The Beginner’s Guide To Special Effects Printing

There are thousands of special effect inks, laminates, materials, and tools available. How do you know where to start?!

As one of the largest screen printers in the country, we take pride in our special effects printing. From distinctive textures and unusual substrates, to fragrance and metallic colors – we do it all! In this post we will try to break down some of the special effects we offer…

1. Scented

Smell is the strongest trigger of memory, affecting our emotions and even our mood. Therefore, when scent is incorporated within print media, the message becomes more engaging, evoking an emotional response that goes beyond the visual or written message.

Generally speaking, there are two categories of printable scents and how they are manufactured. There are non-interactive scents and interactive scents and you can manufacture them using a print coating (varnish/slurry) or print ink. A print coating is like varnish for wood. It goes over your artwork as a layer of clear scent or fragrance. While scented print ink combines the fragrance with the colored ink that is on your print media. Read our beginner’s guide on scented printing.

2. Soft Touch

Soft touch is a type of printing finish that creates a velvety, matte texture on print substrates. You can achieve this finish through a soft touch ink, soft touch laminate, or utilizing pre-coated soft touch material. Want to know more about the differences? Learn more about soft touch by searching it on our faqs.

3. Chalkboard

Printed chalkboard graphics are a great tool for combining temporary writing and permanent graphics. This is achieved by using a chalkboard screen print ink or base chalkboard material.

4. Dry Erase

Similar to printable chalkboard graphics, dry-erase graphics are also a great tool for combining temporary writing and permanent graphics. This can be achieved with a laminate, or by printing on a base material.

5. Scratch-Off

Printed scratch-off is an opaque ink designed for overprinting. It can be removed easily with finger or coin scrape and does not powder.

6. Glow in the Dark

Glow in the dark graphics are what they sound like – graphics that are most visible in the absence of other light. The “glow effect” is called phosphors, which absorb light from the sun or high-powered lights and then emit the light, which really pops in a dark room.

7. Translucent

Translucent graphics or translucent printing is essentially utilizing space, design, and print process to create see-through graphics. YThis is accomplished through using a base translucent material, design, or translucent inks.

8. Glitter

Glitter: the product that is essential in many sparkly Christmas decorations, children’s artwork, horrendous pranks, and special effects printing. Printed Glitter graphics are an assortment of flat, small, reflective particles reflect light at different angles, causing the surface to sparkle or shimmer. There are many different ways to achieve glitter; through inks, adhesives, hand assembly, laminate, or base glitter materials. Glitter inks incorporate slightly bigger flecks, similar to the common glitter flakes, than those in shimmer inks.

9. Lenticular

Lenticular special effects printing utilizes design and lenticular ridges to produce a printed graphic with an illusion of depth, or the ability to change or move as they are viewed from different angles.

10. Pearlescent

Pearlescent printing (coined from natural essence of pearl which also produces the same light-refracting effect) creates a colorful and vibrant shimmering pearl-like impression on any printed graphic. The pearlescent effect is created from water based, solvent based or UV coating pigments structured with transparent layers. Their different refractive indices and optical wavelengths amplify or absorb light depending on their thickness, creating the iridescent sheen.

Using a discrete particle of a shimmering pearlized compound with the right base, we can print pearlescent in many different hues for your project.

11. Mirror

Printed mirror special effects are similar to metallic and chrome special effects but are much more smooth. Typically this is accomplished through lamination and then printing, or by printing over a base mirror material.

12. Metalic

Metallic special effects printing is similar to pearlescent but is applied to metallic colors like silver, gold and bronze. This finish is achieved through inks, coatings, hot and cold foil stamping, foil laminations, and/or base metalized material. We recommend using spot print if the desired result is in specific precise areas (reducing waste and saving time).

13. Chrome

Chrome special effect printing typically refers to a technique which applies a layer of metallic or chrome-like ink to printed materials. This process creates a shiny and reflective appearance similar to polished metal, adding a unique and eye-catching effect to the printed piece. This finish can be attained through inks, coatings, hot and cold foil stamping, foil laminations, and or base metalized material.

14. Edge Lit

Our edge lit graphics are made with a fluorescent acrylic that uses natural light to illuminate itself, without needing any power input. On this versatile, glow-emitting material we can print, route, drill, laser etch, and form (heat bend into 3D shapes) to create unique and distinct marketing touch points.

Read more about Edge Lit Graphics.

15. Holographic

The printed hologram special effect is created by metalizing the surface substrate with a thin layer of shiny silver aluminum. The surface diffracts the light into many colors and reflects the light. This look can be achieved through lamination, printing on a prizmatic base material, or metallic screen inks.

16. Prismatic

Similar to holographic printed special effects, printed prismatic special effect is created by metalizing the surface substrate with a thin layer of shiny silver aluminum. The surface diffracts the light into many colors and reflects the light. This look can be completed via lamination, printing on a prismatic base material, or metallic screen inks.

