Magazine Article


Digital Wide Format Display Media That Pops

Digital Wide Format Display Media That Pops
by Jack Neubart

This digital media roundup focuses on wide and grand format media for display, for use indoors or out, whether for signage, posters, bus shelters, billboards or related applications. Consequently, we are concentrating on roll media, although we may optionally include mention of papers from 11 x 17. We are also including the inks that are involved in inkjet output. In some cases, we've had to pick and choose from numerous new offerings, so we recommend you contact your supplier for a complete product listing.

Charrette ( introduced Graphix Universal Photobase, a new universal 7 mil RC paper for inkjet printing. According to Charrette, this product features optimized light fade resistance and short dry times. It is suitable for cold and low-melt lamination, working well in conjunction with Sentinel Imaging laminates. This media is optimally designed to work with HP DesignJet, Epson and Encad printers, using both dye-based and pigmented inks. Graphix Universal is available in gloss and matte finishes, in widths from 24 to 60 inch rolls. Applications include indoor and outdoor displays, banners, sporting events and POS/POP.

Encad ( has recently expanded its lineup of wide format printing solutions. GO LumaTrans Backlit is a water-resistant backlit film designed for durable outdoor displays that will withstand ripping, buckling, and tearing. When combined with Encad GO ink, this material will hold its own for a year in or outdoors without lamination and five years indoors when laminated. GO Multi-Purpose Vinyl is an outdoor durable, adhesive-backed vinyl for short to medium term signage. In inks, Encad recently announced availability of its eight color Octachrome and Ultra-Fi inks. Octachrome ink configurations feature Encad's four color CMYK process inks, plus medium cyan, medium magenta, orange and green. Ultra-Fi eight color ink's configuration introduces four new levels of dilutions to the classic CMYK process.

Epson ( now offers Photographic Dye inks for the Epson Stylus Pro 9000 and Pro 7000 color printers, for improved lightfastness and better short-term stability. Epson expanded its popular line of matte papers for its archival inkjet printers with the addition of roll paper and a poster board for the large format printers. Epson is changing the name of the line from Archival Matte to Enhanced Matte and will offer the Enhanced Matte Paper in 24, 36 and 44 inch x 100 foot rolls. Other new materials include a stretchable acid-free Canvas made from 100 percent cotton duck fabric, Backlight Film for use with both dye and archival inkjet printers, and Tyvek Brillion, a water-resistant, fast-drying spun-bonded polyethylene banner material.

HP ( expanded its lineup with five new signage products. HP Scrim Banner, a flexible, highly tear-resistant PVC banner material for indoor or outdoor use; HP Paper Backed Fabric-Viscose, a 100 percent polyester banner textile for indoor/outdoor use; HP Polypropylene, a cost-effective signage material for indoor/outdoor use that is water resistant without lamination when used with UV outdoor ink; for easier mounting, it is also available as HP Polypropylene-Adhesive Backed; HP Two-View Cling, a reverse-print, translucent adhesive polyester film for sophisticated indoor signs, which can be repositioned without any glue-rests on the surface. The products are compatible with the HP Designjet 5000, 1000, 800 and 500, as well as many other non-HP large format printers.

Ilford Imaging ( very recently added two new Instant Dry RC photographic papers to its Ilfojet Professional line that are especially suited to piezo inkjet printers and inks: glossy and satin 9 mil RC media. Both incorporate a patented new coating technology that employs a nanoporous ceramic matrix to create a very fast dry-to-the-touch surface, allowing immediate handling/rolling. The new layer design is also compatible with today's most popular thermal inkjet printers. Various sizes are available up to 60 inches wide. These papers are the first Ilfojet RC media that can accommodate pigment-based inks such as the Ilford Archiva Extreme products.

International Paper (; recently debuted JetPrint Board, a new foam board that accepts color decoration directly from inkjet printers, designed for use with the new NovaJet 880 hybrid printer, and with other compatible systems. JetPrint Board features a full inch of extruded polystyrene foam laminated between 11 point paper liners. It has a proprietary surface coating that allows the product to accept inkjet printing. JetPrint Board, which was designed for indoor use, is available with white foam/white liners in standard 32 x 40 inch and 40 x 60 inch sheets. JetPrint Board may be printed with water-based inks (both pigment- and dye-based).

