Firehouse Blog

We are a Proven Graphic Communication Company Executing Innovative Print Initiatives for Valued Brands.

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Windows that POP!

paulnewpicWindow graphics can be full window coverings with varying levels of transparency, cut vinyl graphics and even isolated graphics on clear material with white ink.

Below we’ve detailed our most popular window materials and applications. There are many more materials available than we can mention here. As always, if a job requires a specific material, we can get it.

Pressure Sensitive Vinyl (PSV)

PSV is an adhesive-backed product that is easily applied to any smooth, clean surface. It is available in white or clear and with a permanent or repositionable adhesive. There are also numerous textures and patterns to provide options for privacy screening. Our frosted vinyls mimic the appearance of etched glass for a fraction of the cost.

PSV is also available in solid colors for cut-letter applications.

Window Cling
An 8mil, non-adhesive material primarily used for temporary window advertising, temporary product markings, POP displays and protective masking. Easily removable and repositionable. Can be first- or second-surface mounted.

Window Perf
An ideal product for one-way visibility. This adhesive-backed material has a perforated dot pattern that allows enough print surface for graphic readability outside with minimal restrictions on light transmission and window viewing from the inside. This makes it the perfect choice for storefronts, restaurants and office space.

Double-sided Window Graphics

The above products are well-suited for single sided window graphics. But, if the situation calls for double-sided graphics, Firehouse has a few options.

Stoplight
Stoplight (AKA Blockout) is a smooth-finish paper stock coated on both sides. It has an internal light-blocking layer which makes it ideal for double-sided window applications. Firehouse can add a window adhesive coating to the finished prints.

Styrene
Firehouse prints to several thicknesses of polystyrene sheet. The .020″ thickness has the opacity needed for double-sided displays. Again, a window adhesive will be added to the printed boards for mounting.

 

Paul Meek
Vice President of Operations

Banner Basics

paulnewpicFirehouse prints with a wide variety of technologies onto numerous materials. The options can be daunting at times. So, we decided to create a series of blog posts breaking down our most popular products to better explain the differences in material and application. Our first post covers one of our most popular products – banners. Banners are an affordable and eye-catching form of indoor and outdoor advertising for retail products, sales announcements and special events.

 

13ozbanner

Standard Vinyl Banner (13oz.)
Our most popular banner material is also known as scrim banner. It contains a polyester mesh, or scrim, that provides an internal support structure to give the material needed strength for outdoor applications. The scrim pattern only allows for single-sided printing. Standard banners can be hemmed with grommets or pole pocketed.

 

supersmooth

Blockout Banner (13oz.)
Also known as smooth banner, this option does not contain a scrim mesh which provides a smooth surface on both sides. That results in a trade-off. Smooth banner allows 2-sided printing, but it’s not as durable as scrim banner and is not recommended for outdoor applications. It’s the ideal choice for banner stands, trade show graphics and ceiling banners. It contains a light-blocking layer so 2-sided graphics will remain opaque even under bright lights. Blockout banners can be hemmed with grommets, pole pocketed or installed in pop-up banner stands.

 

outdoorblockout

Outdoor Blockout Banner (18oz.)
The best of both worlds, our 18oz. banner contains a scrim mesh for outdoor strength, but it’s also smooth on both sides to accommodate 2-sided printing. Outdoor Blockout Banner also contains a light-blocking layer for opaque 2-sided printing. For long-term outdoor banners, this is your best option. Outdoor blockout banners can be hemmed with grommets or pole pocketed.

 

mesh

Mesh Banner (8oz.)
A solid choice for outdoor banners where strong winds may be a factor. Mesh banners are perforated to achieve an even airflow through the material while maintaining enough print surface for excellent printability. Mesh banners are single sided only. Mesh banners can be hemmed with grommets or pole pocketed.

 

fabricbackdrop

Fabric Banner (180g)
Firehouse fabric banners are produced on our dye sublimation printer. This provides an amazing color range and durability. Dye sub color is so durable that the banners can even be machine washed. Fabric banners give a premium look and feel. They are also non-reflective, making them perfect for photo or video backdrops. Fabric banners can be hemmed with grommets, pole pocketed, installed in pop-up banner stands or aluminum stretch frames.

 

Paul Meek
Vice President of Operations

The Future of the Printing Industry – Part 3

terryblogPrint is not going away. However, it will continue to evolve at an ever-increasing pace. Technology that is emerging in the marketplace will forever reshape the nature of print providers and their relationships with print buyers. For printers to survive they must also evolve, NOW!

Here’s what’s coming to reshape the print industry in much the same fashion as we witnessed with the change of the photo printing industry. (Remember it?)

First, fixed-array inkjet printers will increase print speeds exponentially in the next few years. They will have an impact on every print segment. This means that the ‘bottleneck’ in printing plants moves dramatically, and those print providers who can adapt quickly will grab market share. Printing plants will require nimble management who understand the ‘theory of constraints’, as they constantly rebalance their in-house resources to expand or expire.

Second, the software advances that I discussed in my last article are real and will change how clients interact with large-format printers. Order writing, file submission, preflighting, prepress, job queuing and job tracking can, and will, be automated. The result is that the front-end costs for doing short run is the same as doing long run.

PizzaVsPrintInnovators will shake up the number and size of print providers as did the handful of power players who reshaped the photo printing industry. I have said to anyone who will listen to me that Firehouse is a software development company that prints to pay the bills.

For any reader who is skeptical of my viewpoint, I offer up this article on technology and the pizza industry. Domino’s CEO is quoted as saying technology was at the heart of their turnaround. Their sales and profit growth is stunning. How Tech is Killing Off Independent Pizzerias

Technological advances and software development will take actual costs out of the print process, speed production time, increase the accuracy of print orders and provide clients with an online interface to monitor and track their jobs from anywhere. The most successful printers will implement and lead these advances.

This also means the print buyer will have to reshape much of how they go about their business to get these benefits. Early adopters will be more successful. This is where print vendors need to concentrate their efforts. They need to nurture a collaborative relationship with their customers to bring these advances to them and strengthen those relationships. Print buyers will cluster around print providers whose software technology best fits their requirements. Firehouse has a growing number of clients with whom we work in a highly collaborative structure, using software to reduce front-end costs and increase the speed from order placement to ship date.

SparkLogo300_RGBFirehouse’s automated client interface is named Spark. It allows 24/7 access and provides real-time info on your print projects. But it goes deeper than that. Spark is serving clients a customized version of our MIS system tailored specifically for their work. As Spark evolves, the level of integration and automation will make print buying as easy as ordering a pizza.

As we witnessed with the consolidation of the photo industry, all of this will put a burden on print vendors and print buyers who do not adapt to this new business model.

For the printing industry, as in every industry today, “What can be automated, will be automated.” and virtually everything in the printing business can be automated.

Terry Corman
Firehouse CEO