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Prime Prints

(February 2013) posted on Tue Feb 26, 2013

This article spotlights an assortment of high-impact graphics and profiles the shops that produce them.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Ben P. Rosenfield

Midnight Oil Creative/LAgraphico / Burbank, CA /
Midnight Oil Creative/LAgraphico recently partnered once again with Universal Pictures for a theatrical marketing campaign—this time for Les Miserables, the critically acclaimed film version of the Broadway and global live productions. The outdoor component of the campaign included bus kings, billboards, bus benches, bus shelters, subway two-sheets, mall kiosks, airport dioramas, backlit spectaculars, premiere panels, building wraps, and specialty boards for the Universal Studios lot.

“Regardless of the final form and substrate, the integrity of the brand, of color, the softness of hair, color of eyes, and title treatments remain consistent,” says Michael Griffin, marketing and P.R. for Midnight Oil Creative/LAgraphico. “A common picture is painted, whether you’re driving in your car, in the theatre, traveling on the bus or subway or airplane, or shopping in your local mall.”

The outdoor graphic shown here is a 63-ft-wide x 40-ft-tall building installation at the intersection of Franklin and Highland Avenues in Hollywood. According to Griffin, the spot is seen by millions of people and is located near the Hollywood Bowl, a block from Hollywood Boulevard, and close to other famous landmarks. The side of the building was prepped with underpinning to accept adhesive wraps.

The graphics were printed on a Durst Rho UV inkjet printer and installed in long, narrow pieces. The substrate’s permanent adhesive is formulated for long-term use in outdoor applications. Finishing involved manually trimming and labeling each panel. “Somewhat like a puzzle, the pieces are labeled numerically so installers know where to place each piece,” Griffin explains.


Modernistic / Stillwater, MN
Modernistic was founded in 1938. The company operates in a 130,000-sq-ft facility and has a staff of 150. The graphics-printing and fabricating specialist recently took on a retail-display project, from prototyping through assembly, that involved multiple substrates, print runs on an M&R Insignia press, and finishing processes involving Zund and Gerber routers.

Modernistic worked from a rough concept and eventually selected ABS, PETG, and edge-lit acrylic for the display’s construction—the latter of which enabled Modernistic to eliminate the powered lighting initially considered for the project. Modernistic co-CEO Scott Schulte explains that a white base and a fluorescent green were screen printed onto the ABS base for the brand markings and that a protective clearcoat was then laid down on top of everything.

“From there, we routed flat sheets into component parts and heat-bent and solvent-welded them, capping the top. There’s also some surface routing once the cap is on,” he explains.

The leading edge of the slide-out tray in front was also screen printed with a white base and fluorescent green on top. The slots on the right and left are literature holders, inside of which are pockets Modernistic fabricated. Other components include bump-ons on the bottom and back of the display, hardware that allows the display to be used on countertops or pegboards, and more.

The job run involved the manufacture of 2,000 displays and a four-week turnaround time. Modernistic also provided partial assembly for the nationally distributed display and supplied a kit for the hardware, a move that Schulte says saved a considerable amount of space for shipping.

PSP / Decatur, GA
PSP was founded in 2002. The 35,000-sq-ft operation has a staff of 37 and specializes in turnkey production of graphic displays. A national client approached PSP during the recent holiday season to create a promotional piece that would attract foot traffic—not the easiest task in the midst of shopping frenzies and with very short turnaround.

Working with a custom substrate presented yet another challenge. According to Voula Giannakopoulos, production manager at PSP, the stock was a metallic, gold- and silver-foil-laminated, 24-pt board from Crusader Paper.

“The lead time was two to three weeks, and the stock presented the potential danger of bounce-back from the UV light, which could cause the inks to dry on the printheads instead of drying properly on the stock,” Giannakopoulos says. “We were able to eliminate both concerns by using two different pieces of large-format, high-speed digital printing equipment.”

PSP put the project on its Scitex HP FB7600 and Scitex HP TJ8600. Giannakopoulos explains that the print speeds of the FB7600 and TJ8600—70 boards/hr and 60 drums/hr, respectively—and the positioning of the systems’ printheads and curing units allowed the shop to meet its production deadline and avoid the ink-curing problems that could have been created by the media’s metallic elements. Giannakopoulos also notes that proprietary software allows PSP to create labels for distribution, customized to each store, as display graphics are packed for shipment.


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