Print Company Brings ‘FRIENDS Experience’ to Life

Friends Experience
Created by Warner Bros. and Superfly X – A Brand Experience company, the FRIENDS™ Experience is an interactive celebration of the iconic TV show.

Ontario-based large-format printing company Global Printing Enterprises recently used Drytac ReTac Smooth 150 polymeric PVC film to produce a series of colorful graphics for the Toronto edition of the “FRIENDS™ Experience” event.

Created by Warner Bros. and Superfly X – A Brand Experience company, the FRIENDS Experience is an interactive celebration of the iconic TV show. Thousands of fans of the hit U.S. sitcom are expected to descend on the Yorkdale Shopping Centre to enjoy a number of experiences, including the opportunity to visit replica sets of the main characters’ apartments and view official show memorabilia.

To help promote the event, Superfly X reached out to Global Printing Enterprises to print a range of graphics and hoardings at Yorkdale Mall, an Oxford Properties managed company. These were installed over the Canada Day Weekend (July 1-4) at the centre square of Yorkdale Shopping Centre to draw the attention of passers-by.

The eye-catching entrance graphics replicated the famous picture frame installed around the door fisheye in one of the apartments on the show. Other graphics installed outside of the event venue included wayfinding signage, large QR codes that fans could scan to book tickets instantly, as well as famous quotes and phrases from the show.

In total, the graphics covered an area of more than 15,000 square feet but took the team at Global Printing Enterprises, working in partnership with installation specialist Install Nation, just five days to print and install.

Friends Experience
Thousands of fans of the hit US sitcom are expected to descend on the Yorkdale Shopping Centre to enjoy a number of experiences, including the opportunity to visit replica sets of the main characters’ apartments and view official show memorabilia.

Global Printing Enterprises opted for Drytac ReTac Smooth 150 as the material for all of the event graphics. The media not only delivered excellent print quality, but also helped the team to overcome a particularly tricky challenge when it came to installing the graphics.

“The base wall had been painted over vinyl graphics, creating a difficult surface to adhere any type of graphics film to,” said Global Printing Enterprises President Carlo Toscano. “In consultation with Dennis LeBlanc from Drytac, we decided to use an old school multi-layer installation technique. When you look at the wall in its entirety, it looks as if we printed the background and graphics at the same time, when in reality, the back black and purple were applied first.”

“Then came the challenge—using laser levels, the team at Install Nation installed with precision all the components you see on top of the already installed panels. It’s a longer process, but when done properly and with highly skilled installers, it makes for a clean and symmetrical image.”

Friends Experience
The eye-catching entrance graphics replicated the famous picture frame installed around the door fisheye in one of the apartments on the show.

Toscano added that the flexibility of Drytac ReTac Smooth 150, in particular the ability to install the film quickly and for it to remain affixed with the ability for removability, was essential in the project.

“This product allows the client to change the message if required, update the marketing and add components to the wall without removal of the entire graphic,” said Toscano. “The science behind the adhesive is genius, and without it we couldn’t have completed this project in the manner we did.”

All of the graphics were printed on an HP Latex 3100, which meant the company was able to utilize dual roll printing for maximum printing speeds.

“Drytac ReTac Smooth 150 works extremely well with HP inks; consistent bright and vivid printing with all the advantages of an environmentally friendly ink product that meets indoor air quality standards,” said Toscano. “We believe in using products that are environmentally friendly and, where possible, products that are PVC-free or manufactured using recycled products. Especially for this indoor project, the use of HP inks was essential in providing a safe environment for everyone inside the mall.”

Toscano added that the client was “impressed” with not only the quality of print and installation, but also the solution to use multiple layers, “as it offered a cost-effective way to introduce new graphics and elements as required.”

Friends Experience
Other graphics installed outside of the event venue included wayfinding signage, large QR codes that fans could scan to book tickets instantly, as well as famous quotes and phrases from the show.

—Press Release

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Published first here: https://www.signshop.com/graphic/vinyl-graphics/print-company-brings-friends-experience-life/

CO2 Laser Lenses Improve Etching Performance

LensesA full line of OEM compatible, field-replacement CO2 laser lenses that are offered with specific focal lengths to make sharper cuts with fewer passes has been introduced by Laser Research Optics of Providence, Rhode Island.

Laser Research CO2 Lenses are offered in 0.5-inch to 1.5-inch-diameter sizes with focal lengths from 1 inch to 25 inches in 0.5-inch increments to allow lasers to make sharper cuts with fewer passes.

Permitting users to optimize their laser etching lasers, these field-replacement lenses conform to ISO-10110 specifications.

