A journey of discovery, for a tiny dot from Manchester

A few of our favourite examples

25 years ago, the world’s first bus wrap was seen on the streets of New Zealand.  The unique characteristics of Contra Vision® see-through products made it possible to wrap an entire bus in promotional graphics, extending the imagery over the windows for the first time while still allowing passengers to see-through from the inside. The impact of such large, moving advertisements in often highly pedestrian areas, caught the imagination of advertisers and designers alike, and iconic designs followed. Even today, bus wraps are as popular as ever. It may be their reassuring visibility in an age of digital communication or perhaps there is a deeper psychological element at work.

Cognitive psychology suggests that when images move, they capture our attention, people instinctively recognise movement as something we need to pay attention to, and so the brain is caught. It is no coincidence that there is an increasing number of moving advertisements across the urban environment, with digital screens by roadsides, in shopping centres, on buses and other vehicles and within transport hubs, arguably the first bus wrap paving the way.

Like many inventions, the test phase was on a much smaller scale as the technology needed to prove its worth. The first ever use of one-way, see-through advertising appeared as a poster on bus windows for Beeline Buses in Manchester, in 1989.  The posters were for Imperial Tobacco and printed on a “new” patented material called Contra Vision®. Contra Vision Ltd (UK), was the company created by Roland Hill, the inventor of Contra Vision® see-through graphics to develop this innovative technology.

Two years later in 1991, the first “full wrap”, bus with advertising carrying over the windows and bodywork appeared in New Zealand for the Pan Pacific Hotel. That was just the beginning, the eye-catching format soon becoming hugely popular in Australia, followed by South Africa, and the UK.

The USA entered this market in 1992 when Visual Technologies, Inc., a licensee of Contra Vision North America, Inc., provided Contra Vision® for the first “full wrap” bus in the USA, for the US Postal Service in Denver, Colorado.  The first digitally printed bus wraps in the world used Contra Vision®, imaged by the 3M™ Scotchprint process, which advertised the launch of Crystal Pepsi in March 1993.

Through a process of continuous innovation, Contra Vision established the widest range of one-way vision films, available not only for bus wraps but increasingly for a variety of applications on static and transit platforms. The Contra Vision® Performance range of perforated window film is the fastest growth product in this field, offering not just a range of transparencies but application, print and visibility options too.

Contra Vision® Performance™ perforated window film transforms any area of glass into a billboard, the ease and speed of application and removal makes it the perfect medium for either long or short term promotions.  Making use of existing glazing in the infrastructure of our towns and cities has generated new advertising revenue streams for Out of Home space advertisers. In addition, utilising glass in their own buildings has also provided brand managers and planners with innovative and cost effective ways to support promotional campaigns.

This has led to Contra Vision® material wrapping buildings, vehicles and iconic structures worldwide. We also know the material stands up well to tough climatic conditions.  In Australia, for example, temperatures can vary wildly from boiling hot in the day to almost freezing at night: Contra Vision® material remains pristine whatever the weather.

As advertisers and OOH agencies continue to transform the urban environment around us, with innovations in technology and insight, it is reassuring to know that a single ground-breaking product with a dot pattern, invented in Manchester, not only transformed advertising worldwide but continues to find interesting new applications today.

Contra Vision® Privacy Window Film Range

Privacy Window Film applied to a building

Privacy Window Film applied to a building

Contra Vision is harnessing its expertise and reputation in one-way vision technology to launch a range of privacy window film products, providing an attractive and clever way to hide the view into buildings while maintaining a remarkable level of see-through from inside.

View-through Contra Vision® Privacy Window Film

View-through Contra Vision® Privacy Window Film

We offer standard white on black perforated films for either outside or inside window mount, translucent white perforated for day and night privacy and we are experimenting with a range of decorative designs for something more colourful. The films are supplied ready to install and do not require printing.

Unlike conventional window tinting, reflective or mirrored window films, Contra Vision® Privacy Window Films™ do not block the view outside at night. These other films turn into mirrors at night when looking from inside an illuminated room. Contra Vision® Privacy Window Films™ also avoid the dazzle and uncomfortable glare from reflective/mirror films when viewed from the outside and help to minimise bird collisions.

We are looking for window film companies to incorporate our products into their range and spread the word about the multiple benefits of Contra Vision®.

Whatever your requirement for privacy, there should be an option to suit you and as this example on a private home demonstrates, the transformation is subtle on the outside, effective from the inside and very easy to apply and remove.

Contra Vision® provides instant privacy for a rural barn in a location popular with walkers, find out more….

YMCA transformed for Royal Opening by All Signs

The Chris Bryant Centre, a new wing of the YMCA complex in Erdington, Birmingham, harnessed the unique see-through characteristics of Contra Vision® to transform their entrance prior to the official opening by HRH Princess Anne. In order to incorporate their visual identity onto the physical building vibrant block colours were printed onto Contra Vision® one-way material which ensured that the exterior could be transformed without compromising the interior environment.

