By Melissa Donovan
Floor graphics aren’t considered a wrap, per say, but when it comes down to it, the same tactics of wrapping a vehicle or a wall apply when adhering a graphic to the floor—whether it be dealing with positioning between panels or working out air bubbles. Managing client’s expectations on media durability, safety, and longevity all come into play as well. Many vehicle wrap providers offer floor graphics. The two applications benefit from shared install skills.
Wrap it All
Icon Image Graphics, based in Cerritos, CA, began in 2008. The company staffs 18 full-time graphic installers to service customers nationwide and internationally. Wrapping categories include buses, retail, specialty, tankers, trailers, trucks, vans, and cars.
“We are fortunate to apply our wrap skills to unconventional and specialty projects such as musical instruments and picture cars, aside from vehicle wraps, which is the bulk of our business,” says Sino Tour, director of operations, Icon Image Graphics.
The firm outsources their printing, preferring to remain experts on the install portion of the process. Wrapping fleets of cars, buses, trailers, and other unique objects requires full attention and devotion to the craft. The reward is winning standout jobs that set the company apart from the competition and allow it to gain notoriety.
About five percent of Icon Image Graphics’ work is considered floor graphics. It commonly finds these graphics used in areas like shopping centers, sporting events, and amusement parks. According to Tour, the company prefers to use media from 3M Commercial Solutions.
“We mainly use it for our high-end custom projects because of the durability, quality, and warranty factors,” he explains. Additionally, it chooses high-end print providers that also work with 3M media.
Icon Image Graphics’ wrapping expertise landed it a unique job request. Hakkasan Group and Cirque du Soleil Theatrical reached out and requested the company wrap a stage for For The Record: BAZ, based in Las Vegas, NV at the LIGHT Nightclub. The 90-minute presentation is a 360 degree, immersive theatrical experience focused on the cinematic and musical films of Baz Luhrmann.
“Although spot decals are used for stage and concert events, no floor graphics have been produced for a theatrical stage show. Normally, a stage company would use paint or other substrates to achieve the look they want,” explains Tour.
Over a period of three months, Icon Image Graphics worked with the client to get the graphics just right. Many different challenges were addressed including the show designer’s revisions, lighting concepts, material and media selection, stage construction logistics, and overlaminate tests.
The goal was to find a material that featured a non-slip overlaminate to safely accommodate any movements on the stage. Additionally, the graphic had to remain intact after each performance—durability was essential. Lastly, it had to uphold for the duration of the show, at least six months. The final choice was 3M Scotchlite Reflective Graphic Film Series 5100R with anti-slip 3M Scotchcal Overlaminate Film 3647.
An intricate design was chosen, heavily geometrically themed. Icon Image Graphics chose Consolidated Color & Design (CCD) in IL to print the graphics in 18 panels using a Hewlett-Packard Latex 260 printer. Eric Baden, owner, CCD, explains that several iterations of the media were printed, totaling 500 square feet.
“Since something like this had never been done before on a stage, to achieve the look that the customer requested, we printed a number of shades of gray and black until we got the color just right. It was difficult to meet the intended look until after the test graphics were in place because the stage lighting had such an effect on the reflective media,” shares Baden.
After the graphics were completed, an install team of four worked for ten hours to create the final look. “Matching all of the intricate grid lines from panel to panel on the printed graphics took careful planning and continuous adjustments during the install phase—we needed those lines to match up seamlessly,” shares Tour.
Some unique challenges associated with this specific job included the application surface. The team at the Hakkasan Group and Cirque du Soleil Theatrical designed the stage in 30 pieces, made up of different shapes and sizes that fit together like a giant puzzle. The reason was two-fold, one to complement the aesthetic of the show, and two it allowed the crew to breakdown the stage easily each night for storage purposes. Because of this, Icon Image Graphics had to completely edge seal all of the sides and corners of each stage piece to avoid any lifting or cracking of the media.
Not only was the design amazing and the graphics durable and safe, but the client saved money. “With a tight budget, they avoided having to install actual, physical lights into their custom-built stage. The reflective film lit certain sections of the stage via the intricate and geometric design,” explains Tour.
This innovative project brings new meaning to wraps and floor graphics, introducing a different environment for them to be used in. Tour hopes that its work for the Hakkasan Group and Cirque du Soleil Theatrical for For The Record: BAZ positively promotes its install capabilities from floors to cars and beyond.
“It was a challenging, yet rewarding experience to be a part of,” admits Tour. Icon Image Graphics’ ability to translate its vehicle wrapping skills to floor graphics helped them in a successful installation.
Dec2015, Digital Output