Featuring 40-20 scratch-dig surface quality and less than 0.2 percent absorption values to keep them cooler, Laser Research CO2 Lenses are ideally suited for use in Epilog®, Kern®, Trotec®, Universal®, and Vytek® lasers combined with the Rack Star fixture system for holding glass and aluminum products.

Laser Research CO2 Lenses are priced according to size and quantity. Delivery is from stock with 24 Hour delivery. Price quotations are available upon request.

—Press Release

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Creative Realities Debuts Summer ‘22 Release, Featuring Creator X

Digital signage leader Creative Realities, Inc. (‘CRI’, NASDAQ: CREX, CREXW) announces the rollout of Creator X, a new tool within the ReflectView digital signage software suite that allows users to design content directly within the platform.

The new feature can be accessed in Reflect Xperience, an optimized way to create and manage content all within the existing digital signage platform. Creator X allows for seamless content layout creation and design tools that can be launched from anywhere in the world—without the need for tech-proficient third-party creative teams. The tool boasts an easy-to-use designer platform with basic features such as text and image editing, video components, template creation and dimension customizations.

“Creator X is our direct answer to today’s all-too-common pain point of shrinking teams, budgets and expanding workloads,” said Jason Donnini, director of Product Management at Creative Realities. “We intend this tool to be a simple way for our clients and partner collaborators to create polished, professional content quickly and proficiently. Moreover it requires no additional burden or budget—granting a new self-reliance and content creation options that may have been previously outsourced or non-existent.”

Creator X is available to all Reflect Xperience customers, with no additional steps to gain access, further increasing value of the platform without increasing costs. Creative Realities teams will be conducting trainings for existing customers, but with the tool’s intuitive aspects and seamless integration, users will find the features and workflow familiar.

“We believe there is power in simplicity, and this tool—while simple in practice—brings critical value when teams are sorely needing high-quality content at a fraction of the price and time,” said Rick Mills, CEO at Creative Realities. “Creator X has been just the latest innovation from the brilliant minds on our in-house software development team, and we’re thrilled to continue driving this kind of innovation.”

—Press Release

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6 Park Signs That Point Toward Adventure

SOMETIMES ALL YOU NEED is a walk through nature, allowing yourself to destress, breathe and enjoy that gentle breeze and sun. Except sometimes you get a little too far, and before you know it, that calming walk can turn into a stressful panic. Thankfully, you can usually find a sign not too far away to direct you back or remind you where you are. Signs in parks and nature are essential for your daily walk — or when you zone out for just a little too long. Here are six companies that fabricated fantastic signs for natural settings.

History Found in Nature

Recently, Signs by Van (Salinas, CA) was approached by a contractor and asked to make a sign for the Manzanar National Historic Site, one of the former locations of WWII-era Japanese-American internment camps in California. Designed by the National Park Service, Signs by Van used CORAFOAM HDU, concrete and steel, shaped by their Morbidelli M100 CNC router, Millermatic Welder “and good ole’ hand craftsmanship,” according to owner Jeremy Vanderkraats. The location — seven hours from the shop and an hour from the nearest store — proved the most challenging part for Vanderkraats’ team of three with Trevor Ensley and Jeff Albaran joining him.

Take a Hike

Trans Canada Trail (Quebec, Canada) recently made a sign for Lachine Canal National Historic Site in Montreal. The collaborative sign was constructed using F80 aluminum frame with a ½-in. radius corner and SunGlaze graphic panels. The double-faced sign panels are attached to 4-in. aluminum posts with 2.5mm aluminum tubular mounting collar, appropriate fasteners and post caps. Originally slated to be completed in 2019, extensive requirements from Parks Canada, the pandemic and supply chain issues slowed the project. “Despite the delays, dealing with archaeology permits, contaminated soil and a million little changes to the plans … It was exceptionally special to have it done in time to be a part of the Torch Relay for the Canada Games,” says Heidi Tillmanns, national manager of infrastructure and signage for Trans Canada Trail.

Art in Nature

“This sign, along with the others in the package, is a collaborative effort among Florida-based Alliance for the Arts, Michael Singer with Michael Singer Studio, and US Sign and Mill,” according to John Konopka, US Sign and Mill (Fort Myers, FL). His shop combined elements including 3M IJ180Cv3 vinyl run through an Epson SureColor S80600 printer and Mimaki CG-160FX plotter, Matthews MP18076 Silver Cup Metallic paint, SloanLED Prism 6500K LED modules, and a Watchfire Signs 10mm EMC. Konopka says the most challenging thing about this project was trying to fit all the information while maintaining a small space that would not distract from its surroundings.

