DIY Signmaking: What Types of Signs Can I Make with My Office Wide-Format Printer?

Users of in-office aqueous-ink wide-format inkjet printers from Canon, HP, and Epson don’t have to outsource all of their projects to a sign shop or print-service provider company. With the wide selection of aqueous inkjet media from Freedom Paper, you can make many types of indoor signs, posters, and banners. You can also produce short-term outdoor signs, posters, and banners if your Epson, HP, or Canon printer uses aqueous pigment inks.

All Epson SureColor T series and Epson Stylus Pro wide-format inkjet printers use pigment inks. HP DesignJetZ printers and newer models of Canon imagePROGRAF printers also use pigment inks. In 2020, Epson and Canon introduced compact 24-inch pigment-ink printers for small studios or home-office use.

Banners

In general, a banner is defined as an unframed or hanging sign made of fabric, vinyl or other non-rigid material.

opening soon banner
Freedom Paper sells several brands of banner vinyl for making outdoor banners with a wide-format inkjet printer in your office.

Many different sizes and formats promote events, openings, or special offers. Below are a few examples of the different types of banners and why they require different types of materials.

Fence Banners: Promotional, branding or safety banners can be hung on construction-site fences. Or, you can cover ugly metal barricades at events with a sewn banner printed with promotional or branding graphics. Extra-large outdoor banners for construction sites are typically made with an open-weave mesh banner material. The open weave allows wind to pass through and reduces the weight of the banner for easier installation.

Hanging Banners: Banners can be hung in freestanding or ceiling-mounted displays. Banners can hang above trade-show booths, in retail stores, and at company events. Banners can also be displayed on the grounds of schools, churches, and local businesses.

Podium Banners: Banners attached to the front of a podium identify the event or the organization hosting the event.

Pole Banners: These two-sided banners are mounted vertically on round poles or square tubes. Pole signs are popular for celebrating the seasons, holidays, or special events. Street Banners are pole banners installed on the posts of streetlights.

Banner Stand Graphics: These banners are specifically designed to fit portable display stands, such as X-frame, H-frame, or L-frame banner stands or roll-up or retractable banner stands. Many of these banners are made from polypropylene materials that stay flat and are durable enough to withstand repeated rolling and unrolling.

Praise Banners: Churches use religious-themed banners for seasonal decor (such as Easter or Christmas), to grace an auditorium, to create worship spaces in non-traditional settings, and to celebrate church dedications and other special occasions. Pastors can create banners to reinforce sermons or church-school lessons.

Step-and-Repeat Banners: These large, logo-filled banners form backdrops for photographing celebrities or dignitaries at charity galas, press conferences, award ceremonies, and other events. The step-and-repeat printing pattern ensures that event-organizer and sponsor logos remain visible even when the celebrity is being photographed from many angles.

Table Banners: These banners are hung from the front of tabletops at events and trade shows. Fabric table banners can be draped over the table like a tablecloth that goes all the way to the ground.

Apply inkjet-printed adhesive-backed vinyl to a weather-resistant signboard to make a short-term outdoor sign on an office inkjet printer that uses pigment inks.

Posters

A poster is a visually compelling graphic, photo, or decorative artwork that was traditionally printed on paper. Posters can be framed, mounted on rigid substrates, or attached to a wall with mounting tapes, putty, or hook-and-loop tapes.

Some posters today are printed on inkjet-receptive fabrics with repositionable adhesives. These posters can be easily installed in meeting rooms, dorm rooms, or offices and removed without leaving any unsightly residue.

Advertising and promotional posters call attention to new products, special offers, and upcoming events. Indoor posters can be printed on inexpensive heavyweight coated papers. Everyday photo papers can be used print posters that feature large, full-color images. Outdoor posters for short-term advertising are printed on weather-resistant materials such as adhesive vinyl or durable synthetic banner materials such as Tyvek.

Collage posters contain a collection of smaller photos on a single sheet. These types of posters can recognize group accomplishments, company milestones, or special moments in the lives of individual retirees or graduates.

Commemorative posters help us remember special occasions, events, or people. They can be produced as gifts for event attendees, speakers, or honorees.

Decorative posters provide an inexpensive way to update room or office décor. Decorative posters can be calming or energizing, depending on whether the graphic depicts nature scenes or favorite sports and activities.

Devotional posters provide visual reminders of topics related to the Christian faith and life.

Infographic posters visually present facts and statistics for fast comprehension.

Informational posters summarize a lot of complex information in a single, easy-to-view page.

Maps converted into poster-sized prints can either be decorative or functional.

Motivational posters can encourage participation in sales competitions, charity drives, or weight-loss contests. Or posters can inspire employees to adopt attitudes conducive to teamwork, leadership, and success.

