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7 Office Decor Ideas (Low Cost & Personalised)

7 Office Interior Decor Ideas (Low Cost & Personalised)

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Revamp Your Office Interior Design to Reflect Your Personality

Congratulations. You have just moved into your new office space. And are eager to get your business up and running.

But the walls are bare, the floors empty, and your workspace, totally devoid of any personality.

So you now consider hiring an architect or interior designer.

And you are probably on the right track. Because these guys are great when it comes to painting your walls, fitting light fixtures in the ceiling and designing furniture for the employee workstations.

But hold on for a minute.

Is this all you need to think about? Doesn’t the concept of modern office interiors extend beyond, just the furniture and electrical wiring?

It actually does.

An office environment today, has to be personable, friendly, and conducive to employee productivity. Polished furniture and shiny fixtures look nice but may not be enough to achieve all of the above.

To create a sense of belonging in your workforce, you have to stamp your personality, business philosophy, and even your product imagery, in the workplace.

Breathe some soul into an otherwise impersonal office environment and see both, your employees’ morale and output, skyrocket.

It is not very difficult to achieve personalisation in your office interior designs. I’ll illustrate with this simple example.

Traditional interior decor theory dictates that bare walls have to be furnished with paintings or images. And to this effect, most people hang a random picture or a frame holding an abstract print.

But suppose you put up a poster showing an image of the ‘Employee Of the Month’ instead of an impersonal painting. Further, suppose that the fixture in which this poster is framed enables frequent changing/updating.

I absolutely guarantee that you will see everybody’s interest spike in the poster showing their colleague’s face. They will also probably work harder to see their own likeness on the wall.

And in case you are wondering, doing up even a small office interior design need not be an expensive proposition. You do not spend a whole lot of money to spruce up your workplace.

But what you do need are some ideas and suggestions on how to go about, achieving the same.

And that is the purpose of this post. To give you some office interior design ideas by answering questions like…

  • How do we make a bare wall come alive?
  • Is there a novel way to bring privacy to the glass partitions?
  • What form will my company logo take? Can I light up my logo or render it in 3D?
  • Can we brand ceilings?
  • Or how about advertising on the very floors we walk on?

And so, without further ado, here are seven different ideas on how to bring alive your workspace.

Use them, not only to spruce up your in-shop space but also to impress your clients and motivate your employees.

Seven Ideas For Office Interior Design & Branding

Custom printed wallpapers to adorn your workspace with your company colours and imagery.

Brand the glass partitions and building facade in your office using these specially printable glass film prints.

Jaw-droppingly beautiful laser-cut acrylic logo boards to create an impression on clients, right at the reception/entrance to your office.

Choose from a variety of sunboard, acrylic and backlit poster types to display product images, your company’s scope of services, its philosophy/motto, quotes and other information.

Brand the very floor you walk on. Use specialised floor vinyls to get your message across in a very unique way.

Use rich, premium looking laser etched, gold or silver laser etched plates to display the names of your employees. 

Highly attractive name board solution to display the name of all your employees in the company. Individual name plates in this this modular signage can be updated.

1. Personalised Wallpapers Carrying Your Custom Design/images

In any given room, you are surrounded by, (duh) the walls.

The bare walls in any office are a frequently overlooked resource. And they can provide ample opportunity for branding and personalisation.

Let’s assume that you have a sofa in your reception area for seating visitors. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the wall they face (while waiting), displayed your business wins, or your company tagline?

An even better idea would be for you to showcase a historical timeline of your organisation, the milestones it achieved over the years and of course, its big wins?

There are actually many ideas to brand your office walls.

These can include…

  • Depicting historical timelines and landmarks (if the organisation is an old one)
  • Flaunt corporate achievements and targets
  • Display company vision and mission statements
  • Show flattering product imagery
  • Show larger than life images of your team in action.
  • Display motivational quotes, etc.
  • And of course, display your corporate logo.

But a standard wallpaper shop is not going to be able to serve the above-listed content. And it will not meet our criteria for personalised office decor. A wallpaper vendor can only offer you generic designs, patterns or stock photography.

What you need is a solution that can brand your office walls with your own layouts and content. Designs that incorporate your company services, philosophy, and product imagery.

Enter, Custom Printed Wallpapers.

Custom wallpapers are printed at the exact size of the available space on your walls. You supply the content/design and a print service bureau reproduces the same on specialised wall-vinyls. These high-resolution prints are then pasted directly onto the walls at your office.

Two things separate customised wallpapers from other generic prints.

  1. Their large size, and
  2. Their stunning resolutions

Customised wall prints have to cater to walls ranging from size 4 feet to 40, and even wider. So, print-shops use specialised wide format printing machines to achieve these larger than life print sizes.

Also, since we are using these wallpapers as office interior decor elements they will be subject to close-up viewing and scrutiny. Hence, the prints have to be generated at very high resolutions, to pass muster.

Steps In Commissioning A Custom Wallpaper Job For Your Office Interior Decor

Here are the things that you need to consider, to get the walls in your office, branded…

  1. Measurements
  2. Wall Surface
  3. Design/content
  4. The Digital Print Provider
  5. On-site Installation
Measurements

The first step obviously, is to measure the height and width of your walls. Your content creator will need these dimensions for making the design/layout. We’ll talk more about designing, in a subsequent point.

The correct size will also help in estimating the cost of the project.

Wall Surface

You need to ensure that the wall in question is not rough or unfinished. An oil painted wall works best when it comes to pasting wall prints.

Oil paints are not very expensive. And they provide a smooth surface for glueing on the large-sized print.

You should be aware that wallpaper pasting guys routinely use water to evenly stick and smoothen the print on the wall’s surface. So an oil-painted wall surface will not be affected by this moisture.

Wallpaper Design/content

Personalised office decor is the central theme of this post. So a wallpaper job will only be as good as the content it displays.

Your wallpaper design can incorporate your company philosophy, images of your team or even images of your products and services. Be sure to include your logo, company name and tagline.

Walls in large corporate offices can easily be scores of feet long. So think larger than life imagery while creating your layout (as shown in the image below). After all, the more impactful your design, the more attention your print is going to get.

And if you need access to professional designers or ad agencies to help you with your layout, just jump to this page here.

The Digital Print Provider

Once your art-file/design is ready, you need to look for a print bureau that provides wide-format printing solutions.

The print shop guys will take your design and break it into manageable tiles of 3 or 4-feet width. These tiles will then be printed out on a specialised wall-vinyl.

Vinyl is a media, printers use, to reproduce images at an extremely high resolution. Moreover, vinyls typically have an adhesive back, enabling the print to be pasted on a variety of surfaces.

As I mentioned earlier, our job will be generated on a specialised wall-vinyl material which can be printed upon, and directly pasted on walls.

A print service provider (who knows what he is doing) will also add on a protective layer of lamination. A laminated wall print will easily withstand dust, scratches, water damage and other daily wear and tear. So be sure to enquire about this option as well.

On-site Installation

Custom wallpaper prints are delivered in the form of long, three or four feet wide tiles.

So the next step is to paste these individual tiles on the wall and combine them into a cohesive whole. Most print service providers will also have a fitting/pasting team ready to come to your site and finish this job.

Alternatively, you can choose to do the pasting yourself.

You have to install it just like any large sticker. Clean the wall and evenly paste it on the surface. Use a squeegee to smooth out the wrinkles and bubbles caused while pasting. Here is a helpful video about wallpaper pasting, that you might want to check out.

Personalising your office walls is a great office interior design idea. But achieving the same will need a little more effort than swiping your card, at a generic wallpaper shop.

Implement the above steps. And trust me.

The end result will be worth it.

How Much Does a Personalised Wall-print Cost?

Commissioning a wall print carrying your personalised design, costs INR 70 per square foot, here in India.

The price includes…

  1. The wall media (we generally use a brand called Avery or 3M)
  2. The actual print
  3. And a top coat of protective lamination

So, as an illustration, if you need to cover a wall of size 10 feet X 8 feet, it should cost you:

10 feet X 8 feet X INR 70 = Rs.5600.00 + taxes

Please remember that installation costs are generally quoted separately.

This is because while some people want end-to-end services, others prefer to do the pasting themselves. You should budget for an additional 20/30 rupees per square foot if you need someone to come over to your site and do the pasting.

2. Glass Film Prints for Store-fronts, Windows and Cabin Partitions

Modern supermarket storefronts are made up almost entirely of glass. Corporate offices too contain glass panels and partitions. And just like walls, these bare glass panels also offer a huge scope for branding and office interior decor.

A smart architect can use these glass panels to showcase company mission and vision statements, the philosophy that drives an organisation, custom imagery, motivational quotes, and even product pictures.

When branding and advertising on glass panels, interior decorators get to control an additional dimension of the print.

That of transparency and opacity.

A variety of glass printing media allow you to set the transparency level on the panel. And we will be discussing this transparency factor in more detail further on.

But for now, let us see how prints on glass actually take place.

Two Ways to Brand Glass Panels - Pasting a Printed Film on The Glass Panel vs Direct Printing on Glass

To brand the glass surfaces in your organisation, you can opt for either of the following methods:

  1. Print directly onto your glass panels
  2. Print your job on specialised glass films with an adhesive back. These films are then pasted onto your glass partitions

Digital print bureaus can reproduce images directly onto glass panels using an advanced printing technique known as ‘Flatbed UV Printing’. This involves placing the sheet of glass in the UV printer.

