Accelerate Your Brand: Outdoor Wall Graphics

In part-one of our wall coverings series, we focused on how wall covering graphics transform branded interior spaces. Whether you select wall coverings or custom wall decals, your brand message can be quickly expanded and powered-up. Let’s dive deeper and examine outdoor wall application ideas and materials.

The exterior walls of buildings are prime real estate for graphic displays. Large, outdoor applications offer limitless potential for brand visibility to pedestrians, motorists and potential customers – current or future. Imagine an upcoming product launch; creating buzz is essential to make the big blastoff a success, whether it’s a local or national rollout. As a brand executive, the marketing “canvas” of a high-rise building provides you an amazing ROI, with results far exceeding costs. Imagine thousands of eyes on your product each day with a building wrap. Depending on location, they can be seen for blocks or even miles.

When considering exterior building graphics, there are several important considerations:

  • Windows
  • The building surface
  • Possible permitting requirements.

Building tenants don’t want their exterior light and views blocked, so if the graphic canvas has windows, perforated vinyl film should be used on the glass. Window perf, as it is known, is a self-adhesive vinyl with micro-holes spaced throughout. The result is a printed vinyl graphic that allows light into the building and people can still see out. The visual integrity and “wow” factor of the graphic is maintained, even over windows.

Not all building surfaces are created equal. The proper self-adhesive vinyl must be selected to ensure secure bonding to the construction surface. For a smooth or finished-concrete surface, a high-tack vinyl such as Flexcon BWV may work well. A moderately textured surface may need a more aggressive adhesive, such as 3M IJ3662. Very
rough surfaces may require a special vinyl with a thermo-sensitive laminate that can be “melted” into the surface of the building to ensure a strong bond. The photo at left of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital building graphic was printed on 3M LX480Cv3 vinyl, with a 3M 8548G laminate. During installation, a high-temperature heat gun was used to assist the vinyl and laminate in conforming to the textured concrete on the building. Regardless of whichever building surface is covered, it is essential for your graphics provider to determine the best solution for your wall graphic.

Equally important to materials selection is ensuring local sign ordinances are followed for your building graphic. If the space for your graphic is provided by a media company, they handle the necessary permits. If the building is a non-traditional advertising space, the graphics company will typically assist in obtaining the required permits. Depending upon the locale, this may involve having an engineer review and approve the chosen graphic materials.

Large building graphics are not just for occupied buildings; they can also obscure construction work. For this branding application, digitally printed vinyl mesh is the perfect choice. Mesh graphics are lighter weight and allow wind to blow through, while still providing rich imagery. Other great uses for printed mesh graphics include; open structures, such as parking garages and as graphic fence coverings. The see-through qualities of mesh graphics make them ideal for buildings, allowing occupants to see out, while creating a flat and smooth advertising canvas. For short-term mesh graphic projects (6 to 9 months), we print on UltraFlex UltraMesh ® Supreme. For longer-term applications, we utilize UltraFlex UltraMesh ® Premium 328.

Can new construction sites be used as advertising spaces? Heck yeah! Construction barricade graphics can be more than shelter for pedestrians or a shield from prying eyes from an unfinished interior remodel. These barricade graphics, built with painted wood, are an ideal mural space to create buzz for your upcoming opening and jump-start sales.

Are you a real estate developer or a commercial property manager that’s looking for new sources of income? Try leveraging your existing infrastructure as an impressive advertising space. With today’s grand-format print technology, you can scale the advertising to the size of your entire building, without sacrificing aesthetics.

Next week lookout for Part 3: INSTALLATION The shocking truth on how to install your wall coverings; indoors and out

Peter FradinAbout the author: Peter Fradin is a 25 year industry veteran and a display solutions print specialist with BPGraphics. BPGraphics is a nationally recognized screen and digital graphics print provider offering large, wide and grand format printing solutions for nearly 55 years. From fabric to vinyl – to rigid substrates of all kinds – big or small, BPGraphics understanding and experience in the industry is unparalleled. More information on the company’s offerings and services can be accessed at or you can reach Peter at 602-272-7907 or [email protected].