Part 2 of 2
By Melissa Donovan
The first article in our two-part series focused on the first and second place winners of this year’s Application of the Year awards. Nominations for participants occurred throughout May and nominees were posted at the beginning of June. We invited readers via social media, newsletters, and more to vote for their favorite applications on our website, digitaloutput.net.
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners! You can view the top applications in Digital Output’s August issue—take a look by visiting the digital edition at digitaloutput.net.
Continuing our series on Digital Output’s 2019 Application of the Year, here we take a look at the third place and honorable mention winners.
Public art is something that Fernando Luciano, co-founder, Unique Visuals NY, is familiar with. His work with creative agencies and end users has led to innovative jobs since starting the business in 2014. Based out of a 2,500 square foot space in New York City, NY, a 25 to 30 person team offers digital, offset, large format, and fabrication services.
Unique Visuals’ recent job for James and Karla Murray led to its third place win in this year’s Application of the Year awards. The Murrays are a married team of architectural and interior photographers with a mission to document and preserve images of mom-and-pop storefronts scattered throughout New York City. For over 20 years the couple has captured bodegas, newsstands, delis, and luncheonettes to raise awareness about the plight of small businesses and their importance in the community.
In mid-2018, the Murrays created Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S., a large-scale, wood frame sculptural installation designed to resemble a store. Each of the four sides were covered with an 8×12-foot photograph of a neighborhood storefront from Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Luciano worked with the Murrays in addition to partnering with NYC Parks and global clothing retailer Uniqlo to conceptualize the structure and determine materials needed. Once decided upon, Unique Visuals was tasked with printing four 8×12-foot graphics onto 3M Commercial Solutions vinyl with an Epson SureColor S60600 eco-solvent printer. The printed vinyl was laminated with Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions’ anti-graffiti film to protect the artwork and add sheen to the images.
Once printed, the graphics were mounted to 3A Composites USA’s Dibond aluminum composite material. Three millimeters thick, the project utilized ten 4×8-foot Dibond panels in the fine silver color. Dibond is light in weight, but offers a lot durability.
Unique Visuals installed the graphics in one day onto pre-existing framework. Constructed by the Murrays, the installation’s framework consisted of wooden 2x4s and walls covered in plywood. The framework was really one of the only notable challenges associated with the job, as it was more delicate than initially expected.
“We wanted to be very careful and cautious on the structure maintaining its stability, above everything else. We used smaller hardware and drilled in strategic places. We added small screws and nails and were careful with what we did on the prints,” explains Luciano.
The public art installation was displayed in New York City’s Seward Park from June 2018 to June 30, 2019. The Murrays were able to photograph the installation throughout all four seasons and it held up well against all of the varying weather conditions.
Visually, the project’s high-resolution graphics were so lifelike it tricked many a passerby into thinking the art was really a store. “We had people think the candy store was an actual candy store,” shares Luciano. Similarly, while setting up the installation, Karla Murray says she had to turn away a little boy who handed her a dollar to buy a bag of chips.
For Luciano, the project wasn’t taken on for money or recognition—but because of the relatability of the subject matter. “As a small business ourselves, we love to have an impact in our community and with many of our customers. This was a great way to do so. Using various materials, substrates, and production stages we were fortunate that the photography was able to resonate with many, bring social awareness, and create conversation and dialogue through graphics.”
Sharing unique projects is one of our favorite things to do, so we couldn’t finish the Application of the Year awards without discussing Imaginators’ recent work for Twentieth Century Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody—a feature film about Queen and its lead singer, Freddie Mercury. The movie studio reached out to Imaginators for graphics in the final scene in film. This project is our 2019 honorable mention winner.
Founded in 1976, Imaginators—based in Nazeing, Essex, U.K.—is known for its large, wide, and superwide format print production. Paired with project management and installation, the company houses 20 full-time employees in an 18,000 square foot location.
The company specializes in printed solutions for festival, music, entertainment, event, sport, experiential, retail, television, and outdoor advertising. Well-known throughout the U.K. and Europe for this work, Twentieth Century Fox tasked the print provider with supplying stage scrims and backdrops that replicated the stage branding from the 1985 Wembley Live Aid concert.
Research when into the actual concert and what was used for the original stage scrims. Looking to achieve a distorted look while also revealing the upstage scaffold structure—based on watching original film footage—it went with its proprietary Acoustic Mesh, printed on a Durst Group Rho 512R five-meter superwide press in six colors at 800 dpi. Backdrops were printed using the Imaginators’ crease-free fabric.
The graphics were purposely distorted and texture added to reproduce the look from the actual concert. Relying on its prepress knowledge, Imaginators was able to manipulate and handle large files effortlessly. It preflighted using its Esko workflow solution, and this links to its ONYX Thrive solution from Onyx Graphics, Inc.—ensuring accurate and consistent prints across multiple devices.
Twentieth Century Fox was thrilled with the final product. “Imaginators contributed to the authenticity of the movie and helped make this a real celebration. …the branding met all the criteria and the hard work was appreciated by the film production team,” shares Julian Nix, art director, Bohemian Rhapsody.
“Imaginators appreciated the challenges associated with this high-profile project, which is truly unique and represents the technical knowledge and experience Imaginators has developed over almost five decades,” adds Matt Tydeman, managing director, Imaginators.
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners! If you are interested in being nominated or nominating someone else be on the lookout for an email with details on how to participate in the 2020 Application of the Year awards next May.
Click here to read part one of this exclusive online series, Trucks and Race Cars.
Aug2019, Digital Output