Kevin Willis, Business Development Manager, All Signs commented,

“The YMCA brand is associated with community, care, service and fun. By using Contra Vision® Performance™ to badge the entrance to this new building, we were able to create a strong visual identity reflecting the organisation’s values. The material was easy to print and apply, working to timescales which ensured the entrance was vibrant and welcoming not just for its official opening but for years to come.”

Contra Vision adds colour to the facade

Contra Vision adds colour to the facade

Contra Vision North America, Inc. appoints Director of Business Development

Director of Business Development

Eric Bartosz Director of Business Development

Contra Vision North America, Inc. announces the appointment of Eric Bartosz to the position of Director of Business Development. Bartosz is a 20 year veteran of the print industry and, prior to joining Contra Vision North America, Inc., worked with Windsor Marketing Group where he served as Vice President of National Accounts partnering with top US retailers on developing and executing their in-store visual merchandising campaigns. Previously, Bartosz was the Northeast Regional Sales Manager for Clear Focus Imaging and worked extensively with the distribution, printer and end-user channels on window graphic applications.

Bartosz obtained his Bachelor of Science in Business Management at St. John’s University and earned his MBA at DeSales University with a concentration in Marketing.

Bartosz is based in Pennsylvania and will cover the North East, working with other members of the sales and customer service team, Pat Henrietta in Tennessee, Gary Stoltenberg in California and Emily Seawell based in the Atlanta office, all supporting printers, distributors and clients throughout North America.

Bartosz comments, “I’m thrilled to be joining the Contra Vision team and I look forward to helping contribute to the rich history of industry innovation and expertise for which the company has become so renowned over the years.  We live in an exciting era for see-through graphics and Contra Vision North America, Inc. is extremely well suited to help clients deliver their brand messages across the spectrum of glass applications where creativity continues to extend the medium into new areas”.

Van Duinkerken Sport & Kamperen Window Graphics

Contra Vision Facade at Van Duinkerken Sport & Kamperen
Van Duinkerken Sport & Kamperen, a sport and outdoor pursuits retailer, approached Printhouse as they wanted to ensure that their new Outdoor Sports & Camping store would be noticed. Their new location, next to a busy highway, meant that lots of potential customers were passing every day, so there was a real value in attracting attention.

View Through Contra Vision Window Film
Contra Vision® was chosen as the unique one-way characteristics of perforated window film allow designers to create stunning effects on glass without losing the valuable daylight coming in

Read more….

WRc Building Wrap

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As part of a combined effort, iDeal Displays worked with Corporate Events’ Project Manager to produce over 400 metres of print for both the exterior and interior. WRc’s offices presented a unique challenge due to the architectural design and the fact that they are constructed predominantly from glass. Corporate Events wanted something that would provide visible impact but also allow natural light into the workspace.  The graphics featured Contra  Vision®Performance™ in a 30 percent transparency. The unique one-way characteristics of Contra Vision provides the optimum balance between vibrancy of image, see-through vision and privacy.


Teams from both businesses worked together to install the graphics to 87 exterior windows. Factors such as scale, the weather and grassy areas meant this installation phase took place over a week and involved the use of trackway and high reach plant equipment. Find out more…

UK Celebration of World Intellectual Property Day

UK Celebration of World Intellectual Property Day

Location for the UK Celebration of World Intellectual Property Day

Today, 26 April,  will see the UK’s celebration of World Intellectual Property Day take place in the House of Commons Terrace Pavilion. The event will be attended by Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Intellectual Property professionals, users of the Intellectual Property system and Parliamentarians from both Houses, the event is presented annually by the Intellectual Property Awareness Network.

Chaired by Professor Ruth Soetendorp, Chair of IPAN, speakers at this year’s event include:

  • Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Intellectual Property
  • Dr Paulo Aversa – Lecturer in Strategy at Cass Business School; Fellow of the Center for Automotive and Mobility Innovation at University Ca’Foscari, Venice
  • Dr Anthony Tridico – Managing Partner of Finnegan’s European office in London, Expert in post-grant proceedings for US and European Patent Law
  • John Ogier – Director and Vice-Chair, IPAN.  Intellectual Property Economist

Titled “IP in the fast lane”, the presentations and discussions range from the impact of IP in the technical advance of Formula 1 to its importance in more mundane but critical technologies and creative contributions to the economic development of our society.

The Intellectual Property Awareness Network (IPAN), seeks to inform and engage with policy makers, educational establishments and financial institutions by a variety of means, including “IP briefs” on IP issues, updated and published annually on WIPD, then posted on the IPAN website http://www.ipaware.net.

Roland Hill, IPAN Parliamentary Convenor – Director of the Intellectual Property Awareness Network and Chairman of Contra Vision Ltd. and his team are proud to have helped in the co-ordination and organisation of this noteworthy event.

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