17. Fluorescent Spot Color / Neon

Fluorescent or neon-printed colors are super bright because they contain pigments that absorb ultraviolet light that then reflects back out. Neon inks are printed as spot colors – a pure color in its own right, rather than created with four color process (CMYK) printing. This special effect is achieved through inks, lamination, or base material. We like to say if your eye can see it, we can hit it.

18. Matte + Gloss / Spot Gloss / UV Spot

Spot coating is the technique of applying a high gloss, semi-gloss, or matte gloss to a selective area on a printed piece, rather than coating the entire sheet. This draws attention to the specific portions of the artwork – even if it is the same color as the background.

UV Spot coatings are cured with UltraViolet light, resulting in a deeper more vibrant look than conventional coatings.

19. Raised Surface / Heavy Deposit Clear

Similar to a spot UV we can control the timing of exposure to the UV light and varying screen making parameters, we can also create raised profile gloss and matte coatings, which give dimension and texture to these effects. We can also get this texture by printing on a textured base surface or by printing second surface on a clear raised surface.

20. Thermochromic

Printed thermochromic special effects change color based on temperature, often being used for mood jewelry, toys, and sticker thermometers. The ink we use is a type of dye that changes color when temperatures increase or decrease. It is a great way to add a little interactive element to your graphics!

21. Hydro Dip / Hydro Graphics

Hydro dipping, also known as water transfer printing, hydrographic printing, or immersion printing, is a method used to apply intricate patterns and designs to completely wrap three-dimensional objects. We first print on a hydro-dip film, clean the part, apply the film onto water, dip the part into the water, dry, and finally apply a clear coat to the part. This a popular technique used for dimensional signage, automotive parts, electronics, sports equipment, firearms, and more.

22. Custom R&D

Don’t see what you’re looking for? We specialize in customization and help develop new and unique printed products for our customers every day.

Honorable Mentions…

23. Antimicrobial

Antimicrobial film is a type of film or coating that contains substances that inhibit the growth and spread of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. The antimicrobial properties of the film are designed to protect the surface or material to which it is applied, reducing the risk of contamination and providing a hygienic solution for a variety of applications.

The film works by releasing antimicrobial agents that kill or inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms. These agents can be a variety of substances, including silver ions, organic acids, or other active ingredients that have antimicrobial properties.

Antimicrobial films can be used in a variety of applications. For example, we have applied antimicrobial film to print media, countertops, table graphics, table easels, and touchscreens to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. Read how we were able to wrap an NFL stadium’s tables in less than 48 hours.

24. Reflective

Reflective printing enhances visibility by reflecting light, making the printed design appear brighter and more noticeable when illuminated by headlights, flashlights, or other light sources. We print this effect by using reflective materials, or inks that can reflect light, especially in low-light or dark conditions. This type of printing is commonly used for safety applications, such as signage and equipment that needs to be visible in situations where lighting might be limited..

25. Anti Slip

These can be as basic as custom-sized stair treads, or branding and advertising non-slip patches in indoor and outdoor aquatic centers. Anti Slip graphics are often used for branded foot-landing steps on lawn, construction, and agricultural equipment. Learn more here.

26. Adhesive

There are obviously many different ways to apply adhesive, however did you know we can print adhesive too?

Screen printable adhesives allow us to apply adhesive directly onto a part with bond lines as narrow as 0.5mm. Why do this instead of tape or other adhesive methods? It results in more product versatility and increases efficiency by reducing the need to order assembly tooling, die-cut parts, and extract waste. Learn more here.

Grow your company’s revenue while personally enhancing your career! Special effects printing is awesome, but it takes more than good artwork or a well-structured design to entice a consumer to buy a product. It’s a balanced recipe of great design, affordable manufacturing cost, clever placement, and judicious use of resources. Stay tuned for next month’s knowledge drop to learn more!

On the other hand, if you can’t wait or want to cure your special effects printing issues RIGHT NOW – click here, and we’ll talk today!

13 Highlights From Our Sustainable Printing Progress Report (2023)

We remain committed to our mission to drive value for our clients by providing expertise, superior products, and dependable services with speed and precision. And we’re equally committed to doing so in a manner that doesn’t deplete the earth’s resources. This commitment acknowledges our responsibility for our entire value chain—which extends across our facility and through the entire life cycle of our products. And it drives our strategy— whether innovating solutions to environmental challenges or creating opportunities for customers to use sustainable materials or providing assistance to our community. We’re striving to enable the type of world we want to live in.

By engaging with others in our environmental work, we can achieve an even greater impact. We learn from feedback and we work with partners to influence change in our industries. This is why we want to share some big wins from this year. Be sure to read the full report here.

