The Thomas Blog
Thomas Printworks logo

Insights and inputs from our team and around the web.

Interior design elements

Printing construction documents in color has traditionally been deemed a luxury item. For most, it was an expense that was simply too costly to contemplate. However, in the printing industry, there have been some very notable technologies that have truly changed operational processes. Ammonia exposed blueline prints, Xerographic printing, overlay drafting, CAD plotting, the move from ammonia exposed prints to toner or ink on bond paper — all of these technologies had a tremendous impact on productivity and processes during the production of construction documents and specifications. Today, as you walk through a print production facility, you will gaze upon the next major transition in the production of construction documents: high volume color printing.


Monochrome printing of construction documents has been the only game in town in the U.S. for over a century. Using traditional monochrome printing methods, color information within drawing sets is represented via the use of dot or line patterns that are often difficult to discern or duplicate. Until the relatively recent past, design firms created their drawings knowing that they would eventually have to be printed in black-and-white. Large format color printers for AEC use have been around for almost 30 years. But color printing has generally been reserved for producing presentation boards for client meetings or, on rare occasions, for printing drawing set covers in color (if they included large renderings). This is because color printing speeds have been too slow and the costs too prohibitive to use on the scale required to produce entire sets of construction drawings.

Written by Jake Markey

When consulting, not a week goes by where you don’t hear the phrase, “I wish we could put some graphics there” or “It would be great if they made a product that could do this.”; Even “I wonder if my idea is even possible”; will frequently be heard. Thankfully, with the massive variety of materials available today, manufacturers are making these wishes a reality.

In the past, products like regular adhesive vinyl or standard scrim vinyl were tailored and “rigged to work”; for all kinds of applications. While it’s great to have an all-purpose product, the uses were very limited when it came to highly specific and technical projects. Today, the one-size-fits-all model has been eliminated and there is now a material for most every application.

Print button

The printing industry has been around for hundreds of years. Over the last 20 years, we have witnessed some truly great breakthroughs in digital printing. Each one has brought faster printing and better quality. Each has its own inherent limitations as well.

When the Durst Lambda 130 RGB photo printer came out, it was a game changer. It was consistently fast and provided continuous tone and high quality prints on photographic papers. When inkjet technology made the leap from lines and drawings to graphics, we started to see vibrant colors on many different substrates. This was a great leap forward in the digital printing industry. But each still had its limitations. How fast? How thick? How many colors? What type of inks? Do you laminate? How wide? Amongst many others.

Beach pier

Have you ever walked into a building and felt that you’ve somehow transported elsewhere, as if by magic?

Imagine: it’s a cold winter day in your hometown and you walk into your favorite restaurant or retail shop. Within seconds, thanks to their tropical décor, you feel that you’re no longer in the throes of a dreary winter storm. Rather, you feel warm, light and at ease. It’s almost as if you are spending a relaxing day on the beach, rather than running errands on your lunch break. It’s a familiar sensation, like the one you had when you were on vacation in San Diego — or was it the Bahamas?

What makes a salesperson successful? A lot of things. But one of the most important aspects of being a successful salesperson is being able to deliver a customer’s vision.

Some visions are complex, such as delivering a large rush order. Some are as easy as printing a single piece of paper. The latter is obviously simpler, but great salespeople find great satisfaction in delivering complex customer visions. This is what allows for the ultimate relationship between the customer and the salesperson. And what allows the salesperson to earn the title of being “great”.

PDF icon

PDF file icon

In today’s print market, the odds of receiving a set of plans or specs in PDF format are a given. PDF, which stands for Portable Document Format, has become the primary file format used in the AEC market.

PDFs are used to distribute, view and print information. Commercial printers see PDF files every day, and are expected to be able to print exactly what the file shows. Despite this, the printer only has about a 50/50 chance the PDF will print the same as it appears on screen. Because all PDF files are not created equally, this creates a lot of problems for both the printer and the client.

Holiday shopping

Window graphics are a great way to get noticed, especially during the holidays. Festive and fun window decorations are sure to generate buzz, no matter what type of business your company is in. The appeal of window graphics is not just that they add color to your windows, it’s that they are a fun and unique way to grab your customer’s attention. They can be designed to coordinate with your company’s style and brand, communicating positively to your customers and promoting your business.

What better way to capitalize on high foot and vehicle traffic than with the hordes of shoppers that are sure to be frequenting malls and shopping centers this holiday season? Window graphics are the perfect way to get your message out there and let customers know what your holiday promotions, campaigns, and specials are.

The creative possibilities for holiday-specific window graphics are virtually endless. There are two main varieties to choose from when it comes to window graphics: static cling and window perf. These substrates help you achieve different results, both being effective in their own way.

