By Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 4
The next article in our four-part series takes a look at the second place winner of this year’s Application of the Year awards, Agio Imaging, based in Portage, MI. It created graphics for a special Mother’s Day event held at the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Reflecting Pool.
In business since 2002, Agio offers custom special-event displays to high-end interior décor, retail store signage, wallcoverings, banners, and trade show exhibits to clients on both a local and national level. In a 10,000 square foot facility, 15 employees specialize in large format printing, fabrication, and installation. A large part of their work includes digital printing on rigid substrates from PVC to metal, acrylic, glass, and foamboard.
“Rigid substrates are recommended based on the requirements of individual applications. Direct printing to rigid substrate offers improved durability, and there are no air bubbles like those that can occur when mounting printed graphics,” explains Davina Logan, director of sales, marketing, and administration, Agio.
For its work creating a large-scale display that could float for the University of Notre Dame, choosing the correct rigid substrate was essential to success. In 2015, the print service provider (PSP) was contacted by the university’s alumni association and asked for a graphic that would be used at special campus event celebrating the 101st anniversary of Mother’s Day in honor and remembrance of moms.
Specifically, the request was for a huge ND interlocking letter university logo within a giant heart that would appear to be free floating in a 72×136-foot reflecting pool. To achieve this, Agio turned to 3A Composites USA’s Gatorplast and direct printed on it with a superwide format UV printer.
Gatorplast is made up of extruded polystyrene foam bonded between two high-impact polystyrene cap sheets. While the company was familiar with how well it is printed to directly, it wasn’t aware of how well it could float. To test whether it was the ideal substrate for the reflecting pool, employees floated a panel of Gatorplast in a tub of water for five days, with excellent results.
Once the material was chosen, Adobe Creative Suite was used to create the final heart display design of 41×50 feet. 48×96-inch sheet sized white Gatorplast panels were printed with a Gerber daisy flower pattern, then CNC routed to shape and a width of four inches. 24 Gatorplast heart display pieces were attached to each other with custom-milled Dibond plates and screws.
To achieve the desired appearance of a free floating display, black sandbags and a clear nylon line were used to anchor the floating shapes in place. The custom-milled Dibond plates were attached to the underside of the heart and screwed through Gatorplast’s styrene facer and foam center onsite.
Similar to how the heart was constructed, the 29×21-foot ND interlocking logo was also created from a 48×96-inch sheet sized Gatorplast panel. Digitally printed, it was then CNC routed to shape. 28 pieces were attached with custom-milled Dibond plates and screws and black sandbags were once again used.
From the initial design to install—which occurred the day of the event—took three weeks.
The Mother’s Day project for the University of Notre Dame really showcases Agio’s capabilities as large-scale display fabricator. It overcame the challenge of engineering a massive graphic that could float in water in time for a very large event that was important to the school. This achievement is an excellent example of why it earned second place in this year’s Application of the Year awards.
“Customization is what we do, and the floating heart application is no exception. The personalization and partnership experienced was an integral part of this application’s success and pays tribute to the endless possibilities that large format graphics offers,” shares Logan.
The next part in our series on the 2016 Application of the Year winners looks at Brush Stroke Sign Design in Lawrence, MA, whose savvy marketing skills landed it a first time customer that turned into a repeat client.
Aug2016, Digital Output DOAOY1608