When thinking about cities like Las Vegas, New York and Tokyo, images of stunning, eye-catching signage often spring to mind. More and more we are seeing brightly lit displays being used to create unforgettable messages for advertising as well simple ambient appeal for restaurants, galleries and even modern home décor.
An innovative technique that is gaining popularity is the concept of designing Day/Night prints that incorporate not just one style or message, but two – from day to evening. The concept involves printing additional layers of artwork which are revealed only when a backlight is activated.
The image displayed during the day is front-lit by natural lighting, while a white barrier in between printed layers separates a more complex and color-dominant “hidden” image waiting for its evening debut. You can use this hidden layer to display text, change the color or add more visual effects to your design.
STEP 1: Selecting a Material
The Day/Night effect can be attained on a variety of transparent materials including, but not limited to: glass, clear acrylic, polycarbonate and other clear plastic materials. The key is having a nice clean, flat surface on which to layer your prints. UV printing technology offers the ability to print more than one layer at a time, resulting in perfect registration, which is a major key to achieving a stunning day/night transition.
STEP 2: Creating artwork for your backlit signage
This can be the tricky part, but here are a few tips that can help. When designing in a program such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, you can place artwork on separate layers, which allows you to easily register portions of the Day and Night artwork. If you design your artwork for Day and Night within the same file, you can set the Transparency of your layers to ‘Multiply’ to preview how the images will look once the backlight is turned on.
Once your design is finalized, just hide unnecessary layers before exporting each of the two separate Day and Night files for printing. The ‘Daytime’ image should be simple, with areas of plain color that will provide a base for your ‘Nighttime’ details to show through. Keep in mind that all creative elements used in the Daytime artwork will remain visible when the backlight is applied, so you need to account for this. For example, the solid Yellow in the dress of our Daytime image (Figure A) will combine with the Magenta dress in the Nighttime image (Figure B), resulting in a RED dress (Figure C). The black vector outlines on the Daytime image will remain visible when the sign is backlit, so there is no need to include these elements in the Nighttime artwork.
You can use photographic or vector images to build your artwork, or combine elements of each for a creative touch. In our example, a simple vector image with black outlines and areas of solid color was used for the Daytime artwork. The Nighttime artwork incorporates a photographic image of a city at night, along with some bursts of color.
STEP 3: Printing Layers on to Substrate
Now that the file has been created and the Day and Night layers are perfectly aligned, the next step is to sandwich them together on your substrate with a translucent, but still dense white layer in-between (Figures D & E). The key is to provide enough opacity to obscure the nighttime artwork during the day, while still permitting the backlight to shine through at night — this is the perfect balance.
With clear substrates, it’s best to print artwork on the back side to provide added protection from the elements. Since layers are printed on the back, the image will need to be mirrored or flipped — especially if there is any text in the design. This can be done using either the RIP software or within the design software used to create the images.
As illustrated in the diagram (Figure F), you will want to print your mirrored Daytime image first in color only, followed by a solid white layer, and lastly you will print your mirrored Nighttime artwork in color only.Once printed, good lighting and proper location are key to showcasing your display. Safe and energy-efficient LED lighting is recommended, but you can also experiment with other types of lighting to find the best overall luminescence and color balance when your backlight is activated.
These eye-catching and long-lasting displays can be easily produced using UV-LED printing technology. For more info and tips, visit: LogoJET.com.Additional Resources for Electronic Publication:Check out a great EFI tutorial on creating Dual Day/Night Backlit art files by clicking,here.
Today’s students will become tomorrow’s professionals in the printing industry, and since UV Printing is quickly becoming the wave of the future, many educational institutions have begun incorporating UV Printers into their classrooms and labs to enable students to become familiar with this printing process through hands-on experience.
Whether students enter into fields involving graphics, business, signage, promotional products, packaging or prototyping, learning to use UV-Printing Technology provides a marketable skill for their career ahead. Students are empowered to take their concepts and bring them to life on an unlimited number of substrates or 3D products. Most small format UV Printers now available are user-friendly, low maintenance and require minimal setup. Their small footprint makes them an ideal solution for producing impressive products in a contained environment.
Several universities and colleges across the United States who include UV and Direct-to-Substrate Inkjet printing as part of their curriculum have employed LogoJET Printers to train students to use the technology while producing valuable customized products that are used on campus or sold as memorabilia to bring in revenue for the school. A huge range of products are being produced, including pens, golf balls, name badges, water bottles, key chains, tiles, canvas artwork, phone cases, and the list goes on. A department head in the Design Media Production Technology program at one technical institute commented, “our requests are as varied as our students, and we love being able to produce what they need”.
Because of the flexibility offered by flatbed direct-to-substrate printers, one printer can accommodate an endless variety of products. Custom printing trays can be loaded with product and easily interchanged, and new products can be tested using a re-usable adhesive mat in conjunction with the automatically-adjusting height sensor.
