print,” Goe says, chalking up the ease to the history of working with the museum. “Changes or color adjustments [from them] are rare.” For substrates, the graphics printer chose a combination of Fisher Textiles’ Poly Silk for the more translucent looking flags. “Two layers were used on the Molly Vaughan exhibit to achieve that dimensional color effect,” Goe says. The backdrops were Fisher Textiles “triple white” fabric — three layers of white — for a heavier curtain look.

DRAMATIC BACKDROP <br />Three layers of white — "triple white" Fisher Textiles fabric provide a heavy, curtain contrast to the hanging garments.

DRAMATIC BACKDROP
Three layers of white — “triple white” Fisher Textiles fabric provide a heavy, curtain contrast to the hanging garments.

AlphaGraphics Seattle imaged the job on their EFI VUTEk FabriVU 340i dye sublimation printer, with a Klieverik GTC101-3500 heat transfer press. The graphics company produced the graphics in one week, with five team members on this project. “Dye sublimation fabric printing has both a shrinking and stretching that happens during the process, so files with lots of bleed are needed to achieve proper sizing of the finished product,” Goe says.

He maintains that dealing with sizing is the most complex issue of dye sub fabric printing, due to the fabric both stretching and shrinking. “Banners with more approximate-size needs are fine,” Goe says. “But fitting to frames and tradeshow hardware is a bit tricky. We always like to do a test fit if we can.”

AlphaGraphics Seattle has noticed an increased use of fabric graphics, especially in the tradeshow world with an uptick in pillowcase-style backdrops and freestanding signs, Goe says. “They seem to have taken over this space since they are so much easier to deal with and faster to set up than the flat-panel-style booths.” Also, they are seeing office décor signage with the SEG frames taking the place of framed prints or acrylic displays. “We expect this trend to continue,” he adds.

LOOKS COOL LIT UP, TOO <br /> The museum also uses fabric signs to promote future exhibits, such as these hanging banners illuminated beautifully by existing lighting.

LOOKS COOL LIT UP, TOO
The museum also uses fabric signs to promote future exhibits, such as these hanging banners illuminated beautifully by existing lighting.

Goe agrees with ZōN Retail Environments’ Johnson that dye sub is a big investment, so he strongly suggests that sign companies test the waters with some of the fabrics suitable for the printers they already have (UV ink, aqueous, solvent, etc.). “Although they do not hold up well in tradeshow environments, you can do the SEG frames with them,” he advises. “Then you can see if it warrants investing in more gear to expand your capabilities.”

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DRAMATIC BACKDROP <br /> Signarama Salt Lake City sold this color-rich backdrop for award ceremonies and events to The Nature Conservancy.

DRAMATIC BACKDROP
Signarama Salt Lake City sold this color-rich backdrop for award ceremonies and events to The Nature Conservancy.

TRADESHOW TREASURE

Signarama Salt Lake City
SALT LAKE CITY

Industry expos were among the first applications for fabric signage, due to its differentiating high-end look, ease of shipping and especially its ability to avoid damage compared to rigid signage. Ric Anderson, co-owner of Signarama Salt Lake City (SLC), says, “We have certain customers that have reusable frames and we provide printed graphics that they can travel with for expos or new product launch events,” he says. “The printed fabric displays offer a real soft look and one that allows for travel and easy set up.”

When it comes to tradeshow booths, Anderson is seeing a little bit of demand, he says, usually from large-scale booth manufacturers. “We’re seeing more growth in easily transportable and retractable banners,” he observes, as are step-and-repeats and backdrops. The pandemic obviously put a wrinkle into this market of late, but exhibitors want that “something” representing their product to be more than a cheap banner on a pole, Anderson says.

For all of their high-end banner and canvas printing, Signarama SLC uses their Roland SOLJET Pro 4 XR-640 roll-to-roll and their Canon Solutions America Océ Arizona 1280 GT printers, which, it should be noted, are not dye-sublimation printers.

Anderson also works with “a very high-end jewelry business in Salt Lake City,” who likes to have their retail window display changed out every couple of months. To facilitate this, Signarama SLC developed a non-SEG frame system using rubber gaskets that allows their team to easily change out the graphics. “This location likes to save the graphics and for special events reinstall an older graphic,” Anderson says. “This would not be possible using other, vinyl-type graphics.”

Signarama SLC subcontracts the jewelry business dye sublimation printing and often works with Orbus Exhibit & Display Group, “a great vendor, they know what they’re doing,” Anderson says. So when it comes to partnering with a soft signage print provider, “Don’t go cheap,” he counsels. “You really need a quality vendor to help. Cheap won’t always get it done.” Anderson warns, adding, “If someone is going to use a frame system over and over, they need the right vendor.”

TAKE IT EASY <br /> 8 x 10-ft. backdrops like this are among the easiest soft signs to produce. Framing other fabric graphics is much tougher.

TAKE IT EASY
8 x 10-ft. backdrops like this are among the easiest soft signs to produce. Framing other fabric graphics is much tougher.

