Power Graphics Digital Imaging

  • New Monthly Specials

    We've begun this month offering monthly specials on our site. This is a fairly common practice, and we've wanted to offer something for quite a while, but our old website wasn't capable of this. Now that our new website is up and running, we've begun the program this month. The original plan was to tie the specials to our Facebook page and offer the discounts to those who like our page and follow us. This is also a common practice for companies looking to expand the number of people who follow them on social media, but it seems a little too much like bribery to us. So, we're still promoting the specials on Facebook, and would love as many customers as possible to follow us, but we're not making that a requirement for the promotion. However, the monthly specials will be announced on our Facebook and Google Plus pages first. We'll follow up with an announcement of the promotion on this blog so everyone can benefit, while still providing some incentive for following one of our social media pages.

    carrera-main

    As you would expect, each month we'll have a different promotion, and this month we thought we'd start off with a discount offer on our newest banner stand, the Carrera cassette retractable banner stand. It always takes some time for new products to develop a following and become popular, so we thought we'd speed up the process by offering a $20 discount on the Carrera this month. The Carrera is a high end stand with a mid-level price. It's the most solidly made and durable stand we offer with an inexpensive graphic cassette that makes banner changes extremely quick and easy. Extra cassettes can be used to maintain a library of graphics for use at different events, or, because the cassettes are so inexpensive, replacement graphics can be ordered preinstalled on a cassette for extremely easy graphic changes that anyone can do in seconds. It also has a high quality telescopic support pole with lever locks for quick and easy height adjustments, and leveling feet in all four corners of the base for maximum adjustability.

    We're confident that the Carrera will become one of our more popular retractable banner stands in time because of the combination of quality, ease of use, and great price, and for the rest of the month of June, the price is even better thanks to this promotion. Simply use the code JUNE2015 during checkout to receive the discount. We hope everyone in the market for a new display tries the Carrera, because we think that it's a great banner stand and an excellent value.

    Be sure to keep up to date by checking our blog each month, and follow us on Facebook and Google Plus for even more frequent product announcements and the earliest notification of our monthly specials.

  • Fabric Display Graphics - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    Over the past several years, the display graphics industry has fallen in love with fabric. When you consider the qualities of fabric display graphics, it's easy to see why they would be popular for a wide range of applications. Dye sublimated graphics generally offer vibrant color that becomes part of the fabric itself, making them very durable and beautiful. Dye sublimation inks are available for printing on many different types of fabrics, but for the display industry, inks that print on polyester are the standard, which makes sense because of the incredible range of weights, weaves, textures and finishes that polyester offers. If you've shopped for a trade show display in past 2-3 years, you've almost certainly looked at fabric displays as every manufacturer has been pushing them, and new models and styles are constantly being released. If you listened to the industry, you would be under the impression that fabric graphics are the best option for virtually any display, and that a fabric display is the best choice for every need. Unfortunately, like most industries, what sales people want you to believe and what's actually true are not often the same thing. The best example of this is how dye sublimated fabric graphics are often referred to as wrinkle proof. Certainly, dye sub graphics are more wrinkle resistant than any other type of graphic, but it's funny to watch a salesman demonstrate how wrinkle proof a fabric is by wadding it up and then showing the resulting wrinkled graphic like a magician that has just pulled a rabbit out of his hat. The look on their face is a little perplexed when the wrinkles in the fabric are pointed out, as if no one had noticed before that the emperor had no clothes. The fact that fabric wrinkles shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, nor should it prevent anyone from purchasing a fabric graphic, since unlike other materials, the wrinkles can be steamed or ironed out, but it's important to know that in advance in order to be prepared for that step when setting up a display.

    The reason fabric displays are being pushed to consumers is that dye sublimated graphics are seen as a premium priced graphic option, with much larger profit margins than standard graphics. Because of this, display manufacturers have decided to get into the printing business by offering overpriced fabric graphics, and they push fabric displays so they can sell the pricey graphics to go with them. Because printing and finishing fabric graphics is more involved and requires special equipment, usually the expensive kind, there are fewer companies producing fabric graphics in-house, and therefore less competition to drive down prices. This doesn't make fabric graphics bad, but it can make them wildly overpriced, so it's important to know when they make sense, and when a different option is the better choice.

