A problem faced by festival goers, avid football fans and protesters alike, is the need for posters that are suitable for outdoor use.
This becomes apparent when you consider the often appalling weather in the United Kingdom.
This problem is not lost on the guys at instantprint.co.uk, as they are always looking to expand their already impressive portfolio of products.
In order to accommodate the increasing number of requests from visitors to their site, instantprint.co.uk/posters have striven to provide cost-effective weatherproof solutions for use outside. This has led to a great deal of research involving experiments with a number of different techniques and materials.
Lamination & Encapsulation
These techniques both utilise the adherence of a layer of thin plastic film over the poster using either heat sealing or glue.
However, these may be distinguished from each other. Lamination involves the plastic being cut to the same size as the poster paper, whereas encapsulation ‘encapsulates’ the poster by using an overhang of about 5 millimetres.Encapsulation provides the most protection against weather conditions because the poster is completely sealed within the plastic; as opposed to lamination which leaves small sections of the paper exposed at its edges, and despite being less expensive to produce it doesn’t protect the posters adequately.
In addition, the encapsulation technique was ultimately considered too costly and as a result neither technique was thought appropriate for use.
Polyvinyl Chloride & Propylene
Following this decision, experiments were also conducted using these materials otherwise known as PVC and PP at the expense of paper, which was clearly the weak link in the equation.
Printing on plastics such as these necessitates the use of ultraviolet inks.
This means that instead of relying on the use of heat or evaporation for drying purposes, the inks actually cure immediately.
This method ensures that both the UV ink and plastic materials are fully useable for extended periods of time in outdoor environments.
The final products
Following more rigorous testing, Instantprint finally settled on 220 and 400mic PVC, in addition to the 250gsm silk paper in the website’s large format range.