Popping from Both Directions: Gardner Signs
White ink on tww-sided vinyl window makes window covering that really "pops"
“When we began in 1985, we were primarily a manufacturing and installation company for electric signs,” says Butch Gardner, owner of Gardner Signs in Salisbury, Maryland.
Gardner purchased his first piece of digital equipment in the early 1990s, when he opted for a Gerber Edge thermal printer, which he used to create vinyl lettering for vehicles and decals. Around 1999, he bought his first wide-format printer, an Océ Arizona 180, and later followed that with a 104-inch Seiko. “But I saw the need for a flatbed,” he says, “and several times on a job I’d wished I had white ink, for a decal or something. I began looking around at other machines. When I saw the Agfa Anapurna XL2, I said this is the one.” Gardner took delivery on his XL2 last August.
One job he’s used it for was a window decal done for another sign company. “They came in with the artwork and wanted us to back it up with a piece of white vinyl after it was stuck on their window,” Gardner recalls. “They didn’t know we had equipment that could run white ink. We printed their design to the point they didn’t need all that white vinyl backing it up.”
The final decal was to be about 5-feet wide x 3-feet tall, and would be applied to the inside of the shop’s window. The customer brought Gardner an EPS file that had all the colors assigned. “We brought their file into Adobe Illustrator,” Gardner says, “and made white a color. Then we put it into our Wasatch RIP and told it we wanted to print white just like it was another color.
“The first pass printed the image so you could see it from the outside looking in, but it was real translucent. So we came back and made a solid white pass on it, which made the colors nice and opaque. Finally, so that you didn’t just see a big white blob from inside the room, we printed the colors on top of the white again. It really popped from both directions.”