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10 Steps to Menu Board Magic




An effective menu board design utilizes the idea that less is more. All too often, graphics are over designed and the images are heavily propped. This approach convolutes the message and jeopardizes the effectiveness of the menu board campaign. 

A well-designed menu board will include the following design criteria:

  1. Close cropped, high quality photography.
  2. Back lighting the menu board graphics, this creates an immediate focal point.
  3. Minimal propping in and around the product being sold.
  4. Size of each graphic should be at least 24” sq. or larger.
  5. Price points incorporated into the product graphic helps speed up the transaction.
  6. Combo offerings sell more product.
  7. Utilizing today’s digital design you can compliment virtually any architectural environment by incorporating common design elements (i.e. colors, textures, etc).
  8. Photographic reproduction of the graphics is still the highest quality, most consistent imaging technology available today.
  9. Light box or illuminator design should be minimal (black always offers a nice contrast). Surrounds can be fabricated when common architectural elements are desired.
  10. DDS (Dynamic Digital Signage) can be an effective enhancement to a static menu board environment. DDS offers moving stills, video, and the ability to easily switch out pricing across a large circuit of locations. That said, static graphics (e.g., Duratrans) still offer the most cost effective and consumer friendly method of communicating your offerings in a time sensitive fashion.

Whether you are a fast food operation, a concession operation at a movie theatre, a theme park, or other places of assembly…making it easy for the consumer to make a buying decision is paramount in increasing capita per visit by creating a fast, non confusing offering of your products.

There are many more considerations to developing the most effective menu board campaign for your specific application. Click here to request more information regarding menu board solutions.

New Fixturing Product - ZipLine™



Rose Displays recently introduced the ZipLine™ graphic hanging system. The ZipLine™ is a hanging system that has 60” of cable that is adjustable in 3” increments, making it easy to change the height of your graphics. Just push the release button on the side of the ZipLine™ to lengthen or shorten the cable. 

The stock finish of ZipLine™ is off white so that it matches most standard grid ceilings, other colors are available – call or email us for more info.  

Key Features: 

  • Cables adjust easily in approximately 3” increments, up to 60” in length.
  • Easy to attach and reposition on standard grid ceilings.
  • Secure loop design ensures graphics are held safely.
  • Use with hole-punched graphics to save money, or with graphic holders for a more upscale look.

Here is a short video showing how to load and adjust graphics into the ZipLine™ Graphic Hanging System. 

Please Note: Two ZipLines are recommended per graphic. ZipLines are compatible with standard and recessed grid, Spider™Track, and Tile Divider. 

Contact me at or click here for more information regarding the ZipLine™ Graphic Hanging System. 

We Are Now A Qualified G7 Master Printer!


G7 Master Printer Logo

It’s official - Graphic Systems, Inc. is now a qualified G7 Master Printer!

What is G7?

G7 is a method for managing color across multiple devices – it guarantees that color will visually match throughout the production process – from proof to print. G7 was developed by IDEAlliance (International Digital Enterprise Alliance) and the GRACoL Committee (General Requirements and Applications for Commercial Offset Lithography). According to The G7 Specification 2008 document, G7 is “a specification that defines the factors that can be used to provide consistent gray scale reproduction across multiple devices, processes, and media.”

The IDEAlliance Web site states that “G7® specifies the components of an image that define a similar "visual appearance" to the human eye. To do this, the G7 Method:

  • Defines a colormetric definition for gray balance
  • Specifies gray balance in the midtones, image weight and image contrast from the highlights to the shadows which are the factors that determine likeness of the visual appearance of an image” 

What is a G7 Master Printer? 

A G7 Master Printer is a printer that has passed all of the testing, training, and all evaluations required by IDEAlliance and GRACoL for this qualification. In other words, we are now qualified to deliver consistent color according to IDEAlliance’s G7 specifications.

What Does this Mean for our Customers? 

Being a qualified G7 Master Printer means that:

  • Our customers are getting the very best color management available at this time – your proof and your prints will match.
  • Faster turnarounds and less material waste, as the G7 process reduces file preparation time and waste.
  • We will be able to match prints produced by other G7 Master Printers.
Contact me at or click here for more information regarding our status as qualified G7 Master Printer. 

Graphic Systems, Inc. on Social Media


Connect with Graphic Systems on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Delicious and join the conversation. We would love to hear from you!

