At QPS, our large format print department creates and prints window graphics for storefronts and for businesses.
As the high street becomes more competitive and it’s of major importance to stand out from the crowd, your windows are prime real estate for grabbing the attention of potential customers.
Are you making the most of yours?
This post looks at some of the innovative media available for window graphics and how to use them to make the most impact.
Types of Window Graphics
There are three main types of business window graphics:
- One-way vision window graphics
And with those three types, there are important reasons for choosing one over the other.
Clear Window Graphics
Clear is clear for two good reasons – you want to either look out through the window or you want the world outside to look in.
From the inside, clear window graphics allow light to stream in and keep the interior bright and welcoming.
From the outside they allow the window to be part of the display behind the glass.
Walk down the high street and look at the way retailers use clear window graphics to add visual elements to the items behind them. Summer themed images on the windows and summer items and accessories behind. The same with text – sale, 20% off individual items and the products lined up behind ready to be paid for and shipped home.
For clear window graphics, we use a couple of different products.
Self-cling or static cling works well and we can produce cling window graphics by screenprinting. Screenprinting is ideal for higher volume quantities with few variations and will provide a cost saving against other forms of printing. We can also use digital printing if the requirement is for more design variations or smaller quantities. Whichever your promotion falls into, there will be a way to make it as cost effective as possible.
Polyester films are a little more expensive than self-clings (PVC) but for clarity, they look the business.
Viziprint Impress or Solvoclear are two branded polyester window films that combine optical clarity with easy-apply abilities. Both have a micro-sucker type adhesive – no glue – and the manufacturer’s claim they can be taken on and off the window dozens of times and still keep their ‘stickiness’.
We know from a recent window campaign we printed that these easy-apply window graphics films are the simplest options when the store’s management is applying them.
Its one thing for us to turn up with specialist gear and our years of experience fitting vinyl graphics, but we know they can be tricky to apply for the shop staff.
Printing White Ink On Clear Window Graphics
We can print white either behind the complete image or over selected parts. This gets rid of the usual complaints when using a clear product – that it can look too wishy-washy or the image lacks definition. By printing white, it adds punch to the areas that otherwise would have been just four colour and clear.
Want to see what we mean? Get in touch and we’ll send over some samples to show the difference.
Opaque Window Graphics
For these, we’d use a white self-adhesive vinyl – basically a sticker for the window that you can’t see through. Opaque window graphics are used primarily when the store or business premises want to keep the light out or prevent people from looking in.
Often used when a store is being redecorated or redesigned, opaque graphics are fitted to the exterior side of the windows.
The media we use for these is usually self-adhesive polymeric vinyl – it doesn’t shrink in the heat or cold and is available in bubble-free/easy-apply adhesives.
For a stronger opacity – less light passes in or show-through – we can use a grey-backed vinyl. If the inside needs lighting up by the windows, we’d stay with a white-backed vinyl.
One-Way Vision Window Graphics
The brand name here is Contravision.
Contravision have a number of products that fit different requirements but the essential function is to let people inside look out whilst keeping the interior private to the outside world.
There are versions specifically for text or hi-def graphics (Contravision HD Performance) and options for applying internally. The clever people at Contravision have an online guide.
Look through the guide and I’m sure you’ll find a Contravision product for any application that needs one-way vision graphics.
I’ll write another post delving into each version. In the meantime, if your window needs one-way, get in touch and we’ll run through the options and make sure it’s easy to understand.
When applying window graphics internally or externally, there are a few pros and cons to be aware of:
Safe from vandals or just that guy waiting for the bus. If there’s a little lift to the vinyl and someone can reach it, chances are someone will have a pull at it.
Once in place, the vinyl we apply stays down, but if it’s on the outside, people can still get at it.
There are no weather issues when fitting the window graphics inside – rain, snow, hail; none of it matters when it’s being installed in the cosy warmth of the store, cafe or office.
The potential downsides of fitting from the inside looking out are mostly down to the adhesive used and the installation.
Your printed promotion is going to be viewed through the adhesive – the print has to go on the other side from the one sticking to the window. If there are blemishes or glue-spots, they could be seen.
Same with ripples when applying – this is where bubble-free or the micro-suckers products help.
Self-cling will need the window to be sprayed with water first and the liquid squeegeed out to create the grip between cling and glass. The bigger the panel, the more fiddly it can be.
We’ve applied graphics to enough windows to know the ups and downs – talk to us for advice.
There are no issues stemming from the adhesive and from ‘seeing the image through the glue’ when applying outside.
As long as it goes down bubble and wrinkle-free, it’ll look fine. Most vinyls will stick to glass without hassle. It should also stay in place as long as needed even with weather changes. Pick the right vinyl and it’ll shrug off the heat and cold.
When applying to the outside it’s usually the full window that’s covered by the graphic. If you’re looking for sections, internally fitted could be the easier solution.
One thing to be aware of, outside is fine if the windows are at ground level (see the issue above though regarding inquisitive fingers) but anything higher and the cherry picker is coming out of the garage.
So, a bit more to window graphics than you first thought?
We’ve probably applied thousands of metres of vinyl, cling and one-way vision to windows in all our years of producing graphics.
And applied them to retail storefronts, business premises, museums, cafes and leisure facilities up and down the land.
To our knowledge, none of them so far have ever fallen off!
If you’re looking for more advice and help with window graphics or a print partner who’ll get your premises noticed, call us on 01782 413789 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Still looking for signage ideas and print inspiration?
We’ve got posts on museum signage and wayfinding, roller banners and exhibition displays and textiles for soft signage.
Should keep you going while you drink your tea!