24 Jun 2019

Sign & Graphics Services raises the bar with Mimaki JV150-160 printer investment

Hybrid Mimaki SGS Tullamore1 LFR

In the rapidly growing vehicle wrapping sector, customers are demanding ever-more creative solutions to make a real statement. One small family-run business in the West Midlands has now taken the medium to new heights (quite literally) with investment in a Mimaki JV150-160 solvent printer from Mimaki reseller, CMYuK.

Coleshill-based Sign & Graphics Services offers a full range of wide format print services to the retail, exhibition and sign & graphics industries and in the process has established itself as something of a specialist in out-of-the-ordinary vehicle wraps. Owner Mike Bolton takes up the story: “I set up SGS just over three years ago after many years working in the digital print industry. Whilst we may be relatively small, we’ve carved ourselves a nice little niche in large scale vehicle wraps for the mobile exhibition sector. We’ve completed a number of complete double-decker bus wraps for promotional purposes which present some unique challenges.”

As Mike goes on to explain: “Our real skill lies in having the knowledge and experience to turn a designer's dream and vision into reality. It’s a huge undertaking and preparation and adaptation of design concepts is all part of the process. Experience has taught us little tricks such as where to use Contravision media and where not to and how best to format such large scale graphics.”

All this might seem rather daunting for many other vehicle wrappers, but Mike believes it’s all down to meticulous planning. “We reckon that two of us can complete a full double-decker bus wrap in around four days. Good teamwork and detailed preparation has made us pretty good at what we do,” he muses.

Reliable, high quality print is also at the heart of any great vehicle wrap job and SGS has continually invested in the best wide format kit available. As Mike explains: “I’ve spent a lot of time working with Mimaki kit over the years in different companies and always found it to be reliable and capable of delivering spectacular quality and durable results even when under pressure. I was a big fan of the JV33 and when the new JV150 series was launched I just knew it was worth checking out. I’ve known Robin East at CMYuK for many years. Input and advice from both Robin and Sarah Fenna in demonstrating the new Mimaki was invaluable and led to the purchase of a JV150-160. The colour gamut and resolution even in 4-colour mode is simply stunning and a really critical part of any high impact vehicle wrap – especially when it’s as big as a bus!”

Mike and his team at SGS are now doing more specialist work for the trade and marketing promotions industry and have become so adept at these large scale wraps that they’re getting increasingly involved in complete re-fits and builds. “Using specialist tradesmen such as carpenters and auto-electricians we’re now regularly managing the whole project for clients,” comments Mike. “A double-decker bus promo unit for Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey was a particularly challenging project but as the pictures prove, the results were amazing. Equally, the conversion of a flat bed truck for Continental Tyres used as a promotional vehicle in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup, involved adaptation of original designs, fabrication and a well-executed combination of cut vinyl graphics and digital print”

“Tackling these large scale projects just requires a bit more time and thought in the planning and preparation, but experience has taught me that having the right equipment is also crucial to any successful project. Mimaki kit has always delivered for me, I know I can rely on it and the new JV150 just raises the bar even higher.”

... as high as a double-decker bus perhaps?

[Images show (above) completed bus wrap for Tullamore Dew; and (below) the wrapping work in progress]

Hybrid Mimaki SGS Tullamore2 LFR

Royal Academy Schools Show displays works created using latest Epson technologies

epson logo

Several of the contemporary works on display in this year’s Royal Academy Schools Show have been inspired and created using Epson’s large format printers and projectors. Housed alongside the Schools’ historic studio spaces, the on-site Epson Digital Suite provides students with the opportunity to experiment and create their unique pieces with the very latest Epson digital imaging technology available.

All 17 students have worked with Epson technology at some time during their three years course and it features strongly in several students’ work at the show this year.

Caroline Abbotts combines and collects materials from both the chemical and the natural world to create her installations. She used an Epson large format inkjet printer to produce her Faders series of blue-toned silver gelatin prints imaged by the moon:
Epson Cue Caroline Abbotts LFR 
 Josie Cockram works with photographic print, moving images, sculpture and sound. Works on show include her Wanting series of inkjet prints on plywood, produced on an Epson printer:

Epson Josie Cockram Wanting LFR
Maria de Lima works across a range of media, spanning painting, video, print and sculpture, pivoted on explorations of colour and perception. Her Triumphal Arch inkjet print was produced on an Epson printer:

Epson Maria de Lima Triumphal Arch LFR
The only free three-year postgraduate art course in the UK, the RA Schools programme is tailor-made to the individual, affording each artist the space and flexibility to develop their work across a wide range of media. It receives no government funding and relies on the generous support of its patrons and sponsors such as Epson.

