Graphic Overlays

A graphic overlay is the top surface that a user interfaces with when commanding a piece of equipment or control. This is the most customer-facing touch point for many brands, and therefore requires a high degree of care in its design and manufacture.

Interface Between Your Product and User

Graphic overlays, faceplates, and functional user interface panels are common terms used to describe the same product. Besides being the surface interface between your product and its user, graphic overlays protect the membrane switch underneath, and are often subject to harsh environments and/or chemicals, requiring careful consideration of material and adhesive properties. They are often made from polycarbonate or polyester, and may include embossed buttons, integrated display windows, integrated shielding, and brand elements including color and graphics.

These all contribute to the user experience with the membrane switch, product, and brand.

Graphic Overlays

Graphic Overlay Considerations

Substrates

The two most common base substrates for graphic overlays are polyester and polycarbonate. Polyester materials are incredibly durable, while polycarbonate materials are more workable for processes such as die cutting, embossing, and other physical effects. JN White also utilizes blended substrates that offer the best properties of both polyester and polycarbonate.

Durability

Different environments place varying demands on graphic overlays, and the environment in which yours will be used will largely determine its materials, appearance and features. For example, a graphic overlay used on a construction site may require rugged, durable materials and UV protection, whereas a graphic overlay used for medical device applications may need to withstand constant use and harsh chemical cleaners. At JN White, we customize every overlay to operate reliably under any condition, including: extreme temperature, exposure to dirt, sand, dust and debris, humidity/water, UV rays, chemicals, and more.

Outstanding Color Control and Exact Graphic

Depending on your product, it may be important that your product’s overlay match your brand colors. We can match to a color swatch, a Pantone chip, to your bezel or housing, or other brand elements, and we ensure the results with our calibrated light booth and digital densitometers. We also feature the latest digital printing technologies, allowing you to specify virtually any type of background pattern or look that you are trying to achieve. If you can think it, we can print it!

Size, Thickness and Placement

It’s important to know if there is a required overlay size and where it will be placed on the product’s housing. If the graphic overlay will sit within a cavity and needs to lay flush to the housing, thickness is incredibly important. JN White customizes graphic overlays to any size or shape.

In-House Embossing

Embossing can dramatically enhance the look and functionality of your graphic overlay, providing a more tactile and responsive user experience. This may be extremely important in certain work environments and can also have implications on the best material to use for a particular graphic overlay. We have the in-house expertise needed to execute pillow, rim, and dome embossing. Plus, we can emboss logos, multi-level shapes, and other unique dimensional elements.

Gaskets, Lenses and Windows

No matter what you need in a window or lens, JN White specializes in sourcing unique materials to deliver an optically clear final product. And as a 3M preferred converter, we have the ability to laser cut high-end materials to fit any tolerance. From military products that require anti-reflective surfaces to keep the sun out of soldiers’ eyes to dermatology lenses used to detect the presence of cancer, we find the exact mix of substrates, films and colors to function flawlessly in any environment.

Adhesive Solutions

Different surface materials have different bonding properties, making it important to know the specifications of your project’s housing to determine the most suitable adhesive. Characteristics to consider include surface energy, metal or plastic, smooth or textured, curved or flat, and if there is a powder coating, which is common on painted housings. We have the knowledge and skills on staff to help you to determine the best adhesive solutions.

Desired Finish

By selecting appropriate materials and surface treatments, we help our customers create truly custom user experiences with unique textures and finishes. Whether smooth or textured, matte or glossy, we’ll work hand-in-hand to ensure your product’s finish look exactly how you want it to.

 

Surface Affection Testing

Surface affection testing relates to whether a label’s surface withstands scratching, chemicals, or other abrasive materials. JN Whiteperforms surface affection testing for all required products, including First Article Inspections (FAIs).

Marine Audio Sound System: Solved

See how we created a graphic overlay for a unique product

JL Audio, a global electronics manufacturer, approached JN White™ for assistance with an electronic graphic overlay solution. The customer needed a thermoformed part that would fit the customer’s housing and stay properly bonded. JN White™ was able to develop a dome-shaped graphic overlay that successfully met all requirements. In addition, the custom adhesive solution proposed by JN White™ successfully holds the overlay in place. The component is in use today on one of the customer’s premier marine audio systems.

Request a Sample Pack of Graphic Overlays

We know that you might want to feel and interact with our work before committing to a project with us, which is why we’ve put together a variety of samples to send to you, free of charge.

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