By Denise Nathan
Glass Decoration Films are a popular choice for advertising and an alternative to specialised glass and traditional sandblasting and etching.
Self-adhesive films are cost effective to produce, easier to apply and the installation can be done on site reducing the risk of an expensive piece of glass breaking in transit. Graphics can be removed and reinstalled easily in the case of vandalism or if a change of image is desired.
As well as their decorative and space enhancing properties, glass films can create privacy and security, protect interiors from harsh UV rays, create safety in the event of a window breaking and protect the glass surface from scratching and vandalism .A wide variety of films are available for every imaginable application.
Advertising messages: Retail windows and exterior buildings are the most popular applications. Glass films allow a message or image to be advertised but still allow customers to see into the store and allow for natural light. An innovative application is the use of digitally printed etch and frost films to cover entire windows.
At night the interior lights of the store enhance the graphic and give the impression of an illuminated sign at a significantly reduced cost. For applications requiring a “no sticker” look choose films with a polyester top sheet and ultra-clear adhesive. These films are virtually undetectable on glass and only the image is seen as if the glass itself has been printed. These films look fantastic on upmarket, retail and fashion stores and interior glass panels.
Decorative: The creative use of light shining through coloured or printed film can create stunning effects and the cost is far more economical than using stained or specialised glass. Glass films can be used to simply improve a view or create an impressive piece of art. Etch and frost films can create privacy and are used in office spaces and home environments. They have the added advantage of being able to be removed should the design need to be removed or updated. In these applications it is important to choose films that can come off easily with minimal adhesive residue.
Surprisingly this is not a given with every brand in the market. Some films are almost impossible to remove or leave so much glue behind that the clean-up is major. In costing a job the removal aspect is not always considered and this cost can be far greater than the application cost and certainly negate any savings made by choosing the wrong film.
While removal is more the end-users problem it can be used to a sign company’s advantage. By choosing a film that can be removed easily and cleanly, a sign company can cost a few extra hours into their quote and then offer the end user free removal if they have the graphics removed in a specified time period.
This gives the sign company the opportunity to be contacted when the graphics need to be reapplied and the chance of repeat business. It also gives the end-user a value add to the original application and offers them significant future savings.
Technical applications: Glass protection films are designed to hold shattered glass in place, significantly reducing the chance of severe injury. They protect the glass surface from any abrasion that could occur with cleaning or deliberate vandalism such as scratching and keying. Replacing damaged film is far easier then replacing glass and involves less down time and cost. This is particularly valuable for windows that are targets for vandals.
Window films offer many exciting, creative and practical applications and introduce new design possibilities and opportunities for our industry.
Denise Nathan is Marketing Manager - MACtac in Oceania