InTents December/January 2020 - 28

B

ig event tents and bold graphics go hand in hand
because customers recognize the importance of
branding, particularly at trade shows and public
events. In these settings, custom graphics serve

both logistical and strategic purposes. They make it easier for
attendees to locate a particular tent and reinforce the brand
identity of organizations through specific colors and images.

But simply putting a logo on a
tent isn't enough for some of today's
customers, according to Fred Tracy,
president of Fred's Tents & Canopies
Inc., based in Waterford, N.Y.
"In years past, when people thought
of tents and printing, it was all about
branding with a corporate logo," he
says. "These days we're looking to
create a total atmosphere; for example,
a tent that feels like an old barn for
weddings or one that looks like the
French Riviera for a corporate event."
Printing and ink technology have
evolved to a point that digital printers
can now accurately reproduce detailed
designs and colors onto tent fabrics.
Some are also able to print on substrates
such as plywood or carpet so that
customers can think beyond tent panels
to create features such as ϐloors that
are printed with logos or insignia or
made to look like marble or hardwood.
And don't forget the frame-Tracy
recommends considering the poles,
beams and other tent framework as
part of the design. For example, a faux
wood ϐinish can be applied to the poles
on a barn-themed tent, which Fred's
did for a client of Chattanooga Tent &
Event Solutions, Chattanooga, Tenn.
With today's printing technologies,
just about any surface in a tent can
become a part of the end user's
28 intents

dec 2019-jan 2020

complete custom design. With a little
understanding of inks, colors, placement
and the design process, you can help
ensure that your client's tent is the
center of attention at any event.

INKS AND COLOR SELECTION
Hand painting, perhaps the oldest
technique for applying graphics to
tents, is still used, particularly with
light-colored designs on dark materials.
But most tent manufacturers now
print graphics using digital printers
with solvent, latex and UV-based inks.
Solvents are a traditional choice for
outdoor signage and hold up well but
are considered less eco-friendly because
they release harmful fumes when drying,
and they take longer to cure. For that
reason, many manufacturers have moved
to latex or UV inks, which don't off-gas
and require less drying time than solvent
inks. This can mean quicker turnaround
for events with a short lead time.
"Ten years ago, a printed tent top
would take three to four days to
print and would be pixelated," says
Charlie Rueb, program manager
at Rainier Industries Ltd., based
in Tukwila, Wash. "Today they can
take hours and be photorealistic."
Rainier has moved to water-based
UV inks for their durability and faster
drying time. An additional advantage



InTents December/January 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of InTents December/January 2020

InTents December/January 2020 - Cover1
InTents December/January 2020 - Cover2
InTents December/January 2020 - 1
InTents December/January 2020 - 2
InTents December/January 2020 - 3
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