By Melissa Donovan
Part 1 of 4
Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees in Digital Output’s Application of the Year awards! 2014’s participation rate skyrocketed over 2013, with more than 30 print service providers (PSPs) nominated by themselves, peers, or vendors in the graphic arts. Due to the number of applicants, voting was split into two categories—indoor and outdoor applications. Each had an overall winner and a runner up.
This four-part Web series profiles four print providers and their winning applications. To see more images of the work, read the August print edition of Digital Output, which is also available online via digital edition. First up, we spotlight 54blue Communications Inc. of Calgary, AL, Canada. The PSP won first place in the indoor category.
Focus on History
54blue began in 2001, producing television commercials for power sport companies. A background in sales, marketing, and retail environments led to expansion into additional service offerings including marketing, brand strategy, and consumer experience. Much of the marketing element focused on print collateral and the team at 54blue realized that the only way to guarantee the highest quality of output was to bring printing in house. In 2006 it installed its first large format device.
Today the company’s product portfolio includes three large format printers in approximately 1,400 square feet of working area. Hardware from Roland DGA Corporation and Epson make up the production environment. These additions have reposition 54blue as a full-service marketing and design company with four divisions—marketing and design, print, interactive, and fabrication. High-profile customers are involved in the action sport community and include Burton, Oakley, Skull Candy, and UnderArmour.
Rogue Clothier and Cyclery
For 54blue’s winning project, it helped develop a brand identity and create a space for Rogue Clothier and Cyclery, a high-end cycle boutique. The customer was referred to the PSP through a previous client and looked to the company to help spotlight a niche, a marketplace for urban cyclists wanting to mix fashion with function and the lifecycle of cycling.
To meet this objective, 54blue crafted a total of six main elements for the store. Everything was developed, designed, and built within four months.
A custom designed window front and stage provides the retailer with the ability to change out artwork on a regular basis. The front area of the store showcases a wall wrap with a large image of a street in Brooklyn to provide an urban feel. Behind the front counter is a branded leather feature piece. At the back of the store, a wall was painted matte black and a high-gloss die-cut sticker adhered. Lastly, the largest element consisted of a full span art wall. The graphic, which combines both urban and sport cycling, was printed on matte wall fabric in grayscale.
“The print work within Rogue is executed perfectly down to the smallest details, finishing with little bits of die-cut frosting on acrylic to create small signage throughout the space. All print work was carefully selected and placed throughout the store to match the flow and feel of the boutique,” shares Jamie Calon, owner/founder/managing and creative director, 54blue.
Almost everything was printed on the shop’s Roland devices, a Roland VersaCAMM VS-640 64-inch printer/cutter and a Roland SOLJET Pro 4 XR-640 printer/cutter. These were used due to their consistency in outputting high-quality products. Substrate variability also played a factor, as several types of materials were utilized including fabric wall adhesive Image-Tex from Anvy Digital Imaging Inc., reflective and white vinyl from Roland, and white vinyl and frosting from Hexis S.A.
The team at Rogue was impressed with the final product and felt 54blue exceeded expectations when it came to tackling their request for a unique in-store experience. A combination of meeting quick turnaround times with multiple applications created a challenge, but nothing the print provider couldn’t handle. Calon believes it is projects such as this that push the limits on what can be done with the materials available to create something new and different. These types of jobs constantly redefine digital output.
“With Rogue’s vision for a new product and the branding and creative direction from 54blue, the execution of a functional and visually pleasing boutique store happened as smoothly as possible. Using a surplus of print work in a small space can be overwhelming if not done with care, but 54blue was able to seamlessly install multiple textures and a variety of graphics without tarnishing the atmosphere,” concludes Calon.
The next article in this series focuses on the winner of the outdoor category, SlyFox Creative of Greenwood, IN. The PSP submitted a recent food truck wrap for a local pizzeria as its winning entry.
Aug2014, Digital Output DOAPP1408