Have you ever wondered what the word ‘reprographics’ means? If you’re like most in the AEC (Architectural, Engineering, and Construction) industry, you should not only know what this word means but you should know that you’ve depended on reprographics companies (such as Thomas Printworks) as a vital part of your business for generations.

For the record, ‘reprographics’ is a derivative of two words (reproduction and graphics) smashed together. Reprographics is literally the mechanical reproduction of an image. Reprographics is not only thriving, it is evolving. More technologies with a variety of inks and toners, combined with new substrates, are allowing reprographic firms to expand their offerings at an almost neck-breaking pace.

In this day and age in the highly competitive retail and restaurant industries, engaging the customer is more difficult (and important) than ever. Attracting new customers and keeping existing customers coming through your doors are the only ways to ensure that sales and profits remain high and that loyalty is not lost to your competitors. So how, you ask, is the best or easiest way to do this?

Simply put, there are many different methods of getting a theme or message across that your store or restaurant is the place to be. Brands need to work with their marketing managers to understand what will work best for their customer demographic and cater to their wants and needs. This can include customized direct mail, flyers in the weekly newspaper, advertisements in magazines your customers read, etc. All these are great, but how can you really scream at your customer at the store level?

PhoenixMart is a 1.58 million square foot business-to-business sourcing center for manufacturers and distributors to showcase their products by providing a gateway for promoting American business to domestic and international markets. The complex features more than 2,000 manufacturers and categories including Home and Hotel, Industrial and Automotive, Electronics and Accessories, Food and Beverage, Office and Recreation, and Fashion and Variety.

Thomas Printworks helped them build and furnish four “sample” suites in their new Welcome Center for leasing purposes. We provided them with photographic prints mounted to custom routed 1/2" Sintra with custom cleats and blocking as well as gallery wraps with liquid lamination.

Take a look at the pictures below to learn a little more bit more about this project.

  • Phoenixmart
  • Phoenixmart
  • Phoenixmart
  • Phoenixmart
  • Phoenixmart
  • Phoenixmart
  • Phoenixmart
  • Phoenixmart
  • Phoenixmart
  • Phoenixmart
Fabric print

Printing on fabric has been around for centuries. However, it was not until the 20th century that digital textile printing was introduced. The process uses computer controlled lasers and high pressure jets to supply ink directly into the fabric. This allows for a very detailed finished product in a very short amount of time, complete with vibrant colors and a wide color gamut.

Materials and Finishing

There are various types of fabric materials used for digital printing today. Some of the most common fabrics include heavy and soft knit fabric, flag material, sheer, satin knit, poplin, ploy canvas, linen, duck mesh, power stretch and backlit.

Fabric projects can be finished in a number of ways depending on the final application and customer preferences. Pole pockets can be added for hanging banners. Hemmed edges provide a nicely finished look, and increase the durability of the material to prevent fraying. Grommets can be added for use with ropes to displaying the message across a broad area. The edges of the fabric can also be treated with silicone for inserting into framed hardware.

Whether you have a large and expansive fleet of trucks or only a single van delivering your products and services, vehicle graphics are able to transform your vehicles into cost effective marketing assets powerful enough to drive business growth, boost sales, and deliver brand awareness. Vehicle graphics are a savvy choice for several reasons, including the low cost to reach millions, quality checks, and the versatility in products available.

Schools and universities today are increasingly looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the pack. More now than ever, a secondary education (not to mention a superior high school education) is rightfully viewed as necessary to move forward in today's competitive job market. With the ample supply of prospective students longing for a promising education and parents trying to provide the best for their children, the ways in which schools market themselves are more important than ever. The quality of a school's appearance can be the difference between attracting prospective students and becoming dust in the wind.

Contractors, builders, architects, engineers and designers alike benefit from the message effective construction site signs convey.

  • Job Site Signs generate awareness and create interest for your properties. Full color signs can be printed on a variety of substrates, including vinyl, corrugated plastic or plywood. They are water and UV-resistant, making the signs durable in any weather condition.
  • Fence Wraps can create a visual barrier to conceal construction clutter while simultaneously promoting your business or the structure being built. With full color graphics you can transform an ordinary chain link fence into a work of art.
  • Safety Signs are required by law to warn of all dangers, notify hard hat areas and specify particular hazards. Make sure your jobsite is adequately covered.

Give Thomas Printworks a call today and we’ll help you brand and beautify your construction site. Quick turnaround times and installation are available.

