Conventionally backlight illuminated signs are made from plastic (polycarbonate or acrylic) materials and also from aluminum or other lightweight metal, this structures are often heavy when large, hard to manipulate and transport and relatively expensive to produce.
A cheap alternative to producing illuminated signs is 3D printing, but it is not always at everyone’s reach, as large format 3D printers are hard to find and expensive machines to buy.
Whether it be on the fascia of a building, within a window or mounted to a rooftop; the exposure of backlit signage is easy to identify and very attractive during the night, this is why the invention of a cheaper and lighter alternative to heavy backlight illuminated signage was introduced with backlit textile.
Generally backlit textile printing material is based on woven polyester with a coating that helps improve the materials resistance to rubbing and thus giving it a smoother finish, this coating can sometimes be PVC or some other material that helps the ink adhere to the surface when using a printer that can’t achieve direct textile printing.
The material also has a great light dispersion property, helping reduce the need for a light diffusor, this thanks to its ability to distribute light evenly across the surface to maximize the back lighting effect.
Some backlit textile are weather resistant, flame retardant and even printable on both sides, this gives versatility in several applications; the weather resistant feature helps eliminate the need for a front window or panel, reducing even more the weight and cost of the final setup.
Things you should be aware of are for example, if the ink doesn’t bind really well you may be able to see a lot of defects that are highlighted with backlighting, in many cases, if you have several white spaces you start to see spots of light or shadows.
Backlit textile combined with a good printer profiling configuration can help you achieve full blackout without losing the illuminated colors you desire to highlight.
Source: Personal experience and training.