    Fusion Fabric Graphic Display
    Where fabric graphics really shine are when stretch fabric graphics are used, usually with zippers in a pillowcase style. Displays that are designed for these kinds of stretch fabric graphics are typically made of aluminum tube frames that are lightweight and easy to assemble. The frames can have interesting shapes and when the stretch fabric graphics are pulled over the frame, the resulting display is eye catching and beautiful, and could only be created using this type of technology. A good example of this type of display is the Formulate Vertical Curve Wall. This display has a curved shape that would be possible with other technologies, but it wouldn't be easy and it wouldn't be seamless, so that's why dye sublimated stretch fabric is used. More elaborate displays, like the Formulate Fusion 20' Island trade show display could only be created with stretch fabric graphics.

    cobra-36-rls

    Even some simple displays like the Cobra Tension Fabric Banner Stands could only be made with stretch fabric, and because the unique shape is something unusual, it's very eye catching. That's where fabric display graphics are best, because getting the attention of potential customers is what a trade show is all about. And, because pillowcase graphics stretch tightly over a frame, any wrinkles in the fabric are usually pulled smooth so steaming may not be necessary.

    In some other cases, there is some advantage to fabric graphics, but these are not displays that couldn't be made with traditional graphics. Customers like the HopUp Tension Fabric Displays because they are extremely easy to set up. In this case, the stretch fabric attaches to the frame with velcro, and the pop up style frame folds down with the fabric still attached. To set up the Hopup, you simply expand the frame with the graphic attached and you're done. In this case, the stretch fabric doesn't typically pull tight enough to remove all the wrinkles in the fabric, so for the best look, some steaming is probably going to be necessary. Traditional pop up displays only take about 10 minutes to set up, but there are several steps to go through, the graphics can be damaged if they aren't handled properly, and it takes some adjustment to get the panels aligned properly. For some customers, dealing with a few wrinkles is a fair trade off for the extra work involved with a traditional pop up, but there are definite advantages to the traditional style display as well so it's really a matter of personal preference in this case.

    formulate-essentials-10-horizontal

    Similarly, the Formulate Horizontal Curve or Formulate Straight Wall offer shapes that are available in pop up displays, but with small differences like rounded corners that could only be done with fabric. The light weight, seamless look and lower cost are the typical reasons for choosing this style of display over a pop up, rather than because the shape of the display couldn't be created otherwise.

    Some of the newer displays are rectangular aluminum frames that have a channel where fabric graphics with a silicone edging sewn into the perimeter are inserted. The silicon edge graphics, or push fit graphics, as they are sometimes called, have very little advantage over traditional graphics in terms of how they look once installed, but they do have the light weight, durable nature that dye sublimated graphics are famous for. It's also possible to make a 10' display with a single graphics without seams, which can't be done with a pop up display. When these rectangular frame sections are combined together to form larger displays with right angles, they can be very interesting and attractive. We'll be adding some of this style to our site very soon because there are good reasons to use such a display. This style of display can also be backlit with LED edge lighting, which is a great idea for both trade show displays and retail displays, because illuminated graphics are always effective at drawing attention, and this would be difficult to do any other way. However, there are quite a few displays available that are simply a single, rectangular frame with feet that allow it to stand up, and we see no point to these displays at all. The same look could be achieved with a banner stand that would cost less money, take less time to set up and take down, and be more stable. Other than some backlit configurations, we have no plans to offer this kind of display, even though they can be seen everywhere at the moment.