Movies and TV shows constantly use bus advertisement as a pinpoint for a joke or ironic object in a scene, but all of that is possible with the help of vehicle wraps. You can achieve the same affect that a funny bus advertisement yields with the help of vehicle wraps at Thomas Reprographics. put together a gallery with funny and creative bus advertisements that use optical illusions on the vehicle wraps to draw attention and get their message across. Take a look at a few of their selections below:

  • This bus for the Copenhagen Zoo looks like it's being crushed by a giant python.
  • Bernmobil: Airport Bus
  • WeightWatchers Bus
  • This bus in Dubai has been used to show a house full of girls having fun with an AXE guy
  • X4 Energy Drink makes the passengers so strong they can power the bus

Try your hand at adding an optical illusion by means of vehicle wraps on your car, truck, van, or SUV. You can start by talking to our experts at Thomas by calling 1-800-877-3776. We’re excited to start working with you and helping you gain customers for your business by wrapping your vehicle.

Trade shows are the prime place to make connections and market with other people to discuss how you can help someone achieve a certain goal. But before you can pitch them on your product or service, they need to approach your booth. With awesome trade show graphics, you’ll not only get their attention, but you’ll be more likely to get their business!

An article posted on discussed the advantages of having cool-looking trade show graphics:

Connecting with a Brand

Tradeshow booth

This trade show booth for Absolute Vodka is telling a story about the brand. Absolute is a product that consumers are comfortable with. They are launching a new flavor, but the display allows visitors to feel a connection with what they already know, which is the trademark bottle design. The idea behind a display that tells a story is to play on the visitor’s emotional involvement behind the Absolute brand. The banner is large enough to be seen from a distance and has a clean, crisp letter, the same design their customers are used to, but at the same time is visually enticing to draw in new customers who are curious about the brand. The large accessories engage the visitors by peeking their curiosity to see what else is in the booth.

Visually Stimulating

Tradeshow booth

People want to see and touch things. This is an example of a visually stimulating display. The artwork is arranged in a manner which allows visitors to the booth to visually see the product being offered by the company. The individual 3D display boards allow the products to be easily showcased, while creating a personalized exhibit. The message is being visually viewed, allowing the visitors to casually scan each item, as opposed to smaller images on a display board or a flip-through catalogue.

Engaging Presentations

Tradeshow booth

Presentations are one of the easiest, yet most beneficial ways to engage visitors to your booth. It is almost impossible to converse with every person that stops by your booth, but with video screens the visitor can view your message while waiting to talk with you. This particular booth has several screens available so visitors to the booth are not crowding together to watch one small screen. Several video screens allow more people to comfortably watch the message you are playing. With this type of exhibit it is important to have several representatives available to expand on the video presentation if needed. Having a representative nearby shows visitors that the company cares enough to have a live person ready to help visitors, as opposed to assuming they will watch the presentation, and subsequently take a business card and call the company.

Tips to Create a Successful Booth

The height of your booth should be comfortable enough for you to greet visitors as well as provide the visitors access to your give-away items. To prevent customers from having to reach for items, avoid putting everything you have on one table. Instead, use tables of varying heights or pop-up displays. This allows you to have an area for each part of the display. For example, use small table business cards and a long, waist-high table for displaying your products. A successful booth should also:

Be Clutter-Free

When creating your trade show booth, the most important thing to remember is less is often more for a display booth. Avoid clutter, such as organized merchandise, papers and personal items.

Have Colorful Banners

The way you display your company’s name and logo is also an important part of the attractiveness of your booth. The sign and/or banner you choose should be large with clean and crisp lettering, and hung high enough for people to see it from a distance. Red or Black is the most popular color choices for banner lettering, because it can be viewed from a far distance.

Be Warm and Inviting

People tend to be drawn to areas that look comfortable. Consider using different types of lighting. Other great things that provide the feeling of warmth and comfort include items such as a couple of chairs where visitors can rest while watching your demonstration. It is common for professional trade show booths to use colors such as black, gray, white and blue, so consider using warm colors such as yellows and reds.

For your next trade show graphics, give us a call at 1-800-877-3776 and we’ll make you look great!

When you're getting ready to use printed graphics such as window clings, banners, or even restaurant menus, the first thing you should think about is visual appeal. A key to creating visually stimulating printed graphics is to have easy-to-read typefaces that can be read from a distance as well as look good. posted a great article about choosing a typeface that can be read easily at a distance, giving you the optimal advertising that you're going for.

How to Choose a Typeface for Easy Long-Distance Reading


No matter what project you are using typeface for, there are a few rules that make the going easier; these rules can apply to print or web design. The main thing you want, of course, is to maintain a highly readable product; one that not only keeps your audience engaged, but one that is also attractive and easy to access.

Using Only Two Fonts

The very first thing you want to consider is consistency, especially in all the visual elements. In order to attain this you will have to trim your font choices to only two.

That’s right, two.

This is possibly the most important rule for easy reading. Use only two typefaces and the possibility of your audience staying on the page or on the site has increased 100 fold.

Text is No. 1

Your first font choice should be for your text, as this is the most important typeface choice. The text font needs to be highly readable and easy to scan. Because the text holds all your important information, you want to make absolutely sure that you are choosing the typeface that will capture your readers and make reading your material enjoyable.

