The interaction of the online and offline world became apparent during a recent running event at Steamwhistle Brewery.
Gloss, matte, silk, lustre, smooth, satin, flat, wet and dull. These are just some of the terms used to describe the glossiness of paper, vinyl and other materials that you can choose when printing posters, banners, signs and more. Unfortunately there is little consistency found among material and service providers when using these different terms. How do you make sense of them all? How do you know what to expect and how do you choose?
At gawck, we decided to simplify things by using just four terms to describe the finish of any one of our products. Matte, Satin, Light Gloss and High Gloss. We use these terms to describe a scale that ranges from no gloss to very glossy, and have created a simple guide to help determine which to choose in different situations.
For our purposes in large format printing, think of gloss as the amount of light that reflects off the surface of the material you are using. The glossier the material, the more reflection you get off of the surface.
For example, hold a sheet of standard unprinted photocopy paper under a bright light and you’ll see no reflection, no gloss. Do the same with a piece of glass or anything else you normally would have described as ‘glossy’ and you will see a lot of reflection. This amount of reflection comes into play when deciding on the level of gloss to best suit the design and use of your poster, sign or banner.
FOUR LEVELS OF GLOSS
The scale below shows the levels of gloss that relate to the four terms we use at gawck. In each gawck product description, you will find one of the following terms to describe the level of gloss.
Matte: No gloss. Zero shine, zero light reflects off of both the printed and unprinted areas. Has a slightly chalky look across the entire surface.
Satin: No gloss in unprinted areas, a little bit of gloss in printed areas, creating a contrast between the two. A smooth and soft finish.
Light gloss: A small amount of reflection in both printed and unprinted areas. Gives the appearance of having a light coating across the entire surface.
High gloss: Very glossy, a large amount of reflection in both printed and unprinted areas. Almost wet looking or glass-like.
WHAT TO CHOOSE AND WHEN?
Deciding what level of gloss to choose depends on both the use of the item and the desired visual effect. Satin and Light Gloss are by far the most popular and versatile choices. Matte is typically used when an item is text or information heavy, and a high gloss finish is used sparingly for visual effect. If ever in doubt, select a Satin or Light Gloss finish.
Matte: If you have a large amount of text and information, a matte finish is a good choice. It keeps your text legible, particularly in direct sunlight or interiors with bright, direct lighting. Some people purposely choose a matte finish to give artwork a soft, washed, somewhat chalky look, similar to what you would find in a watercolor painting.
Satin: Satin is a very popular finish because it allows you to achieve professional commercial graphics with an upscale or artistic look. It works well with designs dominated by images, by text, or both. The contrast between printed and unprinted areas make it very versatile from a design standpoint. Consider the use of the item, as a satin finish is somewhat susceptible to abrasion and dirt if it will be handled. Excellent for use under spotlights or other direct light applications where even a small amount of gloss will make a design difficult to see.
Light gloss: Light gloss is also a very popular finish as the consistent coated appearance is preferred by many in commercial advertising. It provides a polished look without the mirror effect found in a high gloss finish. It is good for bringing out the vibrancy of rich colours and is excellent for designs dominated by images as opposed to fine text. It is also durable, having the highest degree of abrasion and dirt resistance among the four types of finishes.
High gloss: People are often surprised to learn that a high gloss finish is the least popular option when producing large printed graphics. The reason is that the glare off of a very glossy surface will make text and most artwork difficult to see clearly in most situations. That said, it can indeed create stunning visual effect if it suits your intended purpose. Use it sparingly.
The physical characteristics of different materials we use at gawck makes some inherently more glossy than others. For instance, any unprinted poster paper will look and feel different than an unprinted vinyl banner or decal.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a sample is worth a million, so please feel free to contact us for pre-printed samples of any material you may be considering.
Designing effective posters, signs and banners requires somewhat of a unique approach when compared to the design of smaller items such as postcards and brochures. Larger format items are typically viewed from a distance, sometimes for a just a few seconds or while the viewer is on the move. This gives the viewer only seconds to absorb your message visually, and creates a unique set of design requirements. We created the following tips to assist you as you design your large format piece.
