By Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 4
Digital Output holds the Application of the Year awards each Spring—inviting readers to nominate themselves as well as peers for entry. Voting opens in May to the public and winners are notified shortly after. The August issue of Digital Output visually spotlights the first, second, and third place winners—as well as an honorable mention.
Following the first part in our Application of the Year awards retrospective series, this article looks at second place winner Kalamazoo, MI-based Agio Imaging and its work for Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Grand format imaging provider Agio Imaging celebrates over 20 years in business. The company’s services include printing rigid and flexible materials as well as fabrication, installation, and design. Applications range from interior branding to corporate and event signage.
Brewing a Timeline
Bell’s Brewery, with main locations in Kalamazoo and Comstock, MI, originated in 1985 when its president, Larry Bell, decided to “create a better beer” in a 15 gallon stovetop soup kettle. Today it brews over 20 different craft beers, which are distributed in 41 states as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
In early 2019, Bell’s Brewery management decided to enhance the brewery tour that took place at the Comstock location with visual graphics of the company’s history. It reached out to Agio Imaging to create a turnkey solution from consultation through installation.
The brewery’s in-house design team worked closely with Agio Imaging in numerous ways from volunteering design ideas and consulting on materials and hardware to managing site verification and coordinating installation.
One of the graphic elements would be a comprehensive timeline incorporating historic images, company milestone information, and branded graphics. “Timelines and corporate milestones not only have special meaning to visitors but instill a sense of pride in employees as well. Quality is key when telling our clients’ stories. After all, timelines are meant to last many years,” explains Davina Logan, director of creative services and client relations, Agio Imaging.
Consulting with Bell’s Brewery, Agio Imaging decided the best material for the 30×3.5-foot timeline would be 3A Composite USA’s DIBOND aluminum composite material (ACM). It consists of two pre-painted sheets of 0.012-inch aluminum bonded to a solid polyethylene core. One reason this material was chosen was the rigidity and flatness it offers.
“Drywall finished walls are not perfectly straight due to the drywall compound used in the seams during construction. DIBOND’s rigidity allowed us to span those areas with minimal to no bow in the panels resulting in a superior end product,” adds Logan.
Seven 48×96-inch white, three millimeter (mm) DIBOND sheets were direct printed with an Agfa UV flatbed printer. Instead of printing to black ACM panels, Agio Imaging decided to flood coat DIBOND panels in black and four color.
Logan explains the reasoning behind this choice. “We wanted all printed blacks between the various materials to match. Because the rigid materials overlaid a wall mural and both materials use black in the design, we wanted to match the black densities along with all of the other colors used in the design seamlessly.”
After printing, the DIBOND was CNC routed and eventually each piece placed together to make up the 30-foot long graphic with butted joints. Blind-mounting hardware secured the timeline to the wall.
The timeline was installed over a 55×9-foot seamless wallcovering mural—also printed by Agio Imaging using a ten-foot wide premium canvas material. “We recommended a combination of materials for added depth and texture. The seamless wallcovering media offered a canvas texture that contrasted nicely with the sleek, smooth DIBOND panels,” notes Logan. Both graphics are located in a long hallway near the brewery’s sampling room.
Beyond the timeline, Bell’s Brewery also requested additional tour route signage as well as navigational signage directing visitors to the Bell’s Brewery downtown Kalamazoo location. Tour route signage included two 23.5×62-inch signs printed on white three mm DIBOND with the same black flood coating and four-color print process used on the timeline. A 12×9-foot navigational sign was printed on a superwide seamless wallcovering material.
In total, the project took six months. Fabrication and installation was completed three-and-a-half weeks prior to a June 2019 debut.
Logan believes this project was nominated for the Application of the Year awards for pushing the envelope. “The project highlights the use of the latest print equipment technologies on the market today and features color matching, a skilled professional installation, and oversized print capabilities. Pushing the envelope in print innovation is essential when standing out to competitors that are either still using smaller equipment or narrower print media.”
Agio Imaging’s work with Bell’s Brewery is an excellent example of innovation as well as collaboration. “We partnered with Bell’s Brewery not only to provide the most value but also to ensure that the company’s growth and historic milestone achievements were produced with high-quality durable products,” shares Logan.
The next article in our Application of the Year series looks at third place winner Make It Your Own Graphics of Canal Winchester, OH.
Read part one of this series, Shifting to PPE—Two Months into Business.
Aug2020, Digital Output