By Olivia Cahoon
Custom signage improves attendance and promotes special occasions for retail, televised events, and trade shows. With digital printing, print service providers (PSPs) offer personalized signage, accurate brand promotions, and custom-built displays that attract attention. One such designer, Spacios A Design Group Inc., invests in digital printing to take its event signage to the next level.
Established in 1985, Spacios started as a family-run business in Miami, FL. It operated in a 15,000 square foot facility with a small crew of carpenters and fabricators as a traditional carpentry shop.
“We built everything ourselves and employed painters and artists to create the design templates for our clients,” says Danny Lopez, GM, Spacios. Lopez is the third generation of his family to manage the company’s day-to-day operations.
Today, Spacios is an event signage PSP with over 40 employees. It employs digital printing as a means of expediting the production process to create high-resolution, decorative designs in the exact styles and color templates customers demand. “The advent of digital printing allows us to complete the process in a fraction of the time it would take traditionally,” offers Lopez.
Spacios ships its finished products across the U.S. and throughout Latin America from its 40,000 square foot facility in Miami. Since its inception, it has been a studio set design, trade show, and retail display business. The company works with customers to create the perfect atmosphere and ambient environment to highlight events and products.
Above: Miami, FL-based Spacios used Neenah DigiScape Stick-R and printed on the Mimaki JV150-160 12,000 square feet of signage for the 2017 Latin Grammy Awards broadcast event.
Ten to 20 percent of Spacios’ output is digitally printed signage with the majority being trade show and retail display work. Ten years ago, the PSP started using digital print to create decorative designs with pressure-sensitive vinyl and a matte overlaminate to reduce surface glare and provide enhanced image durability.
“We typically get involved in the overall set design that usually entails producing colorful or color coordinating panoramas to complement a product or event,” explains Lopez. He believes the benefits of digitally printing event signage are cost, speed, and installation efficiency.
Spacios uses a Mimaki USA, Inc. 63.3-inch JV150-160 printer, purchased two years ago, with standard OEM inks. According to Lopez, the print shop purchased the JV150-160 because it needed to improve efficiency and enhance print quality. “The Mimaki JV150-160 printer meets our high-performance expectations as well as our equipment budget while providing a big boost in overall output,” he adds.
In 2017, the PSP decided to replace its traditional pressure-sensitive vinyl material with a matte pressure-sensitive adhesive-backed alternative. Using a matte base product removes the extra step of a matte overlaminate, which eliminates camera glare during televised and recorded events.
Shortly after, Spacios was introduced to Neenah Wide Format’s DigiScape Stick-R by a Mac Papers representative in Miami. DigiScape Stick-R is a 9-mil, reinforced non-woven wallcovering. It features a removable pressure-sensitive adhesive and is compatible with eco-solvent, solvent, latex, UV, and offset technology. DigiScape Stick-R is FSC certified and PVC free.
An ideal printable matte surface requires no post-printing lamination. Other advantages include the media’s dimensional stability, which eliminates the steady tug and pull experienced with typical pressure-sensitive vinyl.
Efficiency and ease of installation are also an advantage of DigiScape Stick-R. “It allows us to install in the shop or at the show site with minimal labor,” adds Lopez. The product sticks cleanly and completely to just about any surface, including the raw finished plywood Spacios uses to build sets and displays. Today, DigiScape Stick-R is Spacios’ go-to product for decorative surface imaging.
Latin Grammy Awards
In 2017, Univision approached Spacios for the 2017 Latin Grammy Awards broadcast event. Univision is an American-Spanish language broadcast television network that partners with Spacios for event signage. The Latin Grammy Awards event required 12,000 square feet of digitally printed signage.
For this project, Spacios used DigiScape Stick-R and printed on the Mimaki JV150-160 with OEM inks. DigiScape Stick-R was selected for its flat matte texturized print surface, dimensional stability, adhesive compatibility, and overall superior value.
It took Spacios four weeks to build the set and two days to print and decorate. The graphics were installed by two employees using a hand roller and a soft cloth technique in one day. “The speed and efficiency of the installation were fantastic, and the soft matte finish of the product eliminated the need for an overlaminate to cut the studio glare,” shares Lopez. “Most importantly, it was a much ‘greener’ solution and the studio welcomed that option.”
Univision and the Latin Grammy Awards coordinators were pleased with the final display. Univision loved the finish of the printed product on Spacio’s hardwood laminate walls. “It had a nice matte texture finish and when the light hit, it was beautiful,” says Lopez.
In addition to its work with Univision on the Latin Grammy Awards, Spacios developed Univision’s studio backdrop and set for the 30th anniversary event of Premio Lo Nuestro, held in February 2018 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The PSP also created large and fully decorated displays for this year’s annual South by Southwest held in Austin, TX.
Spacios uses digital technology to create custom-built sets and displays that meet clients’ demands for quality. With its Mimaki JV150-160 and Neenah’s DigiScape Stick-R the company continues to produce digitally printed signage for retail, television broadcasts, and trade shows. In the future, Lopez says Spacios hopes to provide more sustainable solutions, particularly within the broadcast community.
Jun2018, Digital Output