According to studies by the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), banners are the most commonly produced signage applications today in the wide-format digital printing industry across North America.
The demand for wide-format graphics is exploding today—and it is being met by the advanced digital inkjet technology that has emerged in recent years, making wide-format printing possible on a more diverse variety of substrates than before.
Wide-format printing technology continues to see significant changes driven by innovation, market demands and signmakers’ needs. Trends that are redefining the sign industry today include growing environmental requirements and the role of printing in a ‘digital age.’
With both advances in new technology and constant innovation in the use of existing materials and techniques, the sign industry has seen rapid change in the implementation of adhesives, including structural adhesives as an alternative to welding and mechanical fasteners in fabrication processes.
The wide-format printing market has changed with the proliferation of digital devices. Buyers have already reacted to the industry’s new capabilities by seeking greater cost efficiencies. Many print runs have become shorter, more files are sent to a raster image processor (RIP), ‘versioning’ (customization) of graphics is becoming more common and there is greater pressure for quick turnarounds.
Safety issues can arise when billboards and other signs are installed where nearby overhead electrical and communications lines pass horizontal to or above them. Signs installed too close to these lines can create hazards, not only for the installers themselves, but also for the signs’ owners, service professionals and maintenance staff.
While sign shops and other wide-format print providers have long offered colour matching capabilities, in most cases, the process remains impractical and inefficient. Today, the non-profit International Digital Enterprise Alliance’s (IDEAlliance’s) G7 methodology for calibration in four-colour process printing instead pursues the goal of ‘common appearance.’