By Cassandra Balentine
Media selection is a critical component to any print job. In wide format, options are endless—pressure-sensitive vinyl, cling, rigid boards, and fabric each offer a certain appeal. However, let’s not forget the practicality of poster paper. Available in different finishes—matte or gloss, weights, and coatings to enable compatibility with a number of ink sets, this substrate is versatile and cost effective, especially for short-term promotions.
Lily Hunter, product manager, textiles and consumables, Roland DGA Corporation, suggests that poster paper prints are generally used for retail sale promotions and point of purchase (POP) displays, or for advertising special events.
Depending on the application’s destined environment, poster papers provide excellent printability and low cost. On its own, poster paper is well suited for short-term promotions. However, the addition of lamination makes for a lengthier solution. This versatile medium offers a variety of attractive benefits for both customers and print service providers (PSPs).
Factors of Success
The primary benefits of poster paper include versatility, affordability, quality, and sustainability. End customers are drawn to the media for these reasons.
Marty Davis, director, wide format and graphics, Mac Papers, says end users typically choose poster paper prints for short-term, one-time promotions. “Usually the promotion is indoors and the brand owner often has a smaller budget, for which poster paper prints are ideal,” he explains.
Shaun Jaycox, product specialist, Brand Management Group, believes that poster papers are useful communication tools used to spread information quickly and build brand and product awareness to a large audience. “They are a highly versatile and inexpensive form of advertising when compared to other marketing materials and methods of distribution.”
Tamara Pitman, product manager, and Kristina Devine, senior marketing and pricing specialist, Coveris Advanced Coatings, also point to the versatility of poster paper. For example, retail stores, grocery stores, and beer distributors utilize poster paper for advertisements in store windows and hanging posters. Additionally, law firms use it for court room graphics. The media is also found in the general public as temporary posters and banners for special occasions.
In addition to versatility, economics also play a role. “Poster papers are usually used for an advertisement that will be changed periodically, it is important that it is economical,” state Pitman and Devine.
Angel Georgiou, senior marketing specialist, imaging supplies, Canon Solutions America (CSA), adds that print quality drives the use of poster paper media. “Whether it’s printed on an eight-color inkjet machine or a toner-based color device, the print quality is acceptable, the turnaround time is quick, and the cost is low compared to other products.”
Davis agrees, adding that when compared to vinyl-based substrates, the end result is more vibrant colors and higher quality.
Bruce Walker, client solutions and apps-tech, Sihl Inc., suggests posters are used anywhere someone wants classic impact. “They are eye catching and ergonomic due to being the ideal size to roll up and transfer. Posters transcend traditional demographics as they appeal to all age groups,” he says.
Additionally, Walker explains that the surface and coating options offered on some poster papers allow the media to match the tone of an advertisement. “This flexibility combined with a basic fundamental size and impact expectation makes the poster ‘the’ advertising medium of the modern age.”
The “green” benefits of poster papers are attractive to PSPs looking to lower their environmental footprint or appease clients with strict environmental guidelines.
“Poster papers have no PVCs, and most are recyclable,” shares Hunter. “Customers that are attracted to poster paper are typically seeking a substrate that’s user- and environmentally friendly. They’re also after media that has an appearance that’s smooth and not reflective,” she explains.
“Allowing the posters to be recycled in the everyday blue recycling bin offers considerable savings and ease of handling when projects change,” suggests Greg Maze, senior brand manager, digital and wide format, Neenah Paper Inc.
Georgiou points out that depending on the printer used, the whole print is possibly recyclable.
In addition to the benefits that draw print buyers to poster media, PSPs are attracted to the substrate for different reasons, including runability, color reproduction capabilities, and compatibility with a wide variety of print technology.
Often, poster paper isn’t limited by the technology a PSP is running. “Poster paper works great with low-end, aqueous printers through the high-end equipment. It’s very flexible. There is also a range of products to choose from. This gives PSPs an easy selling point when meeting with customers,” adds Davis.