The flatbed machine then uses specialised UV inks (that adhere to glassy surfaces) to print images directly on top of the same.

But there is a catch inherent to this process.

To print directly onto the glass panel, you first need to bring the same, to the print shop, for processing on the flatbed printer. This printed glass panel has then got to be carted off to your site, for installation.

And therein lies a problem.

Most office spaces already have glass partitions and panels fixed in place. So removing them might be an issue. Not to mention the logistics involved in transporting large and heavy sheets of glass to and from the print house.

Flat-bed UV prints are also more or less permanent. Which works fine for office spaces that are owned. But if you have leased your premises, permanently altering the interior may be frowned upon.

Also, since UV prints are permanent, they may not be ideal for situations where the content/designs need to be changed or updated.

But there is an alternative to direct printing on glass.

This is where a print service bureau prints your designs on specialised films. These printed films are then carried on-site, and pasted on the panels in your office.

Custom printed glass film prints offer two great advantages:

  1. Rollback and changeability
  2. Control over privacy by selecting a transparency level
Rollback and Changeability

Glass film prints have an adhesive back. So you can peel off the same, at a later date, to restore your glass surface to its original state.

You can also opt to change the prints/content periodically.

Since glass film prints are not very expensive, malls, stores, restaurants, etc. continually update their glass surfaces to showcase current offers and new product launches.

Control the Privacy/transparency of The Glass Surface Beneath

By default, the glass panels in your office (or the front facade of your storefront) will almost certainly be transparent. And this works great for natural lighting purposes.

But certain sections of your office (the boss’s cabin for example), may need some degree of privacy.

So digital print service providers offer glass film prints with varying degrees of transparency to meet different use case scenarios. Listed below are the main types of glass film prints available in the market.

Types of Glass Film Prints That Can be Used to Brand your Shop and Office Interiors

Transparent Glass Film Prints

As the name suggests, prints on these films are completely transparent. While they depict an image on the glass surface, they also allow light and vision, to pass through.

So if the glass frontage of your office building is branded with transparent glass films, people passing by will be able to see the inside of the office, in addition to the images on the print.

Frosted Glass Film Prints to Enhance your Office Design Interior

Frosted glass film prints impart a beautiful, dusky, smoked effect to the panel beneath. These films are translucent in nature.

This means that the film will allow natural light to pass through. But at the same time, since they are not transparent, a casual passerby cannot glance inside the office or see the people inside.

On the other hand, because of the smoked effect, people inside the office cannot see the happenings on the other side of the glass panels either.

Frosted glass film prints allow for beautiful office interior branding. Moreover, these prints do not cut natural light. And, on top of all this, they protect the privacy of the occupants inside the office.

The one disadvantage of frost film prints is that people on the inside, cannot see what is happening outside either. And that is something, the next option will enable…

One-way Vision Mesh Films For Glass Is a Great Office Interior Design Idea​

One way vision film prints are a pretty clever solution for advertising on glass panels. You probably have noticed them on supermarket facades or on the glass fronts of fast-food eateries.

One way vision prints allow you to place your product imagery on the glass panels of your storefront, for the benefit of people walking by.

But while people on the outside are looking at these images, the people inside the office/stop can see what is happening on the outside.

In a very true sense, one-way vision films allow vision to pass through from transparent glass in one direction, and restrict it, in the other.

Opaque Glass Film Prints

As the name suggests, opaque glass film prints restrict light and vision from both sides of the glass panel. Here we print the job on regular white vinyl prints and paste the same on the glass panel.

Frost film prints will allow you to make out vague humanoid shapes moving behind the glass panel. But an opaque print will totally occlude visibility and protect the privacy of the people inside the office.

Opaque vinyl prints also look very vibrant and colourful.

White-ink Prints

While all the types of films listed above are pretty intuitive, there is one type of glass film print that even many professional architects and interior designers are unaware of.

Namely, White Ink Prints for Glass.

White inks allow for the creation of glass film prints that are transparent in certain portions and opaque in others. This opens up the possibility of beautiful looking glass prints for your office interiors.

This is made possible by using opaque white. White inks do not allow light to pass through as against the standard CMYK inks in any printer, that are transparent.

While I have included white ink prints in this list, to make it more complete, their exact working is explained in more detail, in this post here.

For now, let me state that white inks allow for partially opaque and partially transparent film printing. They also enable the printing of reverse pastable glass films and films with different images on either side.

How to Execute a Glass Branding Project to Decorate Your Office

Much like commissioning a wall print job, glass branding involves…

  1. Measuring the glass panel that needs to be covered
  2. Selecting the right film base on your needs for transparency/privacy
  3. Sending your design/layout to a print bureau for the actual printing
  4. Onsite installation

Since all of the above points are covered in detail in this section here, I will move on to the subject of pricing.

How Much Does a Personalised Glass Film Print Cost?

Different types of glass vinyls (opaque, transparent, frosted, etc.) have differing rates. But the average cost of branding a glass panel costs INR 70 per square foot, here in India.

The price includes…

  1. The glass film/media (we generally use a brand called Avery or 3M)
  2. The actual print

So, as an illustration, if you need to cover a panel of size 4 feet wide X 8 feet tall, it should cost you:

4 feet X 8 feet X INR 70 = Rs.2240.00 + taxes

Please remember that installation costs are generally quoted separately.

This is because while some people want end-to-end services, others prefer to do the pasting themselves. You should budget for an additional 20/30 rupees per square foot if you need someone to come over to your site and do the pasting.

Apart from its name, every business organisation is also identified by its logo. In fact, in modern business today, a logo can become the identifying factor of an organisation.

Think of any famous company like Apple, Nike, Mercedes, etc., and its logo will instantly jump to your mind.

So an additional mandate for any architect / interior decorator would be to tastefully display an organisation’s name and logo. And obviously, this logo has to be put up at a location where it can be seen by everyone, employees and visitors alike.

Now, shop glow-sign boards take care of your company identity on the exteriors of your building. But here is a solution to impressively brand the reception/lobby of corporate offices.

Namely, Laser Cut Acrylic Logo/Name Boards.

How Are Acrylic Logo Boards Made?

Sign manufacturers fabricate classy, 3D logos out of a material called acrylic.

Acrylic is a shiny glass-like sheet that is available in a variety of colours. You might also know acrylic by its oft-used brand name – Perspex

Acrylic sheets are available in varying colours and different thicknesses like 3, 5 and 10 mm. But, and perhaps most importantly, acrylic can be cut in just about any shape, using laser cutting machines.

So all you have to do is email your logo design to your local signmaker. He will then choose an acrylic sheet matching your logo colour and push the same in his laser engraving machine. The machine then precisely cuts out your logo shape from the large sheet and viola…

One classy looking 3D Acrylic Logo/Name Board, ready.

Acrylic name boards can be fabricated in two variants:

  1. Non-lit logo boards
  2. Lit logo boards
Non-Lit Acrylic Logo Boards

As described in the process above, premium looking logo boards are fabricated from acrylic sheets, cut on laser engraving machines. These individual letters/parts of the logo are mounted on a thick base plate which is then installed on the wall, in your office.

Letters can also be affixed directly on the wall without an intervening base plate as shown in the images below.

Either way, these signs look pretty stunning and are guaranteed to attract attention. You can commission your own 3D Logo/Name board by clicking on this link here.

Lit Acrylic Letter Boards

In addition to being glasslike in its finish, acrylic also allows light to pass through. So by extending your budget a little, you can also opt for a beautifully glowing backlit sign for your office entrance.

Signmakers embed small LED modules under the laser-cut acrylic letters, connected to a compact power supply. And all you got to do, to get your lit signboard going, is add electricity.

There are scores of forms, a lit glow sign board can take. These include 3D Acrylic LED letters, Metallic back glow letters, Aluminium Profile letters, Neon Signs, etc.

How To Commission An Acrylic Logo Board Job For Your Office?

Getting a logo board made for your office is a fairly straightforward process. Just follow the steps below…

Determine the Size of the Board/Logo

You need to give your signboard maker the size that you need your logo to be fabricated in. While the dimensions need not be exact, a ballpark measurement is needed, to enable him to arrive at an estimated cost for the job. 

So give a moment’s consideration to where the logo needs to be installed. How large does it need to be? And at what placement will the logo board make a maximum impact on your visitors and office decor.

Share the Artwork/design with The Signmaker

The next step is for you to share the logo design file with the signmaker. Remember, the design is going to be laser-cut in acrylic.

So do make sure that you mail your logo file in a vector file format (like CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator), to your sign making agency.

At Orchid Digitals, before undertaking the acrylic board job, we always send a soft copy proposal to the client. This clearly illustrates the board specifications, dimensions, materials, cost, etc.

Apart from this, we also clearly mention which components of the sign are 3D, which are 2D, which elements are lit and which ones will remain non-lit.

We have always found that a customer armed with this kind of information is in a better position to take a call with respect to the job.

How Much Does Acrylic Logo Board For the Office, Cost?

