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1996 - Full Colour Outdoor Printing

Practically all of our signwriting was now done by the cutting of self-adhesive vinyl and we had three cutting plotters connected to computers. These plotters were fine for simple signage with lettering and symbols but we were unable compete with traditional skilled signwriters in the production of full-colour outdoor graphics. We did purchase a HP wide-format inkjet printer that printed full colour on paper and some vinyls but the inks were only suitable for indoor and window poster advertising. Even with lamination, inks were not weather durable and consequently were useless for outdoor applications.

American company Gerber, again, came to our rescue when they launched the Gerber Edge digital
printer. This was a brilliant print and cut machine using thermal-wax ink cartridges for both spot and process colours that were weather-resistant. While limited to printing on 12” wide rolls of vinyl it could print as long as the roll of 50 metres which meant we could make signs as big as we wished by joining layers or panels of print. A whole new market opened up for us with this machine. We could now print full-colour outdoor signwriting direct from a computer. Also, we had the ability to print weather durable labels for all kinds of machinery and a myriad of other outdoor applications. More than any other innovation, I think, this one machine sounded the death knell for the majority of hand painting signwriters. Only the very best would survive and their amazing skills are still in use to this day.


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