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(March 2014) posted on Mon Mar 10, 2014

Six shops exploring the expanding universe of white-ink applications.

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By Mike Antoniak

Figuring prominently in that visibility: work incorporating the white-ink capabilities of the shop’s Roland VersaCamm VS-640 printer/cutter. In fact, he says white ink is a necessity for some prints destined for display in the cold Canadian climate. “We can’t put external vinyl on windows here,” he explains. “White ink allows us to install window clings with the proper opacity on the inside of glass, with all the color we’re looking for.”

And there’s another benefit, Calon reports: “The ability to change the opacity of white with spot channels to have the white fade in and out at full opacity for some semi-transparent effects. The effects are flawless.”
In fact, Calon now considers white ink a necessity for delivering what clients want in some graphics. It figures in about half of 54blue’s projects – to make colors pop when printed on clear or colored vinyl, to balance off-color media, and for printing photos on clear film.

Recent examples can be seen at The Impact Lab, a learning center at the Winsport Heritage Center – a sports facility situated in Calgary’s Olympic Park, site of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. 54blue’s team was involved in all aspects of the Lab: design, fabrication, printing, and installation of the graphics on a range of materials.

Sponsored in part by 54blue clients Oakley and Giro, the Impact Lab is a 2300-square-foot retail space/education zone promoting safety equipment for skiing, snowboarding, and bobsledding. “It’s a space dedicated to safety on the snow,” says Calon. “People can learn how helmets work, how goggles protect the eyes, and what they need for padding on the hills.”

The winter theme alone warrants a healthy dose of white. It’s also integral to the effects seen in displays there. A 10 x 30-foot window graphic announces the lab and invites visitors, printed with white and additional colors onto 54-inch strips of Catalina Cling. Inside, they navigate from station to station to learn about safety gear available for purchase. Display and wall graphics were produced with the shop’s Roland printer. Many were output on clear vinyl, using spot white to highlight or back up other colors, then applied to glassy or acrylic panels.