By Cassandra Balentine
Workplace culture is changing. While many businesses encourage hybrid work models, they want to facilitate an inviting office environment. This is achieved in a number of ways, but window graphics in particular make a big impact by contributing to a sensory-friendly environment that offers both branding and privacy.
Established in 1979, ClimatePro is based in Northern CA in a city 40 minutes outside of San Francisco—Cotati. It has 24 employees and operates out of a 5,500 square foot facility. ClimatePro is well adept at installing window films for residential and commercial buildings.
Its graphic arm, VisualPro, specializes in providing digital print and graphics to its clients—many of which are large corporate offices.
The dedicated division to printed graphics came about as the original establishment, ClimatePro, saw the demand emerge among existing clients asking for more customization. It slowly started to adopt equipment and launched VisualPro in 2014.
With both specialties under one roof, the company provides products and services to a range of clientele from design firms to construction businesses, event managers, and facility management companies with production and installation of murals, wall graphics, decorative glass films, and signage.
Above: VisualPro recently partnered with Rose Design for an immersive office design, featuring window graphics printed on Lintec media.
The business has collaborated with many organizations to create solutions that help solidify brands and create visuals that enhance workplaces. Approximately 60 percent of its work is window graphics, while the rest is made up of other items that support a corporate graphics package, like wallpaper, photo prints, and vinyl wraps.
In addition to partnering with interior designers, VisualPro offers an on-staff graphic designer and production manager that work closely with customers to turn concepts and designs into reality.
Jeremy Dobbins, GM, ClimatePro and VisualPro, says customers look to the company to solve both branding and privacy challenges in office environments, sometimes even safety comes into play as the open glass office concept is trendy, but can lead to accidents.
Printed window graphics help to break up an office space with style. “Clients are able to truly customize their space, knowing that it’s not a permanent design.”
For privacy, many designs are able to get away from the “fish bowl” feel and offer a space that is open but offers a confidential place.
Along with the many benefits printed window graphics offer, there are challenges. VisualPro works hard to manage customer expectations. Dobbins says this is important when working with window graphics because light is at play, bringing with it translucent effects. Like a stained glass, the look of the graphic may be altered by how the light hits it. It’s not as simple as printing to a white base.
The graphics provider combats any concerns through experience and taking the time to walk clients through the options, offering full mock ups and examples.
Installation can also be difficult because it’s so specialized. Finding and maintaining trained installers is increasingly challenging.
Tools for the Trade
Window graphics are trending upwards, according to Dobbins. “Our designers are pushing the envelope with what they can do with printed glass graphics.”
The trend goes along with media options that replace decorative glass etching, a process that is both permanent and costly. “Printed graphics emulate the effects of glass etching and make an impact with a lower cost and removability,” he states.
For printing and finishing window and related graphics, it utilizes an EFI VUTEk wide format printer and a Zünd flatbed cutter.
The print division relies on Lintec of America, Inc. substrates for glass work. Dobbins says the media supplier has been an important partner of the shop since its start in the graphics side of the business.
He finds Lintec offers an affordable product with good quality. Further, it can’t be beat when it comes to the film’s optimal clarity.
“Consistency is important and we know Lintec’s media delivers consistently from start to end without media changes,” shares Dobbins.
He adds that Lintec is one of the only brands that offer scratch-coated optically clear film. “This is important because it won’t scratch or blemish during install,” he shares, noting that vinyl-based glass graphic products look good but aren’t as durable.
This durability is especially important when working with clear areas that would really showcase these flaws.
In addition to working directly with clients, VisualPro partners with interior designers to help bring its vision and its customers’ visions to life.
One such client was a San Francisco, CA-based people management software company, Lattice, and Bay Area-based design firm, Rose Design.
Rose Design is a repeat customer for VisualPro, and together they were able to create custom, decorative graphics for Lattice.
“We created waves of colors that appear as layers on a myriad of glass windows and doors. Signage and wall decals were also produced,” says Dobbins.
The colorful designs were able to create privacy, but also offer dynamic visual interest and help to identify rooms and spaces.
ClimatePro handled installation for the project.
VisualPro helps businesses meet modern demands for inviting work spaces. With the ability to produce beautiful window graphics that incorporate color and branding to separating spaces to create privacy, it is set up for continued success in its area of expertise.
May2023, Digital Output