History of Contra Vision®
As the “founder” of the see-through graphics business, Roland Hill has been involved in vision control panels since 1976 (the plain, single coloured one-way walls “all glass squash court”) and first see-through graphics (with a design) patent application filed in July 1984. Contra Vision Ltd was founded in 1985 by Roland Hill and his partners in the consulting engineering practice of Campbell Reith Hill.
In 1990 Contra Vision Ltd established the two trading companies of Contra Vision North America, Inc. and Contra Vision Supplies Ltd as exclusive licensees for North America and Europe respectively.
The invention won the Building Innovation Supreme Award in 1987, the Prince of Wales Award for Innovation and Production entitled “Innovation with the most potential for the 1990s”, was selected by the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents for their 1991 travelling exhibition “100 Years of British Invention” and received a DTI SMART award for research in 1991. Contra Vision was granted Millennium Products status in the British Government-backed initiative to recognise the best of British innovation and was featured as one of 26 special display ‘pods’ at the top of the ‘Spiral of Innovation’, the Millennium Dome, Greenwich, 2000.
Until 1995 the product range was limited to the exact registration printed product, now known as Contra Vision® XR™, which was used on the windows of the first “full wrap” bus in New Zealand in 1991 for the Pan Pacific Hotel. It was this product that successfully won the company’s first $1 million order for window advertisements for Phillip Morris in 1990 and more recent projects include over 200,000 ft² of laminated glass louvers surrounding the European Commission Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The mid 90s saw the introduction of perforated one-way vision products with licensees including 3M, Avery Dennison, FLEXcon, Orafol and Continental Graphics and the Contra Vision own-brand product, Contra Vision® Performance™ has sold over $2 million since its launch in August 2009. Currently, our patented product range has expanded to include the economical brands of Contra Vision® ORS™ and Contra Vision® Stripes™ and so we are now in a position to offer a product suited to virtually any potential customer’s budget and requirements for one-way graphics.
With the continually expanding product range, our patent and trade mark portfolio has also developed throughout the history of Contra Vision with Roland Hill being the inventor or co-inventor of 23 inventions in the field of see-through graphics, either patented or “patent-pending”, each invention typically being patented in 15 – 20 countries. It is this Intellectual Property Portfolio as well as our long expertise in this specialised field that justifies our belief that we are the world leader in see-through graphics technology.
Contra Vision as a group of companies has come a long way since its first patent application in 1984 in the UK, to the point where today, walking down any main street in most parts of the world, Contra Vision® products are everywhere, such as retail windows, payphone kiosks, bus and taxi windows.