Situated at the heart of the Royal Academy, the exhibition is held in the RA Schools’ rarely-seen working studios and provides visitors with a unique opportunity to view exceptional pieces from a new generation of artists. The finished artwork spans a range of media from painting to photography, sculpture, digital print and film.

Mark Hamspon, Head of Materials Processes, Royal Academy Schools, said: “The standard of work produced by the students for their final show is, as always, exceptional and demonstrates the wonderful creative outcomes of the collaboration between the RA Schools and Epson. The purpose-built Epson Digital Suite allows students to experiment with and draw inspiration from the latest digital imaging technologies, often in unexpected and alternative ways, and supports their works across a vast range of media.”

Nick White, business manager, ProGraphics at Epson UK, said: “Epson is very proud to continue its support of the Royal Academy Schools and its new generation of emerging artists. Through our mutually beneficial partnership we are able to offer the students the opportunity to work with Epson equipment and media to develop their creative ideas and produce some visually stunning works.”

Further information:
The RA Schools Show runs until 28th June.
Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD. Tel: 020 7300 8000 www.royalacademy.org.uk

Printing ice menus with a JETRIX printer leads to award win for Willow Graphics

willow graphics ice jetrix

A unique request from a unique venue – the ICEBAR in London - has won Willow Graphics the ‘creative use of a substrate’ award at The Print, Design and Marketing Awards held in London last week.

Using the JETRIX KX7 direct to media UV printer, Willow Graphics reverse printed bespoke menus on to 3mm cast acrylic using multiple layers of white ink and varnish to ‘seal in the design' and ensure it could withstand temperatures of -5% all year round.

And it has not stopped there, with this stationary flatbed featuring 6 picoliter head nozzles for razor sharp edge-to-edge HD, even being capable of printing on ice itself, as this video from Willow Graphics shows - https://vimeo.com/125557802

As Ben Woodruff, JETRIX UK Sales Manager says: “We are delighted that Willow Graphics have won this fantastic award, as it demonstrates their capabilities of producing distinctive large format digital printing projects and it really reflects the capabilities of what the JETRIX printer series can achieve.”

Surface pattern designer and illustrator Rachael Taylor to join speaker line-up at New Designers exhibition

Rachael Taylor drawing

Flourishing surface pattern designer and illustrator Rachael Taylor will be in London on Thursday June 25, 2015 to join an impressive speaker line-up at the New Designers exhibition.

Rachael will be joining The Design Trust’s Creative Start-up day, which is a full, information-packed speaker event for recent design and craft graduates during the first week of New Designers. The Design Trust have invited some very successful creatives and experts to take the stage between 10:30am and 4:30pm who will each share their trade secrets.

Rachael will take to the stage at 12:30pm for 30 minutes to deliver her presentation ‘How to make it in the surface pattern design industry‘. Here she’ll share all her top tips, practical advice and story of how she’s made it in this exciting industry.

Rachael took a brave move seven years ago to branch out on her own and has never looked back. She has a bank of inspiring success stories along with a valuable list of things she wished she knew when she first started out. The things Rachael will talk about could save emerging surface pattern designers years of trial and error, money, time and heartache, but also give them insight and the confidence to help them go for it!

Says Taylor: “I am thrilled to have been invited to speak at The Design Trust’s Creative Start-up day this June. It’s going to be an amazing and really informative event and I’m really looking forward to having the opportunity to share my story and meet lots of new creative talent.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to experience some awesome things in my career for which I’m truly thankful. But it’s not always been easy. I want to take this opportunity to share all the things I’ve learned to help others making the journey into this industry stress free, easy and highly rewarding.”

Rachael will be accompanied by her studio manager Kelly Crossley and they'll both be on hand to help answer any questions and review any design work (limited to one per person) presented to them. In addition, other members of the Make it in Design team will also be there on the day to chat about this year’s Summer School, The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design September classes, ways to get involved and how to access all of the amazing resources available to support designers throughout their careers.

Rachael will be sharing the stage with the likes of Lara Watson – editor of popular craft magazine ‘Mollie Makes’, Alison Lewy – founder of the specialist business support agency ‘Fashion Angel’, Anna Denise-Floor – senior market development specialist of ‘Etsy UK’ and many more.

