The Benefits of Fabric Graphics for Environmental, Retail, and Event Applications
Fabric graphics are one of the most popular and versatile products we offer our clients. Anyone who needs a lightweight, easy-to-install graphic with phenomenal definition and flexibility should consider using dye-sublimation fabric graphics. They’re perfect for event signage, retail displays, marquees (outdoor displays), curtains, theater graphics, backdrops, Silicone Edge Graphics (SEG), banners, flags, ceiling drops, and more.
There are so many reasons you should consider using dye-sublimation fabric graphics on your next project; we can barely control our inner large-format-printer-nerd excitement. But, before we gush about the substantial list of benefits, humor us for a bit and allow us to describe how fabric graphics are created.
We utilize our specialized dye-sublimation printer to print directly to many different types of fabric using water-based ink. We then run the fabric through a heat source that opens the pores of the material, allowing the ink to penetrate and be sealed into the individual fabric fibers. This process is called dye-sublimation, or dye-sub for short. The final product is a fabric graphic with an embedded image that is vibrant, washable, and permanent, meaning it will not scrape or wash off like other ink-jet print processes.
BENEFITS OF FABRIC GRAPHICS
The first of a long list of benefits is the variety of fabric options you can choose from to give your project personality. We stock six fabric products – each offering unique properties like stretchiness, translucency, lightweight durability, velvet-plush, mesh, and canvas textures. There are also many other fabrics we’re happy to order if our in-house stocked products aren’t quite what you are looking for. Or, if you have your own supplied fabric, we may be able to print to it if it contains at least 50% polyester content. (We will have to test it first because different blends react differently to the dye-sublimation process. Cotton blends are not recommended.)
Upon completion of the printing phase, your finished fabric can be sewn into a variety of different products, including flags, banners, bags, curtains, or, our most popular fabric product, Silicone-Edged Graphics (SEG). SEGs are a fabric graphic that has a silicone gasket sewn to its edges. The gasket is then installed into an aluminum frame system, which produces a tight-as-a-drum graphic. Interior lights can be added into SEG frames to enhance the vibrancy of the dye-sublimated process, producing a glowing backlit showpiece. These graphics are also lightweight, easy to package, and more cost-effective to ship than rigid products (due to their weight and foldability). Upon receiving the graphics shipment, installation is a breeze, requiring no special training. After the initial frame installation, many of our clients will swap same-size graphics themselves in accordance with brand or seasonal campaign changes. (Check out our How to Install Silicone Edge Graphics blog for a step-by-step installation guide.)
One of the commercial-specific benefits of fabric graphics is their ability to absorb sound. When hung in otherwise hard, echoing, open-air interior spaces and corridors, they can help reduce noise levels and provide a more pleasant, productive environment. Curtains, fabric-covered sound baffles, and even custom carpeting can be created and installed in your space, all of which will soften and help control noise levels so that you can focus on the important conversations you’re having.
Finally, the care and maintenance of dye-sub graphics are the same as any fabric that you own. You can wash and dry them, steam out wrinkles, and fold them for storage. The versatility and durability are favorite benefits for those who use dye-sub graphics.
MEET OUR NEW DURST P5 TEX iSUB!
Last month we upped our fabric printing game! Introducing the Durst P5 TEX iSUB. This top-of-the-line fabric printer boasts a bevy of epic features:
- Full color-matching capability to PMS or CMYK.
- One of only six industrial grand format dye sublimation printers in the US with six colors (ours includes light magenta and light cyan in addition to the standard set of four colors). This expands our color gamete allowing for a wider color range, including enhanced pastels, more accurate skin tones, and smoother depiction of lower-density areas.
- Printing capacity of up to 126” wide by an infinite length.
- High productivity – Prints up to 4,120 sq ft per hour!
- Perfect for front-lit, back-lit, black back, stretch, voile, and mesh graphics.
- Eco-friendly – Utilizes water-based inks that are OEKO Tex 100 compliant, and prints and sublimates direct-to-fabric for reduced waste.