During an academic year more challenging than most, Cardiff University’s in-house print unit has been producing a variety of signage to encourage social distancing and keep staff and students safe while on campus.

During an academic year more challenging than most, Cardiff University’s in-house print unit has been producing a variety of signage to encourage social distancing and keep staff and students safe while on campus.

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The requirement: social distancing signage

Over the summer, the team from the university’s Bute Print Unit, which specialises in large format print, worked relentlessly to get more than 200 buildings on campus ready for the return of students for the Autumn term. Lockdown restrictions and the need to socially distance added to the challenge.

Signage was required for application onto a range of surfaces, indoors and outdoors. It was therefore important to use substrates that were compatible with their printing process and with the surface and location where they would be applied.

The solution

The Cardiff University in-house print unit already keeps a number of Antalis products in stock, however, the scope of this project – 57,500 units at the last count – called for a variety of substrates in large volumes.

The majority of the signage produced was A4 sized wall signs for indoor use. For this they used Drytac SpotOn Matt, which is part of the university’s stocked printable media. “We like to keep it in stock because it is a versatile material that is easy to apply, either straight onto walls or onto foamboard – we often use it for poster presentations and displays”, explains Gareth Middleton, Senior Print Services Assistant. They opted for the matt finish in order to avoid glare and reflections in areas where the posters are close to artificial light sources.

For internal floor directional/social distancing signage, Coala Floor & Wall was used, while for external floor signage, and on some carpeted areas, Coala Walk & Wall was selected for its robustness and durability. Drytac Polar Grip was used for the external wall signage: “It was the first time we had used it, and we were very pleased with the outcome,” commented Gareth.

The Bute Print Unit is already familiar with several other large format substrates from the Antalis Visual Communications range, including Coala Poster Satin and Coala Photo Satin, which it uses to produce academic posters, and Xerox Matt Presentation Paper for basic, everyday print requests. They also regularly receive requests for pull-up banners, which are printed on Coala Stay Flat Rollerbanner and then attached to Orient or Barracuda stands also from Antalis. Occasionally, the university get requests for more specialised applications such as Mediatex Lightbox, which is ideal for printing academic posters for transport to conferences abroad – the A0 posters can be folded into hand luggage and then ironed flat on arrival – while for window displays Coala One Way Vision is the product of choice.

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The result This considerable project was made easier thanks to the reliability of the substrates used. “The print runs went without any hitches, which was a relief when we were under so much time pressure. The materials were also easy for the Estates Team to handle and apply in large quantities”, commented Gareth.

The technique

Print: Roland TrueVIS VG-540

Cut: Roland TrueVIS VG-540 for circles / manually guillotined for rectangles