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A Beginner’s Guide To Graphic Overlay Printing

jean pierre fumey



graphic overlay printing

Creating a startup can be pretty challenging. After all, not only will you have to worry about its financing, you also need to make sure you can promote it properly. And, from the looks of the general public, now isn’t the best time to advertise businesses by going out on the streets. But most importantly, before you can even start the entire process, you must first think of a business idea.

Thankfully, if you’ve been keeping up with the latest news, you’ve probably heard of graphic overlay design services at least once, especially since it’s an incredibly popular trend at the moment. If you want to open a startup, a graphic overlay printing press would be an excellent idea. Of course, if you plan on pushing through with that decision, you need to gain a deeper understanding of this subject matter first. Perhaps the best way to start is by finding out what a graphic overlay is.

What Is A Graphic Overlay?

If you’ve been to an ATM, you’re probably aware that there’s a part of the machine where you can see a list of logos or icons of credit and debit cards it accepts. That’s an example of a graphic overlay. In short, a graphic overlay is the outermost layer of an object that displays information through various graphical means, such as via texts, logos, or images.

Graphic overlays vary in size, shape, and material. Companies use it for the following purposes:

  • Extra protection for merchandise
  • Displaying information or instructions
  • Making the product stand out via branding

Due to its diverse applications, you can find them practically everywhere–banks, hospitals, and merchandise, like toys and gadgets. This is perhaps the reason why graphic overlay printing firms are pretty profitable.

Anyway, now that you know what you’re dealing with, it’s time to proceed to yet another important matter: the elements of graphic overlays.

Main Elements Of A Graphic Overlay

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As stated earlier, several elements make up a graphic overlay. Since you intend on opening a printing firm, being knowledgeable on this subject matter would go a long way in aiding your startup.

So, without further ado, here’s a closer look at the elements of a graphic overlay:

  • Backlighting

As the name suggests, backlighting refers to the illumination that comes from the back of the overlay. Since most materials used for graphic overlays aren’t entirely opaque, light can pass through them. Backlighting not only improves the aesthetics and appeal of the overlay but also helps the user make the graphics more readable. When installing backlighting on graphic overlays, you can choose from several options: LED, LGF, and acrylic.

  • Resistance

Resistance pertains to how well the overlay can guard against different types of detriment. For example, a graphic overlay can be resistant to abrasion, vibration, impact, or moisture. It’s an essential element as it ensures the overlay stays safe despite adversity.

  • Finish

Certain printing firms coat their graphic overlays with all sorts of finishes. A finish allows for a more appealing product, but it may also serve as a protective layer. Some of the most common finishes on graphic overlays include gloss, textured, patterned, matte, and resin.

Since you’re most likely competing with other graphic overlay printing firms, you must create a selling point for your creations, and what better way of doing that than by playing with these three elements to create your unique design. There’s actually another element that you can experiment with, the material, but that in itself deserves its own section.

Commonly-Used Materials For Graphic Overlay Printing

Considering the countless uses of graphic overlay, it’s no surprise that it may come in different materials. Typically, you have three options when choosing a material for graphic overlays:

  • Polyester

Most graphic overlays are made of polyester, and for good reasons. One, it’s highly resistant to chemicals. Polyester can also withstand extreme temperatures. Hence, if you want to prioritize durability over anything else, it’s the ideal material for overlays.

  • Polycarbonate

Unlike polyester, polycarbonate doesn’t have high resistance against chemicals. However, it can withstand extreme heat, albeit with a limit.

  • Acrylic

Acrylic is an interesting choice for a graphic overlay material. While it’s not as durable as the previous two, it’s more lightweight than most materials. Furthermore, it can transmit or diffuse light, so it’s pretty appealing when paired with the proper backlighting.

Standard Customer Specifications For Graphic Overlays

That’s pretty much what you need to know about graphic overlays. Be that as it may, you’re far from being prepared for the job. Before you open a shop, you also have to know what to expect from your customers once you start accepting orders for graphic overlays.

It may have been mentioned a couple of times already, but a graphic overlay has countless applications. Once you start accepting orders from customers, you’ll receive all sorts of specifications and requirements for graphic overlays. Sometimes, they may even indicate what they’re planning to use the overlay for and let you work on their order using that info.

For that reason, knowing what to expect can be pretty helpful. With that said, here are a few examples of things that your prospective customers may use graphic overlays for:

  • Membrane keypads and switches
  • Protective for surfaces
  • Key labels
  • Lamination
  • Branding

Now that that’s taken care of, the last thing you need to know before you open a graphic overlay printing press is how you can set up your workshop.

Setting Up Your Printing Workshop

As always, you need a workshop if you want to open a store, especially one that deals with production. In your case, you need to set up a printing workshop. Since you’re dealing with graphic overlays, purchasing the necessary equipment, such as the printer, is a given.

Apart from that, you must also make sure the environment is fit for the materials you intend to use. For one, you need to ensure the workshop is adequately ventilated since high humidity can lay waste on your materials. Ventilation would also help prevent heat from entering.

Most importantly, you have to clean the workshop regularly to minimize the presence of dust, which can be pretty destructive to both your equipment and materials.

Final Words

Starting a business can be challenging, even more so if you know nothing about the startup. But with the right strategy, it should be possible to get the startup up and running.

In the case of graphic overlay printing, you need to start by learning about the subject matter. Fortunately, with this article, you should be able to take care of that step reasonably quickly. So, all that’s left is for you to open the startup and hope for the best.


Jean-Pierre is a polyglot communication specialist, freelance journalist, and writer for with over two decades of experience in media and public relations. He creates engaging content, manages communication campaigns, and attends conferences to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. He brings his wealth of experience and expertise to provide insightful analysis and engaging content for's audience.

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