Labels on the Go
Our Art Supervisor, Lane Glover, recently spoke with Digital Output Magazine about creating labels, wide format printing, and how our print shop has been pivoting during the pandemic.
Article by Cassandra Balentine:
Decals, labels, and stickers are ideal applications for wide format printer/cutters. As the technology advances, savvy print providers find ways to introduce its benefits to new markets.
In business since 1986, Deluxe Design specializes in wide format printing, screenprinting, and custom signage. The company currently has 20 team members. Its 12,000 square foot facility is located in Rio Rancho, NM. However, it also operates three mobile trailers that serve as wide format printing stations.
Deluxe Design utilizes a range of graphic manufacturing capabilities including wide format printers, flatbed printers, screenprint presses, and CNC routers. The company staffs a skilled team of product managers, graphic designers, installers, and machine operators. “With over 30 years in the print industry, we pride ourselves in our attention to detail, knowledge, and artistic and fun out look,” shares Lane Glover, art and graphics supervisor, Deluxe Design. “We also have the ability to print onsite with our mobile print shops. Print, design, and install—we do it all,” adds Glover.
The print provider serves clients worldwide, as well as in its home state of NM. In its peak season it will run through roughly 3,000 to 5,000 feet of material a week on its wide format printers.
Recently, Glover says its most popular service offerings are health and wellness decals—everything from floor graphics to wall graphics and window decals. “We have also been producing a large amount vinyl banners and a huge volume of signage with safety messaging.”
This represents approximately 60 percent of its current business. The remainder includes custom signage, custom plexiglass wellness barriers, and rigid industrial/architecture signage.
It exclusively prints decal, sticker, and label applications with UV and solvent inks and printers.
Its mobile print shops are typically equipped with Roland DGA Corporation VersaCAMM VSi 54-inch wide format printer/cutters. They are outfitted for production and management of onsite installations at various events, construction, medical, and/or emergency testing locations.
Deluxe Design operates a variety of materials used for a range of applications, including windows, floors, walls, and vehicles for both indoor and outdoor use.
The print provider selected the Roland printers for consistent print quality and the ability to link with its print/RIP software. It was also attracted to the fact that it offers printing and cutting on the same machine. “The Rolands are reliable, durable, resilient to long hours of production, and have stood up to life on the road in our mobile print units. Our staff has become very capable at maintenance and troubleshooting the machines. We also use separate cutting machines and routers to increase production speed and flatbed printers for large prints,” says Glover.
It uses many different medias for specific applications. “I would say we prefer adaptable vinyl with vivid prints and color. We are currently loving Photo Tex Group, Inc. as a decal material. The print quality and ink saturation always looks awesome. It features a great tack but can easily be removed and replaced without damaging walls, paint, floors, or clothing. It is ideal for a backstage pass or a 50-foot wall decal. Another one of our favorites is the classic 3M Commercial Solutions 3M Scotchcal Graphic Film withComply Adhesive IJ35C-20. It features a solid print quality, lasts outdoors, and keeps a strong adhesive tack.”
Glover points out that there are materials for stickers and decals that have different adhesion strengths, low tack materials that are reusable and removable, and others that are extremely high tack, which are geared for permanent installations.
Deluxe Design offers matte or gloss, protective overlaminates, and is able to contour cut all of its decal and sticker materials. “We also build specific print profiles to create the maximum color and gamut possibilities for each material and machine. From glass door office signs, to interior design wall graphics, and beer can labels, we have a different material and an artistic production process for each one,” says Glover.
Over the past decade, Deluxe Design has completed a lot of work in large-scale festival, event, and live music markets, offering onsite solutions for branding and decor at events and venues. While it started with screenprinting garments and artistic engraving, it has grown exponentially into the construction, industrial, and architectural markets with clients like Brycon, Intel, and Samsung. It also has clients rooted in advertising and artistic engraving.
“Advancements in technology allows us to produce the best quality product while utilizing the highest quality machines. Technology also helps us increase production speed, maximize material yields, and create unique, custom processes for the specific products we create. We established precise color, print, and media profiles. It allowed us to incorporate the highest quality printing, cutting, and laminating capabilities. We keep up-to-date software, and are always learning new technology and printing methods,” admits Glover.
Glover says it is difficult to define one core market for print needs in 2020. “The current pandemic landscape has increased the need for signage and critical messaging for all types of businesses. Our print and installation capabilities helped us cater to different markets. We evolved from just screenprinting and engraving to wide format printing and custom signage.”
In terms of run lengths, common order quantities range from job to job, but it usually sets a 100 unit minimum for all our decal and sticker orders. It ultimately depends on the size of each sticker or decal.
A typical label/sticker job for Deluxe Design starts with the customer’s artistic vision. From there it moves to the graphic design department where its team sets up the artwork, enhances designs, and prepares for printing. Next, it moves to the production department where the artwork becomes a tangible adhesive product, ready for sticking. “Our team then closely reviews and inspects everything for thorough quality control,” notes Glover.
In the light of the global pandemic, the print provider made a variety of changes including a new online store, deluxedesgin.com/shop to help businesses and people find safety messaging signage. It also pivoted into new local industries like schools and government. “We have expanded from catering to mostly events and festival clients, into more construction and industrial markets,” concludes Glover.
Oct2020, Digital Output