    Similarly, we have no plans to offer dye sublimated prints for retractable banner stands. We think they're a terrible idea in general and cannot understand why other companies even offer them. None of the benefits of dye sublimated graphics are an advantage in a roll up banner stand. Dye sub fabric graphics must be hemmed to prevent fraying, or have the cut edge melted with a hot knife. The melted edge is not particularly attractive, and isn't 100% reliable in preventing fraying, and the hemmed edges look bad and can cause wrinkles when the banner is retracted. Hems can even prevent the display from rolling up properly, so they are a terrible idea. Dye sub fabrics are not typically opaque, which is a important, although not critical, so that light from behind doesn't cast visible shadows on the front of the banner. Direct printed fabrics tend to be stiffer and don't drape nicely like dye sublimated fabrics, but in a banner stand, they are ideal since the stiffness keeps them flatter and the drape-ability of the fabric isn't important. They also tend to be less expensive, which is why we offer an opaque, direct printed fabric option with most of our banner stands.

    The bottom line is that fabric display graphics can be an excellent option, but like any graphic, they should only be used when they are the best choice for a particular need. Choosing a fabric display because it's the latest style, or because it's being pushed by a manufacturer or salesman who is more concerned about how much they are profiting on the sale and less about what's best for your needs, is never a good idea.

  • New Website Features and Products

    While we are still trying to squash more bugs than we would like, our new site has been up and running since December and the feedback from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive. There is so much that's new about the site, that in addition to the usual news about new products, we'll cover a few new features in each blog post to help make sure everyone can take advantage of all that we've added.

    At the most basic level, the architecture of the new site is completely different and modern. This allowed us to make a custom site that works across all modern browsers as well as mobile devices. To compliment this, all the product photography on the site has been updated with much larger images that appear at a magnified size when you pass the cursor over them. Since most of our customers are purchasing products from us they have never seen in person, we've always felt it was extremely important to have the best possible photography and descriptions to help make up for that. When it comes to trade show displays, banner stands and other display hardware, many of our manufacturers don't share our belief in the importance of good photography, so when necessary, we took our own photos when the official versions weren't good enough. We couldn't do that for every product, but generally, we're pleased with the overall quality of images on the site. When it comes to printing materials, we did something we think is unique. We actually scanned samples of every material we offer so we could create an enlarged version that shows the color and texture of each print media. Of course, computer displays that aren't calibrated won't show the color accurately, but these still give a good relative view of the white point of each material. Being able to show the texture of each media is our favorite part of these new images, since it's very difficult to convey that to someone when they don't have the actual material in hand. We still offer printed samples by mail, but not everyone has the time to wait to see those, so these new scanned images are the next best thing to having an actual sample. We've simulated the printed images on each to show the effect of the color and texture, and with giclee fine art materials such as watercolor papers and canvas, where the materials themselves are very similar, often the white point and texture are the main differences. Being able to see that on the site should be very helpful when selecting a material for a print job. Textured wall covering materials, floor decals, fabrics and banner materials tend to each have different qualities that make them appropriate for a particular use, so the texture is not usually what determines the selection of a specific material. However, being able to give our customers an idea of what these textured materials look like when printed is a big deal to us, so we're really excited about this simple addition to the site.

    One unfortunate side effect of such a complete redesign of the site is that our existing customers have to create new accounts and their old order history is history. With all the benefits the new site offers, this seemed like a fair trade off, but any customers who need help finding what they've ordered in the past can contact us to look up order details for the past few years. Since our old site was completely custom, it didn't have all the bells and whistles that most of us have come to expect from online shopping sites. Being able to see tracking numbers for orders that have shipped when logged in to your account is one example of a feature that we have, but didn't before. Other new account functions include managing any product reviews you've written, tags you've created, or items you've added to a wishlist. You can also ask questions about particular products, and we can have your questions, along with our answers, show up on the product pages so others with the same questions can benefit. You can also add items to a shopping cart and turn that into a quote that can be used for approval, and the quote contains a link that can be used to order without having to recreate the order later. In addition to the standard Reorder functions, we've added the ability to choose certain items from a previous order to be reordered, rather than having to duplicate the entire order. We had this request in the past from customers who wanted to repeat an order, but leave off an item and this gives them that ability.

