On August 13, 2014, the city of Pasadena, CA and the Flintridge Center, a Pasadena entity that battles poverty and violence in the community, combined forces to initiate the Real Change Movement, a mechanism for soliciting donations at parking meters to build homes for the homeless. Surf City Graphics (Huntington Beach, CA) wrapped that first parking meter and eight more, and placed floor graphics below them or wall graphics beside them to encourage people to make credit-card or cash donations via the parking meters. Surf City Graphics owner Michael Dmytrow said five more meters are pending, which means they’re awaiting $1,500 sponsorships. Dmytrow said the Flintridge Center and Saeshe (Los Angeles), a branding company, found Surf City Graphics through Google and Yelp Search. Saeshe and Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design created the artwork. Students worked on the project for eight months, and one faculty participant described the process as a “psychological study” designed to see what could motivate people to act. Thus, the students’ initial task was to try to determine how this could be accomplished. For example, they decided to call it a “movement” in order to make it more than a one-time occurrence.
Additionally, while a campaign to help the homeless might include stark, black-and-white images to accentuate their plight, the movement’s website states “Using only bright colors, the class created a campaign that could pass for a hip fashion brand. This was based on the idea that people in Pasadena look for the latest trend, at what’s exciting, and what is cool. The campaign, with its bold, vibrant visuals, is one the class felt people would look at, and pay attention to.”
Surf City Graphics first became involved in January 2014 with the R&D for the project. After the college completed its designs, Surf City Graphics used Abode Illustrator software to create the pre-press artwork. Surf City Graphics used its Roland Pro II printer/cutter to print on the 3M IJ180C V3 vinyl, protected with 3M’s 8518 gloss lamination, for the floor/wall wraps and parking meters. Surf City Graphics utilized a Vutek QS3220 flatbed, roll-to-roll printer to decorate the Asphalt Art media for the 4 x 5-ft. floor wraps. (The Vutek printer is owned by Sign Designs, a Fountain Valley, CA print shop with which Surf City Graphics has worked since its inception.) Each meter is accompanied by either a floor or wall wrap, but not both. Thus, each individual site uses approximately 36 sq. ft. of vinyl printed with two colors.
Overall, Dmytrow estimates the company spent 30 hours in R&D, which included 10 hours to experiment with how to wrap a parking meter. After a procedure was standardized, two people could wrap a meter in 1.5-2 hours, while a solo installer would need 2.5-3 hours. Three of Surf City Graphics’ six employees actively wrapped the meters, using felt-tip squeegees, a propane torch, Olfa and X-Acto knives, denatured alcohol, microfiber cloth and shop towels. The three have 17 combined years of wrapping experience.
The meter wrapping involved cutting a 40 x 54-in. piece of vinyl into 16 pieces. The sequence was pole first, orange side graphics, faces, back side, top side, yellow side graphics and finally, a smiling yellow face to complete the job. Overall, Dmytrow said, “It’s a little more difficult than wrapping a vehicle because of the complexity and attention to detail it requires.”
In business for six years, Surf City Graphics achieves 80% of its business from commercial/private vehicle wraps and large-format printing. Other public work has included a full BBQ-trailer wrap for the City of Long Beach Fire Dept., South Coast Fire Protection District truck graphics, sponsor banners for the Huntington Beach High School lacrosse team, retractable banner stands and a gym-floor wrap for the school’s Music Guild, and banner graphics and prints for Goldenwest College. Surf City Graphics also sponsored more than 40 wraps for DOC Bands (for infants with misshapen heads) through a program called Wrap Buddies. The children then look like they’re wearing decorative headgear, rather than a bandage.
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