Our Environmental Strategy

The environmental challenges the world faces today are significant, and Modernistic is responding with urgency and dedication. We approach our work by focusing on fundamental questions. What matters most? Where can we make the greatest impact? These questions inform our goals to achieve change and guide our initiatives across the strategic pillars of environment, resources, and smarter production. We know we’re not alone striving to reduce our environmental footprint. So we engage with others to support our efforts and find opportunities to lift our local community along the way.

Our Goals

We increase value for our clients by providing expertise, superior products, and dependable services with speed and precision. And we strive to do so in a way that sustains the planet and the resources that we all depend on. Setting ambitious goals is essential to this — to drive the innovation and collaboration that makes change possible and to be transparent and accountable for our progress.

1. Our Customers Are Committing to Carbon Neutrality!

Our goal is to one day achieve independence from nonrenewable and nonrecyclable materials. As we progress toward this objective, we’re doing so without sacrificing the quality, look, and durability of our products. We’re working on innovations in recycling to enhance material recovery and support circular supply chains for ourselves and our customers. With the growth of corporate commitment to carbon neutrality, many customers are expanding their investment in sustainable alternative material purchases. Read more about our material supply chain on Page 27.

2. Our Suppliers Are Committing to Creating Recycled Products and Recovery Options!

Modernistic’s responsibility for our products begins with the design process and carries through end-of-life. Multiple alternative materials are investigated every time we quote a project. With the increased demand for recycled goods, material suppliers are expanding their investment in development of new materials. And they are creating infrastructure for easy material recovery. Read more about our material sourcing on Page 28.

3. 40% Overall Water Reductions Across Our Facility!

Water is essential to our operations and product manufacturing. Due to concerted efforts (or initiatives implemented) we have reduced our consumption by over 500,000 gallons per year, for the past three years. Read more on our water reduction programs on Page 20.

4. 45% Overall Energy Reductions Plant-Wide

Our energy efficiency goals extend well beyond our products. We’re focused on using less energy across our operations, beginning with how we organize, operate, and maintain our facility. And we continue these same efforts in our supply chain, benefiting our suppliers’ communities by drawing less energy from electrical grids — many of which still rely heavily on fossil fuels. This reduces local air pollution and improves air quality for nearby communities. In 2022 we installed new light fixtures across our facility which led to over 345,000 kWh saved per year. Read more about our energy reduction programs on Page 18 or what we did with our 2022 Continuous Improvement Project on Page 44.

5. We Are Continuing Innovation On Material Recovery

Sending materials to landfill makes poor use of the world’s resources, while also contributing to emissions. This is why we’ve made waste reducing operations a priority. This year we achieved 100% on-site waste separation approximately 1000 pounds of material every day, through recycling and source separation efforts. Read more about material recycling programs on Page 16.

6. Implementation Of Emissions Reporting & Reduction

Some materials that are integral to our products result in significant emissions. The same is true for certain manufacturing processes and the transportation of our products. To address these emissions we seek technological solutions, investing in renewable energy, and switching to low carbon modes of transport. In the last 2 years, we have reduced our personal fleet emissions by over 95% and reported 100% of our facility emissions. Read more about our emission responsibility programs on Page 22.

7. More Products With More Recycled Content

Our products rely on the availability of high-quality materials. We’re increasingly sourcing more of these valuable commodities from circular supply chains, drawn from recycled content and renewable resources. This year we partnered with a customer to produce a sustainable package filler that won over 4 national environmental innovation awards. Read more about our material usage on Page 27.

8. 401k Investing Classes For All Staff

We are invested in the success of our staff. This year we offered PTO for our employees to attend 401k investment classes and free 1-1 advising meetings at Mod. We set a goal to achieve 95% participation in our 401k matching program. Read more about our employee wellness on Page 43.

9. Introduction Of Material Of The Month

This year we implemented an email campaign that highlights a new material to over 8,000 print buyers each month. Sign up for it here or read more about our material advocacy, promoting environmentally friendly solutions on Page 30.

10. 2022 Sustainable Green Printing Audit Completion

This year we successfully completed our yearly audit, maintaining our 12th annual certification as a sustainable green printer. Read more about our SGP Certification on Page 37.

11. Removed 60% Of Void Fill With Custom Packaging

We’ve made significant progress towards eliminating empty space and plastic bubble in our packaging. We invested in a bespoke box maker that helps us with precise kitting, reducing the need for wasteful void fillers and shipping costs for our packaging. Read more about how we innovate packaging to reduce our footprint on Page 41.

12. Nonprofit Gratis Printing Program

We value organizations that make a difference in the lives of others and get excited when their needs align with our services. This year we were able to support multiple non profits with their large format graphics at no cost. Read more about our giving mission on Page 44.

13. Supported 10 Renewable Material Projects

Material supply partners value Modernistic because they have been trusting us with their material development for the last 60 years.  We take pride in our print and finishing expertise and the resulting industry respect for solving difficult problems. This is why we have a customer retention rate of over 99% – some of which are our own competitors. In 2021, we created a proprietary sustainable magnetic receptive process/product that is more cost-effective than the standard alternative. Read about our material development programs on Page 29.

