By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Aside from promoting sponsors, race signage is also used for informational purposes. Founded in 1991, GSB Digital offers digitally printed race signage for quick turnarounds and durable graphics. The print service provider (PSP) started with less than five people in New York, NY as a reprographic center, serving major law firms in New York City from a 3,000 square foot work area.
Today, it operates from a 23,000 square foot work area and offers services like case binding, customized client portals, die cutting, digital printing and embellishments, litigation support, and offset printing. A staff of 63 employees serve more than 12,000 customers worldwide.
GSB Digital also physically expanded with a production facility in Long Island City, NY, and a client services center in Midtown Manhattan. It produces a range of applications including booklets, brochures, direct mailers, event materials, folders, invitations, notepads, promotional collateral, and variable data printing.
On Your Mark
Race signage serves several purposes besides advertising opportunities. It’s used for registration directions, mile markers, food and drink directions, and racing alerts. “Thousands, sometimes millions of people attend races and the signage plays a big part in many aspects,” explains Jessica Andersen, marketing director, GSB Digital.
To satisfy customers, GSB Digital’s mission is to produce print that strengthens clients’ messages and aids in their success. The company produces race signage to communicate messages from sponsors and event coordinators.
According to Andersen, the biggest challenge for race signage is the fact that it’s typically outdoor, which requires evaluating the weather conditions. She says humidity, rain, sunshine, and other weather extremities determine how long signage lasts.
“Our production team carefully analyzes the sign’s eventual location and works diligently to prepare for the worst weather. The end goal is not only to produce a quality sign, but to produce one that will last as long as possible while still looking pristine,” explains Andersen.
GSB Digital works with various non-profit organizations that request race signage for sponsorship or for teams and employees participating in charity walks.
For large format projects, the company uses an HP, Inc. DesignJet Z6800, HP Latex 370, and HP Scitex FB700 industrial printer. The company also uses HP ink and media for its signage in addition to software compatible with HP equipment.
GSB Digital sometimes applies laminate to outdoor signage to ensure vibrancy is maintained. This includes gloss or matte lamination using an Advanced Greig Laminator, Inc. or GBC laminator. The company also employs a Zünd G3 digital cutter for quickly cutting graphics into simple shapes or more complex looks.
According to Andersen, race signage has become much more eye catching and colorful than it once was. “For this reason, we must be sure that the color does not fade, which is why we utilize latex printing and laminate coating.”
In September 2017, a non-profit organization approached GSB Digital for signage at a children’s 5K event, in addition to permanent stadium signage where the race and other sporting events occur.
From job submittal to installation the project took four weeks to complete. The signs were printed on the HP Latex 370 using 3M Commercial Solutions vinyl. “We decided to use the latex printer to ensure longevity and projection from the outdoor elements to the signs,” says Jennifer Walk, marketing assistant, GSB Digital.
With the use of the HP Latex 370, the permanent signs feature a lifespan of three to five years. To further increase the lifespan, Walk says the company applied a laminate to the prints. Once laminated, the sign bases were routed on two, ten-foot dibond boards using the Zünd G3 digital cutter.
“The dibond was routed with channels in the back making it possible to fold the edges of the dibond around itself at a 90-degree angle,” shares Walk. The GSB Digital team then mounted and wrapped the printed vinyl around the bases to create two 20-foot signs.
Walk says the biggest challenge was figuring out how to route the channels on the back of the dibond because it affected how the edges of the dibond would be folded around itself. The company installed one sign 15 feet in the air and the other on a wall. Walk says installation took five hours, much of which included precise measuring.
12 smaller pieces were created on white coroplast fluted material and scrim vinyl. These temporary banners and directional signs were printed on the HP Scitex FB700.
The non-profit organization was very satisfied with the completed race signage. “They were blown away with the results and continue to proudly display their new signage,” says Walk. For GSB Digital, this job stands out because the signs were printed pro-bono as the president felt compelled to give back to the community.
Race signage isn’t limited to advertisements at big sporting venues. It is also used at events for informational or directional purposes. This includes 5K races, mud runs, or walks for charity. A banner may direct participants to a sign-in tent or a lawn sign could highlight which path to take during the race. PSPs offering graphics for races are generally outfitted to handle a large gamut of applications.
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Jan2018, Digital Output