Jobo ( has a number of roll media products in its lineup. Universal Photobase Roll Paper offers photorealistic-quality output across all commercial platforms, with the benefit of enhanced light fade resistance, dry time and color densities with both OEM and third-party dye-based ink. High Performance Polyester-Based Roll Film polyester media are completely tear- and crease-resistant, reducing the need for lamination. Backlit Film is a rugged 7 mil media featuring a 'standalone backing' and a proprietary coating to extend the life of backlit prints when printed with OEM or third-party dye-based inks. Graphics are visible with the light box on or off.

Kodak Professional ( announced the new Reverse Print Backlit Film/6 mil for use in piezo printers. Suitable for indoor/outdoor signage, it has a translucent, polyester see-through base. Compatible with thermal inkjets, it accepts dye or pigment inks. POP displays may benefit from Kodak's new Duraflex Plus Digital Display material, a reflective material which is lighter and more rigid, and virtually tear-proof owing to a patented multilayered, laminated structure. In inks, Kodak Professional 4800 Series wide format thermal inkjet printers now have available an eight ink set Lightfast-Plus Dye Inks.

LaserVisions ( offers vinyl products in solid or laser perforated varieties. Generally, perforated vinyl products are used for vehicle or bus wraps, fleet graphics and see-through signage on windows. Per'f-Alite electric vinyl is an electroluminescent (EL) sheet for use in advertising, marketing signage and tradeshow booth displays. It is produced in sheets as large as 4 x 6 feet and eliminates the need for large light boxes. Retro-reflective vinyl, which is glass embedded with billions of tiny microspheres, allows graphic images to 'light-up' at night when headlights or other ambient light sources are shone upon them, much like highway signage.

Lexjet ( has, among other media, EasyBanner, a 16 mil, waterproof, scrim vinyl banner material that consists of a tear-resistant polyester fabric embedded between two white vinyl layers. It resists fading for up to six months outdoors with pigmented inks. It's compatible with thermal and piezo ink jet printers as well as dye and pigment based inks. For users of thermal and piezo inkjet printers with dye or pigmented inks, Lexjet has 11 Mil WallPro, an inkjet-coated wallpaper. The material attaches to the wall using standard wallpaper paste.

Luminos Photo (; introduced the LumiFlo Fluidic Ink Delivery System and Lumijet Preservation Series LumiFlo Gold High Permanence Ink, specifically designed to be used with Epson 1270/1280 inkjet printers. The complete system includes the LumiFlo Fluidic Ink Delivery Device (including preset microchips—no reprogramming required), Preservation Series LumiFlo Gold Ink, a Preservation Series Sampler Pack and a CD with ICC profiles. Without cartridges to replace, the system eliminates the time spent changing cartridges and running nozzle checks and clean cycles.

Mitsubishi Imaging ( offers a wide range of sheet and roll media in various widths, for a variety of printers. Noteworthy media include Photograde paper, a premium high-resolution RC paper designed to deal with the heavy ink laydowns of wide format printers. Photograde Supreme adds quick drying and water resistance, and is compatible with dye and pigment-based inks. Mitsubishi also offers Indoor/Outdoor Banner media, a water-resistant 5 mil nonwoven soft cloth material; tear-resistant Outdoor Banner; Indoor/Outdoor Vinyl Banner, a polyester-reinforced vinyl usable with dye and pigmented inks; and Dual-Sided Banner, for draped indoor or outdoor pole banners.

Olympus/Pictorico ( has a line of roll media designed to be water-resistant and smudge-free. Each product benefits from the company's proprietary coating technology, consisting of a layer of highly-uniform ceramic particles arranged into a consistent pattern of pores within the sheet. These pores act as vertical inkwells that receive ink just below the surface, in a way that prevents light scatter and enhances color depth and detail. Roll media include Photo Gallery Hi-Gloss White Film (24 or 42 inches wide x 39 feet long), Premium PolySilk Fabric (24 or 17 inches x 35 feet) and Premium Canvas (24 inches x 42 feet), among others.

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