A 5 mm thick non-lit acrylic logo board can cost Rs.700.00 plus taxes, here in India. This means that if your board size is 3 feet wide X 2 feet high, it will cost…

3 feet X 2 feet X 700.00 = 4200.00 + 18% GST

Similarly, a lit board can range anywhere from INR 1200.00 to 1800.00 per square feet. The costs will vary on the basis of the material used and the number of LEDs deployed. Installation too will be charged extra, on a case to case basis.

Make sure that you work with a competent signmaker who gives a clear idea of the project specifications and their costs.

4. Professionally Printed and Framed Posters For Small Office Interior Design

Every business needs to communicate a variety of messages to its customers. These could be a listing of their services, prices, product pictures or even corporate mission statements.

These messages, in the form of large-sized posters, can be used to adorn the walls of your office. And this is where you need the services of a professional print provider to generate high-resolution reproductions of your digitally designed posters.

Now, since this post is about office decor ideas, tacking on loose colour printed sheets on your workplace walls is an absolute no-no. What you need is a classy and refined way to communicate your messages.

And that is what I want to talk about – Professional Poster Solutions for your office walls.

A print-shop will offer you a variety of media for your poster jobs. These range from entry-level posters for the budget-conscious, to premium backlit frames of the very high-end variety.

And while posters can be made of a variety of materials and frames, here are four types of posters I’d recommend, for a work environment.

  1. Sunboard Prints
  2. Acrylic Sandwich Frames
  3. Lit / Non-lit Clip-on Frames
  4. Galley-framed Canvas Prints

4A. Sunboard Poster Prints

Sunboard also referred to as foam-sheet, is a thick rigid sheet of PVC. It is smooth, flat and extremely light-weight. And more importantly, extremely high-resolution digital prints can be reproduced on sunboard sheets.

Wide-format print providers can print out your communication on these rigid PVC sheets to create highly professional-looking posters. And since this foam sheet material is pretty light in weight, you can simply nail the print to your walls or even use double-sided tape to tack them on.

Moreover, sunboard prints are extremely economical. This makes them ideal for short term ad campaigns. This is also why, almost all the wall posters you see in shops, retail stores and malls, are printed on sunboard.

So the next time you enter the trial room of a clothes store, you will know how the image of that larger than life model, pasted on the wall, was made.

4B. Acrylic Sandwich Frames - A Great Idea For Office Interior Design

Acrylic, as I mentioned in the previous section, is a clear glass-like material. But acrylic also has two major advantages over glass…

  1. It is extremely light in weight
  2. Acrylic can easily be laser-cut in different sizes and shapes

And these properties make acrylic an ideal material for fabricating display frames for large-sized posters.

One form of poster display, often deployed in corporate offices, is an Acrylic Sandwich Panel.

As the name suggests, your printing vendor will take two sheets of clear acrylic, and press (or sandwich) a high-resolution photo print between them.

This assembly is then installed on the wall using stud-caps and risers. A ‘riser’ basically holds the frame a couple of inches away from the wall. The round, disk-like stud-cap on the front, masks the screw holding the frame in place.

Now, while the above fabrication is simple enough, the end effect is pretty stunning.

What visitors to your office see, is a shiny sheet of glass, floating a slight distance from the wall, holding your poster print. And so, while sunboard prints do look nice, a shiny acrylic sandwich panel will look significantly more classy.

An added advantage of sandwich frames is that you can detach the sheet in front and easily replace the print within.

This also means that while you need to pay for the entire assembly the first time, you can repeatedly replace the print inside at a very low cost.

4C. Lit or Non-lit Clip-on Poster Frames - An Eye-Catching Solution For Workplace Branding

A Clip-on Frame is a slightly more evolved poster display solution than the acrylic panel described above. Here too, we have a poster held in place, under a sheet of acrylic. And this poster can be changed/replaced on a regular basis, as well.

But the difference lies in the mechanism used to operate (open & close) the panel.

Clip-on frames are available in two variants. Namely…

  1. Non-lit frames
  2. Lit frames having LEDs embedded inside
Non-lit Clip-on Frames

A regular, non-lit clip-on frame, also referred to as a snap frame, has an aluminium profile mounted on the edges of a 5mm thick sunboard base. This profile has a spring-loaded mechanism that can be operated like a latch.

The latch enables the frame on the sides of the display panel, to be snapped open and snapped close. The poster frame is also equipped with a top layer of a thin, transparent sheet of acrylic.

So the idea is for you to first snap open the sides of the clip-on frame. You then insert your printed poster beneath the sheet of acrylic. Finally, the frame is snapped closed, to hold the print in place.

Edge-lit, LED, Clip-on Frames

The lit variant of the clip-on frame uses two additional components to light up the entire panel. A strip of LEDs fitted around the edges of the frame and an LGP sheet (light guiding plate) to evenly distribute the light from the edges across the front surface of the frame.

But leaving the mechanism aside for a moment, a printed poster, inside a backlit panel looks simply stunning.

Edge-lit clip-on frames use posters printed on a special material called ‘translite’. In addition to enabling photo quality reproduction, a translite print allows light to pass through. And when placed inside a backlit panel, these prints look absolutely brilliant.

The main USP of clip-on frames, both lit and non-lit, is that they allow for very easy replacement of the poster prints within. As such, these frames are pretty popular in supermarkets, retails stores, cinema halls, restaurants, etc.

4D. Canvas Prints with A Galley Frame - A Very Popular Office Design Interior Idea

Prints on photo paper do look good. But when these same images are reproduced at a high resolution on natural cotton canvas, they look absolutely stunning.

And so while canvas material does not intuitively come to mind when you are thinking about wall posters, I have included the same in our list of poster options because canvas prints are a great idea to enhance our office (and home) interiors.

Custom canvas prints are perfect for reproducing fine art and paintings. You can also blow up your product images on a large-sized canvas frame. Hi-resolution food photos printed on this material, are a common sight in upscale restaurants.

Natural cotton canvas allows for very high-resolution image reproduction with eye-poppingly vibrant colours. Its rich, cloth-like texture provides a visually appealing alternative to the other, plasticky, poster media solutions available in the market.

And finally, since this poster is about enhancing office interiors, I’d also like to talk about the vast variety of framing options available for your canvas print. Any good frame-shop will offer wood, metal and fibre frames for your print.

But I personally like one particular framing option – the Galley Frame

Galley framing involves wrapping the outer edges of the canvas media around the edges of the wooden frame. The actual frame is fully concealed by the print. And when viewed from the sides, you don’t see the frame but just the image overflowing over the edges.

This edge wrapping adds a visually appealing end effect to our print and makes it look very pretty.

How Much Do Custom Poster Prints Cost?

The very idea of commissioning a custom poster job is so that you can reproduce prints of your designs/artwork. This also means that you can order your posters in any size you desire.

A good print provider should be able to make a small A3 sized poster as easily as a 10 feet large, wall covering print (should the latter take your fancy).

But as a convention, most poster jobs are designed in a ratio of 1:1.5. This means that if the width of the poster is 18 inches, the height would be 24 inches. Research finds this ratio visually pleasing to the eye.

In fact, there is an international measurement standard called the ISO A-series that follows this ration. The ISO A-series recommends poster print sizes like A2, A1, A0, etc. And in addition to looking good, these sizes also minimise material wastage in the press.

Keeping the above ratio in mind, here is a chart showing the prices of different poster types at different sizes. But do remember that while this table acts as a quick reference for your budgeting purposes, you can commission posters in just about any size you want.

Poster Type A2 size | 18 inches * 24 inches | 1.5 feet * 2 feet A1 size | 24 inches * 36 inches | 2 feet * 3 feet A0 | 36 inches * 48 inches | 3 feet * 4 feet
5mm thick Sunboard Poster

360.00

720.00

1440.00

Acrylic Sandwich Panel

1200.00

2400.00

4800.00

Non-lit Clip-on Frame

1200.00

2400.00

4800.00

Backlit Clip-on Frame

2400.00

4800.00

9600.00

Please note:

  • The above rates are in rupees and are indicative of the prices in India.
  • Verify the same with your local print provider before commissioning a poster job

5. Floor Graphics / Floor Stickers

When interior decorators think about areas for branding, they generally visualise the walls, glass partitions or even the ceilings inside the office/store. But there is one area that is often overlooked when it comes to office design interiors.

In fact, most people are not even aware that this area can be used for advertising. I’m talking about advertising on the very ground we walk on.

And this is where Floor Stickers come in.

Advertising on floors may sound counter-intuitive. But if done right, floor stickers can really attract and hold customer attention.

Imagine ambling down a uniformly tiled space. All of a sudden, you perceive, at the lower edge of your vision, a change in colour. Your feet may sense a change in the floor texture as well.

And curiosity is bound to make you glance at the area where these perceptual changes are coming from. So when you see a large and colourful floor graphic at your feet, you can’t help but pause and take notice of the same.

I also feel that people are subconsciously exhausted with visuals on overcrowded walls. And tend not to pay too much attention to them. Hence, floor stickers, in addition to being a great office decor idea, can also be deployed as alternative attention-grabbing visuals.

How Do Floor Stickers Work?

A floor sticker does not lead an easy life.