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John Denver’s Walk in Nature

Signarama Brighton (Brighton, CO) created this new sign to reflect the Mountain Lion Trail’s new name. The business has done a lot of work with their local state park, connecting them to Park Manager Todd Farrow of Golden Gate Canyon State Park, who was in charge of the project. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of John Denver’s popular 1972 album, the park renamed the trail “John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Trail.” “The greatest challenge was making sure the sign was in line with the John Denver Foundation artwork requirements and branding,” says Mallory Lynn, the shop’s marketing manager.

Follow the Trails

Stoner Graphix (Hummelstown, PA) recently completed this Nature Park & Trails sign for East Hanover Township (PA). The shop did all the design using Gerber Omega and Adobe Illustrator, followed by SAi Enroute to run the company’s Multicam 3000 router, says Kurt Stoner, the company president. The materials include ORAFOL’S ORAJET 3551 vinyl (printed on their Canon USA Colorado), DUNA-USA CORAFOAM HDU, cedar and black acrylic dimensional letters — all painted with AkzoNobel Grip-Gard.

Right Around the Pond

Autografix (Branford, CT) designed a new project using Corel for The Supply Pond/Pisgah Brook Preserve. The company has done a lot of work for the town of Branford, where the project was installed, and was offered the opportunity to install three signs, all carved from SignFoam 4 and painted with Matthews Acrylic Polyurethane. “The most challenging part of this project was arriving at a design that was universally accepted by the town board members,” Autographix Owner John Miller, says. “The Supply Pond area is rather secluded and the board members were concerned about the possibility of graffiti. I did some internet research and found an anti-graffiti coating, NanoSlic.”

PHOTO GALLERY (59 IMAGES)
Autografix | Sign by Van | Signarama Brighton | Stoner Graphix | Trans Canada Trail | US Signs and Mill

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Kick the Tire-Kickers to the Curb, Say Thank You Like It’s the 16th Century, Plus More Business Boosters for Sign Companies in August

CUSTOMERS Thank You Notes

1 Mail thank you cards to clients after every completed job. These little gestures go a long way in establishing customer loyalty. And if you really want your thank you notes to leave an impression — literally — press your logo into sealing wax on the back of the envelope (see page 44).

INVESTMENT Labor and Capital

2 One sign company suggests that if you need to make a new hire or purchase/replace a piece of equipment to make it easier on your employees, do it. No matter the cost or stress, they say, it’s worth it. It doesn’t make sense to run good employees into the ground because you can’t hire a new one, or because they have to use equipment that’s outdated or broken. Take care of your employees and they will take care of your clients and your business.

DESIGN The Chorus Grows

3 “Charge for design and site surveys up front,” advises Raychel O’Donoghue, Lexington Signs & Graphics (Burlington, MA) — joining a number of sign pros who subscribe to the practice. Doing so weeds out tire-kickers and leaves you with quality, serious clients, she says.

MARKETING Freebies Pay Off

4 Give some of your best clients new sign products that you offer, with their logo on it, suggests a member of the Brain Squad who has done this many times. “One product in particular, we gave a die-shaped, pan-formed and illuminated sign to hang up in an office,” the industry pro writes. Shortly thereafter the client hired the company to provide signage for a new facility. “We ended up furnishing and installing the same scaled logo in the form of a 15 x 10 x 35-ft.-tall pylon sign as well as a similar wall sign among many other signs for the project,” the Squad member adds.

GOLDLEAF Sizing Hack

5 Water size in a spray bottle! “I saw it online in a post from New Bohemia Signs in San Francisco where they shout out Paul Banks in the UK for the idea,” says Seth Vargas, Sleight of Hand Signs (Oakland, CA). “But I have adopted it and it works great for patching holes in your gilds!”

For those not in the know, water size is distilled water mixed with gelatin used to bind goldleaf sheets to glass. “Usually it’s applied to glass via flooding with a brush or mop, but a bottle seems to work great as it doesn’t disturb the existing gold in place (flushing it out of place or away),” Vargas says.

SALES Specialized Order Forms

6 Work with property management companies that are always changing tenants? Usually the specs, fonts and colors don’t change on these types of orders, but nailing down all the signs a tenant needs to be updated on (directories, suite signs, directional signage) can be time consuming. So, create order forms for your loyal property managers to streamline the process.

COMMUNICATIONS Beyond Order Taking

7 Follow-ups and deep dives are critical. Many times when we just “take orders” we miss a ton of opportunities to help our clients on a larger scale and really move the needle for both their company and ours, one sign pro advises.

