Ever notice vehicle wraps on a car where graphics are also on the windows? This is what is known in the sign industry as window perf vinyl or one-way vision film and is sometimes referred to as see-through vinyl. At Sunrise Signs, when we’re speaking with clients about their vehicle wrap design, they are often confused about window perf so here, we thought we’d dive into the world of this not so mysterious film—and why it’s best to laminate!
Stunning on the Outside, See-Through on the Inside
One-way vision vinyl film is an adhesive-backed PVC vinyl that is manufactured with perforated round and evenly spaced holes. The film allows for graphics to be printed right on the vinyl and it’s those evenly spaced holes—and their size—that offers visibility from the inside.
For example, these films come in a variety of types and each offers the amount of print coverage versus visibility. The most common types are 50/50, 60/40 and 70/30, however the 50/50 ratio is best for vehicle windows. If a film is 50/50, half of the film is vinyl and the other half is perforated. Or, the first number of these films represents the extent of printable area and the second number reveals the total amount of see-through area. For example a 70/30 window perf film has a greater printable area for graphics but not as much visibility as a 50/50 film.
Before we jump into popular window perforated vinyl films, we wanted to discuss why it’s important to laminate. Many perf films won’t last longer than two to three years, however, if laminated, it improves the durability of the vinyl.
Lamination also protects the film from scratching the ink and provides UV protection from ink fade. It’s best to use an optically see-through clear laminate instead of a regular laminate, which may produce some hazing. Laminating also covers up those tiny holes and keeps out rain, snow, ice and dirt particles. Adding laminate to your vinyl window perf makes these films last up to five years.
At Sunrise Signs, we use a variety of window perforated films from manufacturers like Clear Focus, 3M, Avery Dennison and Orafol. Below are basic overviews with links to their product pages.
Clear Focus One-Way Vision Films – One of this manufacturer’s most common films is their 8 mil ClassicVue white/black composite PVC. It is pressure sensitive and the see-through ratio is 50/50. Clear Focus films are durable for two to three years—but last longer when laminated. Print capability is solvent, eco-solvent and UV curable. Clear Focus recommends using a solid paper liner for printing with HP latex inks.
3M’s Scotchcal IJ8171 – This is a 4 mil cast vinyl window perf film with a 50/50 percent perforation pattern. Great for wrapping vehicle windows and print capability is solvent and PV. This film from 3M is great to use on interior or exterior windows and it comes with 3M’s Standard Warranty that covers obvious defects including adhesive and visual defects.
Avery’s MPI 2528 – From Avery Dennison is this 50/50 ratio calendared film. Like other one-way films, graphics printed on this vinyl perf are visible from the front and invisible from the back once mounted. This 7 mil window perf vinyl film offers excellent image clarity and color pop. Print compatibility is water-based inkjet, solvent-based inkjet, mild/eco solvent inkjet and UV and Latex inkjet. Avery provides a one-year limited warranty on this popular film.
Orafol’s Orajet 3675 – Last but not least is Orafol’s Orajet 3675 5.5 mil perforated film. Print compatibility is latex, solvent or eco-solvent and it’s available in white with a gloss finish and black backing. The vinyl perf ratio for this film is also 50/50 and comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Each of the above manufacturers offer recommended laminates for their window perf vinyl film products which can be found on their product specification sheets.
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