Apart from daily wear and tear, the print has to withstand spiked heels, hobnailed shoes, vacuuming, and wet mopping. The footfall in some malls can number in the hundreds, if not thousands of visitors. And each of these bipeds will be mercilessly trodding upon our print 🙂

So, to perform its intended application, floor graphic prints need to be pretty robust.

There are mainly two components that go into the making of a good floor sticker.

  1. The actual media that gets printed upon and is stuck to the ground
  2. A protective layer on top of this print
Floor Graphics Media

Printshop providers use specialised media for floor graphics. This vinyl print has an extremely strong adhesive and will not peel easily from the ground.

Brands like Avery & 3M are pretty popular in this segment.

We also use very strong UV inks to reproduce the actual image. This ensures that the prints are not only waterproof but also scratch-resistant.

Floor Overlaminate

While the above floor print is extremely strong, the conscientious printer will add another layer of topcoat on the same, for added protection.

This topcoat is also known as floor over-laminate.

Floor over-laminates are a very thick layer of plastic, pasted on top of the print. They weigh in at a thickness of 150/200 microns. This top-coat significantly adds to the functionality of our floor sticker.

  1. It keeps the print beneath pristine by protecting it from scratches and scuffing
  2. The floor over-laminate also waterproofs the print
  3. Finally, the coating has an anti-skid surface to prevent slipping and accidents

How Much Do Floor Stickers Cost?

Floor stickers cost around INR 150 per square foot, here in India.

This price includes…

  1. A UV printed base media (we generally use a brand called Avery or 3M)
  2. A 150/200 micron thick, overlaminate for added protection

So, as an illustration, if your floor sticker is of size 4 feet wide X 2 feet high, it should cost you:

4 feet X 2 feet X INR 150 = Rs.1200.00 + taxes

Please remember that installation costs are generally quoted separately.

This is because while some people want end-to-end services, others prefer to do the pasting themselves. You should budget for an additional 20/30 rupees per square foot if you need someone to come over to your site and do the pasting.

6. Metal-finish Nameplates for Cabin Doors and Office Partitions

Every large office is sure to have sections in the form of partitions, cubicles and glass-walled offices. And the job of the discerning architect is to mark these sections with plates, carrying the names of the occupants.

Nameplates were traditionally made from acid-etched metal sheets. But these were expensive and also took a whole lot of time to fabricate. Metal plates were also pretty heavy and Installing them was a pain. You had to nail them to the wall/door.

So people gradually started shifting to vinyl letters, sunboard prints and even tacky stickers. But these alternatives do not have the rich look and feel of a brushed metal nameplate and don’t do much to enhance our office room design.

So, to address this gap, I’d like to recommend Laser-engraved, Gold / Silver Finish ABS Name Plates.

Strictly speaking, ABS sheets are not made of metal but a smooth, flat, 2 mm thick sheet of black plastic. This sheet also has a top coat of thin, metallic foil. And a good sign maker will give you a choice of a variety of gold, silver, bronze, etc., foil colours.

Once you share the names of your employees, a sign-maker uses a high-precision laser engraving machine to etch the individual letters on top of these foiled plates.

The laser beam burns off the top layer (of foil) in the shape of the given name, to expose the black colour beneath.

And viola, one rich looking, laser-etched nameplate, ready in no time and at very low cost.

Laser-engraved plates have a number of advantages over their metallic counterparts.

Easy to Install

They are extremely light in weight and can be installed in a matter of seconds. We supply these tapes along with a strong, two-sided tape pasted behind. So all you have to do is peel this tape and paste the sign at its intended location.

Premium Looks

The foil on top has an extremely rich looking brush metal finish. This ensures a rich and classy look for our office interiors.

As a matter of fact, apart from gold and silver ply, we can make classy looking nameplates from black/white acrylic and even reflective mirror acrylic, as shown in the image below.

Maintenance Free

Metallic plates need to be polished on a regular basis to maintain their lustre and prevent oxidation. But our ABS plates are made of PVC, and are corrosion-free. They will not rust like regular metal nor do they require any kind of polishing/maintenance.

Low Cost

Finally, metal foiled plastic, ABS sheets cost a fraction of their full metal counterparts. So even if your employee were to leave, replacing the nameplates, is not going to affect your bottom line.

How to Commission Nameplates for Your Workplace

Ordering personalised nameplates for your office is not very difficult.

First, set a uniform size for all the nameplates in your office. Most architects settle for dimension: 3 inches high * 8 inches wide. 4 * 12 inches size is also visually appealing and pretty popular for larger sized plates.

Next, put in all your employee names (and official positions) in a spreadsheet. Once you mail this info to your sign manufacturer, he should be able to take it from there.

MOQ - Minimum Order Quantity

One other thing that you need to be aware of is that most sign makers will not be able to supply small quantities of plates. The material they cut these plates from (ABS sheets) is generally available in size 4 X 3 feet. And you may be charged for processing the entire sheet.

So fill in as many names as possible in the spreadsheet. Heck, even commission icon plates for the loo, if necessary, to fill up the slack.

How Much Do Gold/Silver Finish Nameplates Cost?

A laser-etched nameplate costs INR 6 per square inch here in India.

This price includes:
A 2 mm thick gold/silver finish ABS sheet
Laser cutting and etching your design on the same
A 2 sided tape on the back, for pasting/installation

So, as an illustration, if your nameplate is of size 8 inches wide X 4 inches high, it should cost you:

8 feet X 4 feet X INR 6 = Rs.192.00 + taxes

Please note that these costs do not include on-site installation.

Like this idea for office design? Need to implement the same for your workplace?

7. Lobby Boards & Name Directories - A Must For Modern Office Interiors

Large office buildings have tens of departments and hundreds of employees each engaged in different functions and seated at different locations. And as an interior designer, your job will be to communicate the location of all these different people to clients and visitors.

So an Office Name Directory in your lobby/reception is an absolute must.

One way to do this is to simply print all the names out on a sunboard sheet and paste the same on a wall. But this solution will look pretty basic. And what I want is for your directory board to look classy and impress all visitors arriving on our premises.

Moreover, in addition to good looks, the content on lobby boards are also constantly changing.

Employees come and go. Or get assigned to other departments. Corporate functions keep changing. And company structures get revamped. So what we need, is a mechanism by which the names on our lobby board can easily be updated and changed.

And to fulfil both these requirements of looks and functionality, I recommend Modular Name Directories & Signs for the lobbies and reception areas of corporate offices.

Modular Directory Boards as the name suggests, come in separate parts and components. These parts are then assembled to create the full name directory board. Also, individual parts can be readily replaced to allow for content change and updation.

Let’s have a quick look at how these modular signs are made.

Components of A Modular Office Name Directory/Board

Our modular sign has three main components that the interior designer needs to be aware of. These are:

  1. Name panels
  2. Edge frames and central dividers
  3. Base structure for assembly
Name Panels/Profiles

The actual names of the employees/departments, get printed on panels made of thin strips of aluminium. These individual panels are then slotted in place, to create the larger office lobby board.

These aluminium nameplates, also known as text strips, are available in differing heights.

This means that we can have a taller ‘header’ panel to show the name of the department. Panels of a lesser height are slotted beneath this header panel. These smaller height panels can carry the name of the individual employees working in that department.

Using differently sized (and differently coloured) header panels leads to easy categorisation of all the names on our board.

The front side of these panels is just a flat surface to enable printing. But on the reverse side, these panels have specialised grips. And these are what makes our office directory board such an elegant solution.

These grips allow for slotting of the individual plates in the larger frame. You can also very easily pop out and replace these plates without disturbing the rest of the signboard.

So if you need to change the name of a single employee, all you have to do is remove his nameplate and slot in a new one in the same place.

Edge Profiles and Columnar Dividers

Our modular office directory board also has very sleek edges. These side profiles create the rectangular frame in which all the individual nameplates get assembled.

The aluminium edge profiles are extremely thin and weigh in at a height of less than an inch when viewed from the sides. So they give our frame a very sleek and compact look.

While edge profiles make for the outside boundary of our directory board frame, our modular signage also comes equipped with dividers. These dividers vertically separate individual columns of names.

And in addition to neatly spacing our signboard into uniform columns, these dividers also add to the strength of the overall frame.

Base Structure

Finally, to hold all the nameplates, side profiles and dividers in place, the modular signboard has a base structure on which each of these components can be press-fitted.

While invisible to the casual viewer, this base structure is what holds everything in place. The structure is made of a sturdy plastic mesh with appropriately shaped slots. All the other parts have corresponding grips that fit into these slots.

So all you have to do is push the different components into the mesh structure, much like working with lego blocks.

Have a look at this image below, as an example. You can see end caps with clips made of plastic. Our name profiles have small extrusions on the back surface which get slotted into these clips. The end caps, in turn, hold the nameplates in place.

How to Commission a Name/Directory Board to Enhance Your Office Interiors

The above descriptions may have scared you into thinking that a directory board project is pretty complex. But you need not worry. All you have to do is take two simple steps to start this process.

Figure out What Sized Name Board You Need

Measure the wall on which you plan to fix the board. Then arrive at an approximate dimension for the outside frame of your sign. You need not worry too much about accuracy.

Your signboard manufacturer will provide you with the exact dimensions in the layout he creates for you. But you do need to provide him with a rough idea of what you have in mind.