Check out the full speaker line up at http://www.thedesigntrust.co.uk/start-up-day-new-designers-2015-london and to visit the New Designers show website http://www.newdesigners.com 

To find out more about Rachael Taylor visit: www.rachaeltaylordesigns.co.uk and for details about Make it in Design visit www.makeitindesign.com

Rachael Taylor at work

Love it or hate it, flock wallpaper is back. Thanks HP!

flock hp latex

Some things simply never go out of vogue; others aren’t so lucky (e.g. the Robin Reliant, which has never, ever to returned to its 'glory' days). However some things that we never thought would (or should) rise again, do - and go so far as to be heralded the latest trend (again). And no, we’re not referring to the constant resurgence of flares or dungarees in the fashion world here (though they’re definitely on the ‘should’ list) but rather a rise from the ashes of the 60s/70s of Flock Wallpaper.

Love it or hate it, it’s back! Yet the company responsible for this revival, The Surface Print Company, is in no way a business stuck in the past. They are way ahead of the game and the leading innovators of new and contemporary wallcoverings. Better still, their unique range that also includes Digital and Holographic Foils, are all made exclusively in Britain.

The Surface Print Company provide high-quality, bespoke wallcoverings to a client base consisting of high-end companies. The company was established in 1990 and has since had 2 generations of family involved in the business.

Abigail Watson, Sales Director and daughter of Chairman and founder John Watson, says, “Our clients often present challenging designs and requirements. By working closely with them and continually working on new technical innovations and print processes we can really push the boundaries in what we produce. Along with a recognised reputation for quality, we feel this combination is the basis of our success.”

The mix of traditional and modern printing technology reflects the myriad of inspiring styles and designs the clients demand. Many wallpaper types are printed on Surface and Sur-Flex machines, creating a beautiful hand-painted effect. Holographic wallpaper is printed on a foil substrate, and new innovations introduced in recent months, include flock and beads on to foil to create even more stunning 3D effects. And Flock paper, back by popular demand by some clients, is produced on a state-of-the-art, custom built machine which is the only one of its kind in the world.

As some of the print processes for the wallpaper are quite complex, bulk or minimum roll orders are needed. However since December 2013 The Surface Print Company invested in digital print technology, specifically the HP Latex 3000. In addition to the positive environmental aspects that Latex printing offers and which sits perfectly within the company’s eco-policies and Chain of Custody system, digital printing increases order flexibility; smaller runs, faster lead times, wider widths and more colours. In fact, the endless design possibilities are restricted now only by the clients’ imagination.

hp latex 3000

The speed of digital printing has made things much easier in the order process as everything is pre-production approved. The further investment of the HP LX360 machine as a ‘sample’ machine has proved so successful that an upgrade is already in the plans for later this year.

Abigail explains, “Although the HP printer will not replace the technology that produces Flock for example, it has opened up a new client-base for us that we previously couldn’t reach with the traditional technologies.“

Getting the fine balance of new and old technology right has enabled The Surface Print Company to move and grow with their clients’ demands whilst still keeping the traditional methods of wallpaper production very much alive. Over the last 25 years they have been able to hand-pick expert, skilled craftspeople from the area, which is also known as the heart of the industry, and pass these skills, such as colour-mixing by hand, down the generations through customised apprenticeship schemes and training programs.

With an established reputation built on quality they have attracted some of the most prestigious names in the design and interior décor world. Exporting to many countries including USA and India for high-end clientele such as Liberty’s, Ralph Lauren and Cath Kidston.

British manufacturers have had untold pressures piled upon them since the recession and amidst recent market and currency uncertainties. Yet with true ‘hold fast, keep calm’ British spirit, the Surface Print Company by being innovators, creators and sometimes revivalists, have survived, developed and, best of all, flourished.

flock wallpaper

Chillipepper Signs brands Siltbuster hardware with Metamark M7 vinyl

Metamark Siltbuster LFR

Whether Siltbuster is a familiar name to you or whether it isn’t, chances are you’ve passed some of its hardware on a low-loader making its way along the motorway, and you may have even wondered what it is, and where it’s going. Here’s the answer - we have Siltbuster to thank for the fact that construction sites, among others, can prevent water contamination and stay on good terms with today’s far tighter environmental legislation.

Siltbuster, in turn, has Monmouth-based Chillipepper Signs to thank for its impressive looking hardware being branded. Chillipepper and Siltbuster are practically neighbours and Chillipepper keeps the manufacturer supplied from a long list of available graphics, applied by the Chillipepper team, when it’s time for hardware to leave the factory and begin its journey to the customer or end-user.

Construction site plant leads a hard life and so does the branding it wears. Chillipepper uses Metamark M7 processed on its Summa plotter to produce the Siltbuster graphics and the applied results do the required job and do it well.

Chillipepper Signs has been in the signing business for about thirteen years and has an impressive clientele in the locality and further afield. The company’s work for Siltbuster though has probably been seen in more far-flung places than any other. Siltbuster products are in demand and sold all over the world. Every unit is branded locally by Chillipepper Signs.