Over the last three years, Ottimo Digital, the event graphics specialist in Newport, Gwent, has followed a careful investment and expansion strategy to better serve the exhibition market with printed stretch or tensioned fabrics. Ottimo has bought new machines, acquired additional production premises, and hired fabric finishing specialists, meeting its goal of increasing production of printed tensioned fabric by 200%.
“From a digital graphics perspective, printed tensioned fabrics outshine vinyl and foam board exhibition print in many ways,” says Nick Lindwall, Ottimo’s co-director, “but the advantages all add up to significantly better versatility, quality and impact.”
Lindwall expects the demand for exhibition stretch fabrics to continue to grow as a result, saying, “Everything about printed stretch fabrics is a good fit for today’s exhibitions. The prints are rich and vibrant, fabric is incredibly versatile and can be tensioned around shapes and into walls and partitions. Printed stretch fabrics can be lit or backlit for effect, the prints are highly fade-resistant and can be rolled up for easy storage and transportation, and reused almost indefinitely.”
Ottimo Digital first extended its premises in 2021, acquiring an adjacent unit to house its newly acquired FabriVu 340i, allowing them to create a climate-controlled, dedicated print room for dye sublimation (dye-sub) printing, the best printing method for fabrics. To make the most of the dye-sub process, Ottimo also invested in a Klieverik GTC calender press to finish prints for maximum vibrancy and longevity, then acquired an adjacent unit, adding a further 2500 sq. ft. of working space reserved for fabric production. This latest expansion of premises coincided with Ottimo Digital’s purchase of more equipment to significantly streamline the finishing of stretch fabric prints, including a second Kongsberg C-Series Digital Cutting Table for high-speed fabric cutting with millimetric accuracy.
Lee Crew, co-director, Ottimo Digital, said, “You can see the change in exhibitions already, the practical aspects of aluminium frameworks translate to faster build times, and their modularity enables organisers to offer all kinds of integrations with tensioned fabrics – exhibitors love it! Organisers are turning to tensioned fabrics because they deliver good value in terms of impact, they’re mostly ‘framework agnostic,’ and they make exhibitions look fantastic. We’re accustomed to frameless, edge-to-edge graphics everywhere in our digital lives. Tensioned fabrics bring that same aesthetic to exhibitions, for a fraction of the price of a bespoke, space-only design.”Ottimo zeros in on tensioned fabrics for exhibitions