Create a Detailed Excel File of the Contents Needed on The Board

Type in all the names and departments in a spreadsheet. Add in some blank spaces for new employees or information that may be updated in the future.

Your signboard manufacturer will view each department and name as an individual plate that has to be fitted in the larger signboard.

Armed with the full-frame size and the number of nameplates that have to be included in the lobby board, he can give you a rough sketch of what the final job will look like.

How Much Does A Modular Name Board Cost

Our directory boards are infinitely customisable. They have to be so, to cater to corporate offices having different requirements.

For example, we can fabricate a modular board to carry four, forty or even more name panels.

Different offices have different numbers of departments and sub-departments. Again, individual name panels may have varying heights and sizes. And the directory board needs to be properly configured to reflect all of this information.

So, as signmakers, we need to factor in each of these varying specifications before we can arrive at a meaningful quote.

If you need costings for your name/directory board project, do reach out to us. Mail us all your employee names in an excel file along with the departments they belong to. Also, be sure to specify the size of the wall, on which the board is going to be fitted.

And we’ll get back to you with a proposal for the job.

Conclusion

By now, you probably realised a few things about branding your office interiors. Namely…

  1. It is pretty easy to personalise your office interiors with your own designs or corporate colours
  2. Doing the above will definitely make your workplace a more fun place for your employees
  3. And most importantly, it does not cost an arm and a leg to achieve all this

A few good designs are all you need, to take your wall and glass branding projects ahead. And if you don’t have access to a good designer, PowerPoint should help you in creating great wall posters.

The 3D acrylic logo boards are also a pretty straightforward solution. To make them happen, all you have to do is mail your logo file and preferred dimensions to your local sign shop.

Nameplates and directory boards are absolute no brainers as well. Create a detailed excel file containing all your requirements, to commission the job. And your sign maker will take care of the rest.

Finally, I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did, writing it.

And if it managed to get your creative juices flowing, or if it gave you some innovative ideas to personalise your workspace, I will consider my efforts well rewarded.

Do let me know which of these interior decoration tips were implemented by you. And be sure to share your own thoughts and ideas on this subject, in the comments section below.

Until then, Happy Decorating!

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Printing Knowledge Base

What is UV Flatbed printing?

What is UV Flatbed Printing?

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Directly print images on any flat surfaced object you can think of...

There is a lot of curiosity about a relatively nascent printing technology. Namely – UV or Ultra-violet printing. But to understand how flatbed UV printing works and what is a UV printer, we first need to look at the capabilities (and limitations) of conventional printers.

The abilities of any printing machine are defined by the media it can print upon. For example, the home inkjet and laser printers are used for primarily printing on paper.

We then have wide-format inkjet photo printers that can print on rolls of vinyl, canvas, and to a limited extent, cloth. Solvent printers reproduce images on flex hoardings and banners. Finally, the huge offset and digital presses can, in addition to regular paper, print on coated and textured sheets of paper and card sheets.

But if you noticed, specially manufactured media is needed in each of the printing examples cited above.

Wood and pulp need to be pressed into thin sheets of paper. PVC has to be converted to make rolls of flex or vinyl. Cotton fiber has to be woven into cloth or canvas and then tightly wound into rolls. And only then can these media be deployed in conventional printers.

How Do You Determine Which Material Can Be Printed on Using UV?

Media (be it paper, plastic or cloth), is specifically made compatible with its intended printer. Only when the media conforms to the requirement of the printing device, (laser, inkjet, offset, etc.) can it be used for the purposes of printing.

The printer sits in its place and sheets of paper / rolls of plastic pass through its innards. Different processes like laser, inkjet, or offset printing takes place, and the print image gets transferred upon the media. The printed media then passes or flows out of the printer and into our hands.

But if this is the case, how would you print on an object that has not been specially manufactured for being printed upon?

UV Flatbed Printing Directly on Objects

Suppose that you want to print on a block of wood or say, a slab of glass. Have you ever considered pushing in a cricket bat made of pine or willow, into your home inkjet printer? A sheet of paper curves through the rollers of the laser printer. But how would a sheet of glass do the same?

Have you ever wondered if there is any technology that can print directly onto an object, like a block of marble?

UV flatbed printing introduces a new capability of printing directly, onto a variety of rigid objects. At Orchid Digitals, we have a Mimaki UV flatbed printer, which alters the print paradigm. It brings us the ability to print on an entirely new class of materials and literally changes the way you think about printing.

You can put in just about any flat object, inside the machine. And the UV printer will print upon it, for you. In fact, think of an object and we can probably print upon it’s surface.

How Does a UV Printer Reproduce Images Directly on Objects?

To understand how a UV flatbed printer is different from the other print machines, we need to go back to our earlier examples of inkjet, laser, solvent, offset, etc. printers. In each of these machines, the media, conforming to a strict set of specifications (like paper size, thickness, uniform flatness, etc.) has to pass in and out of the printer.

Remember, the printer stays in its place. It is the media that is always moving.

But a UV flatbed is constructed differently. It has a bed or table which is stationery. This table also has an inbuilt vacuum suction.

The UV inkjet printing heads are mounted on a gantry that moves along the X and Y axis (length and breadth) of the table. So when you need to print upon an object, you simply place it on the print-bed / vacuum table.

The vacuum suction holds the object in place. This ensures that the object does not shift inadvertently or due to machine vibrations.

Once the printing starts, the gantry moves the print mechanism in the directions of left / right and up / down. The print heads fitted in the gantry, cover the entire area on the print bed. Ink is fired on any object placed on the bed and the same gets printed upon.

Have a look at the above video of an image of Virat Kohli being printed on a cricket bat and the concept of “what is UV flatbed printing” becomes clear.

UV Inks Can Adhere to Any Surface

UV inks as the name suggests getting cured by ultraviolet rays. These inks are sprayed in a liquid form on the print surface. An ultraviolet lamp then passes over the inks and solidifies them in place.

All other printers have inks that are compatible with only certain kinds of media. For example, inkjet inks require coated papers to reproduce high-resolution images. Laser toner cannot adhere well to rough and textured papers.

But UV printing inks are unique in the sense that they are media independent. These inks can be applied to smooth surfaces like plastic or rough surfaces like wood. You can use them to print on stone, ceramics, marble, glass, acrylic, etc. As long as the UV lamps cure the inks properly, they solidify and faithfully stick to just about any rigid surface.

Moreover, UV led printer inks become rock hard once they are cured. They do not scratch off easily. They are also waterproof and resistant to sunlight. All these properties make them an ideal solution for branding products.

We have a pretty extensive write-up about the various types of printing inks deployed in a print shop. Do click on the link in the previous sentence, to learn more about the same.

Types of Objects That Can Be Printed Upon Using UV Flatbed Technology

Flatbed UV printers are constructed to enable the following two things…

  1. They allow for an object to be placed on the print bed
  2. They use inks which adhere to just about any surface

Because of the two properties mentioned above, the applications of flatbed UV printing are limited only by your imagination. Given below, are some of the applications of the same…

  • Printing Logos and Product Photos on Diaries and Folders: Customers bring in diaries and folders from stationery shops. We print company logos and product images directly on the same.
  • Print on Wood: Some of our customers bring in blocks of wood, to be printed upon. Great State Ale Works, a popular microbrewery in Pune, have wooden handles attached to their beer taps and dispensers. We UV printed their logo on the wood handles.
  • Print on ACP Sheets: Residential buildings need to install name boards in their lobbies, displaying the names of the occupants. UV flatbed printing can directly print the names on sheets of ACP – aluminium composite panel.
  • Print on Glass: Flatbed UV printing can also be done on the reverse surface of sheets of glass. When you view the glass from the front, you get a beautiful back painted glass effect.
  • Print on Acrylic: Flatbed UV printers can be used to print directly onto sheets of acrylic. Company logos, display boards, images, etc. look amazing when printed on acrylic.
  • Print on Switchboards, Control Panels, and Membrane Panels: Control panel printing is another interesting application of a UV printer. Clients bring in their blank panels. We reverse print the company logo, directions, control symbols, etc. directly onto the same.
  • Printing on Gift Items: Personalizing gift items becomes very easy, using UV LED printers. Orchid Digitals can print on sippers, key chains, pens, mousepads, tea coasters and even peripherals like mouse and keyboards. In fact, there was a customer who walked in with a Rubik’s Cube. We printed different images on the six surfaces of the same. Another customer commissioned us to create a personalized jigsaw puzzle, and our machine did not disappoint.
  • Print Nameplates: Nameplates made of wood, acrylic, ACP or even glass can be instantly produced using UV printing technology

Conclusion

Flatbed UV printing technology is still at a nascent stage. But it is quickly being adopted by print service providers. With the ability to print directly on objects, people will dream up more and more new applications on the same.

As the machines become mainstream, large objects like planks of wood, floor tiles, big slabs of glass and stone, etc. will be routinely processed on the same. So watch this space for future updates.

Finally, Dear Reader, do let me know what you thought about this write-up. As always, I would love to hear your views, in the comments section below.

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Interesting Projects in Digital Printing

Laser-cut Business Cards

Laser-cut Business Cards to Make a Fabulous First Impression

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A Uniquely Cut Card to Help Cut The Deal

It is often said that a customer makes up his or her mind within the first few seconds of meeting a marketing person. This means that the salesperson has to make a good impression of the moment he meets a client.

