A bright future for swissQprint Neon Inks

swissQprint recently announced the three-year anniversary of the launch of its Neon inks. Jack caught up with Erskine Stewart, Managing Director at swissQprint UK to find out more.

swissQprint Neon Inks
swissQprint Neon Inks

Find the Eye on Display Industry Directory listing for swissQprint here as well as their latest featured articles.

For generations, neon signage has been part of our human DNA. These iconic displays are synonymous with entertainment and are the embodiment of a ‘good time’ – although not always in the most wholesome manner.

Erskine Stewart, Managing Director, swissQprint UK

More recently, LED technology has allowed for lower-cost signage that matches the neon effect and these are increasingly effective in retail, hospitality environments. Now, there is an even easier and more flexible option for creating neon effects using print, and swissQprint is leading the way.

“Our customers are always asking us for something new and different,” says Erskine, adding, “They are the sort of companies that have a burning desire to deliver solutions that stand out—it’s why they purchased a swissQprint in the first place. It is also in our DNA to meet this demand by constantly innovating and delivering unique functionality, while making sure it is fully tested and approved to the highest quality.”

Bringing neon to UV

swissQprint was the first printer manufacturer to bring neon options to UV inkjet printing in March 2021 after a two-year development process. Until then, neon-style printing could only be done with dye-sublimation and some solvents. “There were other ways to print neon, but nothing in UV, which can print directly onto virtually any substrate. This makes a huge difference in terms of practicality, speed and ease of use,” says Erskine.

swissQprint Neon Inks
swissQprint Neon Inks

Stephen Arthur, Managing Director at Mediaco, recently installed their first Kudu flatbed printer with neon inks. He said, “It helps to understand the evolution of the marketplace. Neon inks have existed for many years, largely in commercial printing, but haven’t really been applied to short to medium-run digital campaigns. swissQprint has enabled them with UV inkjet, which is a huge development for us because it opens up so many new creative applications.”

He adds, “We can now introduce neon displays to retail, exhibition, live events, and so on, allowing our creative team to generate eye-catching points of difference. Because everything is digital, people can do variable data campaigns and messaging for all POS requirements.”

In conclusion, Stephen says, “Thanks to the Kudu, neon displays are another tool in our innovation armoury. You’d miss them if they’re not there. They can also be used with many other techniques, such as three-layer or five-layer printing, and under different lighting environments. We have expanded the toolbox of what’s available.”

Another of swissQprint’s satisfied customers is Reading-based large format graphics supplier VGL. The business also invested in a Kudu with neon ink channels to take the next step in giving customers creative, end-to-end solutions. “The Kudu’s added value capabilities, including neons, complemented our ongoing commitment to creative print solutions,” said VGL’s Managing Director Daniel Field. “I was fortunate enough to see the neon inks printing at the swissQprint factory. It immediately resonated with me, given VGL’s screenprint background. It was something I thought would appeal to many of our clients, which I’m pleased to say has been the case.”

swissQprint Neon Inks

VGL has proud record of innovation, and the addition of swissQprint neons has enabled the business to push the boundaries of printing even further. “With the Kudu, we have blended some of its different creative elements, notably neon tactile prints, neon 3D visual effects and neon fabrics, for example,” Field added. “It’s important to us that, when challenged with a concept, we are ahead of the curve. We all want to innovate and show clients something new. However, you have to have the technical knowledge to then deliver it.”

Erskine continues, “It’s so exciting to see how our customers use our new technology. We have produced a tool that our creative customers use to deliver incredible displays. 30% of the machines we have sold over the last year have been ordered with the neon ink channels, which shows how popular it is in the market and with our customers.”

swissQprint UV flatbed printers come with nine or ten channels depending on the model. Neon inks are currently available in yellow and pink, taking a channel each. “A key benefit with a swissQprint printer is that customers can easily upgrade to more channels or change channels in the field. This simplicity means that customers view the neon inks similarly to white, varnish, or other specialist ink, in addition to the standard 4- or 6-colour setup,” he says.

swissQprint Neon Inks
swissQprint Neon Inks

Erskine also told us that some customers looked at neon as a solution they could work towards offering. In those cases, they have outsourced work to other swissQprint owners who have the neon option until the volume of work justifies bringing it inhouse. “I love how our community of swissQprint owners work together and are happy to share ideas, service and support. It’s another example of how special this industry can be.”

He continues, “This is also where swissQprint aims to help customers. We focus much of our marketing for specialist innovations like neon, to brand-owners and design agencies. We want to get them excited by our products and their potential to deliver exciting, eye-catching campaigns. We can then feed leads back to our customers in line with their location and capabilities.”

Neon signage is most prevalent in retail, events, and other hospitality venues. The UV neon inks are indoor-only because they fade quite quickly outdoors; however, they have been used for short-term outdoor events.”


Ultimately, swissQprint has delivered neon inks to help its customers have more creative applications to satisfy their end users. “Neon applications are a great value-added service that our customers can offer. It’s a premium service that the competition cannot offer, and it is a great way for our customers to open doors to new projects and end users,” Erskine says.

Looking to the future, he is very confident that the market for neon inks will continue to grow. “Designers are no longer considering neon inks or colours as a constraint because they can be delivered within UV technology. This means they are easier to specify and, in turn, are being used more widely rather than as a niche colour. This is the technology path that swissQprint likes to take, essentially bringing innovative new products to market and steadily implementing them into mainstream delivery as they become more popular and widely used.”

He concludes, “Neon inks have been one of the most impactful application developments of the past few years, and we are constantly amazed by the results our customers have delivered with them. From paper to acrylic, from glass to aluminium, our neon inks have allowed designers to create memorable visuals, and we look forward to seeing how this develops even further over the coming years.”

Related posts

Latest stories