Five things to consider when designing a large format piece:
What is it? Where will it be placed? At what distance will people be viewing it? How much time will people have to look at it? What is the desired effect?
With these thoughts in mind, try to avoid the following:
A simple way for you to test the legibility of your piece: keep taking steps back from your computer screen to see if you can still quickly and easily read the message. If you need us to design your poster, sign or banner for you, simply contact us.
To download a PDF copy of these tips, go to: http://www.gawck.ca/large-format-design-101.html
How to Order:
Simply send us your logo, pick a quantity and select from landscape or portrait. We do the rest!
Click here to upload your logo and place your order. We will send you a digital proof within 24 hours for you to approve. If you are a new gawck customer, please include your contact information so we can confirm your order and arrange for payment.
As you likely know, our purpose at gawck is to help you capture people’s attention with large format printed products. We print and finish BIG STUFF so you and your message will get noticed. Of all the things we make, printed banners are probably the product that screams, “look at me” the loudest.
BANNER: A DEFINITION
At gawck, we define a banner to be a large format printed item made from a flexible material that is suspended or hung in order to be displayed. Banners can be made out of vinyl, fabric or reinforced paper. They can be attached to a fence, hung from a ceiling or secured to special poles and hardware. Indoors and out, banners are generally used for shorter periods of time, from a day to a year when used for marketing and communications. Fabric banners used for decorating might see long term use.
WHY AND WHEN DO BANNERS GET NOTICED?
Banners get noticed when used in a space that would normally be empty or a place that you wouldn’t expect them. Consider them a surprise! That, and the fact that they can be very large, ensure that your design and message get noticed.
WHAT DO WE LIKE BEST ABOUT BANNERS?
A lot of things we make at gawck are large, but one of the challenges for you is figuring out where to physically place these things. What we like about banners is that they help you solve the ‘real estate’ problem, that is, finding a spot for your large format graphics. A bumpy cinderblock wall might be difficult spot to attach a poster, but you can hang a banner against it to make use of the space. Banners are perfect for fences and railings because flexible banner material can conform and be attached in ways that rigid sign material cannot. Suspending banners from ceilings, whether flowing down vertically or across an area horizontally, allows you to create a surface out of thin air. Banners are versatile!
USES AND PLACEMENT
Banner placement allows you to get creative. Some of the more common spots are:
At gawck, we have the materials, hardware and finishing capabilities in-house to make all of the above possible.
Vinyl (heavy duty): the material you typically think of when you hear the word banners. Used outdoors and in for all applications mentioned above. We have three different types of banner vinyl to best suit the placement and use.
Vinyl Mesh: a semi-transparent weave, originally developed for outdoor use to allow wind to flow through, now also being used indoors as a decorative way to create suspended backdrops and partitions.
Fabric: mid-weight fabrics are being used as a vinyl replacement, primarily indoors. Combined with our no-odour print technology, it is also a great solution to ensure a healthy indoor environment.
Paper (reinforced, semi-rigid): used as a vinyl substitute indoors, particularly for vertically suspended or wall hanging banners. It offers the same no-odour benefit as fabric and can even be used with grommets and hanging accessories.
BANNER HANGING ACCESSORIES
gawck has a variety of grommets, clamping rails, hooks, brackets, poles, ropes and more to make the use of your banner simple and effective.
gawck can put the finishing touches on your banner so it can be used properly in all of the previously mentioned applications.
Everything listed here is done in-house to give you the quick turnaround time you need and to maintain the quality that we all expect.
IT'S A BANNER BONANZA!
The versatility of banners and the capabilities at gawck make banners something to consider when thinking about big messaging and design. We’d love to hear from you, so contact us anytime for pricing, assistance regarding placement and materials or with any additional questions. Talk to you soon!
© Erick Vandergeest, gawck group inc.
You’ve decided to exhibit at a trade show and have put down your deposit for a booth. As the date approaches the question is, “now what?” We've got the answers. http://www.gawck.ca/gawck-talk---exhibiting-at-a-trade-show.html
Banner stands have caught on like wildfire, and for good reason. They allow you to fill a small space with a large dynamic display in minutes. There are two basic types--retractable and flex frame--but the term ‘banner stand’ is widely used to describe any form of free standing hardware that holds a large graphic.
