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Elegant elevator features printed images

Graphics | March 1, 2011 | By:

The project. Emerging Terrain, a non-profit organization in Omaha, Neb., selected a vacant grain elevator off Interstate 80 in downtown Omaha to exhibit an interpretive display of land use, agriculture and food. An on-site dinner was planned to celebrate the exhibition. The organization received art submissions and a jury voted on 13 images to be printed and affixed to the side of the grain elevator. Each banner was to be 20-by-80 feet and feature a creative image significant to Nebraskan agriculture.

The company. Emerging Terrain commissioned greatBigcolor (gBc), a digital print production facility in Denver, Colo., that specializes in large-format graphics, in-store point-of-purchase displays and traditional advertising.

The task. The banners will help advance Emerging Terrain’s goal of bringing attention to, and creating a discourse around, historic landscape structures.

The challenge. Printing over 20,000 square feet of banners and have them arrive in Omaha in time for installation on each elevator cylinder prior to the event was the challenge. The finishing process (welding, sewing, hemming and grommeting) needed to be carried out on each of the 13 banners. The display location and size of the banners meant windy conditions could pose a problem.

The solution. Good time management kept the production team on track. Each banner took more than seven hours to complete. The banners were printed on a 5-meter HP Xcel jet press using Triangle solvent inks. Taking wind and installation challenges into consideration, gBc selected a 9-ounce standard mesh and added hemming and reinforced grommets every two feet. Emerging Terrain was able to reuse the material at the end of the project to create tote bags, adding a green element to the project.

The result. The exhibition was a visual sensation, with each banner literally being a work of art. Emerging Terrain received both local and national press attention, and was thrilled with the printing and finishing of each banner. The organization plans to showcase them again in the future.

Mara Whitten is a freelance writer from Eagan, Minn.

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