In recent decades, one of the most extraordinary advances in graphics has come in the development of the one-way window graphic technology known as perforated decals. One-way graphics appear like a vinyl graphic from one side, and from the other, a transparent window. These graphics have applications in the sports, advertising, and automotive industries. Their benefits include reducing direct sunlight, providing privacy, and increasing advertising space.
How it Works
The one-way effect is created by taking advantage of an aspect of human sight. Our eyes naturally and automatically focus on light spots while ignoring the dark ones. Perforated glass graphics are simply vinyl sheets with thousands of tiny holes. These holes, known as perforations, allow light to pass through the graphic. The design side of the decal appears solid since the graphic is lighter than the holes. On the inside, the graphic is a dark color so that the light from the outside is lighter than the material. Thus, from the inside, you can see out.
The First Perforated Graphics
The first one-way displays were created on blinds, silk, and mesh. Then, in the 1980s, Roland Hill had the brilliant idea to print a graphic on the glass walls of a racquetball court. The result was a court where the athletes inside felt like they were competing in a secluded room, but spectators on the outside could watch the game.
A decade after this imaginative use of graphics, a team in New Zealand used perforated graphics to create the first fully wrapped bus to advertise for the Pan Pacific Hotel. In this instance, the driver and those on the interior could see out of all of the windows. From the outside, the bus appeared like one continuous graphic. The potential for transit advertising was soon realized throughout many countries.
Important Facts to Know
If you are ordering a custom one-way graphic for your business or vehicle, the first thing to realize is that not all one-way graphics are the same. There are different perforation patterns and graphic to hole ratios ranging from mostly graphic to half and half.
50/50 - This type of perforation is the most transparent graphic with only 50% of the original material left after the perforations. 50/50 graphics function best when the light inside is much dimmer than the light outside. These graphics are most commonly used on cars where it is crucial to be able to see out of the windows for safety.
60/40 - These perforated graphics are 60% vinyl and 40% holes. 60/40 is used in a range of applications from retail stores to residential house windows.
80/20 - With 80% of the original vinyl left intact, 80/20 graphics offer the most protection from UV light and are ideal for spaces in which privacy is paramount. It is also commonly used to protect floors or furniture from fading in the sunlight.
Working With Light
When choosing what design to print on your graphic, remember how one-way graphics function. The lighter the color of the graphic, the more opaque it will appear from the front since the contrast between light colors and the dark interior is more pronounced. Pink, yellow, baby blue, green, and red are all excellent choices. With that being said, any range of colors will work.
Perforated custom vinyl graphics allow the window to double its functionality as an advertising space while still maintaining its view of the outside world for those on the other side. Custom window graphics further benefit businesses by allowing privacy and reducing air conditioning costs by blocking a large number of UV rays. The one-way effect offered by perforated graphics has an endless range of applications from large business buildings to your local coffee shop windows. The charming technology can help raise brand awareness anywhere glass exists - on your buildings, vehicles, and even your sunglasses.