Read Our Full 2023 Sustainability Report!

Grow your company’s revenue while personally enhancing your career! Sustainable printing is awesome, but it takes more than good machinery or a well-structured design to accomplish a responsible supply chain. It’s a balanced recipe of many resources. Stay tuned for next month’s knowledge drop to learn more, or dive deeper by reading our full sustainability report below!

On the other hand, if you can’t wait or want to cure your sustainable printing issues RIGHT NOW – click here, and we’ll talk today!

The Beginner’s Guide to Floor Graphics

Welcome to the wonderful world of custom floor graphics. Floor graphics are a unique and effective way to enhance your brand visibility and engage with your audience. We have been assisting big brands with making powerful floor graphics for over 40 years, but there are some nuances to putting printed media on the floor. Let’s break it down.

1. What Are Floor Graphics?

Floor graphics are a specialized form of printed media that are meant to be stepped on. They are most commonly used to direct foot traffic, promote products or services, convey safety messages, provide instructional information, or simply enhance the visual appeal of a space. They are designed to withstand heavy foot traffic and resist damage from spills, dirt, and other environmental factors.

2. Advantages Of Floor Graphics

Advantage 1: Increase in consumer retention rate
Apart from looking cool, a study by 3M found that floor graphics have a 5% higher retention rate than other types of advertising, such as aisle violators or standoffs.
Advantage 2: Added engagement
According to a study conducted by the Point of Purchase Advertising International (POPAI), 70% of buying decisions are made in-store, and 30% of shoppers are more likely to purchase a product when it is advertised with floor graphics.
Advantage 3: Proven to reduce accidents
A study done by the UK government found that floor graphics can reduce the risk of accidents up to 90%. This study even helped the University of Warwick implement floor graphics to help reduce the spread of infectious diseases in hospitals by reminding staff and visitors to follow proper hand hygiene practices.
Advantage 4: Differentiation from the competition
The majority of print media is not found on the floor. This inherently creates an opportunity for dramatic distinction from the competition, regardless of the market saturation.

3. Types of Floor Graphics

Since there are new, innovative substrates developed every day, we categorize our floor graphics by purpose. Generally speaking, there are 4 distinct categories based on the purpose: promotional floor graphics, safety floor graphics, wayfinding and informational floor graphics, branding and decor floor graphics, or some combination of these


Promotional Floor Graphics
These are the most common floor graphics. Promotional floor graphics are printed onto vinyl or other durable materials and placed on the floors of commercial or public spaces to advertise a product, service, event or brand.


Safety Floor Graphics
Instead of promoting a product to increase sales, these graphics are designed to increase the safety of the environment. They can be printed on anti-slip materials or other durable materials, and placed on the floors of industrial or commercial spaces, even vehicles, to enhance awareness of potential dangers.


Wayfinding & Information Floor Graphics
Wayfinding floor graphics are visual cues, usually in the form of markings or signage, placed on floors to guide people through a particular space. In addition to improving user experience, these graphics can also be used to highlight important information or messages, such as social distancing reminders, safety instructions, or promotional offers.


Branding & Decor Floor Graphics
Want to promote your brand or elevate an environment? Decor floor graphics are decorative graphics applied to floors in commercial or residential settings to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the space.


Hybrid Floor Graphics
Hybrid floor graphics are a combination of different kinds of floor graphics. You don’t have to be stuck using one or the other type of floor graphic. For example in the picture below the client used wayfinding signage to also enhance their brand experience.

4. Applications / Examples

Due to Modernistic’s comprehensive all-in-house manufacturing capabilities, we are well positioned to print a wide variety of products – including floor graphics! Typical settings include retail stores, airports, grocery stores, gas stations, hospitals, schools, sports facilities, and vehicles.


Indoor Floor Graphics
These can be long-term or short-term, but the sole purpose is that they are meant for indoor spaces. Indoor floor graphics tend to be more cost-effective because they do not need extra print finishes, extreme adhesives, or special materials to hold up against the weather.


Outdoor Floor Graphics
Outdoor floor graphics can stand up to demanding use and environments. These are far more durable than indoor floor graphics but require more expensive substrates to handle outdoor challenges.


Short-Term Floor Graphics
Short-term floor graphics are meant to be removed within a couple of months and are typically cost-effective.


Long-Term Floor Graphics
Floor graphics won’t last forever but there are methods and materials utilized to provide a longer life.


Vehicle Floor Graphics
Vehicle floor graphics are often printed on an anti-slip material which helps the operator keep their balance.


Anti-Slip Graphics
Custom anti-slip graphics are an effective prevention aid in the dangerous world of slips and falls. These can be tailored for any size, shape, durability, or color (even luminescent and transparent) Learn more here.


