The range of applications that won recognition in this year’s Application of the Year awards is vast. There are musical instrument wraps, décor items, exterior signage, and wallcoverings. Here, we look at building wraps.
Metro Signs has a rich history in company growth. In business for over 40 years, its current owner, Bruno Dede, took the company from four employees to more than 30 with 25 years at the helm. Based in Hollywood, FL, the print service provider (PSP) enjoys success offering full-service signs, graphics, and designs in the Southern FL market.
Working closely with high-profile clients such as the Macy’s, Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins, Miami Marlins, and Nike, if it specializes in anything, it claims to be large format digital print for events and sports venues under tight deadlines. Coincidentally, its recent work for the Miami Heat—a building wrap for the American Airlines Arena sponsored by Nike—is what garnered recognition in 2013’s Application of the Year contest.
With past work for Nike under its belt—particularly on a large scale for Nike Town—the athletic apparel and footwear vendor was familiar with Metro Signs and its ability to create a grand-sized project on a short deadline. This particular application was created to celebrate NBA player LeBron James’ fourth MVP win, with the goal of it being designed, printed, and installed prior to the Eastern Conference Finals. That way, television impressions would be captured through national coverage.
Metro Signs did some initial mock ups for Nike and then they were passed along to the vendor’s creative team to finalize the design. The end creative resulted in 24 panels measuring 52 inches by ten feet and another 96 panels measuring 52 inches by 20 feet.
The production team decided not to create the entire job in ten-foot panels, but add in the 20-foot as well to maximize the yield and profitability of the job. By setting the length of 96 of the panels to 20 feet, it fit seven panels per media roll and that left enough overage on the roll to allow for spacing between panels and the amount of material lost when applying to the take up reel.
All of the panels were printed on the company’s Seiko I Infotech Inc. ColorPainter H-104S—which can be found in its 3,000 square foot print department. Part of the reason it was used over other devices was because of the extra grays on the printhead, which assists in the correct mid-tones of grays. This was particularly important in the James mural. According to Metro Signs, it if wasn’t for the ink configuration, the grayscale image may have appeared discolored or greenish after lamination.
Ripping the project through its ONYX Graphics, Inc. RIP, 48 hours of non-stop printing occurred with two two-man crews and two six-man crews prepping.
The PSP chose to work with 3M Commercial Graphics media to print all 120 panels. Mainly it was considered due to its ease of removal and ability to leave no residue. With the American Airlines Arena very specific about what can and cannot go on the building, this media does not leave residue or damage the aerodynamic aluminum façade. The media was laminated with Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions 1080 DOL overlaminate to diffuse light.
The project was approved Friday afternoon and installed the following Monday. The tight deadline was based on the announcement of James’ MVP win to Nike, while the vendor knew he won—the NBA had yet to announce it nationally. Although the Thursday prior Metro Signs knew James had won, they could not print until the NBA announced it publically.
Install was a challenge due to the unique shape of the American Airlines Arena. Each 52-inch by ten-foot panel was applied starting from the top of the building and included a two-foot bleed. Installers began at the left side and worked their way over to the right. Once the top row of panels was applied, the installers worked their way down vertically, aligning everything with the ten-foot panels. The entire process took 48 hours, non-stop, using a 120-foot lift and two two-man crews that worked around the clock in shifts to complete the project on time.
The tight turnaround time loomed for the building wrap. Traditionally a project of this magnitude, almost 10,000 square feet of printing and preparation, requires a five day lead time. With only 80 hours to have it printed and installed required dedicated around-the-clock effort and meticulous planning because there was no room for error. To combat this, as each section was printed it was then moved over to the site to be installed—so each phase of the project was being attended to simultaneously.
Nike was incredibly impressed with the quality of the job and how quickly it was completed. Metro Signs sees this exact application as the future of the industry—with high-profile clients requesting high-quality jobs in short turnarounds. The LeBron James building wrap is an ideal representative of a unique application due to its size and scope.
That concludes the profiles on this year’s Application of the Year awards. Keep an eye out in June 2014 to nominate your peers and/or customers for their innovative work! Who knows, you could be profiled in Digital Output and appear on the cover of the August issue. Congratulations again to all of our winners!