By Olivia Cahoon
Part 1 of 2
Print service providers (PSPs) offer digitally printed wayfinding signage to combine décor with directional assistance. One such provider is Cushing, established in 1929 in Chicago, IL. The company began as a specialty paper manufacturer that produced B&W blueprints. With four employees, it operated in a 1,000 square foot office in Union Station and served the Chicago area.
Today, Cushing has 49 employees between offsite service centers and administrative staff. The company continues to print B&W while evolving into a display graphics firm. “We consult, print, and install environmental branding, from dimensional signage behind the front desk of an office to conference room privacy film or wayfinding floor graphics in a hospital mechanical room,” says Jon Davis, marketing manager, Cushing.
Its clients include architects, commercial real estate companies, construction companies, engineering firms, event planners, healthcare providers, and marketers. Cushing offers its services to downtown Chicago, its suburbs, and throughout the U.S.
The PSP produces environmental branding, window signage, floor graphics, wall graphics, decals, and signage. The company also provides small format color services like brochures, custom books, marketing collateral, and stickers.
Wayfinding signage is three percent of the company’s offering. “We produce a variety of wayfinding signage used across multiple disciplines including window and wall graphics, suite signage, dimensional lettering, vinyl cut graphics, posters, and hanging acrylic,” says Julia Kaufman, color production supervisor, Cushing.
According to Kaufman, digitally printed wayfinding signage offers high quality and high volume. “We can provide a client with a product that can either be permanent or temporary and with the best look possible.” Industries that often request wayfinding signage include building engineers, corporate, hospitals, museums, schools, and sports venues.
Cushing digitally prints its wayfinding signage using small and large format presses. The majority of which is created on an Epson SureColor S80600, HP Latex 365, and HP Scitex FB750. “These machines can print to a range of substrates at optimal quality. As leaders in the industry, the printers have a reputation for quality across the board in printing vinyl and hard substrates,” asserts Kaufman.
Its software includes Adobe Creative Suite for file setup and ONYX Thrive 12 from Onyx Graphics, Inc. for sending files to the printers. “This software is optimized for exactly what we need to produce a job from start to finish,” says Kaufman.
For routing and contour cutting, the shop uses a Zünd G3 L-3200 flatbed cutter, Miller Weldmaster T3 Extreme for welding banners and vinyl signage, and GBC/Seal laminators for coating window and wall graphics.
Recently, new customer Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.) approached Cushing for an environmental branding project that included digitally printed wayfinding graphics and ADA signage. The client requested the project display the company’s history, mission, and community involvement including recognizing Y.O.U. supporters and contributors. “For a new space, building tours play a large part in welcoming neighbors, partners, and donors,” says Davis.
Wayfinding graphics were selected to guide guests in the proper direction in the office while the ADA signage was installed for all-gender bathrooms, stairwells, offices, and classrooms. “Interchangeable name plates hang outside of each office making it easy to switch names out when new staff join or move to a new location,” he continues.
There were several phases to the project, the first including installing an exterior banner, exterior lettering in front, interior dimensional lettering, acrylic donor plaque, and elevator graphics, which was completed in January 2017. Cushing used the HP Scitex FB750 to complete the first phase.
In February 2017, stage two included ADA signage installation and installing wood panels on the back of a column, which were printed on the HP Latex 365. The final stage was completed in July 2017 and included stairwell graphics printed on the Epson SureColor S80600. For the stairwell graphics, Cushing used matte white vinyl cut lettering, matte black vinyl cut lettering, and 3M Controltac Graphic Film with Comply Adhesive IJ180c. The ADA signage was created with 020 clear lexan printed in black.
For routing and contour cutting, the company used its Zünd G3 L-3200 flatbed cutter. The G3 L-3200 features a 70×125-inch cutting area intended for composite, graphics, leather, packaging, and textiles.
The completed project compromised of six pieces including wayfinding signage, wall graphics, and environmental branding. “It is truly a mix of what we are seeing as a trend in Chicago and beyond—graphics create an impossible to ignore experience that provides functionality,” admits Davis.
The project was completed on time for Y.O.U. and the client was satisfied. Kelli-Ann Alcott, operations manager, Y.O.U., offers, “working with Cushing and Erik was amazing. I love timely responses and they even came back to fix things that were not done to their specifications. I like picky people taking care of my projects, so we’re really happy that they caught anything that was going on.”
Print providers like Cushing offer wayfinding signage created using a variety of digital technology. Custom wayfinding signage allows businesses to extend their branding and enhance workplace functionality.
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Apr2018, Digital Output