Application Spotlight - Backlit Signs Using White Translucent Film

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  • Backlit signage today is seen everywhere, from movie theaters and restaurants to airports and cosmetics counters.  And along with the wide variety of locations used, there is no shortage of methods to create them.  From clear films that are backed with white inks, to fabrics.  From screen print, to digital inkjet, the options are plentiful. So, how do you choose what’s best for your backlit application? With the increased quality of inkjet printers, and the often demanding applications and installations, we think digitally printed plastic films is the best place to start. 

    There are a few simple, qualifying, questions that can help point you in the right direction:

    • Will the sign be scrolling?
    • How will the print be displayed?
    • Will the sign have skin tones or displaying food?
    • Is the overall tone of the image cool or warm? 


    Tekra offers two options in particular that offer individual benefits, depending on your print. 

    JetView Latex White Translucent Polycarbonate is one of the options offered. It is a more rigid substrate, available in 10 and 15 mils thick, with a warmer white point that lends itself best to images that have a warmer, softer color gamut and are not displaying foods that are green. The reason for this is that the warmer white adds a slightly yellower tone to the image, and the green leaves in a salad can look less appealing, which may require a thicker ink laydown to compensate.   However, when printing a sunset or flames for an application such as signage advertising a movie, the warmer white intensifies the reds and oranges, allowing for more pop, with less saturation. 

    The rigidity of this product is also desirable when being slid into a frame. The ink anchorage is excellent, and little post processing is needed to protect the print, so a simple frame can often be used and help reduce costs.  The more rigid the material, the less likely the material is to bow, and the easier it is to handle when setting up your display. 

    The second option we have is out JetView Latex 7.6 mil Backlit Polyester Display Film. This film offers a cooler, ‘bluer’ white point and more flexibility.  This material is ideal when printing menu board, as it keeps the greens bright.   It is also a good choice for cosmetics counters, as it enhances the bright colors of the makeup and aids in achieving a clean flesh-tone gradient.  The cooler white appears ‘cleaner’ and ‘brighter’ and helps images like this pop in high contrast prints. 

    The film's flexibility is also an advantage.  In contrast to the rigid properties of the polycarbonate option, this substrate is well suited for scrolling signage, and signage applications that involve post-processing steps. The flexibility makes working with the material easier in post-processing.  Additionally, it is tear, scratch and water-resistant, making this choice also idea for outdoor or high traffic area signage, such as transit graphics.

    Both of these products are under Tekra’s JetView Latex line, as they pair beautifully with the durability and flexibility of latex inks, however, there are often benefits for printing with UV inkjet inks, and both of these products can be optimized for that print method as well. 

    For more information on the white point of a backlit film, please read our TekTip.

    For your next backlit project, consider Tekra’s Backlit Films.  

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