Stair Graphics
Stair floor graphics are printed graphics that are applied onto the treads (horizontal part) or risers (vertical part) of a staircase to create an eye-catching and unique look. These are becoming increasingly popular, as they are hard to miss during the shopping experience, fairly cost-effective, and are typically free promotional real estate.


Display + Floor Graphics
Incorporating floor graphics into your promotional display can be a powerful way to enhance its impact and engage customers in a unique and memorable way.


Interactive Floor Graphics
Want more customer engagement? Give them a tactile objective within a floor graphic. In the example below, a remote is underneath a floor decal that triggers a display model.


3D Floor Graphics
While not actually 3 dimensional, 3D floor graphics give the illusion through effective angles in the design phase. Just another trick up our sleeve to capture the attention of a customer.


Standard Floor Decals
Standard floor decals are extremely versatile and effective. They get the job done and the only limitation is the imagination.


Custom Anti-Fatigue Floor Mats
Custom anti-fatigue mats are specialized printed floor mats (no adhesive) designed to reduce fatigue and discomfort for people who stand for extended periods of time (while also promoting your brand or product).


Custom Floor Mats
Custom printed floor mats are non-adhesive backed floor graphics. Typically printed on rubber or nylon these can be used for a variety of purposes, including promoting a brand or product, providing directional information, displaying safety warnings, and adding decorative accents to a space.

5. Facts

  • In a study conducted by Sign Research Foundation, researchers found that floor graphics can increase brand awareness by up to 64%.
  • According to a study by 3M, 96% of respondents said that floor graphics were more eye-catching than other types of advertising.
  • In a study conducted by the Department of Psychology at the University of California, researchers found that people are more likely to pay attention to floor graphics than other types of advertising, such as posters or banners.
  • A study by the University of San Diego found that floor graphics can increase sales by up to 20% in retail stores.
  • According to a study by Nielsen, 72% of shoppers said that they noticed floor graphics, and 80% said that they found them helpful in making purchasing decisions.
  • In a survey conducted by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, 82% of respondents said that they have entered a store or business because of an outdoor sign or graphic, including floor graphics.

Grow your company’s revenue while personally enhancing your career! Floor graphics are awesome, but they take more than good artwork or a well-structured design to entice a consumer to buy a product. It’s a balanced recipe of great design, affordable manufacturing cost, clever placement, and judicious use of resources. Stay tuned for next month’s knowledge drop to learn more!

On the other hand, if you can’t wait or want to cure your floor graphic issues RIGHT NOW – click here, and we’ll talk today!

19 Lies You’ve Been Told About Holiday Displays

It is no secret that the print industry is vast and extremely unique. We have been in the business for 85 years and we are still learning!

While not always intentionally misleading, you’re often absorbing content from:

Printers who have limited capability: Most printers don’t have screen and digital printing capabilities which can lead to biases.
Marketers without much print experience: Marketers wear multiple hats and juggle numerous projects at once; it would be unreasonable to rely on them to know everything!
Non-practitioners: Printers who don’t invest in R&D themselves, but pass along (sometimes outdated) printing insights they’ve read online.
Outdated Information: Technology and capability change every day. Capabilities that weren’t possible yesterday, could be possible today.

After running thousands of holiday display prototypes for brands like Target, Kohls, and other major retailers – here are 19 myths you may have been told about holiday displays.

1. Graphics Have To Be Dimensional To Look 3D

False. You can utilize creative shading or special effects to make 2D parts look 3D! This is a helpful guide to creating the illusion of depth.

2. It Is Expensive To Screen Print Or Do Specialty Effects

False. Screen printing can be more affordable than digital printing. Plus screen printing gives you special effects capability and expands the color range (if you can see it with your eye – we can color-match it). That is why a quote from Modernistic includes screen printing and digital printing options.

3. You Can’t Print Fragrances or Scents

False. When you incorporate scent into your print media, a heightened emotional engagement occurs. This is proven to increase consumer recall, redemption, sales, and brand value. Read our Beginner’s Guide to Scented Printing to learn more.

4. Holiday Graphics Can’t Be Applied On The Floor

False. We make floor graphics that go indoors, go outdoors, glow in the dark, and even anti-slip graphics!

5. Your Display Needs To Be Printed

False. If the material comes in the desired color, we can simply diecut the material to the chosen shape! You could also use a laminate or even cut vinyl and apply it to your part instead of printing! Here is a great story of how we were able to create 15,000 dimensional bats with JUST cutting in under 72 hours.

6. Shiny Metallic Prints Are Expensive And Scratch

False. Metallic or chrome prints can be just as durable and affordable as other standard inks and laminates.

7. A Corrugated Box Can’t Be A Display

False. With a little creativity, anything is possible.

8. Holiday Graphics Can’t Be Applied Onto Stairs

False. We are huge advocates of attention-getting graphics placed nearly anywhere.

