But there isn’t much persuading required of Vernon. “For the liquor industry, we’ll do large window graphics that are generally on a static cling interior mount,” Gabriel said. “Generally, it’s their idea to do the window graphic. We’re not dealing with a mom-and-pop that we have to convince.”
At Denver’s New Vista Image, a seven-year-old company specializing in corporate interior graphics, wall murals, museum exhibits, and vehicle graphics, the staff is comparatively new to window graphics.
But the company has begun working with a retail association called the Downtown Denver Partnership, which uses New Vista Image-produced window graphics on the windows of an empty storefront that stands prominently along the 16th Street Mall, a heavily-trafficked pedestrian mall with a free shuttle.
The window graphics are changed out seasonally by the partnership, and have showcased graphics to help sell downtown Denver as a viable retail center, said New Vista Image president Ann Brown. Among graphics used have been eye-catching images of fireworks, and of the Denver skyline at dusk, she said.
Keys to Success
A number of factors are important in ensuring success in the segment of window graphics, veterans of the field say. Among the most important is picking materials that fit the project’s requirements. “You must have the knowledge of what will suit [clients’] needs,” Underwood said. It might be “low-tack with an adhesive for short-term projects, or window cling for something that’s put up for a month. You can use a more permanent adhesive, such as polyethylene film designed to last longer, for longer standing applications.”
Perforated films are popular, because they allow those inside the interior space to look outside through the glass, while also permitting exterior light to penetrate through the window. “If you have a showroom, where people need to look out and light’s important, that’s the right material for a graphic,” he added.
As for regulations impacting window graphics, they appear to differ widely from one city or town to the next, Underwood reported.
“You have to be aware of what you’re getting into, and what’s legally accepted,” he advised. “Some municipal restrictions regard a window graphic on the outside of a window as an outdoor sign, requiring you to get sign permits in order to hang them—although some try to get around that.”
For his part, Gabriel reported some municipalities don’t require permits for window graphics because they regard that space as part of the owner’s store. Others insist store owners obtain an outdoor signage permit, he said. However, a larger issue is often where the graphics are going. “You may need a lift if the window is particularly tall, and that sometimes requires a permit,” he reported.
At Digigraph Xpress, Duffy reports he hasn’t had to deal with many permit issues, though graphics from his shop don’t usually go outside. “Most of the stuff we do is on the inside for that reason,” he said, referring to the fact that creating graphics for insides of windows is one way to avoid or reduce permit issues.
Brown reports her shop faced a number of concerns to ensure its window graphics look right. “The installation has to be done in warmer weather,” she said, referring to a temperature range of 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit recommended for installation. “We had to gear our installation around a day with temperatures in that range. That involved rescheduling at least once.”
Resolution was another key issue, as New Vista Image was producing window graphics that used photographic images. “We worked with a Denver photographer, and sometimes photographers’ work is geared to a small application,” she said. “We needed it to be at least 300 DPI at full size.”
Also, when working with panel-to-panel images, adding a half-inch bleed on all sides can be critical. New Vista Image always conducts a site survey and takes its own measurements, no matter what dimensions the client cites. “There needs to be some flexibility for the installer,” Brown reported. “But it’s amazing how many people produce panels without bleed; with no margin for error.”
For those window graphics providers that produce a higher volume of work, the hiring of competent and experienced installation teams is a must.