    The last new account function we've added is a new referral program. Since we've always valued the word of mouth recommendations our customers have provided over the years, we liked the idea of encouraging customers to take the time to refer us to any friends or colleagues that might benefit from our services, and reward those customers when their friends make purchases. There's a Referred Friends section of the account page where customers see which friends they've referred have actually signed up for accounts, see what rewards they've earned, and refer more friends. The Invite a Friend link sends an e-mail to up to 5 people at a time and can be used for direct referrals. There is also a Broadcast Link that can be cut and pasted into e-mails, blogs or other online posts for exposure to a larger audience, and there are also popular social media linking tools to post to those sites.

    The way the program works is that when a referred person uses the link to create an account on our site, they are connected to the account of the person who referred them. When they make their first purchase, the person who sent the referral earns $10 for every $100 spent. These credits can be used when ordering to pay for up to 20% of each purchase, and any unused credits stay in your account for future use. It's possible to earn substantial discounts with this program, but of course, this is designed to get new customers to try our services, so referrals sent to existing customers won't quality, nor will sign ups from the same company or billing address. Otherwise, we've provided the tools for our customers to share this link with as many people as possible for the greatest benefit to both us and our customers, so we hope it will be big success that benefits everyone.

    We'll discuss more new features in our next post, along with some new product information, but as always, we welcome feedback on the new site and will try to incorporate any recommended features that we think would benefit our customers.

  • New Website, Lower Expolinc Prices

    We've  been busy working on a completely new website for the past 18 months, and we hope everyone will love it when it launches. It's been an incredible amount of work, more than we ever anticipated, but it was long overdue 2 years ago when we first started to conceive the new site, so it's really overdue at this point. We'll blog about it in more detail when it's ready to launch, but anyone who would like to check it out in the meantime can visit the development version at www.powergraphics.kabail.com. It's safe to shop on the site if you'd like to try it out, and any accounts that are created will carry over to the live site. There are some bugs we're working out, and the site is still unacceptably slow, but otherwise it's fully functional. Any feedback from our customers on how it can be improved is always appreciated. The site features dozens of new products and features that we think our customers will really appreciate.

    expolinc-displays

    In the meantime, we're happy to announce that we've negotiated some significantly lower prices on Expolinc products. Expolinc is a leading manufacturer of quality display products that feature Swedish design and lifetime warranties.  While we offer the entire line of Expolinc products, it's the Expolinc banner stands that we feature on our site because of their popularity.  The Expolinc Roll Up Classic is the most popular retractable banner stand model, being available in a range of sizes, but the entry level Roll Up Compact is an especially good value. The top-of-the-line Expolinc Roll Up Professional is also now more affordable, along with lights, literature racks and pop up displays. For non-retractable banner stand displays, the Expolinc Pole System is very versatile with a range of sizes, easy setup, and flexibility to create multiple banner shapes and even convert the displays for double sided use.

    Because these are high end products with fairly high end prices, not everyone has been able to afford them. But, with the quantity of Expolinc banner stands we sell, we've been able to get discounted prices that we're passing on to our customers. For those of you who already purchase Expolinc displays, these lower prices will save you money on the products you're already familiar with. Those who thought Expolinc quality was out of their price range should take a second look because with these new lower prices, they are now price comparable to mid-range displays, making them an even greater value.

  • When art becomes more than office decor: The use of murals for improving employee mental health

    You spilled coffee on your shirt first thing at work, your boss is nagging you about an assignment due today and you just discovered that the coworker you had started seeing after work is going out with someone in accounting. Its just been one of those days. Well now that you think about it, you’ve been having a lot of those days.

    Apple readies, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, for announcement of the new iPad, which is a 9.7-inch touch-screen computer, starting at $499 and available in March. It resembles an oversize iPod Touch. January 26, 2010

    But when you sit down at your desk, the mural across the room seems to put the stress of the day into perspective and make you a little more relaxed. You don’t know why, but you find you just enjoy looking at that large, colorful piece of art.

    In recent years, a trend has gained significant momentum among businesses–one that looks at corporate art from a completely different perspective. Gone are the days when workplace art was considered only for office aesthetics. Increasingly, business owners are commissioning murals for their office space to improve employee productivity, morale, communication and teamwork.