9. Christmas Trees Can’t Be Printed

False. It’s 1,000 times false. Printed Christmas trees are the best! Granted, we are a bit biased.

10. Christmas Trees Aren’t Able To Ship Flat

False. We design every holiday-themed display (including Christmas trees) to ship efficiently. Want more info – read our 3 tips cut down shipping time/cost.

11. There Are A Limited Amount of Christmas Tree Shapes

False. We have printed, fabricated, or cut out hundreds of different shapes and sizes of Christmas trees. Literally, the possibility for shape, dimension, material, and size are endless. For example, here are 400,000+ different shapes from Shutterstock.

12. Your Holiday Display Needs To Use Traditional Colors

False. According to a PR NewsWire study, Only 47% of consumers chose to decorate with styles considered traditional.

13. It Is Impossible To Have Floating Graphics

False. Floating graphics is our passion. We can take your vision and create an easy to install fixture.

14. You Should Not Add Light To Basic Substrates

False. Common substrates (FalconBoard, Sintra, PETG, etc.) can be backlit and look just as cool as fabric and acrylic!

15. You Must Choose Between Dimensional Graphics Or Shipping Flat

False. It’s all in the initial design/construction – our specialty!

16. Don’t Get Too Abstract With Your Holiday Display

False. Sometimes abstract is just what you need to stick inside the buyer’s mind!

17. You Can’t Put Holiday Graphics Onto An Escalator

False. Are you getting the theme yet? We think graphics can go anywhere!

18. Holiday Store Hour Clings Should Be Simple

False. Add some Christmas pizazz with our quick turnaround window clings and window graphics.

19. It’s Difficult To Find A Supplier That Can Do Special Effects

False. As one of the largest screen printers in the country, we take pride in our special effects printing. From distinctive textures and unusual substrates, to fragrance and metallic colors – we do it all! Here are some of the special effects we offer.

Grow your company’s revenue while personally enhancing your career! Visual communication is awesome, but it takes more than good artwork or a well-structured design to entice a consumer to buy a product. It’s a balanced recipe of great design, affordable manufacturing cost, clever placement and judicious use of resources. We are here to help!

The Beginner’s Guide to Scented Printing

Smells Sell! Unlike Jimmy John’s slogan “free smells”, we like to consider printable scents’ slogan as “profitable smells.” Why? Smell is the strongest trigger of memory, affecting our emotions and even our mood. Therefore, when scent is incorporated within print media, the message becomes more engaging, evoking an emotional response that goes beyond the visual or written message. A heightened emotional engagement with print media occurs, and is proven to increase consumer recall, redemption, sales, and brand value. The wacky world of scented printing can be confusing, let’s break it down.

1. What are printable scents?

As the same suggests, printable scents are when you imprint a fragrance onto print media. This can be in a retail display, poster, label, etc. The most common names for this are Scratch-N-Sniff or scent marketing.

2. Advantages of printable scents

Advantage 1: Added consumer recall:
Apart from smelling good, studies show that people can relate a scent to memory with 65% accuracy for up to 12 months.
Advantage 2: Added engagement
A research report from Starch Communications confirms that scented print ads increase the readership of ad copy by 136% when a scent is included.
Advantage 3: Differentiation from the competition
Finally, the majority of print media does not contain scents, this inherently creates an opportunity for dramatic differentiation from the competition regardless of the market saturation.

3. Types of Printable Scents

Generally speaking, there are two categories of printable scents and how they are manufactured. There are non-interactive scents and interactive scents and you can manufacture them using a print coating (varnish/slurry) or print ink. A print coating is like varnish for wood. It goes over or under your artwork as a layer of clear scent or fragrance. While scented print ink combines the fragrance with the colored ink that is on your print media.


Interactive Scents
Interactive scents such as Scratch N Sniff or Rub N Smell are the more familiar types of printable scent methods. These incorporate encapsulated fragrances which when scratched or rubbed break and release the scent. The density of capsules that contain the amount of fragrance varies among the printer’s capabilities. This is important because it directly impacts the longevity of the scent, which ultimately impacts the number of interactions that release scent (and ROI). Interactive scents are best applied to coated paper stock and plastics.


Non-Interactive Scents
Non-interactive scents are applied to un-coated, coated paper stock, or blotter paper and will emit a fragrance without being scratched or rubbed. These reach consumers whether they interact with the printed media or not. These would not require a “scratch here” type label.

4. Applications / Examples

Due to our comprehensive all-in-house manufacturing capabilities, we are positioned well to print a wide variety of products – including scents! Typical applications include packaging, retail displays, wall graphics, postcards, brochures, signage, posters, displays, and labels.

