But these options may be too complex and/or costly for interior design or for a temporary display—and this is exactly where wall graphics come in.
According to Taylor Campbell, chief operations officer of Ardon Vinyl Graphics & Signage in Boston, wall graphics can offer a professional, elegant look that can top other display media.
Recently Campbell’s company developed stage graphics for the Westin Hotel’s corporate meeting in Boston. Each day throughout the three-day event, a different quote—perhaps a memorable point made at the meeting—was incorporated into the changing stage graphics.
In addition, Ardon wrapped the interior walls of the lobby with four-by-four-inch photos from Twitter, posted by Westin guests from around the world. And the conference room walls were lined with 12-by-8-foot graphics of the Westin branding themes of wellness and fitness.
“Overall, we relied on Photo Tex (adhesive polyester fabric) and 3M IJ-8150 series for this 2,500-square-foot project,” says Campbell. “Our biggest challenge was color-matching, since the client was very particular about color.
“Photo Tex is somewhat transparent, so when applied to a dark background, it changes the colors. We couldn’t reprint, so we had to wrap everything first in white and then apply the Photo Tex. Lesson learned!”
(Note: When it comes to materials, Ardon uses only 3M products for its car wraps and large-scale wall projects and Oracal vinyls for smaller projects.)
To keep up with the pace of a demanding business, Ardon has incorporated efficiencies into their system of ordering, learning from early-year hiccups resulting in “this is not what I ordered” or “the color is different on my screen.”
“We truly hated having a displeased customer because negative word of mouth can kill a business, especially in such a small city as Boston and in our small industry,” says Campbell. “But every customer will potentially speak highly of you, if they’re satisfied.”
Their simple system dictates that everything be put into writing. “No verbal orders or ‘whatever you think is best,’” says Campbell. “We signed up with a cloud-based sign tracker system called SignVOX. What a world of wonders being organized and having a mandated routine does to ‘mistakes.’”
Using SignVOX, the company sends over a quote via email, and the client signs off on quantity and pricing. The electronic proofs are approved, and Ardon will run test prints before initiating the final output.
Because of the diverse nature of wall graphics, Ardon has had the opportunity to work with clients across the spectrum: interior decorators, rebranding firms, and media/PR companies.
Typically a corporate client provides art files that include their logo, branding themes, and artwork specific to the purpose of the display. “There are so many variations when it comes to wall graphics,” says Campbell. “Every job is custom. Yes we have our standard methods of printing, laminating, pre-masking, etc. Those procedures are stepping stones to each other in the production process.”
During the tradeshow season in Boston, the company keeps busy with almost a dozen graphics projects to meet the demand for tradeshow display graphics—ranging from 100 to 2,000 square feet.
The company can also boast having worked on the Mitt Romney presidential campaign. They created a 100-by-24-foot window graphic, which they produced in twenty-four hours and installed in eight, a task that fits entirely into the pace of an aspiring presidential candidate.
As Ardon continues to work on national projects for clients, it’s possible that wall graphics may also expand their reach. “With the new materials coming out and the newer printers adding features that weren’t available ten years ago,” says Campbell, “you’ll see richer graphics and more versatile media with a wide range of uses.”
However, if the client is looking for more “pizzazz,” Ardon can incorporate 3D elements and channel letters into the display. “With the right vision and design, a wall graphic alone can be eye-catching,” says Campbell. “However adding depth will make the onlooker even more curious about the piece.”
By Lori Shridhare
All photos: Ardon Vinyl Graphics & Signage.