Many students are inspired by what they learn from hands-on experience with UV Printing and move in an entrepreneurial direction after their schooling, developing their own small businesses powered by the extensive customization capabilities and low overhead required to maintain an in-house UV Printer.
With the competition for schools to remain high in the rankings by offering the most up-to-date curriculums and access to cutting edge technology, adding a UV Printer to their design lab certainly gives them an advantage. Contact LogoJET today to find out about the capabilities of UV Direct to Substrate Printers and find out which printer is right for you.
Why be confined to outsourcing printing or labeling for smaller cylindrical surfaces when it can be done in-house using the right printer and latest rotary attachment? Avoid processes that become more cost prohibitive as colors are added and setup time increases. Instead, here’s a great solution for digital printing on curved surfaces.
With recent developments in printing on cylindrical objects, direct-to-substrate printing offers the ability to wrap a design around a complex surface using an attachment. Rollers rotate the object during printing to enable graphics to be applied to the entire circumference of the product and the rotary is adjustable to accommodate different sized cylindrical objects. This cutting-edge technology has provided an option that has rapidly become a reality for customizing cylindrical-shaped substrates.
LogoJET’s new Rotary 360° attachment allows you to create one-of-a-kind pieces and give life and appeal to classic or trendy products like glass or plastic bottles, mason jars, cups and more. Masterpieces can be created by using recycled pieces and adding a new look and feel, turning these items into novelties that add a special touch at events.
Switch Gears with Ease
Simply select the desired artwork size and preferred color settings, load your product into the rotary fixture and you’re ready to print any elegant logo or colorful design using this attachment on a LogoJET flatbed! Not only is this a cost-effective set up, but various cylindrical-shaped products can be switched and re-loaded with ease. The fixture is convenient to attach and remove between different print operations, and its compact size makes it easy to take to tradeshows or to set up for a quick demo.
In just a matter of minutes, high-resolution graphics are printed by simultaneously applying full CMYK color plus white ink underlays to bring colors to life. Any surface color, whether it has a dark, transparent or white finish, can be accommodated with this advanced feature. Having this capability is also beneficial to efficiency and productivity, as well as to achieving precise prints.
Offer this new possibility to those seeking a more complex and finished look, or produce in-house, never-before seen designs with a rotary attachment that allows the freedom to choose any size art work or logo— as long as it fits on the product! There is no need to make precise calculations to discover the best print size for a curved surface; increase the print area by printing 360° around the circumference.
From the allure of custom jewelry, watches or handbags, down to the minute details of a Lego man or woman, rapid prototyping advances the development of high-end, limited-edition and innovative designs.
There are various applications when it comes to rapid prototyping and many benefits to printing short-run, customized pieces. When in the prototyping phase, there’s no need to be limited by high volume production when launching a new design in a niche, trending or tight market. It’s important to have the ability to tailor to specifications and produce quality prior to further production.
Rapid prototyping involves a variety of methods to quickly fabricate a scale model of a product for testing and approval before mass production. This usually involves some type of 3D Printing or “additive layer manufacturing” technology to create the 3D model.
To take the rapid prototyping process one step further, LogoJET offers direct-to-substrate digital printing technology to decorate 3D prototypes to more accurately simulate the finished product. Incorporate distinctive digital designs to embellish, personalize, add aesthetic appeal, functionality and more.
Bringing It In-House
By facilitating in-house decoration of prototypes, a UV printer offers not only a more cost effective solution, but convenience and efficiency that is not always available with other traditional decoration methods. Pad or screen printing techniques require time consuming, costly and messy setup including ink mixing, plate engraving and curing time for inks. They are also limited in the amount of colors and the complexity of artwork that can be applied.
The advantage of UV digital inkjet printing is that it enables full color, full resolution, complex artwork and photographs to be applied to almost any surface. The automatically adjusting height sensors make switching from one product to another quick and easy.
Offer quick turnaround, make improvements on the fly and produce production-quality products in relatively small volumes when needed, without the typical high cost of short-run production. UV-formulated inks cure by ultra-violet radiation by means of a built-in UV LED Lamp, creating prints that dry immediately onto the substrate so that are ready for their quick debut.
UV digital printers can also decorate surfaces with height variations (up to 4mm), as well as cylindrical objects with a 360° rotation for wrap-around decoration capability. This latest launch of a rotary design will be showcased at the Rapid 3D Exposition.
This Upcoming Show
LogoJET will be further exploring this new and exciting field at the upcoming Rapid 3D Exposition happening May 18-21 in Long Beach, California. We will be exhibiting our latest launches in printing technology and performing live on-site demonstrations using customer-supplied products while creating full-color prototypes and decorating 3D models. Join us in Booth #860 to learn more about LogoJET printers and see our UV2400 Printers in action, or contact us today for a personalized demo.