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Lamination for large format prints – why we love it

OCTOBER 2, 2011| SpeedPro Imaging of SF Peninsula

Lamination is usually considered an option; an extra that adds cost to your deliverable.  So why and when should large format prints, decals, signs, and occasionally banners be laminated?  There are several factors that affect whether lamination is necessary or cost-effective for your project.  For some projects, like vehicle wraps or long term floor graphics, lamination isn’t really an option – it’s a must.  For other display graphics it becomes a decision based on aesthetics, durability or longevity.

Some printers boast that because they’re printing with UV cured inks direct to substrate, “no lamination is needed.”  That’s true; and it’s also true for latex and solvent printers or light (eco) solvent inkjet printers.  All these non-aqueous inks hold up well against the fading that occurs in exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.  But as a friend of ours likes to say, “the Sun always wins, eventually.”

  • So, one major factor in determining the benefits of lamination is solar exposure.  Basically, if it’s going outside for an extended, you’re better off with a laminate — whether a liquid laminate for a longer term banner or matte, luster or gloss film laminates for prints.
  • Lamination also protects the finish from scratches.  This can be a factor with a mounted poster or Point of Sale display and certainly comes into play with exhibits and trade show panels that are shipped, assembled and dismantled.
  • And last but not least, lamination can enhance the beauty of your images.  Today’s matte laminates, for example, bring a soft richness to prints without dulling or flattening the image. A luster lam can really help a picture pop without too much glare.

In future blog posts we’ll discuss the some of the different laminate materials and finishes available to suit your usage requirements or taste.

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