By Melissa Donovan
Part 4 of 4
The 2020 Application of the Year nominations and voting took place this past Spring. The top three print providers garnered the most votes, but we felt it was important to include an honorable mention winner as well. Puzzle Creative Services of Akron, OH submitted a project completed for Content Marketing World (CMWorld), which generated a lot of interest throughout the voting process.
Puzzle started with five core employees in 2018 after all of them left a closing print shop to start out anew. Between them they had over 50 years of combined experience and were able to find and eventually operate out of a 12,000 square foot facility in downtown Akron.
The company provides services to local small businesses to corporate entities, production companies, musical festivals, and celebrities. “We are a design and custom fabrication shop providing creative solutions to unique problems. We are committed to creating and manufacturing tangible items, environments, and experiences that cater to each client and audience,” explains Michael West, creative director, Puzzle.
Poised for Content
According to West, CMWorld is a content marketing conference held annually by the Content Marketing Institute. Puzzle joined forces with its production and audio visual partner NPi to design and produce graphics for the event.
Content Marketing Institute initially supplied Puzzle with illustrations of a circus, which inspired both the theme and graphics of the overall conference. “We created artwork that unified the ringleader’s content and the overall message of the event, creating a perfect backdrop for marketing specialists to show off their talents. Not swallowing swords or breathing fire, but showcasing the unique ability to curate content in a noisy eco-system,” shares West.
Held at the Cleveland Convention Center, the interior of the facility was transformed into a circus arena with help from NPi, which designed a custom truss system. Content Marketing Institute originally wanted to use fabric curtains for a backdrop, but Puzzle convinced them to use the truss system paired with a giant 13 oz. banner backdrop printed on a CET Color X-Press UV printer and framed in LED panels.
This solution was more cost effective compared to fabricating with curtains. The trusses were circular with round center banners—emulating a three ring circus—and then combined with large antique style bulbs and spotlights.
Continuing the transformation, Puzzle also designed, printed, and routed figures commonly found in a circus. It produced custom footlights, large characters, and overhead aerial signage. Graphics like the characters and footlights were UV direct printed on half-inch gator board using the CET X-Press UV printer and routed to shape on an AXYZ Automation Inc. 5010 CNC router.
A large round rolling stage on casters was wrapped in digitally printed vinyl created with an HP Latex 560 printer. Puzzle also created an animated crystal ball and custom built a podium for speakers.
The project from conception to production and implementation took six weeks. Content Marketing Institute and the 4,000-plus attendees of CMWorld were amazed with the final result.
West believes that the project’s success in providing an immersive experience to the attendees of the event is what led it to being recognized in this year’s Application of the Year awards.
“The replication of historical nostalgia, in this case a circus, was achieved by combining multiple medias and methods. Illustration, technology, production, lighting, printing, fabrication, and design came together to create an experience—not just a scenic stage or backdrop. It elevates the mind of the participant and it did amaze the audience.”
Puzzle’s story rounds out the top four winners of the 2020 Application of the Year awards. We congratulate them again for being recognized for their hard work. If you or someone you know wishes to participate in the 2021 contest, be sure to keep a look out in late March/early April for information on how to enter.
To view images from any of the winning applications, be sure to visit digitaloutput.net and check out the August digital edition. And we’d like to thank this year’s sponsor, StratoJet USA, for their participation as well.
Read part three of this series, Affordably Meeting a Sensitive Need.
Aug2020, Digital Output