Stuart Maclaren of Your Print Partner explains how to create lightweight fibreglass flags
Print shops offering a full print package that includes everything from garments to soft signage are a big draw for customers who don‘t want to juggle multiple suppliers. That charity that ordered its running tops from you for their annual race day? They probably needed some soft signage too. And remember, cross-selling to existing customers is an easy win compared to finding new customers. Fibreglass flags are a great product to offer thanks to their light frames and the ease with which they can be assembled.
Stuart Maclaren, MD of Your Print Partner, explains: “Fibreglass flags are comparable to feather flags, but instead of an aluminium frame they use an innovative, lightweight, fibreglass frame system. They come as a flat pack, making them easy for transportation, and are also better value for money.”
The company‘s in-house design team has created templates for the flags to ensure the print products are the correct size for each of the frames the company offers. “We have been producing flags for years and use standard templates which are available for our customers to use,“ says Stuart.
Print, cut, sew and it‘s ready to go
The fabric used in this step-by-step is 117gsm knitted polyester, a high quality, soft polyester material with an anti-static coating that works well with Your Print Partner‘s dye sub and UV printers. It was printed on a Mimaki JV5, which has a maximum print width of 3.2m and prints direct onto the fabric, Stuart reports. “We generally use this method to print flags as it is direct, and allows flags to be printed at speed so we can keep up with the demand. To keep the printing run smooth it’s very important to make sure the print machines are well maintained and clean and that the area around them is clean too.”
(1) This design was created by the customer using Adobe Illustrator. The artwork was then checked by a member of Your Print Partner‘s design team against template guidelines using Adobe Creative Suite
(2) The design was printed directly onto the 117gsm knitted polyester fabric using a Mimaki JV5
(3) The print was then fixed using the Transmatic GFO 4126 rotary print machine. Protective paper was used and it reached a heat of 190°C.
(4) The design was cut by hand – a good pair of scissors is essential, says Stuart
Once the fabric is printed, it is then sealed using a Transmatic GFO 4126 rotary print machine. Next, the flag is cut then sewn with a standard stitch on the hem and a double stitch for the pole sleeve. “If you have experience with sewing, the stitches needed to create our flags are relatively easy to learn,“ says Stuart. Wide, elasticated nylon is used for the pole sleeve for added strength and to prolong the life of the flag, he explains. “Pole sleeves cannot be bought ready-made – the wide elastic is folded over and twin stitched to create a pole sleeve.”
(5) The hem and pole sleeve were stitched using Coats thread on a Highlead lockstitch sewing machine
(6) Wide, elasticated nylon was folded over and twin stitched to create a pole sleeve
Its fibreglass flag orders are packaged up in a bag bought by the company, and are then ready to be dispatched. “As with most of our flags, we offer a 48-hour turnaround time from artwork approval. For a single-sided flag, the production process can be completed within a day.”
(7) The flag and pole were sent to the client in a bag to protect the finished product
(8) The completed flag. It is a single-sided, 2.1m fibreglass teardrop flag measuring 750mm x 1700mm
Stuart adds: “The most challenging part of the process to overcome is to have a good team of experienced sewing machine operatives that can keep pace with the high quantity of orders and quick turnaround times. It’s easy enough to buy the machines and equipment, but it could not happen without them.” The flags are one of Your Print Partner‘s most popular products and appeal to a wide range of businesses, reports Stuart, including those that require outdoor advertising or indoor promotion at events and exhibitions. They are also very popular at sporting events, he adds.