Design firms rely on desktop publishing platforms to manipulate, resize, enlarge, and touch up high-resolution images for large format applications. These software solutions must be able to withstand the great pressures placed on them.
Belle & Wissell, Co. is one design studio comfortable pushing its design software to the limit to create high-quality output. The Seattle, WA-based company designs content-rich media projects for a wide variety of museums, media companies, and retail brands. About 20 percent of its applications designed in the last year involved large format.
According to Thomas Ryun, senior designer, Belle & Wissell, Adobe Systems Incorporated’s design software is an industry standard. “All of the vendors we work with support it and are familiar with the various file types,” he adds. The firm recently utilized Adobe InDesign CS5 to create a multi-media exhibition for the Experience Music Project (EMP) museum located in Seattle, WA.
Belle & Wissell designed both the exhibit graphics and interactive components for Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses; which can be viewed at the museum until April 2013. Surface graphics included large-scale photographic reproductions of images from photographers Charles Peterson and Alice Wheeler.
The exhibition opened on April 16, 2011. Belle & Wissell began work on the graphics a full year and a half prior to the opening. A collaborative effort, Jacob McMurrary, senior curator, EMP and Ken Burns, exhibit designer, Wondermine, played pivotal roles in the creation and installation. The design firm utilized Adobe InDesign CS5 to work with the high-resolution photography both quickly and efficiently.
Seattle, WA-based Rainier Industries, Ltd. and Image Mill Inc. located in Monroe, WA, printed the exhibit and entry mural applications, respectively. The Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses exhibit graphics were digitally printed on vinyl and the entry mural was digitally printed on a tensile fabric stretched over a custom framing system.
As visitors enter the exhibit, from the ticketing desk up the stairs to the entrance, they first witness a two story photomural of musician Kurt Cobain crowd surfacing at the Commodore Ballroom; which was taken by Peterson.
“The goal of this piece was to create a dramatic entry to the exhibit and have a framework for future exhibitions to use this space in a similar matter,” explains Ryun.
With Adobe InDesign CS5 Belle & Wissell is able to stay ahead of the curve and carve out niche applications for its customers. The Nirvana exhibit for EMP is one such example.
Read more about design software and view images of the Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses exhibit in the September issue of Digital Output.
Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Tight Design.