5. Facts

  • Researchers at Washington State University discovered that people spent 20% more while shopping in the presence of one simple scent (orange, in this case) compared with those shopping with no scent or more complex scents (e.g. orange-basil blended with green tea)
  • GfK MRI researched 6,514 ads during a four-month period – of those ads, only 49 used scented printing. The scented printed ads received a 19% lift in reader engagement compared to those that didn’t.
  • Mitsubishi utilized a scratch and sniff ad that simulated the leather smell that consumers love and associate with a new car; as a result, the Lancer Evo X sold out in two weeks, and Mitsubishi’s annual sales of the vehicle increased 16% in a market that averaged a 20% decline
  • Yankee Candle added scent to its catalog – sales increased 18%
  • A study carried out at the Rockefeller University shows that in the short term we remember just 1% of what we touch, 2% of what we hear, 5% of what we see, 15% of what we taste and 35% of what we smell.
  • A study by Samsung found that consumers who were exposed to a company scent underestimated their actual shopping time by 26% and visited three times as many product categories or departments.

We want you to grow your revenue and we want you, personally and within your career, to win! Visual communication is awesome, but it takes more than just good artwork, or a well-structured design to get a consumer to buy a product. It’s a balanced recipe of great design, affordable manufacturing cost, clever placement and judicious use of resources. We are here to help!

What is an Ink Drawdown/Press Check?

Have you ever been asked to request an ink drawdown, press check, or color drawdown? These are all print industry terms for the same thing. Essentially, an ink drawdown is testing how the colors appear on the material you want to use. Think of it as a paint sample you would get when deciding what color to paint your room. Except, in an ink drawdown you are also testing the material it is on as well.

These samples are important because ink is extremely capricious and will be affected by even the smallest changes (like a change in the material). Understanding these changes will help us create an updated ink recipe to combat those changes so that the ink on the new substrate looks exactly how you want it to. Knowing how the colors will react to the material before performing a full production will also decrease chances of rework and cost. This is why we always perform internal drawdowns even if our customers do not request one. This is not always the case for printers and print management companies, make sure to advocate for yourself or utilize an attentive printer. We are extremely confident to say that we have the best ink formulation team in the nation so if you have any questions feel free to contact us.

What is Die Cutting?

Cutting techniques can make or break a project budget. That is why it is important to learn when to use the right machine for the job. Otherwise, you could be losing unnecessary money. We will look at what die cutting is and when you should use it!

Simple Answer:

In its simplest form, die cutting is essentially just a large cookie cutter for your design. It’s meant to pump out parts fast and precisely. Similar to screen printing, the setup for die-cutting takes longer but is faster on the production end. Its sweet spot is large quantities with substrates less than .5” thick. If you have a thicker substrate or smaller quantities that’s okay! There are plenty of other cutting options and we have even die-cut foam up to 3” thick! That is why it’s important to have a printer with the knowledge and alternate cutting capabilities in-house.

A die-cutting project has 3 elements.

1. The Die Line

The die line is essentially the guide for us to make the cuts or creases. These die lines can be very tricky to read, but it is imperative that they are correct.

2. The Cutting Die / The Die

A die can either be curved or flat. We typically used a curved die (aka a rotary die) when the parts are small and there is a dramatically higher volume (think sticker size). Every cutting die has a base with blades sticking out of it. Some of those blades are sharper to cut straight through and some are duller to score the material in case you need it to fold or bend. The rubber pieces are to help the blades cut evenly.

3. Die-Cutting Machine

There are 3 major die-cutting machines: roll fed die-cutting, sheet fed die-cutting, and rotary die-cutting. Typically, a die-cutting machine is 4 feet wide so you would want the dimensions of the die-cut part to be less than 22” x 32”. We don’t believe in being held back and that is why we have some of the largest format die-cutting machines in the US.

The more you are under budget, the more revenue you produce. It is important that you are using the most efficient method based on your project specs and not constrained by machine capabilities. Otherwise, it can limit your budget and weigh down your bottom line. Shameless plug: If you want to know if your project is as efficient as it could be, we would be happy to give you a 2nd opinion! Our scope of equipment ensures that you are using the best method for your project.

Tips for Utilizing Stair Graphics Effectively

Plan and implement a winning strategy by utilizing Stair Graphics to communicate your brand
and/or messaging!

Create success with every step

Promotion companies, marketing, and advertising agencies along with specialized media companies are always on the lookout for innovative concepts for making advertising campaigns as effective as possible. The objective is to create a targeted and simultaneously extensive advertising presence, by locating the campaign on the attractive and mostly underutilized / unexpected advertising format. Both a design element and a branding opportunity, stair graphics are being used for events, premier parties, and galas.

On the commercial side, brands have been popping up on heavily traveled staircases all over the world displaying massive ads for their products and services.


Schools allow the transformation of ordinary flight of stairs into a striking visual that reinforces behavior expectations, supports school spirit, and promotes student success.


Transform an arena from average to a standout amongst its competitors, by taking away blank space and turning it into art. Possibilities include championship teams photos, alumni images, opening days or other seasonal events. Additional options for stair messaging includes murals, motivational quotes, along with core value messaging.