The meeting starts with an exchange of business cards. But printed visiting cards are a dime a dozen. Most people hardly give them a second glance. But hand over a stunning laser etched business card and you will surely elicit a ‘WOW’ from your prospective customer. It is sure to break the ice and get the conversation flowing.

That’s a reason why so many marketing personnel hand over these cards using two hands. A ritual is created out of a simple act of exchanging information, just to get a client’s attention. And a laser cut business card practically ensures that it will catch the same.

Process of Printing Laser-Cut Visiting Cards

A laser etched business card is a meld of two technologies:

  1. Digital color printing
  2. Laser cutting/engraving

The first thing to do is to print a regular visiting card job on a thick sheet of paper. Ivory stock having a thickness of greater than 300 GSM would be an ideal choice. We also laminate the card to give it a matt or even textured finish. In addition to enhancing the tactile feel of the card, lamination also increases the thickness of the card even further.

The next step is to cut the logo or design in the printed card. To do this, we push it in our laser cutting machine. The laser is fired at very low power to ensure that the paper does not catch fire. And as you can see, a laser machine can cut just about any intricate design on the visiting card.

Why Process the Visiting Card on a Laser Machine?

A laser engraving machine focuses a highly precise beam of fire to cut or etch designs on a variety of materials. Some designs are extremely intricate and detailed. Cutting them by hand or even by a die punch would not be possible. Precise laser cutters then need to be deployed to overcome this problem.

Is a Laser-Cut Business Card Relevant for Me?

Visiting cards are a simple product meant to communicate your contact details. As such they are ubiquitous in the business world.

But every so often there is a need to impress clients. A salesperson may need to convey that s/he is dealing with an ultra-premium product. And a card having a very unique and premium look may be the right way to introduce your product.

A laser-cut business card also gives off the impression of a person who is a perfectionist. It says that this person will not settle for a regular card and will spend extra money, time, and effort to get a personalized laser monogrammed card, fabricated.

This helps in building client trust without the seller having to say a word.

Finally, laser cut visiting cards are great ice breakers. Hand over such a card to your client and it is sure to elicit raised eyebrows and the sentence, ‘Wow, where did you get this made? How can I order one for myself?’ This helps a lot, in getting conversions started with strangers.

Laser-Cut Visiting Cards Printing - Client Stories

Ms. Nidhi Jaju is an award-winning architect of the Xclusive Interiors design firm. As the name suggests, everything she has to create has to be exclusive. She walked into our office with a pretty challenging job requirement. She wanted a laser cut business card. But her specifications were pretty stringent. Creating one card involved numerous processes.

Ms. Jaju stipulated a back to back printed card on a very stiff paper. The paper also had to have a texture and a sheen which reflected light. Further, three corners of the card had to be curved. Most importantly, her company logo, which had very fine detailing, had to be cut into the center of the card. The logo was stylized ‘X’ which was symmetrical along the Y-axis. Hence, it read as an ‘X’ whether the card was viewed from the front or the back. The images shared on this page show how the final job looked.

Can I Order a Laser Cut Business card at Orchid Digitals?

Unfortunately, we don’t sell laser cut business cards at Orchid Digitals. We only have the more normal variant featured in our product portfolio. Also, we mainly lean towards industrial/mass printing in our company.

I’ve only created this post in our ‘Interesting Projects’ section to showcase our capabilities. I also wanted to highlight that it is possible to intensely personalize a humble product like a die cut visiting card and make it highly impressive.

Finally, I would love to hear what you think Dear Reader. So do post your views in the comments section below.

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Glass Film Printing Printing Knowledge Base

What is White Ink Printing?

What is White Ink Printing? A new UV technology explained.

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Create prints that are part transparent & part opaque. A new option for branding glass partitions.

All digital printing inks are transparent. The base on which the inks are printed, lends the print, its opacity. For example, when an image is printed on a white sheet of paper, the opacity of the paper ensures that you cannot see through it.

On the other hand, if you print the same image on a transparent plastic film, you can see through the image, onto the other side.

In both the above cases, the printing inks are transparent. But the media that these inks are printed upon, decides the job’s final opacity.

While all digital printers come equipped with four colors CMYK, there is a newer breed of machine that prints in a 5th color, that is…

White Ink for an inkjet printer.

And white ink printing technology makes some pretty interesting printing applications possible. Let us have a look at the inkjet printer that prints white ink.

White Inks Are Opaque

The CMYK set of colors in a standard printer are transparent. They have to be so because these four colors mix up with each other to produce all the visible colors in the spectrum. White inks, on the other hand, are opaque. They do not allow light to pass through.

So, using white inkjet inks, in combination with a specialised technique called layering, we can create prints which are partially opaque and partially transparent.

Using White Ink Layers

When we print an image on a transparent film with regular CMYK inks, we end up two distinct areas:

  1. The image area (where the inks were applied)
  2. The non-image area (where there were no inks or printed images)

If you remember, from our previous example, the entire print (including the areas where the images were printed) became transparent. This happens because, in addition to the base media being transparent, the inks on top allow light to pass as well.

Now, because you can see through the printed area as well, the image on a transparent film looks slightly dull. Please look at the first column of the second row in the image below and you’ll see what I mean. The light passing through the transparent inks results in a reduction of the vibrancy of the image.

But by using a layer of white inkjet inks, we can solve this problem.

Here is what we do…

  1. We first deposit a layer of white ink on the transparent film/media. This layer is in the same shape as the final image. For example, if I have to print the letter ‘A’ in red color, I first print the ‘A’ in the same size, shape, and position, in white ink.
  2. White inks are opaque. So effectively, I have created a white opaque area on my transparent film in the shape of the letter ‘A’
  3. The next step is for me to overprint (print on top) of the white ‘A’ shaped layer. I now print the letter ‘A’ in red color exactly on top of the white layer.
  4. The white layer is now fully covered by the red colored print. It is hidden and cannot be seen.
  5. But when you hold up the print to the light, you will see that the red letter ‘A’ is now opaque. This is because the lower layer of white ink, (although hidden under the color inks layer) imparts opacity to only that area where the inks are deposited.
  6. This gives us a beautiful dual effect of a partly transparent and partly opaque glass film.
    1. The image area (where inks are deposited in two layers (white + color) becomes opaque.
    2. The non-image area (where there are no inks) remains transparent.

How White Inks In Inkjet Printers Overcome the Problem of Transparency in Printing Inks?

Look at the examples in the above image.

  1. In the first image, we are printing white on clear vinyl which is pasted on a piece of glass. The vinyl print blocks our vision completely and you cannot see the sheet of glass.
  2. In the second image (row 2, column, 1) the same image of a flower is printed on a transparent film. Now, while you can see through the glass sheet, you also find that the print itself looks a little faded. Here the red inks, being transparent, are allowing the light to pass through.
  3. In the third image (row 1, column 2) a white layer is applied exactly beneath the red flower. Here, the image now becomes bright and vibrant. It is also opaque. The non-image area (or the rest of the film) remains transparent and allows vision to pass through.
  4. The fourth image (row 2, column 2) is just a reverse view of the previous example. We can see the layer of white ink beneath the red flower. This is the layer that lends opacity to the image.

Other Applications of White Inks

In addition to helping create prints with dual effects of transparency, white ink prints also have other applications. Here are the reasons people get white ink printing service:

  1. Decorative Films for Glass: Interior designers look for frosted and transparent film prints to decorate the glass partitions of an office or living space. While inks for glass film prints on these partitions are a dime a dozen, prints with white inks stand out and look especially rich.
  2. Reverse Pasting Films / Reverse Pasting Stickers: White inks are used extensively to create stickers that get reverse pasted. For example, the stickers on your car windscreen get pasted from inside the glass. You have a layer of glue on the color printed image, to begin with. The white layer is placed on top of the printed image to lend it its opacity.
  3. Three-Layered Printing: In this option, we print two layers of different colors with a white layer sandwiched in between. For example, a film showing a red car on one side and blue on the other can only be achieved, using white layers.

Real-Life Example of a White Ink Job

The images of the office partition (below) are of a project executed for Ms. Shubham of Acuiti Consultants, Baner. She needed white ink printing service. She had two office partitions and she wanted to brand the same with white inks for glass film prints.

This client wanted to display a flow chart of her business processes on the partition. There was a workroom on the other side and she wanted to be able to see on the other side as well.

Moreover, the film had to be pasted from behind the sheet of glass, because she wanted to make notations with a whiteboard marker on the partition, from the front. We used white ink UV white inks for the printing to give her a satisfying solution.

White Ink Printing Machines & Technology

White ink printing technology is relatively nascent in the print industry. In its initial avatar, machine sellers used to retrofit 4 color eco-solvent machines to run white inks as an additional fifth color. But there were a lot of technical problems and white ink eco-solvents failed to really take off.