Georgiou says most media selections can run on more than one ink technology platform, which makes it a win-win for a PSP.
Hunter suggests PSPs carry poster paper primarily because there is a significant end user demand for this type of product. “Additionally, PSPs want to be able to offer their customers various green media alternatives as well as the widest possible range of product offerings,” she explains.
Walker notes that the general width of poster paper is a consideration. “The width is ideal for transporting and for mass producing on all print platforms—both digital or traditional. With the advent of digital, a single poster can now be produced just as automatically as thousands. With variable data, the content can also be fine-tuned towards a specific audience or demographic.”
Since customers have the ability to change messaging fast with quick-turn large format printing, the ability to sell short-term indoor and outdoor messaging is growing. “Printers need to sell the change-your-message-regularly idea to their clients,” says Georgiou. Maybe they just need a quick promotion for an item, or there is a special event taking place that they want to make a special offer on, she continues.
Pitman and Devine say PSPs are attracted to poster paper because of its printability, whiteness, and the various thicknesses and sheens it is available in.
Poster paper is generally associated with short-term promotions, but that is a loose definition that largely depends on the specific environment the print is intended for.
Generally, the length of time a poster is up is due to the purpose of the advertisement as well as the content. “Typically, most posters are up for about three months as a rough average for advertising applications. If the content of a poster is deemed to be collectable, like many popular movie posters, they will actually be preserved for decades,” comments Walker.
Jobs printed on poster paper are generally up for 90 days or less, according to Davis. “It’s a short-term product, but is an affordable option for one-time events,” he offers. Factors that play into this timing include the strength of the paper product, the tear-ability, and environmental considerations. “The product must be used indoors—unless laminated—and should be used in a low-traffic area to protect it from damage.”
Hunter estimates the typical length for a job printed on poster paper to be up anywhere from a few weeks to six months. “Poster paper is generally used for relatively short-term applications, such as promoting limited-time retail sales, menus, or events,” she offers.
Maze says the lifespan of a typical job printed on poster paper really depends on the length of the campaign. “People still associate paper-based products with short-term campaigns, but some products are designed to last inside the retail environment because they are moisture resistant and built to last longer than standard paper products available in the marketplace.”
“We find that if we tell someone it will last 30 days they are happy,” says Georgiou. The length of time for graphics is dependent on the job specification. Retail or POP can be used for a short-term promotion that is thrown out in a few weeks. But, if they are generic posters they may be used for a month, replaced, and then returned, she says.
On the Market
Many vendors manufacture or distribute poster products.
Through Brand Management Group, HP offers many media choices appropriate for posters and displays for both latex and aqueous printers. The company introduced its next-generation HP Premium Poster Paper, designed to be cost effective and produce a wider color gamut, including high-contrast blacks and brighter whites. It is ideal for indoor and outdoor applications, photorealistic posters, and presentations as well as POP and retail displays, signage, and bus shelters. It is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified to satisfy the growing market of environmentally conscious customers and is compatible with all HP Latex, eco-solvent, and UV-curable inks.
For aqueous, HP offers HP Everyday Instant-dry Satin Photo Paper. Designed for maximum ink absorption, the photo paper achieves vibrant, long-lasting color. It is also designed to provide everyday image quality, is recyclable, FSC certified, and works well for presentations to displays and photo enlargements.
CSA’s Océ Imaging Supplies carries several poster paper options in widths from 24 to 60 inches. Offerings include PM35 presentation matte paper aqueous inkjet media, available from 24 to 60 inches at 13 cents per square foot; HW48 48 lb. coated bond paper aqueous inkjet media, available from 24 to 60 inches at 16 cents per square foot; 6040 Premiere Collection uncoated poster paper, a product that works well with color toner machines including Océ ColorWave printers, available in 24 to 42 inches at 12 cents per square foot; MW38PS mid-weight paper with PSA, which is available from 24 to 42 inches at 37 cents per square foot; and WS7 7-mil wet strength poster paper display media, compatible with UV, latex, eco-solvent, and Océ ColorWave printer technology, available at 30 to 60 inches at 16 cents per square foot. All carry a one year warranty on performance.
