HDClear recommendation for specifying glass graphics

In cases of ambiguity additional language must be used. On a ship terms like bow, stern, port and starboard tell a sailor exactly where they are. While white water rafting, the terms river right and river left are important to know. Pilots understand aircraft speed and wind speed are two different terms and critical to keeping a plane in the air safely.

Glass and clear acrylics provide ambiguity. There is an exterior surface and an interior surface which can accept film applications. One can see and read the image through both surfaces. One can stand in front of either surface.

The most public surface is considered the #1. The least public is considered #2.


A Building with a glass entrance:

  • #1 surface faces the sun and weather
  • #2 surface is the inside of the building

A Lobby with glass behind the receptionist separates the public area with the ‘Employee Only’ area:

  • #1 surface, the receptionist can touch and is in the most public area
  • #2 surface in the employee only and more private

A Board Room within the ‘Employee Only’ area of the building:

  • The surface on the outside which anyone walking by can touch is the #1 surface
  • The surface within the conference room would be #2


Properly specifying glass graphics to avoid ambiguity.

Three factors must be addressed every time and listed on plans, proposals, digital pre-flights and installation instructions.

  • Filmed Surface:      #1 or #2
  • Visibility Surface:      #1 or #2 or Both
    1. When only one surface shows the graphic this means the other side is visually opaque like when trying to hide a utility closet or false wall.
    2. Translucent graphics are usually visible from both sides of the glass.
  • Readability Surface:      #1 or #2
    1. Words, icons, logos and images are considered readable and most people know if they are looking at something backwards.


A Board Room needs a company logo printed on a privacy band. The normal practice would be

  • Filmed Surface:      #2 – the film should be on the least public surface to avoid damage and abuse.
  • Visibility Surface:      BOTH – the film and design should be visible both inside and outside the conference room.
  • Readability Surface:      #1– meaning the people outside the conference room see and read the logo.
    1. Readability means both words and/or image would generally read left to right and visually look normal.

The CEO of the business wants the logos to be readable from the inside – perhaps he constantly uses the video conferencing feature of the board room. Then the project would be:

  • Filmed Surface:      #2
  • Visibility Surface:      BOTH
  • Readability Surface:      #2


*** Special note****

The readable surface and the filmed surface are on the interior. Some people try and simplify by calling this a #1 surface install with #1 surface readability. Notes get dropped and the installer puts all the film on the wrong surface. How much does that cost both in money and reputation.


Specifying clearly these 3 surfaces

  • On the plans – protects the project.
  • On the proposal the client signed – protects your sale.
  • On the digital preflight the client signed – protects your business.
  • On the install directions to your install team – ensure the graphics are installed as the client approved them and protects your installers when in the field.