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The shimmy shimmy shake!

The shimmy shimmy shake!

Of all the many interesting and novel products that were on display at Sign & Digital UK, the one that undoubtedly attracted the most attention was on one of the smallest stands.  Val Hirst investigates.

During all of the sign related exhibitions that I’ve attended over the last 25 years, I’ve witnessed some pretty important product launches, some of which it would be fair to say, have proved to be real game changers that have significantly aided the evolution of the sign and print sectors.  However, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anything that has charmed me half as much as Shimmerdisc, which made its industry debut at this year’s show.

This might just be because I spent most of my formative years in Essex, where glamour and glitter is both ubiquitous and obligatory, so whenever I see a bit of sparkle I automatically reach for my white stilettos and gravitate towards it, like a moth to a flame. But I have to say, that on this occasion at least, I was far from alone. During the course of the show I think that almost all of the exhibitors, as well as a goodly proportion of the visitors, found themselves in front of the be-sequinned face of David Bowie, which provided the Shimmerdisc stand with its stunning centrepiece.

The company, which was formed by digital print veteran Andrew Ainge, specialises in the production of the shimmering sequinned displays that use thousands of light-reflecting discs to produce photographic quality graphics that appear to move as the light catches them.  Unsurprisingly, Shimmerdisc has already captured the imagination of some of the UK’s most discerning brands and retailers who are using it to produce captivating window and point of purchase displays and architects and designers who have been equally quick to appreciate how it can be imaginatively used to add a little extra pizazz to any restaurant, bar, reception area or exhibition stand, or to create a stand alone piece of original artwork.

Andrew Ainge explained that each disc is individually printed on a UV flatbed digital printer to create pixel perfect images, providing designers with a full colour palette, including white for depth, which transforms a plain foil sequin into something quite magical.  Each module is reverse printed and optically clear to provide an animated display that offers a very convincing 3D effect.

The smallest display Shimmerdisc produces measures 1000 x 1000mm  – which uses 5625 discs – while large wall installations typically use 100,000 plus discs.  Displays are ordered in 200 x 200mm modules, with 225 printed 13mm discs per module and are scalable from one square metre up to billboard size. The company can produce virtual 3D proofs of any required design, plus an animated video that will provide some idea of how the finished display will appear, although, in actual fact, the reality is far, far better.

Recognising that he has something of a winner on his hands, and that demand is likely to far outstrip his own capacity for supply, Andrew is now offering suitably equipped print companies an opportunity to manufacture the patent protected Shimmerdisc displays under license and offers three different options, which are structured to suit companies of various sizes.

As might be imagined with a product that is so immediately covetable, the rewards for those who participate, are expected to prove highly lucrative.

Further details, plus lots of photographic and video examples are available on the Shimmerdisc website, but I’d urge any interested parties who didn’t make it to the show, to catch up on the action immediately on Youtube  as something tells me that Andrew can expect a veritable avalanche of response!

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