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Super Wide-format Graphics: Wrapping the Hill Centre Towers

In the heat of the summer sun, controlling for stretch was a major concern.

Getting the paperwork
At the same time, the project involved many aspects that are not typical for Sleek given its focus on print production and, given the need for special permits, insurance caveats and training, all of which had to be in place in time to meet an installation completion deadline of June 1, 2017.

Acquiring the permits from city council was a surprisingly smooth, straightforward process. Given the application of the graphics would be a similar operation to washing the towers’ windows, Sleek followed the same protocol and was able to gain the necessary access without much hassle. One challenge was the restriction of days for the wrap, due to other events, which further reduced the ‘window’ for the work and, thus, any room for error.

In terms of insurance, confirming liability coverage and ensuring the full scope of the project would be supported also proved relatively straightforward, but it was difficult to ensure sufficient training was already in place, to clearly demonstrate Sleek’s team was prepared. When providing fall prevention instruction for the six-member crew, Sleek had to arrange specialized training through the manufacturer of the swing stages that would be used for the job, as well as support from Western CML Cleaners, the Regina-based provider of the aforementioned window washing services for the towers.

Western CML helped prepare the crew for tie-offs, swing stage launching and emergency procedures. The company provided technical support and even acted as an on-site professional resource in case of questions or concerns during the wrap installation.

Designing the graphics
Concurrent to the logistical planning, Sleek’s design team was busy designing and producing the artwork. One of the company’s original designs for the graphics essentially served as the inspiration for the final design.

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While the graphics were not overly complex, one of the major topics of discussion during the design process was the need to consider colour contrast and readability. Dozens of proofs were produced over the course of several weeks, under the oversight of design lead Stephanie Frandsen. Modifications continued until mid-April before finally settling on the approved design.

Whenever possible, two teams worked simultaneously.

From there, the next task was to ensure the graphics were tiled and spliced properly. Sleek planned to use custom slit perforated film, unlaminated and printed from edge to edge on an HP Latex 3000 roll-to-roll (RTR) inkjet press. The challenge was ensuring control for stretching while using a marking and labelling system to make it clear for the installation crew where to start wrapping each column of graphics. Unlike the earlier Roughriders wrap, the starting points varied and, in the heat of the summer sun, controlling for stretch was a major concern.

In the end, Sleek used a different approach, noting the projected window end points and printing the full columns, with trimming to be handled on-site. The marks would allow the installers to reference the previous column each time and adjust the film as needed to ensure proper alignment.

Sleek printed test versions to scale and full-colour proofs for the client to sign off on, all the while steering the design changes to maximize contrast against the towers’ blue window panelling.

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