Coveris offers a range of poster papers, including its top four products, ECOSATIN, GFIOP140, GFIOP212, and FIRENZE 132. ECOSATIN is an 8.5-mil satin paper compatible with solvent, eco-solvent, UV-curable, and latex inks. GFIOP140 is a 6-mil latex saturated, wet strength paper compatible with solvent, UV-curable, and latex inks. GFIOP212 is a 9.9-mil latex saturated, wet strength paper compatible with solvent, UV-curable, and latex inks. FIRENZE 132 is a 132 gsm economical, mid-weight coated matte paper compatible with water-based dye and pigment inks. The company also offers Magic media, which is available in a variety of sizes.
Mac Papers offers a range of poster paper products. Its premiere line is produced by Neenah Paper’s FiberMark and is available primarily for latex, solvent, and UV printers. The company also carries poster paper from other brands. The papers are available in a variety of sizes from 36 to 96 inches with differentiating features such as back lighting, textures, self-adhesive, dry erase, and blockout for pop-up banners. “Virtually anything we can do with a vinyl or polymer product, we can also do with newer paper-based products,” says Davis. Pricing and warranty information varies and can be explained to customers through local Mac Papers representatives.
Neenah Paper provides a selection of options for poster paper media under the FiberMark brand. Neenah Endura is FSC certified, bright white, and latex saturated for extra durability and for use indoors and short-term outdoors. Available in 34-, 54-, and 60-inch widths it can be printed with solvent, latex, and UV platforms. Blox-Lite is FSC certified, recyclable, and made with ten percent recycled content. The company says it is an economic alternative to blockout banner. It is 100 percent opaque and can be printed on two sides. It is available in different calipers from 8.5 to 14 pt., with the most common widths being 54 and 64 inches.
Roland offers two paper media offerings mostly used for retail display and POP applications, Paparazzi Premium Matte Paper and Solvent Glossy Paper. Paparazzi is a premium quality, 8-mil, 190 gsm constructed paper that images beautifully and features great body. It’s intended for high-resolution, full-color printing and features excellent opacity and white point characteristics. It’s also specially designed for high ink saturation and yields a wide color gamut without cockling. Paparazzi Premium Matte Paper is available in 30- and 54-inch by 100 foot rolls.
Roland’s Solvent Glossy Paper is a heavyweight, 8-mil paper with an advanced inkjet receptive coating. Similar to Paparazzi, it’s ideal for high-resolution, full-color printing and boasts outstanding opacity and white point characteristics. Designed to image vibrantly and reduce ink consumption, Roland Solvent Glossy Paper features a gloss finish on the coated side and a durable, glossy base sheet that stabilizes the product against cockling and excessive curl. It’s available in 20 inches by 50 feet and 30-, 54-, and 63-inch by 100 foot rolls.
Both Paparazzi Premium Matte Paper and Solvent Glossy Paper are backed up by Roland’s Certified Media Guarantee. Hunter explains that this certifies that the products are free of defects. When used for the recommended applications and with Roland’s Eco-Sol MAX, Eco-Sol MAX 2, and EJ inks, they are guaranteed to produce vibrant printed graphics.
Sihl provides a range of poster papers, including higher end photo papers that come in different finishes, such as pearl, gloss, satin, and matte, depending on the particular needs of the user. The company also provides options for all digital print platforms including aqueous, eco-solvent, latex, UV, solvent, and laser.
While trendy media selections, such as pressure-sensitive vinyl and fabric, tend to get a lot of attention, traditional options like poster paper are still widely requested by end users and stocked by PSPs.
“Poster paper is a great, cost-effective, easy-to-produce promotional vehicle for short-term solutions for retail, educational, safety, POP, and environmental applications,” says Jaycox.
In addition to low cost and versatility, these products offer environmental benefits and ease of use.
Apr2016, Digital Output