Stair graphics do not have to be used for athletics and can be functioned to fit all projects a school desires. Graphics can be used on any staircase, including residence halls, dining halls, academic buildings, and dorms.


Add the unique, yet not over the top design, that turns a blank space into a completely different point of interest. The attention drawn from the graphics can take an average, or even outdated part of a venue, and create what feels like a newly renovated area.

A stair graphic treatment is surprisingly affordable and can be completed with no harm done to the structure itself.


While stair graphics are dramatic, the product itself is economic, easy to install, clean and will last for years.


Do not overlook the option of “Stair Graphics” – especially when your audience needs to go that direction every day. It’s a great use of space that definitely gets noticed!

Top 3 Ways to Cut Down Shipping Costs on Your Print/Converting Project

At Modernistic, we often get asked by our customers “how are you able to cut our shipping times down by so much?” That is why I want to go over the top 3 ways you can cut down shipping costs on your print/converting project. This is more important than ever now as the supply chain gets more bottlenecked and more unreliable. Let’s jump right into it.

1. Design

The first way is also the first step in the process. Design! We design our products to ship efficiently, that way you start with a healthy foundation right from the start. Just like in a house, if you start with a healthy foundation the rest will be set up for success. A lot of shipping costs can be reduced by engineering the design with shipping in mind.


For example, a large fashion retail brand came to us with this huge fixed-box display. The first thing we noticed is that it could be easily redesigned in a couple minutes to be more efficient. This affected how it broke down, was able to ship flat, etc. It cut the shipping cost by 50%, saving thousands of dollars, just through a couple simple steps. *We would love to share a picture of this project but due to proprietary designs and our customer’s wish for privacy, we are unable to share this project.*

2. Efficient Kitting

The second way to reduce shipping costs is efficient kitting. I can’t stress enough how often we see extremely inefficient kitting setups. We always use precise and lean kitting techniques because we know they are proven to help reduce costs.


Another example, one of the tools we utilize is a custom box maker. This helps us maximize the purpose of every inch of space in a kit. Whether we are shipping to one location or 1,000 we are able to quickly create custom kits to exact specifications so every inch is utilized. Eliminating any extra space, size, and weight. It also indirectly makes the contents more secure because of
everything more tight.

3. Location, Location, Location!

The third way to reduce shipping cost is location. Having a neutral location is extremely helpful in reducing ship time and cost. Our location in the midwest situates us perfectly to keep fast, affordable, and reliable shipping lanes for anywhere in the US. This can make or break a project budget and can’t be overlooked.


These are just a couple examples of how small, efficient steps can affect so much of the overall project cost. It even affects sustainability, you are using less fuel, less box inventory/waste, and less bubble or microfoam. (Side note: if you are still using bubble wrap, you should look into switching to sustainable packaging material). This is just the start of how we are able to reduce cost, minimize waste and maximize value, quality, and speed.


Let us know if you have any questions or want help on your next project by contacting us.

3 Tips to Brand Protection Decor

Over the past couple of years during the pandemic, we have introduced some creative protection products into the market. During this time, we have found a direct relationship between perceived in-store safety and a customer’s trust in products. In other words, the more a customer feels safe in your store, the more likely they will feel safe buying the products you have to offer. These new variables have created a great new opportunity to grow trust with your brand just by utilizing protection decor.

In this article, we will look at several ways in which we can protect customers and employees against infectious diseases while improving the décor of your store.

Antimicrobial Mats

We are really excited about this safety product because it looks as subtle as a clear film (which it is), but is easy to apply like a mat. This “mat” has an antimicrobial silver-ion additive that inhibits the growth of most bacteria, mold and mildew while resisting harsh cleaning chemicals. Essentially, it transforms the surface it is applied to into a germ-killing machine. The printability is also really versatile because you can print a full flood or leave some areas clear. Put it at a school desk with a safety reminder or a cash register with a payment QR Code. Either way, it’s easy to remove and apply, has 24/7 surface protection, all while giving the ability to express your message.

Social Distancing Graphics

Social distancing graphics are nothing new in the past couple years, but what else are you using them for? Are you implementing any other elements that you can use to increase revenue? You can also use different print techniques to get a different shine, shape, or even make them antimicrobial! Not only that, but you can use different substrates to make them more affordable, grippy, stain resistant, or even sustainable! The options are literally endless.

Clear Guards

There are so many words to categorize this type of product because they are so popular, and for a great reason – they are excellent at protecting. However, many people are overlooking a huge opportunity to grow their brand. You can print on them! Whether a QR code or the latest marketing campaign, the customer literally has to look at these when checking out. That level of communication/advertising is priceless, and normally costs a firm millions of dollars. Have you already ordered a lot? No worries, we have created an awesome aftermarket solution. Ask us about it!

We want you to grow revenue, it’s literally our mission! That’s why we wanted to share just a couple quick ways we help our clients better efficiently do just that.