STAY CALIBRATED Keep An Eye on the Long Term

8 When an economic downturn hits, the most important thing to do is keep an eye on the long term, Sven Smit, a McKinsey senior partner, said during a McKinsey Podcast in 2020, noting that no recession in recent history has lasted more than two years. “In a recession, the response is, you go crazy. Cut, cut, cut. But don’t forget that the actions you take toward the future are as important as the actions that you take to respond to the event. In a recession, it will look very ugly very quickly. Ugly makes you respond with ugly, while the beauty, the prosperity, is ahead.”

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General Formulations Announces Primary Sponsorship of NASCAR Car

General Formulations served as the primary sponsorship of Josh Williams No. 78 Chevy Camaro at the NASCAR Xfinity Series New Holland 250 race.

General Formulations, a leading manufacturer of Pressure Sensitive Films, served as the primary sponsorship of Josh Williams No. 78 Chevy Camaro at the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, New Holland 250, held Saturday, August 6, 2022, at Michigan International Speedway.

General Formulations has been a proud vinyl sponsor of Josh Williams since 2016. All of Josh’s cars this season have been wrapped with GF 230 AutoMark™ Vinyl and GF 242 OptiMark™ Optically Clear Cast UV laminate.

General Formulations [was] excited to be one of the primary sponsors featured on Josh Williams car for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Michigan International Speedway,” stated Matt Edwards, Product Manager, General Formulations. “Our AutoMark™ high-quality vinyl wrap film [was] used to wrap Josh Williams No. 78 car for the race and the graphics on the car [highlighted] our new logo that was recently just launched.”

“General Formulations has been a part of my program since the very first handprint car,” said Josh Williams. “Their industry is an integral part of our industry and to be in a long-term partnership with a leading brand like General Formulations has been a key piece to weekly operations.

“Week in and week out you see new paint schemes throughout the garages, and I always know our cars look sharp. We look forward to seeing General Formulations throughout the garages for years to come.”

—Press Release

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Published first here: https://www.signshop.com/graphic/vinyl-graphics/general-formulations-primary-sponsor-nascar-car/

Burkhart Sign Systems Reveals Rebrand

Burkhart Sign Systems (South Bend, IN) has rebranded, and going forward will be named Hayes Design Co., according to a statement from Edward Hayes, president of Hayes Design Co.

Burkhart Sign Systems, a 55-year-old company that found success in its family legacy, was acquired by Hayes in 2021. Hayes Design Co. is working with marketing agency J2 Marketing to execute the rebrand, per the statement.

“We’re so excited to provide high-quality service guided by our company values: design, expression, selflessness, imagination, genuineness and noteworthiness,” Edward Hayes, president of Hayes Design, is quoted in the statement.

“But more than that, we’re thrilled to grow our family of clients,” he added. “We truly believe that signage is more than just an identifier; it ties directly into experiential branding. We are putting a strong emphasis on customizing our process for each client and delving into facade architecture to build a cohesive experience.”

The name change is going into effect immediately, while the rebrand and website will change to reflect the new direction in the following months.

For more information, visit burkhartsigns.com.

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SBI NSSA Northeast Conference & Expo: Don’t Miss the Last Early Bird Deadline!

Are you planning on attending the SBI NSSA Northeast Conference & Expo? Then why pay full price! Register today to take advantage of our last Early Bird discount, which offers $100 off registration. SBI NSSA Northeast Conference & Expo early bird

Still not convinced you need to attend the show? Here are just some of the things you’ll learn at our conference:

  • How to streamline your workflow by maximizing your shop layout and production methods.
  • How to effectively price your custom signage for optimum profitability.
  • How to combat the labor shortage with better hiring and employee retention practices.
  • How to increase your customer base.
  • How to value and price your sign designs.
  • How to expand your profits with proven sales strategies and methods to break into new markets.

Plus, we’ll have a show floor full of exhibitors ready to show you the latest sign solutions, present on-the-floor demos, and answer any and all questions you may have. There will also be networking events, a chance to chat with the NSSA board, and more.

If you’re not at the SBI NSSA Northeast Conference & Expo this September, you’re missing out!

Register today for Early Bird prices!

SBI NSSA Northeast Conference & Expo

The SBI NSSA Northeast Conference & Expo will be held on September 19-21, 2022 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

The conference program will feature two days of sessions that offer actionable “how-to” lessons to sign shops of all sizes and levels of experience. With a focus on how sign shops can increase sales and profits through strong business management and operational efficiency, this conference will arm you with all the tools you’ll need to become a better business owner.

