Crooks Life Photography Mactac

A World of Specialty Films

Bill Schiffner is a freelance writer/editor based in Holbrook, N.Y. He has covered the imaging industry for 25 years and has reported on many evolving digital imaging technologies including wide-format printing and newer electronic digital signage. He was the editor for a number of imaging publications and websites. He can be reached at bschiffner@optonline.net.

It’s getting much more challenging in today’s fast paced world for any brand to stand out from the crowded field of millions of visual messages that are out there on a daily basis. Media manufacturers have come to the rescue, meeting today's tough marketing challenges with a host of new textured films and colored vinyls that are making huge impressions in the vehicle wrap and retail markets. Some of these products are being used to enhance and add a final bit of pizzazz to the finished project.

Specialty pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) films offer eye-catching media solutions that help print providers transform ordinary jobs into extraordinary ones and creating unique and lasting impressions. Many of these specialty colored, holographic and textured films can offer accent graphics for P.O.P. applications, high-end cut vinyl applications and partial vehicle wraps for a true customized look and feel.

With vehicle graphics, for example, these films can serve not as a replacement for a printed wrap, but rather a way to augment it, by enhancing certain areas, such as bumpers, hoods, and mirrors as well as other graphic elements.

Visual Products

“These types of films are very visual products with diffraction gratings that break down the light spectrum. That allows you to see all the different colors,” explains Gene Silvestro, general manager at Griff Decorative Films, Lakewood, New Jersey. He reports the big markets for these products right now are in packing, POP displays and vehicle graphics. “The applications for these products really depends on what the customer is looking to achieve and what looks good for their brand,” he adds.

Innovative Tools

Essentially specialty films and finishes are innovative tools for designers to add new elements to their graphic creations. “The use of chrome, carbon fiber and color-shift films in accent form creates an endless array of possibilities that can accentuate a car’s lines,” says Robert Rundle, viscom market manager at Ritrama Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota. “This allows the designer and installer the creative opportunity to offer a design that best meets their desired look.”

He says that these films differ from color-change and printable films in that the cost to make chrome and color shift films are higher than a solid color wrap film as some films require a few layers to be laminated together.

 Janelle Hartmon-Pizzi, product marketer, 3M Commercial Solutions, St. Paul, Minnesota, adds that from a technical standpoint, the makeup of specialty products and color-change and printable films are very different. “For example, carbon fiber vinyl has texture built into the actual film.”

She says that there are many benefits for using chrome, carbon fiber, hologram, glitter, color-shift and other special effect films. “Along with wrapping an entire vehicle, these types of specialty films can be used for accenting with unique and diverse finishes. Personalizing your vehicle or storefront with specialty films is just another option for installers to provide individuals with branding that reflects the individual flair of their personality or business.”

Broader Service Structure

Hartmon-Pizzi says that shops can take these products and work them into a broader service structure for the retail environments, branded environments and vehicle graphics. “Working with these types of materials allows installers to offer more diverse solutions, with the ability to add texture and sparkle to a specific part of a wrapped vehicle or installation project. With more creative options and methods of customization, graphics companies can meet a broader range of client requests, and offer greater innovation and style to their project repertoire.”

Different Strokes

“The name ‘Specialty Films’ says it all,” says Amy Swaile, associate marketing manager at Mactac, Stow, Ohio. "These films are very special. Specialty films such as Mactac Carbon Fiber or Pearlescent TuningFilms are engineered to be different and stand out, hence they garner a higher price point for the shops that incorporate them into their jobs.”

Swaile agrees that these films differ from color-change and printable films. “The finishes and effects that are available within specialty films can’t be obtained through print or traditional color change films. Shimmer, sparkle, texture—these are all features that have to be built into specialty films upfront in order for the end results to achieve their intended dazzling results. Mactac can even boast to manufacturing the only Velvet specialty film. You can’t mimic that with print.

She says that specialty films like Mactac’s line of TuningFilms are a perfect fit for vehicle wrapping projects. “This is certainly where the bulk of the interest in specialty films comes from. We are seeing the use of our TuningFilms becoming more and more popular for creating environmental graphics such as wall coverings and decals as well.”

Swaile adds that the wonderful thing about the world of pressure sensitive wrapping products is that these films, specialty or not, allow any sign, car, wall, window, floor, appliance to be transformed. “If a shop can wrap it, a specialty film can be used. The key to incorporating more specialty films, like Mactac TuningFilms, is to show potential clients the possibilities through swatches, samples and images. Introducing clients to the possibilities of lusters, textures and sparkles as way to elevate their brand or image, often results in the shop equally being elevated from the competition,” she reports.

Ritrama Providing Educational Tips

Rundle also says that educating your clients on products in this area and showing them what you can do with them is a key. “We work directly with many companies' marketing teams who are always on the lookout for what’s new on the market. “They are always looking at new colors and textures. Some of the companies we work with weren’t aware of the fact adhesive back films like these even existed until we provided them samples.”

He says they manufacture a wide range of cast vinyl vehicle wraps in a variety of textures and colors with excellent durability, flexibility, and conformability.

“We offer a number cast vinyl wrap films that include textures such as Carbon Fiber and Black Mamba which are mostly used for car wraps, architectural and retail signage. Our positionable adhesive along with a licensed Air Flow Release Liner makes these cast vinyl films perfect for applying to curved surfaces such as on vehicle wraps,” he adds.

3M Specialty Wrap Offerings

Hartmon-Pizzi explains that the following 3M products are commonly used when wrapping personal or commercial vehicles, buses and boats: 3M Wrap Film Series 1080, 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material and 3M Wrap Overlaminate Series 8900. “While these products can stand alone, the combination of 3M Wrap Film Series 1080 with 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material and/or 3M Wrap Overlaminate Series 8900 can often to lead to stunning vehicle wraps, which can range from police vehicles that reflect during the night, to dynamic fleet vehicles that ooze flair and personality,” she adds.

Spectrum of Colors from Griff

Silvestro says that Griff Decorative Films create a wide array of superior graphic films and specialty self adhesive vinyl films that enhance color, sparkle, and dimension to packaging, vehicles, signage, and P.O.P. displays.

“Our Fantasy films offer the entire spectrum of colors and patterns. We recently introduced some new patterns that have given our line a different look for 2016,” he adds.

“The biggest growth area that I’m seeing right now is in the packaging market especially for the cosmetics and fashion industries. Griff offers a range of visual effects in packaging solutions that provide eye-catching results and are getting products noticed on retail shelves and counters,” he concludes.