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Please Note: I will be periodically updating this post as we add other social media channels. Be sure to check back. 


What We’re Reading For The Week of February 22 – 26 2010


Here are some graphics industry related articles from around the Web that we came across this week:

SGIA Backs G7 as the Preferred Color Control Method for Screen and Wide-Format Digital Printing
 Wide Format Imaging 
SGIA is now backing G7 Color Control. Coincidentally, we will have an announcement regarding G7 very soon…

Colorful World
 Dan Marx of the SGIA Blog
A nice post on how digital printing technology has changed the printing industry. Good thing to keep in mind.

HP Bans Export of Non-Working Electronics to Developing Countries
 Gail Nickel-Kailing of What They Think Going Green Blog
It is nice to see a business make a stand on this issue. Hopefully, there will be more that follow…

A Resource for Today’s Green Business - Reading List
 What They Think Going Green Blog
A handy list of books for businesses wanting to go green.  

New Product: Active Wall™ Magnetic Receptive Primer


Active Wall™ Magnetic Receptive Primer
Last month, we began experimenting with Active Wall™ Magnetic Receptive Primer, which is made by MagnaMagic and distributed by Xcel Products. It is very similar to a traditional primer. Once dry, Active Wall™ can be painted over with regular wall paint. Like Xcel’s Visual Magnetics Magnetic Receptive Media (Visual Magnetics – which I wrote about here), Active Wall™ allows users to easily apply their graphics (we print on Xcel’s Invisilock™ double-sided magnet with our Durst Rho UV printers) directly to treated walls without adhesives or traditional graphic holders, making this an ideal solution for long-term wall graphic applications. It also makes changing out graphics quick and easy.

We tested Active Wall™ in our facility by painting a wall with three coats of the magnetic primer (the manufacturer states that one gallon yields approximately 100 -ft²). Once this dried, we painted it over Active Wall™ with standard latex paint. We were able to hang our magnetic graphics onto the treated wall with ease. Active Wall™ was also able to hold up multiple layered graphics without any slipping. To say that we were impressed with Active Wall™ Magnetic Receptive Primer is an understatement!

Wall treated with Active Wall™ Magnetic Receptive Primer

Contact me at or click here to request more for more information regarding Active Wall™ Magnetic Receptive Primer. 

What We’re Reading For The Week of February 8 – 12 2010



Here are some (mostly) graphics industry related articles from around the Web from this week that we found interesting:

Print Service Providers Are Going Social!
Author: Barb Pellow of What they Think
A very insightful post about several printing companies and their adoption of social media.

Resisting The Road Map of Change
Author: Howie Fenton of Graphic Arts Online
Mr. Fenton writes about those who “get” the changes currently affecting the graphics industry (and every other industry for that matter) versus those who don’t. It will be interesting to see how these changes play out over the next few years… Perhaps a reading The Cluetrain Manifesto is in order for those that don’t...

Plugin’ in to the Creative Suite
Author: Chris Main of Layers Magazine Blog
A comprehensive list of plug-in for the Adobe CS4 Creative Suite – very helpful! A great resource.  

The Customer CAN Handle the Truth
Author: Gerry McGovern of Customer Carewords®
Not necessarily graphics related, but a common sense plea to honesty in business. 

Why We Jumped into the UV Screen Printing Pool


Durst Rho Flatbed & Roll Digital UV Printers

A few weeks ago, I came across Darren Gapen’s blog post UV Printing: Can You Afford Not to Make the Investment? on his blog on the PIWorld site. In his post, Mr. Gapen pondered the question of purchasing UV printing equipment and asked if printers could afford to not take the UV printing plunge. His blog post resonated with me because we were faced with those same questions nine years ago.

In 2001, we were primarily known in the printing industry as a large-format photographic printer. We were printing with Durst Lambda digital photographic printers in addition to traditional photographic printing with negatives and enlargers. The industry at that time was in a in a state of flux – it seemed like our niche was going to move towards ink jet based printing, but we were not sure if it would settle on solvent or UV inks. In a fortunate stroke of serendipity, Durst informed us that they would be introducing their first UV digital screen printing press – the Rho 160. We were able to get a preview and see some samples produced by this machine. We were impressed enough to take the plunge – we purchased one of the first Rho 160s in the US.

