By Melissa Donovan
Part 1 of 2
In May of this year, we asked readers to nominate print service providers (PSPs) creating innovative work. After collecting all of the entrants, we then asked those same readers to vote on specific applications in two categories—indoor and outdoor. The business with the highest number of votes in each category won our annual Application of the Year awards.
Congratulations to Distractiongraphics.com and Ink Monstr! A decorative glass applique in Marriott headquarters and a full building wrap earned both of these PSPs wins in the indoor and outdoor categories, respectively. With an overwhelming number of entries, we also decided to award runners up in both indoor and outdoor applications—Bricknowlogy and Sport Graphics, respectively.
You may have seen images of all four of these applications in our August issue, specifically in our State of the Industry article. Click here to view our digital edition. This Web-exclusive series goes into detail about each of the projects.
Winner of the indoor category in this year’s Application of the Year awards, Distractiongraphics.com is an ecommerce site with a brick-and-mortar home base in NJ—an administrative space is in Manalapan, NJ and a 25,000 square foot production location is in Freehold, NJ.
The site is an offshoot of a larger business. Applied Image, Inc. is a digital printer serving the museum and corporate space celebrating 16 years in business in 2015. 35 employees operate three flatbed printers and several roll devices in the Freehold location. According to Dean Najdzinowicz, ecommerce coordinator, Distractiongraphics.com, the Web portal was established to satisfy the demand for quick glass decoration.
Initially, Distractiongraphics.com was only planning to provide stock patterns in two different sizes, but custom requests became popular. “We were surprised by the amount of custom work the site created,” explains Allen Shanosky, president, Applied Image. More than 50 percent of the business generated includes a custom component.
Distractiongraphics.com’s work for Marriott International, Inc.’s headquarters in June 2014 won the 2015 Application of the Year in the indoor category. Graphics were designed by Gensler DC. The outside design team worked closely with Distractiongraphics.com’s employees to ensure the color, density, and material selection were exactly what the client requested. 12 to 15 days were spent creating the graphics, which spanned across multiple applications.
All of the graphics adhered to glass office windows. They were created on 3M Commercial Solutions’ Scotchcal Clear View Graphic Film 8150 Transparent and printed using a Fujifilm North America Corporation Acuity with white ink. The graphic is laminated as well, providing an extra layer of protection.
The job also included wall murals, which were produced using 3M Controltac Graphic Film with Comply v3 Adhesive IJ180Cv3 with Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions DOL 1080 matte cast overlaminate and printed on a Hewlett-Packard Latex 370. The wall murals were the reverse of the pattern on the glass graphics. Additional elements such as transparent bands on other glass, an awards display, wall text, and acrylic letters were also completed.
It took four days for Distractiongraphics.com’s in-house team complete installation. The ability to use full-time employees to work on the tail end of a project is not lost on Dan Beams, director of manufacturing, Distractiongraphics.com. “This enables us to truly control the quality of the finished product,” he says.
There were a few challenges to contend with. Installation was effected by having to work around other tradesman finishing their tasks. The glass was delivered late as well, which meant changing to an overnight install. However, that made for a lot less dust.
The final application is a stunning example of the possibilities afforded to our industry thanks to technology advancements, like white ink. “In this industry you need to constantly evolve to keep up with the latest design trends. Not only in your output capability but your product offering as well,” admits Najdzinowicz.
As such, Najdzinowicz and his co-workers are creating a sister site, Visionbarrier.com. The goal is for the new spin off to offer a range of eight-foot stock and custom environmental graphics for glass.
Known as more than just a print shop, Ink Monstr of Denver, CO, won in this year’s outdoor category. It offers full-service design, print, and installation for apparel design, exterior building wraps, interior/exterior wall murals, trade show displays, artist reproductions, banners, signs, and dye-sublimation printing. Some of the company’s notable nationwide customers include GoPro, Red Bull, and Volcom.
Ink Monstr, today in a 10,000 square foot space with 13 employees, was established in 2004. “Since then we have matured into a full-service creative agency and an artistic lifestyle brand. We handle many large scale projects and pride ourselves on the highest quality output possible,” says Reed Silberman, founder, Ink Monstr.
Its job of promoting its building wrap capabilities earned first place in this year’s Application of the Year awards outdoor category. The goal was to create the largest/highest resolution building wrap in the country. To achieve this, it took seven months to nail down a design, one week to print the graphics, and two days with six people to install.
Over 3,500 square feet of material was printed on the PSP’s Mutoh America, Inc.’s ValueJet 1624 on 3M media and laminated in 3M as well. The imagery was essential to the project’s success. When Silberman purchased the building the company operates in two years ago, he hoped to do something creative with the bland façade outside.
A native New Yorker, he decided to recreate some of his favorite Brooklyn brownstones. To achieve a realistic portrayal, Silberman traveled to Brooklyn to photograph various building. They were then designed at the highest resolution image possible and given a 3D realistic treatment with the help of Dreamsoft 3D.
The install process was highly technical. Before they began, the team measured the building to ensure each element of the graphic’s design would lineup exactly where intended. Two, two-man teams on boom lifts and another team of two men on the ground worked together to install each panel. They started in the middle and worked out to both sides. Each panel was re-measured and leveled each time it was adhered to the wall.
Silberman was impressed with the end result and credits Ink Monstr’s team of professional, experienced installers for making it happen. Despite it being a relatively flat application, the sheer magnitude of the job and the various odd pieces the installers had to work around did make it challenging. For example, the doors and windows were also wrapped, but done in pieces separate from the main panels. Special attention had to be paid so they lined up correctly.
“The job really shows how far technology and materials have come over the years. Ink Monstr has pushed the limits of design and the application process. It is important to show people what is possible and that you can transform anything into a work of art,” adds Silberman.
Both Distractiongraphics.com and Ink Monstr are ideal examples of the type of innovative print providers driving our industry. Their applications, voted on overwhelmingly by their peers, showcase their strengths while offering us an idea of what digital print can accomplish.
The next part in this series profiles the runners up in the indoor and outdoor categories, Bricknowlogy and Sports Graphics, respectively.
Aug2015, Digital Output DOAPP1508