Of course, no sign shop is complete without the right equipment and services, and there will be a large show hall filled with exhibitors from across the sign industry, hands-on product demonstrations, and valuable networking opportunities.

The day-to-day challenges of operating a sign shop along with larger issues like labor shortages and supply chain disruptions, can make it nearly impossible to step back and evaluate your sign shop’s current operations and future plans. Join us in Providence this fall and make the time to work on all the aspects of your business that will result in increased profits, a stronger team, and a clear path forward.

 

For more information on sponsorship and booth opportunities, contact David Harkey at 973-563-0109 or dharkey@sbpub.com.

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The Monarch Butterfly “Effect” in Action

Butterfly
The boxcar is a sixty-foot exterior-post hi-cube (Plate F) plug-door unit built by TrinityRail. Photo: GATX.

Canadian Pacific Railroad (CP), Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCS), railcar lessor GATX Corporation, the Monterrey (Mexico) Metropolitan Rotary Club, and the North American Supply Chain Organization (NASCO) have launched The Save the Monarch Butterfly 60,000 Tree Challenge North American Boxcar Tour, whose raised funds will be used to plant 60,000 Oyamel fir trees at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Michoacán, Mexico to help reestablish the monarch population. (Note: To learn more about how the Monarch Butterfly represents North American unity, click here.)

According to Railway Age, a crowd-funding QR code is being featured on the side of the “Monarch Mariposa Boxcar,” prepared by the GATX shop in Hearne, Texas. Starting this fall, the boxcar will stop at events in Windsor, Ontario; Chicago; Kansas City, Missouri; Laredo, Texas; Nuevo Laredo, Tamps.; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon; San Luis Potosi, S.L.P.; Morelia, Michoacán; and conclude at the El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. In coordination with local Rotary clubs, these events “will generate awareness and raise funds to help save the butterfly,” the sponsoring organizations say. “This innovative environmental project is an example of our commitment of sustainability.”

“KCS is proud to work in partnership with CP, GATX, Rotary and NASCO to drive the 60,000 Tree Challenge,” said KCS President and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “In addition, we are installing waystations throughout our U.S.-Mexico network in support of Monarch conservation.”

“The CP and KCS networks align with the Monarch’s annual migration route, providing us with a unique opportunity to help protect and restore critical habitat,” said Keith Creel, president and CEO of CP. “CP is very happy to join with KCS, GATX, Rotary and NASCO to support and promote the recovery of the Monarch Butterfly.”

Butterfly

“As the largest global railcar lessor and one of the largest boxcar owners in North America, GATX was thrilled to help produce a custom designed boxcar to celebrate and raise awareness of the journey of the monarch butterfly in addition to making a financial contribution to support the 60,000 Tree Challenge,” said Robert C. Lyons, president and CEO of GATX. “We are proud to join forces on this innovative environmental initiative.”

“Rotarians throughout North America are honored to join forces with CP, KCS, GATX and NASCO to regenerate vital pollinator habitat from Windsor to Michoacan. The biological corridor of the Monarch Butterfly has been fragmented by global warming, deforestation, urbanization and excessive pesticide use. At each stop of the GATX boxcar, local Rotarians will sign a pollinator pledge highlighting actions that will be implemented to protect monarch and other pollinators throughout North America,” said Alex Rechy, president of the Monterrey Metropolitan Rotary Club.

The post The Monarch Butterfly “Effect” in Action appeared first on Sign Builder Illustrated, The How-To Sign Industry Magazine.

Published first here: https://www.signshop.com/graphic/vinyl-graphics/monarch-butterfly-effect-in-action/

Regional Large-Format Chain Acquires 3 Print Shops

Coastal Reprographics Services (CRS; Santa Barbara, CA) and its three print shops on California’s central coast have been acquired by Crisp Imaging (Costa Mesa, CA), a regional print services provider.

CRS owners Tony and Stacie Westbrook are helping transition their business and then plan to retire. The branding conversion of their three shops in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Camarillo to Crisp Imaging will be completed as of Sept. 1, according to the Paso Robles Daily News.

The acquisition gives Crisp Imaging 20 locations on the West Coast, most of which are in California.

After closing on the sale, Tony Westbrook shared the following on Facebook:

“It was a difficult decision for Stacie and I, but when we considered all the factors it was an excellent opportunity for all parties involved – staff, customers, Crisp, and Stacie and I. … I know we are leaving CRS in great hands, and now Stacie and I will move on [to] the next chapter of our lives. … My wife has been a great business partner and my greatest source of strength, so I thank her from the bottom of my heart for standing next to me through this adventure.

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