Of late, UV white ink printing machines come preinstalled with a white ink option. These machines are pretty stable and have gained wider acceptance in the print community. For running white inks on your machine you need to be aware of the following:

  1. You need an additional printhead to channel the white ink in your machine
  2. The white ink configuration will cost more than the basic 4 color options
  3. The run cost for white inks is higher
  4. You will need design expertise to create separate layers in files. Layered printing is necessary to produce white ink jobs

If you are a print vendor looking to buy a printing machine, we have two blogs that can help you get started. Do have a look at the same when free…

  1. What is wide-format inkjet printing
  2. 10 tips to buy a new wide-format inkjet printer

Other Options for Glass Branding

While white ink prints are a very premium option for branding glass partitions, we do have a whole lot of other options to do the same. So you might want to have a look at:

  1. Opaque and transparent glass films: As the name suggests, these films can totally cut or fully allow light to pass through your glass partition or building facade. They are widely used for branding in corporate offices. Do click here to know more about printable glass film options.
  2. Frosted glass films: Frosted films impart a rich ‘smoked’ or ‘dusted’ look to your glass panels. They ensure privacy for the people inside the office. And at the same time, these films allow natural light to pass through. These premium grade films will add a touch of class to your office interiors. Do click here to know more about frosted films for branding on glass panels.
  3. One way vision glass films: This is a pretty intelligent idea for branding glass in commercial spaces. You print your branding/product images on the film just as you would, on any regular vinyl print. But when you paste it on a glass partition, this film imparts a dual effect to the same. Customers on the outside, get to see the printed imagery. But employees working inside the office can see outside. This film fulfills a dual purpose of privacy and enabling commercial advertising. Click here to learn more about one-way vision films.

Conclusion

White inks when used judiciously have the potential to enhance the offerings of a print service provider. Also, such a unique solution will help in generating extra revenue. All you need is a little bit of specialised knowledge and equipment to make it work.

Finally, Dear Reader, I would love to hear what you think about this write-up on white inks. So be sure to let us know, in the comments section below. Cheers.

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Printing Knowledge Base

How to Choose the Right Paper for Your Print Job

Guide on How to Choose the Right Paper for Your Print Job

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Understand how GSM is used to define paper thickness. Learn the difference between coated, uncoated, and speciality papers

When you discuss a print job with your print service provider, one of the questions that will pop up in the conversation is about which paper to choose, for printing. And any decent print bureau will have a variety of different papers available for you to select from.

The options in front of you will range from thin sheets to thick cards, coated/uncoated stock, and even papers having a textured and metallic finish.

So, before commissioning a print job, it makes sense for you to familiarise yourself with the options that will enable you to choose the right kind of paper for printing. You need to understand the difference between thin papers and thick cards and how paper thickness is formally measured.

As I mentioned above, this knowledge will enable you to choose the right kind of paper or cardstock for the job at hand. More importantly, with the right specifications, you’ll have a fairly accurate idea of the costs to budget for.

With this goal in mind, I have written this short guide on how to choose the right paper for your printing job. And it will answer the following questions…

  1. What are the various thicknesses in which printing paper is available? How is paper thickness measured? Which paper thickness is applicable for which use-case?
  2. What is the difference between coated and uncoated paper? What are their different use case scenarios?
  3. What are the types of speciality papers available in the market?
    In this section, we look at textured and metallic finish sheets of paper. We also cover acid and chlorine-free papers which are eco friendly in nature.

How Is Paper Thickness Measured?

We use thin paper for letterheads or perhaps the inner pages of a diary. We would consider the thick paper for fabricating a box or for making a greeting card. But the words ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ are mere adjectives. And imprecise ones at that.

What is needed is a concrete measure that tells us exactly how thick or thin a sheet of paper is. And this is where GSM or Grams Per Square Meter comes in.

What Is Gsm (Grams per Square Meter) in Paper?

You might be wondering ‘what is the meaning of GSM in paper?’ People in the printing and paper industry use a metric called GSM to measure the thickness of paper.

As the name suggests, you need to cut one square meter of a sheet of paper and find its weight in grams. That is what GSM stands for with respect to printing paper.

The thinner a sheet of paper, the lighter it is going to be, and the lesser it will weigh. For example, if you take a square meter of the paper used for printing bills and invoices and weigh it, you’ll end up with a reading of 70 – 80 grams on the weighing scale.

On the other hand, a thicker sheet of paper (with more material built inside of it) will tip the scales to a higher reading. Sample a square meter of the paper used to make visiting cards, certificates and you’ll get a value between 250 – 300 grams.

GSM or grams per square meter (of a given sheet of paper) is a very reliable indicator of that paper’s thickness. The weight and the sheet’s thickness are directly proportional. As the GSM value increases, so does the paper’s thickness. This is what GSM means, in printing.

GSM Chart Showing Papers of Different Thicknesses for Different Applications

Now that you know the answer to ‘what does GSM in paper mean?’, we can move on to the next thing. Viz., which thicknesses are used for what end application?

Paper manufacturers adopted GSM as a standard way of measuring the thickness of a sheet. Accordingly, they manufacture paper stock of particular thicknesses to address various print applications. At a paper merchant’s shop, you will find sheets of paper of 60 gsm, 80 gsm, 170 gsm, and so on.

To make things easier for you to understand, I have created a chart that shows which GSM papers are generally available at a print shop and what their end application could be…

Paper GSM / Grams Per Square Meter Applications Use Cases
60 - 70 GSM
Notebooks, diaries, inner pages of a novel, the paper used in a photocopier
These thin sheets of paper are deployed for multi-page products where the weight and overall bulk needs to be controlled.
80 - 100 GSM
Bill books, letterheads, handouts, receipts
The application here calls for a thin but premium paper. 60 GSM would look a little cheap for letterhead and an invoice printed on 130 GSM would be difficult to fold.
130 - 170 GSM
While this category is not as thick as a card it still has a nice premium feel.
250 - 300 GSM
These thick card sheets have a very premium and hefty feel. They cannot be easily torn or crumpled.

What is the Difference Between Coated and Uncoated Paper?

A print bureau will offer you a choice between coated or uncoated paper for your print job. So let’s try to understand the difference between the two.

Coated paper generally has a matt or glossy finish. They have a very premium look and feel. Paper manufacturers apply a thin layer of clay on top of the base paper. They use a machine having a knife-like edge to spread the clay on the base surface. The paper is then passed through rollers to even out the coat.

The manufacturing process notwithstanding, coated papers are generally costlier and used for high-end applications. A glossy magazine containing high-resolution photographs would probably be printed on 90 -130 GSM coated paper. This is because the extra coating enables better image reproduction.

Coated papers (both matt and gloss) are widely used for commercial applications like brochures and leaflets, where making an impression on the client is important. Coated papers do have one disadvantage though – it’s difficult to write on them with a pen or pencil.

Uncoated papers, on the other hand, can easily be written upon. We are all familiar with the pages in our school notebooks and training manuals. Applications like letterheads and bills/invoices call for the use of uncoated paper. Similarly, paper used for sketching and painting purposes has to be uncoated. Many customers also prefer uncoated stock for its more natural look and rough feel.

Uncoated paper is also less expensive than the coated alternative. Hence, it is the material of choice for low-end applications like printing a newspaper.

Speciality Papers

As a customer, you should also be aware that print services bureaus can provide speciality papers to cater to more esoteric applications. For example, speciality papers can include…

  1. Textured Papers: Papers with textured surfaces add their own unique dimension to the print job. These papers make prints stand out and look very rich. High end invites and greetings are reproduced on the textured stock. Paintings too, look great on paper having a canvas finish. We have a separate post listing the various textured paper options available at Orchid Digitals here.
  2. Metallic Finish Papers: These papers have a metallic tint and shine. Options available are gold (light and dark), silver, copper, etc. Like the textured option listed above, these papers too, lend a unique and premium look to the print job. At Orchid Digitals, we also provide metallic finish stickers that are used for manufacturing high-end labels.

Archival paper is yet another type of speciality paper which is explained in detail below.

What is Archival / Acid-Free Paper?

Archival paper as the name suggests is paper that can be stored for very long periods of time, without having to worry about the paper oxidizing or degrading even after decades of use.

All of us have seen paper yellowing with age. In fact, low-grade newsprint (used for printing our daily newspaper) will yellow in a single afternoon if left out in the sun. Writing paper used for stationery may take longer to age. But eventually, most sheets of paper will oxidize, lose their whiteness, and become brittle.

But certain documents need to be preserved for years if not decades. Legal documents, museum prints, historical treaties, share certificates, paintings, etc. are some examples that come to mind. And in such cases, using regular paper will not help.

Paper pulp in its natural form is off-white or even brown in color. Manufacturers use a bleaching agent (like chlorine) to whiten the sheets. But this bleaching process increases the acidity of paper which results in brittleness and cracking over longer periods of time.

To make the paper more durable, manufacturers use other (much costlier) whitening agents and also increase the rag content of the pulp. This ensures that the sheet remains supple for decades and even centuries.

This alternative paper is also called acid free paper. Manufacturing it puts less of a burden on the environment and so, acid-free paper is also chosen by ecologically conscious customers.

Conclusion

There are hundreds of types of papers available in the market. And while you do not need to conduct an in-depth study on this subject, it will pay to have a general awareness about the same. Consult with your printer before commissioning a job. He should be able to guide you into making the right choice.

Most good print suppliers will also stock most of the variants of paper listed above. And if a particular paper is not readily available, you can still ask your print supplier to source the same from a paper mill or paper stockist.