The next and only other typeface choice should be for headlines and possibly subtitles. Since this typeface is bigger and bolder, you can make it a fancier font. Nevertheless, the two fonts are going to need to blend harmoniously together without necessarily looking alike.

X-Height? What’s That?

When choosing and matching your complimentary font choices, make sure that your text typeface has what is known as x-height. X-height means that the bowl of a letter, like the round part of the b or d, is about two-thirds the height of its stem. Anything smaller than this can be difficult to read, especially if you are designing for the web. Remember, this is the most important choice you will make for audience or customer retention.

Second in Importance Are Headlines

Once you've chosen your preferred typeface, with good x-height, for your text, it is then time to select the second typeface for headings. One sure way to quickly determine if the second font will work is to look at the letters a, e, and g. Although you do not want your two choices to look too much alike, you do want to maintain the readability. The best choices to partner are typefaces that are similar in these three letters. This is true whether one font is a serif and the other is sans serif. Compare these letters and then make a choice that will create a comfortable reading experience.

Be Creative

On the other hand, don't be afraid of contrast if it suits your needs and your product. Realize that two fonts that are too much alike will also have a negative effect.

So, even though the first priority is to be able to give your audience a comfortable read, don't be afraid to show some creativity and, above all, have a little fun.

Choose your fonts and get started with your printed graphics by calling us at 1-800-877-3776 today!

Creative building banner

Custom building wraps are an awesome way to catch people's attention as they're walking or driving down the street. While there are many ways you can use a custom building wrap, we found a few unique examples that really caught our eye.

Check out these custom building wraps featured in an article on

Let Thomas Reprographics make your wildest building wrap visions come to life. Give us a call at 1-800-877-3776 today and we'll help you begin the process of designing and printing your wrap.

The average American commuter spends 38 hours per year in traffic (Source). During those hours, you're likely to be doing at least one of three things: listening to the radio and dodging commercials, talking on the phone about how awful waiting in traffic is, or trying to find something interesting about the car in front of you. At Thomas, we can help you promote your business for all 38 hours of traffic you sit in each year with the help of vehicle wraps.

Does it really work? Yes! Take a look at this example from of how a fleet of home health care vehicles increased their referrals without having to go out and do a ton of extra work.

A unique marketing program that enhances service increases referrals and upgrades staff benefits. Who wouldn’t love that?

Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care has taken office signage to a new level by “going mobile.” Rather than conventional (and stationary) out-of-home billboards, we produced “traveling billboards.”

Our 30 company vehicles (26 Nissan Versas and 6 Jeep Patriots) are wrapped with graphics and key messages, including toll-free phone number and website. Our staff members love their company cars, and they have become skilled at answering questions from the public.

The result: heightened awareness of hospice, greater visibility throughout the community, referrals have increased (by 1 to 3 per quarter), and the business vehicles are a meaningful benefit for 160 employees.

Since “going mobile” in 2009, Heart ‘n Home has received many favorable comments, along with a few questions regarding confidentiality. While our vehicles do not violate HIPAA regulations, they are not used for patient transportation, and employees are trained to park away from the home. (Of the more than 3,000 patients we’ve served, we’ve only had two requests regarding patient privacy.)

Our vehicles also shout Heart ‘n Home’s pride in having received the 2011 Top 100 Best Places to Work, a national award sponsored by Modern Healthcare Magazine. “We credit this achievement in large part to our excellent staff. They always do what’s right for our patients and their families,” say Heart ‘n Home Owners Cindy Lee, Kristopher Stice, and Todd Stice. “They are our ambassadors, truly dedicated to providing legendary service every day, every time.”

With some 30 hospices in the valley alone, “going mobile” has enabled the company to stand out. “We want people to recognize our vehicles at a glance and to call us,” said Todd Stice.

“A resource on hospice and related topics is among our greatest strengths. Plus, by significantly reducing expenses, we are able to expand our reach to provide hospice services to an ever-increasing population whose financial resources are limited. At the same time, we provide safe, fuel-efficient vehicles to our employees. Our great-looking vehicles help promote the company’s brand and our reputation as a great place to work.”

“Of course,” Stice concluded, “our first priority is serving the medical needs of our patients with the most dedicated and qualified professionals. A positive work environment and innovative benefits translate into happy staff, which ultimately results in the best hospice care for our patients.”

Although your situation will be different, some of these ideas may adapt to your plan. For Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care — a service provider with a wide territory in Idaho and Oregon — vehicle graphics are a natural and brand-building fit.

Whatever field of business you're in, check out Thomas Reprographics vehicle wraps today to get the word out about your business just by doing what you already do. Give us a call at 1-800-877-3776 to get started!

Contact a Specialist Today!

We would love to help you with your printing needs. Fill out the form below to request a free evaluation and consultation.