It took us several weeks to get the Rho 160 integrated into our production flow, but once we did, it slowly but surely began to change our business – for the better. We could now offer our clients new products and services produced more efficiently and economically. As we began to experiment with the Rho, we began to realize that we could also begin producing brand new products as well. We installed two more Rho 160s within six months of our first installation. Over the next few years, we added two Rho 351s, a Rho 600, and two Rho 800s. We are now running seven UV digital screen-printing machines around the clock. 

Adding UV digital screen-printing capabilities was more than just a good move for us – it was transformative. UV printing allowed us to enter markets that had previously been closed off from us, in addition to giving us a whole new set of products to offer our clients. We went from competing against other photographic printers to contending against screen printers. Most importantly, UV printing helped us move into the realm of green printing. A quick word on the environmental benefits of UV printing:

UV inks are environmentally friendly because UV ink printers don’t emit volatile organic carbon compounds (VOCs). VOCs are emitted by traditional solvent-based screen printing inks. UV inks have three major green benefits: 

  1. UV inks are healthier for the employees working around these machines. 
  2. UV inks use less energy to print, because the ink is dried as it is printed – the inks do not require the lengthy drying period that solvent-based inks do.
  3. UV ink is easily liberated from the substrate when the substrate is pulped; it does not permanently stain the substrate fibers (like traditional printing does), allowing for better greater yield with material recycling. 

Reading Mr. Gapen’s post reminded me how far we have come in the last nine years. In reflection, I think that had we not jumped into the UV screen-printing pool, our business would be struggling or we would be out of business completely. With that in mind, I do not know how any large-format printing company could not afford to add UV printing to their repertoire. I understand that each company’s circumstance is different, but for Graphic Systems, the advent of UV printing was a significant game changer as the move from traditional photographic printing to digital photographic printing. For us, there is no going back. We wouldn’t want to.  

Green Product Update - ACT II Recycled Fabric


Act II Recycled FabricWe are pleased to announce the addition of ACT II Recycled and Renewable fabric to our line of environmentally friendly products. ACT II is part of Aurora Specialty Textiles Group’s Weaves of Green® fabric collection. This fabric is composed of 100% post-consumer recycled polyester, which gives this fabric a real, positive impact on the waste stream and our environment. The fiber source for ACT II fabric is recycled plastic drinking bottles.

ACT II Fabric is a plain weave, 7.5 oz fabric with a canvas-like texture. It’s been scoured and heat set for direct, UV cure digital printing. It’s available in 60” and 120” widths, making it an ideal fabric for most large format printing needs. 

Key Features:

  •  Made from 100% post consumer polyester.
  • Source of polyester is clear plastic drink bottles.
  • Perfect for in store graphics, banners, POP displays and signs.
  • Also well suited for short term outdoor signs (6 months).
We can usually have this material in house with in 3 – 4 working days. Contact me directly for a sample of our printing on this product at, click here for more information, or give me a call at 800-235-0387.

New Product: Wincos UV Custom Designed Glass Film


Wincos UV Custom Designed Glass Film

Last fall, we began testing Wincos UV Custom Designed Glass Film, which is made by the Lintec Corporation. Wincos UV Glass Film is a UV ink receptive, optically clear polyester film that is an excellent solution for window graphics. It can also be used on any transparent glass surface, such as doors, skylights, glass dividers – basically any glass surface.

The transparency of this product is really quite remarkable; it is truly optically clear. The test graphics we produced and applied to our windows looked like the graphics were hanging in mid-air. The ability of this product to create optical illusion effects such as waterfalls, exotic gardens, landscapes, and directional queues is ideal for creating a visual impact that will pull people into your store. Wincos UV Glass Film is also ideal for increasing store banding – you can put your logo, promotional images, basically any image or text onto a glass surface.

We were also impressed with its ease of installation. Wincos UV Glass Film is easily installed on a pre-cleaned glass surface with water and a squeegee. We created a simple, five-step set of instructions and a companion video of an installation of this product. Installing Wincos UV Glass Film is a snap!

We are always exploring new materials to print on, but its not often that we truly get excited about them – in this case, Wincos UV Custom Designed Glass Film is an exception. It is an impressive product that we are proud to add to our arsenal of materials that we can offer our clients. Contact me directly for a sample of our printing on this product at, leave a message below, or give me a call at 800-235-0387.

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