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Display Graphics’ Signage Goes Miles for Houston Marathons

Site and off-premise graphics brand city, Olympic Trial runs



Amidst a growing fitness craze, the surging popularity of marathon running has become a curious phenomenon. What was once the domain of professional competitors seen on Wide World of Sports, or a health nut’s esoteric pursuit, has become positively mainstream as weekend warriors routinely run the races – and adorn their cars with 13.1 and 26.2 stickers (denoting miles run in half and full marathons, respectively).

The Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) called upon Houston-based Display Graphics to perform double duty and fabricate graphics for both the Houston Marathon and the Olympic Trials that determine which marathoners will represent the U.S. in London this September.

HMC’s staff provided vector-graphic art of the images, which Display Graphics’ Lynn Creel fine-tuned with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. He said, “We assisted them with material specs, and educated them about materials recently introduced to the market.

If you watch the YouTube clip of the 2006 Chicago Marathon [winner Robert Cheruiyot slipped and injured himself on pavement graphics as he crossed the finish line], it’s clear why a non-slip surface was so important to race officials.”

He continued, “Each year, we debate whether to install the graphics the night before or the morning
of the event. Sometimes, it’s a last-minute decision based on the weather forecast. One year, we put the graphics down the night before, but had to pull them up when unexpected rain fell in the morning.”
For this project, Display Graphics applied Continental Grafix’s Asphalt Art® slip-resistant, white, foil media. The material meets OSHA’s general-purpose, anti-slip requirements for surface applications, and complies with NFSI and ASTM D-2047 non-slip certification requirements.

Creel and his crew applied the graphics with a large, propane torch, and pressed the media into place by walking across it. The shop produced the graphics on the shop’s EFI-VUTEk QS 2200 hybrid/roll-to-roll media.
Display Graphics bedecked the lobby floor of a Hilton downtown, which served as one of the Olympic Trials’ host hotels. The shop printed the graphics with 3M’s Scotchcal IJ40-10R, a white-glossy film that provides a removable adhesive compatible for short-term graphics, on the QS 2200 hybrid.


“Normally, we have several days of set-up, and are only printing one set of graphics for the Houston Marathon,” Creel said. “But, this year, having marathons on successive days with completely different graphics stepped up the deadlines.”

Display Graphics produced barricade graphics for the Houston Marathon – the graphics stand approximately 3 ft. tall and run from 1,200 ft. in front of the finish line to 400 ft. behind it – with 6-oz., mesh material connected to the barrier with hemmed pole pockets. It printed the graphics on an HP Scitex XLJet solvent-ink printer.

To comply to the tight deadlines, Display Graphics enlisted High-Tech Signs (Fort Wayne, IN) to produce barricade graphics for the Olympic trials. High-Tech fabricated an array of site signage with banner media, mesh material and pressure-sensitive vinyl applied to a corrugated-plastic substrate. All work was done on a 16.4-ft.-wide HP Scitex XL Jet 1500.

Display Graphics also decorated the gateway arch at the start/finish line for both races. Normally, installers apply the graphics on the ground and have the arch lifted by crane into place. They did so for the Olympic Trial event, which took place on a Saturday, but, for the next day’s race, they climbed ladders to cut the Olympic graphics down and install new ones with the structure in place. The shop printed the graphics on mesh media printed on the hybrid printer.



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