8 tips on ordering jumbo lightboxes

Thinking about super large lightboxes? At Blue River Digital, we’ve designed and built every conceivable size and shape of lightbox — but the really big lightboxes over 10 feet or larger — these are our favorite! There’s nothing quite like a vivid, high-energy lifestyle photo all lit up at 12 or 15 feet across or even 20 to 60 feet, there’s really no limit!
FabricLyte Premium Display
But what does it take to build a lightbox this large? Are there any limitations or special considerations? Let’s fly over a few quick tips on how to plan your Jumbo Lightboxes project!
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Which color temperature is best for a backlit graphic lightbox

Color temperature is an important yet often-overlooked detail, when ordering backlit display lightboxes. Blue River Digital offers quite a few different color temperature options, depending on the lightbox model you’re looking at. But before we discuss which models offer which color temperatures, first let’s chat about what color temperature means on a basic level.
Color temperature is a measurement of the “whiteness” of a light source. The classic reference point is for those of us who’ve browsed the Paint department at the local hardware store, trying to decide which version of “white” we want to paint our house trim with. There are so many “colors” that look totally white when we view any one of them by itself — but then line up all the variations on the same card and all of a sudden you can see all the different hues by their relative “color shift” from one color chip to the next — first you have a bluish white, then a greenish white, then a pinkish or orange-ish white… you get the idea.
This scenario is a good example of the reason we need to measure whiteness, or color temperature. Without color temperature ratings, two sources of white light that are slightly different “hues” from each other would be hard to describe without some subjectivity. Imagine trying to describe the color temperature of each set of headlights in oncoming traffic at night: “Let’s see, this car’s lights are kind of yellowish, and the next ones are kind of purplish, but the third car’s are kind of in between and maybe closer to…..” Good luck, right? So the scientific community has developed this universally-recognized scale as the first step in controlling which actual color temperature range we want to specify in a given context:
color temperature chart
Oddly, the “warmer” whites were assigned lower numerical values than the “colder” whites, but once you get past this counter-intuitive anomaly, the Color Temperature scale is pretty common-sense. Reds and oranges are at the warm end of the spectrum, while the blues and violets reside at the colder end.
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7 tips on how to improve diffusion in lightboxes

In a perfect world, every backlit display lightbox that’s being used for back-lighting posters and promotional messages would deliver perfectly uniform brightness from one corner to the other. But the reality is – light intensity always varies to some degree across any surface, including a lightbox or backlit menu board. So the next question is – how can we get the light to be the most uniform possible, within a reasonable budget? Let’s look at seven things you can do to help your lightboxes deliver the best possible diffusion:
1. ARTWORK — Does your graphic have a solid, pale background – or, is there a lot of variety to the colors and shapes? The more variety in color and/or contrast that you can build into you artwork, the more forgiving it will be, of variations in light intensity. Look at these two artworks and notice how this one does a better job of hiding the lamp variations:
artwork and color distribution
Of course you can’t always re-design your whole graphic just for diffusion – but it’s a good trick to know.
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What is the difference between lumens and lux?

In commercial lighting, sometimes you’ll see different units of measurement when it comes to the brightness of the light source. The two most common units of measurement for light intensity are lux and lumens. Let’s take a look at each of these approaches, and see how they relate to graphic lightboxes for displaying duratrans backlit film.
Lumens — In layman’s terms, the number of lumens generated by a light source is the total brightness or light intensity emitted by the source, regardless of size. One way to gain perspective on this is to imagine 1,000 tiny flashlights all clustered together at the eastern shore of a lake, to create a light source visible from the western shore. Now let’s place a single spotlight next to the cluster, to achieve the same result. Both sources may appear equally bright to the person on the western shore, even though one of the sources is really just a cluster of many not-so-bright sources. This is not a perfect analogy because no matter how many flashlights you add to the cluster, you may never reach the apparent intensity of the spotlight if you were to stare straight into it, but the amount of illumination that reaches the western shore from the cluster of tiny light sources could easily match that of the spotlight, if you keep adding tiny flashlights by the millions or however many it takes.
lumens vs. lux
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What's so special about fabric backlit signs?

Have you noticed? Fabric-faced lightboxes are everywhere! Clearly, there’s a movement toward fabric as the medium of choice for commercial-grade backlit signs in every context from retail product promotion to institutional fine art display. Let’s take a look at the reasons discerning marketers and interior planners are turning to fabric for their LED backlit sign solutions:

fabric light sign

THAT ORGANIC LOOK — Only lightboxes with a backlit fabric graphic can give you a zero-glare graphic surface and still deliver a bright, saturated color image. This is why you’ll find backlit fabric signage in TV studios, corporate lobbies, fashion and cosmetic retailers — any place where a softer, more humanic presentation may be desired without compromising color bandwidth.

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The importance of black, and black ‘opacity’

Businesses choose backlit graphics with backlit signage for their promotional displays, instead of plain old posters, because they want brighter colors and therefore more “eye-catching and head-turning”. So of course, as the marketing person, you want the backlit artwork in your Duratrans to have lots of bright colors and compelling imagery, to compete for the attention of the passerby. But equally important as color and content, are (a) the amount of black areas in your artwork, and (b) the opacity of the solid blacks.
duratrans print with dark background
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Inkjet vs. Duratrans for Fine Art Prints

A customer recently asked if we have any information that sheds light on a set of claims by another backlit imaging firm, putting forth archival-quality inkjet printing as a preferred solution over duratrans imaging. Here’s the response we submitted:
First, let me clarify — duratrans is designed for transmissive light (backlit) applications only, not reflective. So comparing duratrans to archival papers is apples and oranges. Duratrans is not designed for or claimed as an archival solution. Some of the below comparative claims about archival media’s colorfastness may be true, but the main focus of our comparison should really be between backlit duratrans and backlit inkjet.
Inkjet sample
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What is the difference between an electric sign and a 'lightbox'?

Just by the names, you can see why there’s some identity confusion between the two products: (a) Electric Signs – or more definitively, “electrically-lighted signboxes”; and (b) Lightboxes for backlit graphic display.
Customers shopping for one or the other often interchange these phrases and similar, when referring to a related product. So the question is, is there really a difference between an electric sign and a lightbox — and if so, what is it?
The term ‘electric sign’ has been in use since at least the early 20th century, when roadside commercial signs powered by filament-electric lamps began to appear. And pragmatically, any product that can be categorized as a ‘sign’ — as long as it is powered by electricity — can be thought of as an electric sign.
Electric signs collage
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Why is 'lamp density' important when shopping for lightboxes?

Comparing the light-generating properties among different models of backlit display lightboxes can be difficult when the lightboxes are not in the same room with you. Specifications such as measured brightness, color temperature and type of lamps can be helpful, but don’t overlook the value of lamp density in helping you evaluate competing lightbox models.
'Lamp density' is basically how many lamps are installed in a given lightbox. More scientifically, lamp density can be measured 3 ways:
distance between lamps, in inches
number of lamps per square area
total number of lamps in a lightbox, given its size
Optimal lamp density vs cabinet depth
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How should we use lightboxes in our retail store?

Most people understand that backlit display lightboxes generally add a whole new, inviting dimension to a retail store’s ambience, but being intentional about how to deploy lightboxes and duratrans backlit graphics while still saving money, will benefit your overall strategy.
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