Safety posters can remind employees of instructions for equipment operation, materials handling, recycling, or food-handling. Or, a safety poster can ensure that proper first-aid procedures are easily accessible during workplace emergencies.

Team posters provide a great way to recognize groups of individuals. When a group shot is enlarged to poster size, each employee’s face is more visible. Plus, you can add a headline and a few lines of text about the team’s accomplishments.

Point-of-Purchase (POP) Signs

This broad category of signs, banners, and displays includes graphics designed to capture a buyer’s attention when they are ready to make a buying decision.

You can mount POP banners, posters, and decals on walls, windows, counters, display cases, or sidewalk sign boards. Or, you can hang POP signs from ceilings or insert them in tabletop displays or free-standing or wall-mounted sign-frames.

Below are some types of POP graphics you can create with a wide-format inkjet printer:

Backlit Signs: These signs are illuminated from light sources behind the printed surface of the sign. Translucent backlit films can be used to print graphics for insertion behind the front surface of a lightbox.

Decals: Decals are larger versions of stickers. The text, photos, and/or graphics are printed on adhesive-backed vinyl and cut into circles, rectangles, or shapes with irregular contours. Decals can easily be applied to almost any smooth surface that is flat or slightly rounded.

Point of Sale (POS) Signs: These signs are placed near the checkout area to stimulate impulse purchases. This includes countertop graphics, shelf talkers, and decals announcing sales on certain items.

Shelf-talkers: These small signs hang from store shelves to call attention to products that have been favorably reviewed or temporarily discounted. You can buy acrylic shelf-sign holders and print and cut promotional graphics to fit the sign holders.

Wraps: A wrap is an adhesive-backed vinyl designed to cover the entire surface of an object. cover the surface of objects with branding or promotional or decorative graphics. Special skills are required to design and wrap vehicles and other large objects. But with high-quality adhesive cast vinyl, wraps can be applied to the surfaces of tables, chairs. columns, frames, metal boxes,

Window Signs

Window signs are a popular form of branding and advertising because you don’t have to deal with many of the codes and restrictions placed on outdoor signage in public spaces. Signs can be displayed in storefront windows or mounted to the interior of the window surfaces. Signs mounted on the exteriors of windows are susceptible to damage from weather, vandals, abrasion, or pollutants. A pigment-ink printer is best for these types of signs, because window graphics are exposed to a lot of light.

Opaque window graphics can cover the storefront windows of buildings being remodeled. A “coming soon” image can show passers-by what the space will look like when the remodeling is finished.

One-way see-through window graphics allow occupants of a building to see through the graphics that are visible to people on the exterior of the window. These graphics are made with specially designed perforated vinyls.

Temporary window graphics can be made with clear or white films with removable adhesives.

Decorative window graphics can emulate the look of stained glass, frosted glass, or etched glass.

Yard Signs

These small, easy-to-install, short-term signs are a popular with contractors, real-estate agents, political campaigns, local businesses, and event organizers. They can be used to recognize event sponsors, promote sales, or guide drivers to temporary parking facilities or event sites.

In most communities, you don’t need any special permits to install the signs on property that your company owns. However, you might want to check if your community has restrictions on the size of yard signs or the length of time they can be displayed.

To produce your own yard sign, you will need self-adhesive vinyl, pressure-sensitive laminating film (for dye inks), a trimmer, and a yard sign frame with a pre-cut board on which to mount the printed sign.

You can buy 24 x 18-inch pre-cut sign boards and the wired stakes to hold the sign from an online sign-supply store such as Super Cheap Signs

What Signs Can’t You Make Yourself?

The wide-format inkjet printer in your office, studio, or store can be a great tool for quickly printing a few banners, posters, signs, and decals. You can create create low-cost, portable branding or ad graphics for event venues or construction sites.

But many types of signs can be more effectively produced by shops that have access to larger, more robust printers that use latex, solvent, or UV-cure inks in conjunction with specialized cutters, routers, and engravers.

Here are some of the signs that should be outsourced:
• Outdoor signs and billboards that must last four months or more
• Signs affected by local ordinances, building codes, highway safety, or ADA regulations
• Supersized mesh banners for construction sites
• Custom POP displays such as merchandising kiosks or patio umbrellas
• Permanent installations of architectural, on-premise, traffic, and wayfinding signs

Buy Sign and Banner Materials for Aqueous Inkjet Printers

On Freedom Paper’s website you can order vinyls, polypropylene, durable banner materials. clear films, perforated window films, fabrics, heavyweight poster papers, and other materials to make simple signs on aqueous wide-format inkjet printers.

Visit Aqueous Inkjet Banner and Poster Media for DIY Sign Printing (freedompaper.com) to see some of the sign and banner materials that can be ordered through the Freedom Paper website.

Or visit Freedom Paper’s Inkjet Media Page to learn more about the multiple brands of wide-format inkjet media available from Freedom Paper.

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