“There are differences between acrylic, PET, and PVC,” he reports. “They shrink differently, perform differently, and remove differently.”
Applications Worth Noticing
No one entering the window graphics market should be concerned their creativity will be hampered by lack of material choices. Today’s array of window films is wider and more varied than ever before, experts say.
One notable example is perforated window film used in combination with building wraps, Yard says. “They use a product like RoughRAP that’s designed for rough brick and concrete block, as well as a perforated window film to provide a continuous image that moves across both the windows and the structural walls of the building,” he explains. “It‘s often seen on a high-rise or, for instance, a five-story hotel or hospital. We‘ve had it in different climates and applications.”
Privacy films for office settings are another increasingly popular choice, Yard says. “This is used indoors, and it’s in a lot of conference rooms or office fronts that include glass windows. Instead of putting blinds or shades on that front window, privacy film will be installed to provide some opacity so interior occupants enjoy natural light, without allowing outsiders to see in.”
Attention-getting looks can be achieved with some of the newer window films, Roba says. An example? By screen printing on Avery SF 100 Ultra Clear, one shop created custom gem tone colors like rich rubies, emeralds, and sapphires to decorate the window of an upscale clothing store.
Another look is that of etched glass. “One of our most successful campaigns was the use of an etched glass film on 7-Eleven storefronts,” Roba says, referring to Avery 900 Supercast Window Film Etchmark.
“It was the store brand promotion, to create a privacy screen to cover the backs of magazine racks [positioned in the front of the store with their backs toward the parking lot]. It was both a functional and decorative application.”
Privacy is often sought by business and professional offices, such as dentists’ offices, he adds. One of Avery Dennison’s customers printed on opaque vinyl as well as perforated window film. The opaque vinyl created privacy, while the window film allowed for safety and security in the doorway.
MPI digitally printed calendered film was used to achieve privacy, while MPI perforated window film was used for safety on the doors.
Durabilty and special effects are two benefits of a new 3M Commercial Graphics product, an optically clear cast film called 3M Scotchcal Clear View Graphic Film IJ8150. “When you apply it to the surface, you’re not going to end up with any hazing, and you will have an optically clear image on a long-term durable material,” Johnson says. “If you have the ability to print white ink, you have more flexibility to create special effects, like one-way vision, with one film.” These days, everything is being wrapped, and this particular film would go over the windows of wrapped buildings, Johnson says. “Because it’s cast, it would be very long lasting,” she adds. “This one has an expected service life of seven years, and might be used in branding or for architectural looks.”
Another film from 3M Commercial Graphics is not termed optimally clear, but is clear enough for promotional purposes, she says. That film is the 3M Changeable Window Graphic Film IJ61. The difference between this and the above film is that this one is designed for short-term window applications of about one year, and those in which users are more conscious of their budgets.
“These appear on stores, quick-serve restaurants, cafes, anywhere a short-term sale needs promotion,” she says.
Clear Focus has also been used to generate stunning results. Sonoma, CA-based Zipper Gifts owner Steven Saden contacted FASTSIGNS in San Rafael to help him and his partner Elizabeth Cashour dress up the facade of their wine country gift store. “Ryan Powell at FASTSIGNS showed Steven the Clear Focus window film display in his shop,” Bellah relates. “Steven knew immediately it was exactly what he wanted for his store.”