Supermarkets, clothing store chains and other retail outlets need clear signage with messaging that’s sharply and professionally printed to draw in customers.
However, signs, posters or banners that are printed on both sides of a single piece of paperboard may bleed through to either side if the proper technology is not used. The effect will be accentuated in the light of day, for example, with a storefront window sign. This poor print execution where a customer will see backwards type from the opposite side of the sign looks unprofessional and may confuse the customer because it’s difficult to read.
This is not a problem, though, if the right paper is used in the print process, whether it is done by a commercial printer or by the in-house sign department of a large corporation or major retailer, where large format digital printers that can handle this sort of job are increasingly found.
“Think of a deck of playing cards. It’s essential that players not see each other’s hand, so playing cards are printed on paper stock that has black in the middle that prevents seeing through to the other side of the card,” says Mark J. Rowell, president of Mammoth Media, a digital print house in Pembroke, Massachusetts. “There are similar solutions for banners and other POP signage that needs to be visible from two sides, with either a different or the same message on each side. If it’s in a storefront or other well-lit area, it’s even more critical that the right kind of paper stock is used.”
New types of “block-out” or “stop-light” papers are the ideal stock for retail window signage and banners. Although it is only available from select sources throughout the United States, the 100 percent opaque paper board is perfect both for large retailers that have large format digital print capabilities in house and for commercial printers.
This specialized product is created from two papers, with a black adhesive between them, laminated to create one piece. The black center makes the paper opaque, allowing for clean, double-sided, no-bleed-through printing. So viewers only see what they’re supposed to see – there’s no seeing through to the printing on the other side.
“This type of paper is well suited to window applications, because it so effectively blocks direct sunlight,” says Rowell. He has used it on many retail POP signage projects, small and large, including major programs which require printing and distribution of materials across a nationwide chain.
One paper Rowell has used for numerous POP client needs is Opacity II, a branded product from Lamitech, a fully integrated paperboard manufacturing company based in Cranbury, New Jersey. The product has superior print quality for digital, offset and screen printing, and the standard clay coating works well for two-sided printing. Opacity II is a brighter white than its predecessor, Opacity, and was created specifically to meet the needs of the digital print market.
The availability of the product in sheets up to 70” as well as in rolls makes it versatile to meet Rowell’s diverse printing needs. For a project that required printing and distribution to 1,900 retail locations, Rowell says rolls were the right match for the job that required 32,000 sq. feet of paper – or about 1 ¼ miles of printing.
“As a digital provider, a client will come to me with an idea or problem, and they rely on me to come up with the right answer,” says Rowell at Mammoth. “In turn, I rely on my paper suppliers to come up with the best fit in often a quick turnaround.”