The framed soft sign for the SLC jewelry business is also backlit, another advantage enjoyed specifically by polyester signage. The frame is deep enough to allow for a Principal LED lighting system. Anderson’s company is seeing illuminated frames and displays being used more often, he says. “For the customer, it’s the right look” with its “perfect matte finish,” not a glossy, shiny product. When a dye sub print is well printed and illuminated, it’s a focal point, he says — a much better presentation than you would get from foam board. He noticed the trend starting locally about seven years ago when big brands started using illuminated polyester printing, Anderson reports.

Among other fabric sign products, 8 x 10-ft. backdrops for award ceremonies and the like are the easiest to produce. Customers like the quality of the image being provided, Anderson says. Signarama SLC recently sold The Nature Conservancy “a beautiful outdoor backdrop,” he adds. The greatest challenge they face, both in house and when they outsource, is getting the graphic to fit when a customer creates a frame, Anderson says. Fabric has a stretch but each sign has to be exact. “Fit and finish are critical,” he continues. “Everyone struggles with this, vendors included, on frame systems, even their own.”

His shop can also sew and finish, “but it’s not our favorite,” he says. This thread of the business is not easy and you must have someone dedicated to do the sewing. The finishing aspect is the biggest downside to offering this service, Anderson says.

Soft signage has changed while it’s grown over recent years. Whether you print in house or sub it out, the challenges are different. “To print in house, you need volume to keep a printer running and to source the custom extrusions,” the Signarama SLC co-owner says. “Do you have the volume and the talent to finish the jobs? For most sign businesses, that’s very difficult.”

On the other hand, this segment of the business fits his company like a, well, you know. “It is a growing industry and we like it,” Anderson says. “Our customers like it, too.”

PHOTO GALLERY (25 IMAGES)

📷: AlphaGraphics Seattle | Signarama Salt Lake City | Zon Retail Environments

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Projection Mapped 360-Degree Venue Immerses Guests

Quick to adjust and adapt to an ever-changing environment, Nightscape worked with technology company Clair Global to leverage Epson projectors for its 360-degree projection-mapped creative entertainment space. Equipped with flexible projectors that blend into the space while providing vibrant, eye-popping visuals, Nightscape is a Nashville, Tenn.-based experiential production and creative content company that is redefining how people interact with physical spaces. Built to provide immersive, multi-sensory experiences to transport guests into different times, places and worlds, the flagship venue opened in April 2022 in Nashville’s Gulch neighborhood.epson projectors

“When building out our state-of-the-art 360-degree projection mapped venue, Epson’s projectors were instrumental in helping to bring our vision to life,” said Mike Weinberg, CEO and founder of Nightscape. “Their team worked hand-in-hand with ours every step of the way, with excellent communication and a consistent problem-solving mentality that put us in a great position to succeed from day one.”

The Nightscape venue offers a blank canvas for creative minds. The main space is equipped with 10 Epson Pro L1490UNL and four Epson EB-PU1008W laser projectors along with three Epson EB-PU2010W laser projectors – the world’s lightest and smallest 10,000 lumen projector.1 The projectors are rigged and illuminating from all directions, continuously casting visuals on the walls and ceilings to create a sense of complete immersion for guests. The Epson laser projectors fill 360-degrees of space with stunning color and impressive brightness in a compact, white chassis that blends into the space to deliver the illusion of different environments without interference from the technology.

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Experiential environments are on the rise and with the ability to deliver a range of dynamic worlds in one space, Nightscape is offering something magical that today’s consumers crave,” said Rami Shakra, project manager, Epson America, Inc. “Weinberg’s new venue breaks down barriers to offer endless entertainment possibilities – and creativity – and Epson is proud to be a part of it.”

Nightscape is revolutionizing how events and moments are curated, igniting new possibilities for brand activations, culinary adventures, new product launches, fundraisers, artist showcases, sports watch parties, and much more. Its flagship Nashville location utilizes multi-sensory immersion to engage guests via 360-degree projection mapping, spatial audio, unique cuisines, modular furniture, and scent elements that collectively transport guests to any time or place.

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Epson Pro Series projectors provide creative possibilities and unparalleled audience experiences. Using state-of-the-art 3LCD technology to deliver exceptional color output and durability, the Pro Series combine uncompromising image quality with sophisticated software and a range of available mounts, frames and lenses to overcome challenging space restrictions and transform venues – bringing events and spaces to life.

The post Projection Mapped 360-Degree Venue Immerses Guests appeared first on Sign Builder Illustrated, The How-To Sign Industry Magazine.

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Chick-fil-A Sign Goes Missing

A Chick-fil-A sign in Alcoa, TN has mysteriously disappeared, and the chicken sandwich maker is offering a handsome reward to whomever returns it, Fox News writes.

In a Facebook post, the Tennessee restaurant offered free food for a year in the form of digital gift cards to the person who produces the missing sign, no questions asked.

“We need your help! Our sign has disappeared and we need help to find it! Whoever turns it in will be asked no questions. We are awarding our finder Chick-fil-A for a year (52 digital offer cards) when the sign is returned,” the post reads.

The sign’s disappearance prompted hypotheses as to where it could have gone, with some commenters suggesting strong winds as the culprit. Amy Chaney of Maryville, TN said it was “blown out in the last storm,” while two others claimed to have seen it at the bottom of a nearby hill.

As of this writing, the restaurant has not shared an update about the sign.

Read more at Fox News.

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