To conclude, this little effort in choosing the right sheet of paper will ensure that you get the best printing output for an optimal cost.

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Printing Knowledge Base

Variable Data Printing

What is variable data printing?

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Learn how mail merging can hyper personalise your print jobs.

Variable Data Printing is a simple but elegant solution to personalize prints for their intended recipients. It harnesses the strengths of digital printing to generate hyper-personalized print jobs using mail merge printing software.

To fully exploit the advantages of VDP / variable printing, we first need to understand the gap created by traditional printing techniques.

Offset and screen printing techniques have been around for centuries. And they are absolutely fantastic when it comes to delivering mass quantities of the same print image, like a flyer or leaflet.

But the screen and offset printers suffer from one major drawback. They cannot generate single or individually unique images/prints. You cannot deploy an offset printer to print out just one letter for a single individual recipient. And to do so, you need to deploy variable digital printing on a laser or inkjet printer.

What Is Variable Data Printing?

There exist certain situations where you need variable data printing services to print vast quantities of prints having the same layout/design. Yet each of these prints differs from the previous one because of the data it contains. Here is an example to understand this situation –

Imagine a blank school mark sheet. The mark sheet template will have static information like the name of the school at the top of the page, the principal’s signature at the bottom, and rows or columns containing the name of subjects the students are being tested for.

And while this mark sheet template remains the same for all the students, the data within changes from print to print. Each mark sheet will bear a different student’s name, his individual marks, and grades. And to create individually unique mark-sheets, we need VDP printing, also known as variable data printing services.

In a manner of speaking, we need to execute a mass variable printing job of hundreds if not thousands of similarly laid out mark sheets. The artwork for these prints remains the same across all recipients. But the content for each of these prints is going to change on a person to person basis.

This process of merging discrete user data with a standard design template, to generate hyper-personalized prints in vast quantities, is known as Variable Data Printing or VDP for short.

Situations Where Variable Data Printing Is Necessary

Think of the following printing applications…

  1. You need to print birthday invites bearing different names of the recipients
  2. You have to create mark sheets or report cards having different student data
  3. Your customer wants parking stickers with different vehicle registration numbers
  4. You have to generate address labels for a wedding invitation
  5. For printing bibs for marathons, since the print orders often arrive at the 11th minute
  6. Share certificates or tickets bearing distinctive numbers
  7. Award certificates containing awardee names and ranks

In each of the above cases, you will find two things:

  1. A static artwork in the background
  2. Variable data within that artwork that keeps changing. This variable data could be in the form of…
    1. Changing names and addresses on the invites and mass mailers
    2. Serial numbers on tickets and share certificates
    3. Vehicle registration numbers on parking stickers
    4. Marks and grades in a school report card
    5. Grades, 1st, 2nd, 3rd rank, and categories like the male, female in a certificate

And both the above components are brought together by variable data printing companies to serve up a finished product.

How Are Variable Data Printing Jobs Processed at a Print Shop?

To execute a VDP / variable data printing job, a client needs to provide two things to the print provider…

  1. The original, static design template or artwork. This can be in the form of a .pdf file, a .eps file, a CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator file. You can even create design templates in word processors like MS Word.
  2. Secondly, you also need to share a separate data file containing the information that changes on a print by print basis. This data file would contain individual names, addresses, phone numbers, photos, etc. that need to be incorporated in the standard design template. For most print shops, data in MS Excel format will work fine. But other databases like .csv files are supported as well.

With the above two files in hand, the print service bureau will map the individual fields in the database to the relevant locations on the design template. For example, in our mark sheet job, marks for history have to show up in the history column. Student names have to show up at the top, grades have to be reproduced at a particular location at the bottom, and so on.

Once this field mapping is done, we upload both the excel database file and the base design template to the digital printer.

The machine then merges these two files to create a single file with multiple pages. For example, if we have a hundred students’ names and marks in our data file, the digital printer will create one file with a hundred different pages.

Each of these pages will have the same basic layout but different names and marks.

All we now have to do is hit the ‘print’ button and the digital printer starts outputting a highly personalized VDP job.

The Benefits of VDP - Variable Data Printing

Digital print providers can create huge value addition for their clients by leveraging two features of their machines – Mass production + Individual personalization.

Moreover, this technology is machine-independent. It can be deployed on both, a sheet-fed laser printer or a wide-format inkjet printer. This means that VDP can be extended to small-sized certificates and even large-sized posters. The benefits of VDP include…

  1. A high level of personalization: The recipient of a VDP print feels that the invite or mass mailer has been printed exclusively for him because it contains data tailored to his needs.
  2. A reduction in work: There is no longer any need to print out blank forms, certificates, etc. which later on have to be filled in by hand. The machine does everything.
  3. Aesthetic look: Since we have design software at play, the machine can do this in a very beautiful way. By this, I mean that we can incorporate attractive fonts and colors in the VDP job.
  4. Value addition: Finally, any solution that makes life easy for the end customer is also going to prove to be beneficial to the print service provider in the long run.

Closing Note

Digital printing machines are highly technical pieces of equipment. But many print vendors keep running these machines on their default settings to generate standardized output.

On the other hand, some of us also tweak these settings to generate significant value addition to open up new streams of revenue. VDP is one such example of extending a machine’s originally intended capabilities.

At Orchid Digitals, apart from basic printing, our machines also include value add-ons like shape cutting, raised effect printing, white layer printing, reverse printing, etc.

Every good digital print service provider has certain ideas or ‘tricks’ up his sleeve to speed up a job, increase print quality, or give the print a different form altogether. So do share your tips or thoughts in the comments section below, for I would absolutely love to hear what you have to say. Cheers.

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Advertising & Branding in Retail Outlets Printing Case Studies

Royal Canin | In-Store Branding

Royal Canin | In-Store Branding Case Study

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Pet Shops All Over Pune, Branded by the Royal Canin Colors

Mr. Ravikant Upadrasta of Royal Canin Pet Foods needed to ramp up his product visibility. As the name suggests, Royal Canin specialises in foods for dogs and cats. This is a highly competitive sector. Also, it really pays off for your brand to be recognised. Because once a pet owner switches to your brand, s/he remains a customer for a long time to come.

So, to increase his product visibility, Mr. Upadrasta identified a number of point of sale locations. These included:

  1. Veterinarian clinics
  2. Groceries & departmental stores
  3. Supermarkets
  4. Pet shops

The Store Branding Solutions Offered Included…

There was a wide variance in the point of sale locations. Each of these locations needed different branding locations. To that extent, Orchid Digitals provided a gamut of solutions to brand the interiors and exteriors of these stores. The services we provided included:

  1. Flex printed backlit glow sign shop boards
  2. One way vision films for glass partitions and frontages
  3. Photo vinyl prints mounted on sun board

Images from this Store Branding Exercise

Closing Note

Orchid Digitals provides a wide range of in-store branding services to shops across Pune. Be it a store-front, a glow sign shop board or the interiors of an outlet, we’ve got you covered. Do have a look at our end-to-end store branding services on this page here.

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Advertising & Branding in Retail Outlets Printing Case Studies

Godrej & Boyce | In-Store Branding

Godrej Boyce | In-Store Branding

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Hardware outlets in Pune spruced up with snazzy product images

Mr. Sushil Thakur of Godrej & Boyce Company is in charge of the retail selling of hardware items like locks, doorknobs, drawer slides etc.

His products need visibility at various POS/point of sale locations around the city. These included hardware stores where the end-user, fitter or carpenter walks in and makes a ‘buy’ decision.

Orchid Digitals branded about 10 stores for him. We gave him a solution for printing and installing the following:

Images from this Store Branding Exercise

Closing Note

Orchid Digitals provides a wide range of in-store branding services to shops across Pune. Be it a store-front, a glow sign shop board or the interiors of an outlet, we’ve got you covered. Do have a look at our end-to-end store branding services on this page here.

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Advertising & Branding in Retail Outlets Printing Case Studies

Johnson-n-Johnson | In-Store Branding

Johnson-n-Johnson | In-Store Branding Case Study

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JnJ Product Images Displayed on the Shopfront of Virtually Every Pharmacy in Pune

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) the big pharma giant was launching a product called ‘One Touch’. This is a blood sugar meter to be used by diabetics.

So a mass advertising campaign was planned, to educate the public about this product. And one of the advertising efforts included showcasing this product at pharmacies across the city.

Orchid Digitals’ mandate was to install backlit glow signboards at pharmacies in Pune. The company demanded a turnkey solution. Here is how we went about executing the job.

Stage 1

  • Site check and photos of all proposed locations where the boards were to be installation
  • Measurements of the boards
  • Creating a report with costs of the above

Stage 2

  • Artwork adaptation of the ‘One Touch’ brand to fit in the measured sizes
  • Artwork approval and implementation of corrections (if any)

Stage 3

  • Board fabrication, transportation and on-site installation
  • Photographic evidence of the finished job

In all, we branded approximately 150 stores in the city. The job took 15 days from start to finish.

Images from this Store Branding Exercise

Closing Note

Orchid Digitals provides a wide range of in-store branding services to shops across Pune. Be it a store-front, a glow sign shop board or the interiors of an outlet, we’ve got you covered. Do have a look at our end-to-end store branding services on this page here.

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