That’s a Wrap
The Big Print Makes a Big Impression
by Thomas Franklin
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles is notorious for drawing immense crowds of video gamers and intense graphics of both the printed and virtual variety. To catch the eyes of those swarming gamers, sometimes small video screens won’t cut it.
That’s why Microsoft decided to go big with The Big Print, LLC and create a 120x40-foot building wrap to adorn the exterior of the Los Angeles convention center and hype their forthcoming Gears of War video game.
The Big Print produced Microsoft’s banner – and a host of other graphics, including the world’s longest lenticular banner - for an exhibitor company that does all of Microsoft’s trade show graphics, says Jon Zinsmeyer, president, The Big Print.
Because of his company’s close relationship with Microsoft’s exhibiting firm, The Big Print didn’t need to bid on the E3 job, "but they keep us in check, our prices have to be competitive," Zinsmeyer says. He adds that the exhibiting firm uses The Big Print because it’s a one-stop shop. "They don’t want to go one place for grand format, another for floor graphics, etc., so they come to us."
The company produced all the graphics for the E3 show in under a month, a process that was expedited by the design company. "We usually don’t have artwork this good," Zinsmeyer states. "Since this was a video game – with tremendous graphics – a lot of the vector information was in the file."
The Big Print color proofed the artwork and sent the design company a swatch of the wrap printed on the media of choice (Verseidag SeeMee Mesh Premium) for their approval. "We offer three layers of proofing, so if we’re working on a shorter turn around time we can get it done on our own," Zinsmeyer adds.
Zinsmeyer says he choose this particular media because the wrap would only hang for a few weeks and was unlikely to be subjected to harsh weather. "It has smaller holes so you get much greater color density," he says.
The Microsoft wrap took a day to print and roughly a day-and-a-half to finish, Zinsmeyer states. It was printed on a Vutek 5330 grand format printer and the panels were welded using a Triad welder from Sinclair Equipment Co.
The LA convention center is fitted with the necessary equipment for securing building wraps to its exterior and union rules prevented Zinsmeyer’s installation team from installing the graphic.
As any attendee will attest, the LA Convention Center is awash in banners and wraps during E3, which ran from May 10-12. Did Zinsmeyer feel particularly competitive knowing his work would be amongst a host of competitors?
"You wish you could do them all," he laughs. "But being greedy can get you in trouble."
A full feature article on Building Wraps will be published in the July issue of Digital Output.