Banner stands can vary wildly in terms of quality and price. Standards simply don’t exist to guide you in your purchase, making it difficult to know what to choose or whether you are getting good value. At gawck, we have done an enormous amount of research and testing on the materials and methods used to make banner stands--more than on any other product we have offered! We’d like to share the three key factors we’ve found to help you get a great banner stand at a great price.
Three key factors
A great banner stand starts with the material used for the banner itself. For instance, you can’t just use the same material in a banner stand that you would use for a large outdoor hanging banner. In a banner stand, the force put on the material in order to make it stand up also causes the material to want to curl at the edges and sag in areas where the tension isn’t uniform. You need a material that will withstand the tension and therefore lay flat and still stand upright.
You also want to have a material that blocks light from showing through the banner. If light shows through, your graphic will look faded, your text will be difficult to read and the rear support pole will cast a shadow onto the graphic.
You need a material that contains gawck block™ or other light blocking layer. If you haven’t seen the material used by a particular vendor, ask them to send you a printed sample.
In terms of print quality, a banner stand is rather unique. Generally large printed items like signs and overhead banners are viewed from a far, while banner stands are usually viewed at a relatively close distance. This means that your printer needs to ensure that text and images stay particularly sharp and that colour be accurately reproduced.
Another key point is to ensure that your printer is using latex or other water based inks, as opposed to a solvent based ink. Solvent inks are strictly for outdoor use and release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Using an outdoor solvent based ink on a banner stand graphic results in a strong smell being present each time you use it. Again, if you haven’t seen the material used by a particular vendor, ask them to send you a printed sample.
Banner stand hardware
There are two types of hardware used in banner stands: retractable and flex frame. Either can be used for portable or stationary displays, but each has distinct benefits.
A retractable banner stand, the one most people think of when they hear the term banner stand, has a graphic that extends and retracts from an enclosed base. This makes it ideal when you will be using it intermittently as a portable display because the retractable is the quickest to set up and the base protects the graphic while in transport or storage.
A flex frame stand has its own distinct advantage. Unlike a retractable frame banner, which needs to be sent back to the printer to have the graphic changed, a flex frame allow you to easily swap out the banner yourself. This gives you the ability to change your message more frequently, have multiple banners on hand to insert into a frame at different times, or quickly order a new banner and have it delivered the next day.
Whether you want a retractable or flex frame stand, here’s a big tip: you don’t need to spend a fortune on the hardware to get a great banner stand. After testing dozens of stands from different manufacturers, we found that quality and usability varied greatly, and didn’t relate directly to the cost. We also heard from our customers who told us that they found that they didn’t use the ‘bells and whistles’ present in the pricey stands, things like adjustable poles and expensive cartridges.
A final note on banner stand hardware. We feel that the visible parts of a banner stand, the poles and base, should be there to complement your message, rather than distract from it. Based on the stands that our customers choose the most, they seem to agree. We recommend stands that are minimalistic in design and have softer finishes, rather than ones with shiny chrome ends or elaborate designs that distract your audience.
Banner stands? We do that!
No matter where you choose to purchase your banner stands, keep the three key factors in mind, and you’ll be well on your way. Of course we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that at gawck, we create banner stands that address the three key factors above and more, and can also make you new banners for any existing stands you already have. We make great banner stands at great prices, so please have a look at the banner stand section on our website and contact us at anytime for additional information.
© Erick Vandergeest, gawck group inc.
Squinting? gawck is now offering large, poster-sized 2012 wall calendars branded with your logo and company colours.
Big Magnets! Take a look at how we turned our customer's landscaping trailer into a mobile portfolio using a series of extra large magnets featuring his work!
Check out our handy gawck product sheet showing standard features, options and accessories:
gawck talk blog
We post informative, inspiring and fun bits of information on large format products, marketing and design a couple times a week. This includes our very popular Funny Sign Friday™.