    Having artwork in a visible location in the office has been shown to help balance the mood among workers and decrease stress. Like a good book, a mural can mentally take you to another place and serve as a positive distraction when the going gets tough at your job.

    Feel like your business’ corporate culture has been suffering of late? A mural on a highly visible wall could boost employee relations for managers and workers alike. The time has come for a change in thinking on corporate art–It’s no longer about what looks best with the new office chairs, but what instead will have the greatest impact on the creativity and well-being of your employees.

  • 3 reasons why you should invest in vehicle advertising

    What’s better than great advertising? Great advertising that goes where your customers go! Marketing with vehicle graphics is not only affordable, but has an incredible reach and effectiveness. Ask anyone and chances are they’ll remember at least one vehicle graphic they’ve seen recently.

    Car wrapping specialist wraps a car door handle with adhesive foil or film

    Is your business trying to decide where to direct its advertising budget for a product launch, upcoming event or brand recognition campaign? Here are 3 reasons why vehicle graphics will “drive” your business to success!

    Affordability. A vehicle wrap receives between 30,000 to 70,000 impressions on a daily basis. Vehicle graphics have the lowest cost-per-impression in advertising–meaning your business can reach the maximum number of people for the least amount of money.

    Flexibility. Not ready for the commitment of full wraps for your entire fleet? Magnetic vehicle graphics allow you to switch out graphics between your vehicles, or use them on a personal vehicle only when it’s being used for work.

    Reach. The average American drives more than 30 miles per day. More than 95 percent are reached by ads targeted to drivers and passengers, and 8 out of 10 walk the streets of a town or city almost a mile a day in a given week.

    Hence, with vehicle graphics you don’t have to devote an enormous budget to expose your customers to your brand, products or services–every moment they spend waiting in traffic, cruising on the highway, sitting in a parked car or walking the streets becomes an advertising opportunity.

  • Large art: The glue that binds us together as a people

    When we think of early men and women painting the first cave drawings, it’s easy for us to imagine them as possessing the minds of children finger-painting on the rock walls of their dwellings. But these cave illustrations, while primitive in our eyes, served a critical role for the first humans—they enabled them to maintain a cultural cohesion throughout the span of generations without the need for literacy. Through these drawings they could pass down cultural lessons, stories and traditions in pictorial form and in so doing, bind descendants to ancestors.

    Famous prehistoric rock paintings of Tassili N Ajjer, Algeria

    If you think we have evolved past the need for such seemingly uncivilized methods of communication, think again. Large art continues to play an important part in today’s society. But in order to see the modern equivalent of these wall paintings of old, you must think beyond the scribbles of cavemen and the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt.

    The mural you painted in your daughter’s bedroom of her favorite Disney characters, that controversial billboard you see on your way to work, the graffiti art on the building downtown, the religious painting in a great cathedral–What do all these have in common? They all act as cultural glue that brings us together as people.

    While we may trivialize it as only an advertisement, or a sign or a fun illustration to decorate our child’s room, large art holds a greater meaning and purpose. Like early cave paintings, it permits us to live beyond the restraints of time that mortality places on us by leaving behind pieces of cultural identity for our descendants.

    So as you consider designing a sign, a mural, or a billboard, try to imagine the excitement of future generations as they dig it up out of the earth and put it on display in a museum as a relic of a bygone era—a window into the culture of times past. Because where you see a practical piece of art for your home or business, your descendants will see a piece of their historical identity.

  • Design essentials for the modern man cave

    The modern man cave is not only a refuge from the cares of the world, it is a place of solace for relaxing, a place for friends to share in fun and a place for creative self-expression.

    Guy enjoying his evening watching television from the sofaWhile the woman of your life is busy claiming the home you share as her artistic domain — complete with colorful vases, floral arrangements and Asian fans — don’t feel like you have to simply suck it up and hide in the corner. Whether it’s a den, a spare bedroom, a garage or even a shed, you can have your space too and make it yours with your own sense is style.

