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Photo courtesy Brian R. Savage Special Report: Wide-format Printing Expanding the Glass Canvas By Brian R. Savage I n the past, when architects wanted to add printed design elements to the glass ‘skin’ of a building, they were limited to one- or two-colour screenprinting or digital printing technologies with difficult organic-based inks. Today, however, ceramic-based inks are allowing for a more controllable digital printing process and yielding durable, long-lasting, full- colour graphics. Screenprinting has usually been considered the most cost-effective method for adding graphics to architectural glass when only one or two colours are to be printed in a repeating pattern across many glass units. The screens themselves, however, 34 September 2013 SM_Sept_2013.indd 34 can be cost-prohibitive and are limited in terms of the number of prints they can produce before the end of their useful life. Digital printing can be thought of as a complement to analogue options and may not be ideal for all circumstances, but it does help remove some earlier barriers, particularly by supporting multiple colours within a complex design. Today, a new generation of digital printers is giving designers the opportunity to turn what was once simply the functional façade of a building into an ornate canvas. In some cases, they can even use the technique to optimize the solar performance of the façade. SIGN MEDIA CANADA 8/21/13 3:48:11 PM