By Melissa Donovan
Wall murals are used in many environments—in or out of the home—to change up appearances. The key to a successful installation and satisfied client is understanding where the graphic will be adhered to and how long it intends to be in place. For applications that require more ease of removability, a media with less tack is necessary. When a more permanent situation is the end game, a higher tack product is the choice.
From Decals to More
401 Graphics, based out of Cumberland, RI, began in 2006. At the time, Kevin Costic, owner/operator, 401 Graphics, was looking for decals for members of his car club. Instead of buying them, he made his own and sold locally and online. By the end of 2009, online sales had grown and remained significant enough that 401 Graphics became a full-time business. This allowed for investing in a Graphtec America, Inc. vinyl cutter, Mutoh America, Inc. printer, GBC laminator, and a bucket truck.
Currently, the print shop consists of one employee—Costic—and sometimes his wife when necessary. He operates out of a 1,000 square foot space, serving all of RI, Southern MA, and Eastern CT. Services offered include full-color vinyl graphics and signage, vehicle lettering and wraps, storefront signage, banners, window graphics, wall murals, and custom apparel. These are mainly for local businesses, but sometimes Costic takes on in-home jobs like graphics for a Super Mario Brothers-themed bedroom, a wall graphic resembling brick for a kitchen wall, or wrapping an old refrigerator to look like stainless steel. 401 Graphics also offers wholesale printing and installation services to other sign shops in the area.
Familiarity Breeds New Service
About 20 percent of the work Costic produces is considered wall murals, an application he says is growing. Most of these jobs are for offices. His first wall mural was around 2011, when a local travel agency requested a world map graphic for its wall.
“I was already familiar with applying vinyl to other types of substrates, so this was an easy step. My goal was to give the customer a high-quality wall mural, made of high-quality vinyl that was also removable,” explains Costic.
Citing removability as an essential consideration when choosing the correct wall media, Costic explains that “in most cases the business owner is leasing the building they are in, therefore the vinyl must be removable without causing damage to the wall, but at the same time have enough tack to not fall off the wall or develop edge curling.” To achieve this, Costic regularly works with Orafol Americas Orajet 3628 Wall Art Digital Low-Tack Wall and Window Graphics Digital Media combined with Oraguard 210 PVC Laminating Film, a matte laminate.
For clients who own buildings and are less likely to remove the wall mural or be overly concerned about causing damage to the wall, Costic favors Orajet 3621 Soft Calendered PVC Digital Media. This features a water-based removable adhesive, providing a bit more tack than the Orajet 3628.
When it comes to printing, 401 Graphics uses its Mutoh ValueJet 1204 eco-solvent printer because it is reliable and its Wave Printing Technology eliminates banding in prints. “Wall murals are one of the few types of vinyl graphics that people stand close to, therefore having a flawless print is essential,” says Costic.
Costic handles install for customers. Since most are so large, and created in multiple panels, he says it’s important that an experienced installer handles them. Especially since they must be aligned to give the allusion of one large, single graphic.
Securing a Large Job
401 Graphics recently completed a wall mural job for repeat client Alliance Security. For this particular project, Alliance Security was looking for clean, professional wall graphics and murals for office rooms and hallways throughout their building.
Alliance Security owns the building, so Costic relied on Orajet 3621. To date, about 600 square feet of material has been turned into wall graphics and murals for this client. Graphics were created using the Mutoh ValueJet 1204. The length of the job varied, with the larger murals taking about three days from submittal to install.
This specific job for Alliance Security was the largest wall mural in square footage that 401 Graphics has handled. Since its completion, Costic continues to get wall mural requests from the company as it expands into more offices in its building.
Right Media for the Job
Print providers who recognize the nuances between media products are poised to offer customers the best choice when it comes to wall murals. 401 Graphics proves this with its knowledge and experience.
May2016, Digital Output