    Do you remember your posters? The ones from your college days that your girlfriend insisted you take down the day she moved in with you…as she hung her art on the walls instead? Get them reproduced as giclees for your man cave, and they will last even longer than your patience of your girlfriend’s interior design takeover.

    Nothing makes a bigger statement in a room more than large art, and open spaces simply scream for a mural. Is paint a “no-go” in your current residence? If so, then wall decals are the perfect alternative to go BIG with your man cave design.

    The relationship a man has with his vehicle — yes, a relationship — is one of admiration. While not technically part of your man cave, your beloved set of wheels deserves no less respect when it comes to design — a vehicle wrap can transform your beauty into a machine of pure, sleek awesomeness.

    Have more ideas for your man cave you’d like to share with us? Hit us up!

  • Upgrades to Yellowstone attraction include digital tech

    D3D Cinema announced in April the launch of a project to convert a giant screen at Yellowstone IMAX® Theatre to 4K Digital, says Glenn Hales, general manager of the theater. It’s the first step in bringing a 3D dimensional experience to the popular attraction, he says.

    Light shimmers across the surface of Chromatic Pool in Yellowstone National Park - USAPlanned upgrades include a NEC 4K projector, a Dolby 4K server, a QSC 5.1 audio system and a new screen display manufactured by MDI, according to a D3D company press release.

    Hales noted the upgrade will offer a significant improvement in the visual acuity of the display for visitors to the Yellowstone National Park. He says the April launch of multiple upgrades at the popular attraction will also provide a 3D experience for viewers as well as laser illumination.

    Don Kempf, president and founder of D3D, highlighted the strategic advantages gained in converting the landmark’s attraction to take advantage of the latest display technology.

    “The upgrade to a 4K digital solution is a big first step in modernizing the theater,” said Hales. “With the conversion in April, we will immediately start taking advantage of the vastly improved quality, economics and versatility of digital exhibition,” he said. ”Operational savings today will be redeployed towards future improvements.”

    Kempf cited the project as an example of the shift in improved economics of digital 3D, which he says is invigorating the giant-screen market. “It’s just a great example of how the dramatically improved economics of digital 3D are breathing new life into the giant screen market,” he says.

    Are you ready to rejuvenate your signage marketing? Ask us about ways you can bring your company’s signage into the modern age!

  • The science behind creating your own typeface

    We are surrounded by typefaces. So much so, in fact, that few of us take note of fonts used in a sign, website or magazine. Despite most fonts going largely unnoticed, typefaces make a powerful impression and fulfill an important role. Show a person a word in the Coca Cola or Reese’s font and most will immediately connect the typeface with the company’s brand.

    But with all the fonts currently in existence, what brings about the desire or need to create a new one? The thrill of creating something new that others can use, for one. Many fonts are open source and available to the public for free. Another is the need for a font for a specific project. But whatever the reason, the following tips will get you started on designing a custom font of your own.

    Consider what you want your font to say. Write down three adjectives that describe the font you wish to create. Remember, a typeface does more than change the appearance of a design – it gives it a new identity. Using a different color in a design is akin to changing your clothing, but using a different font is like adopting a new personal style.

    Don’t let your artistic side hinder the true purpose of a font. When designing a typeface, it’s easy to get carried away with long serifs. That irresistible urge to put your life’s energy into your artistic creation can overwhelm the font’s functionality and consequently, its usefulness.

    Indeed, the best and most sought-after fonts are not the whimsical ones with graceful flourishes, but rather the typefaces demonstrating restraint and sophistication. Typefaces at their core must serve the practical purpose of helping us visualize the written word, while remaining muted enough to not scream, “look at me!”

    Every font should be created with a purpose in mind. Some fonts like Helvetica are more all-purpose while others like Chalk are limited to a specific function. Even if you are creating a font for fun, take the time to first determine what applications the font could be used for. This sets the tone for the typeface and will aid in its construction.

    Consider if serif or sans-serif is more appropriate: Historically, serif fonts have been used for formal applications and sans serif for casual use, but today tradition has given way to increased flexibility and crossover.

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