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Street Furniture

Appleton Signs gives a furniture purveyor a streetwise image.

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The Appleton Sign Co. (Neenah and Kewaskum, WI) has developed a relationship with Furniture & Appliance Mart, which operates five Badger State locations, through creating signs for his other household-furnishing enterprises. When the client wanted graphics applied to the company’s new, box-truck fleet, it hired Appleton to outfit his 11-vehicle fleet, which comprises seven box trucks or extended-cube vans, and four demountable trailers.

To provide an updated image, Appleton’s art director, Brian Meyer, altered the company’s logo, from which Appleton fabricated a new sign program. Subsequently, Meyer handed off the project to Eric Cates, who incorporated many of the signs’ graphic elements into the fleets’ design, and used images from furniture purveyors whose products the store carried, along with some complementary, stock photography.

Using Corel Corp. CorelDraw® X3 software, Cates created the initial vector art, which he then imported into Adobe® Photoshop® with the high-resolution images to manipulate and superimpose the graphic mix into the finished product. Graphics manager Josh Turkow output the graphics to the printer with Wasatch’s 6.2 RIP software.

To prep the surface, Appleton used a two-step process. First, installers Chris Trainer and Eric Mason used industrial-grade glass cleaner to remove residual grime, which they followed with a water and rubbing-alcohol solution that provided surface “teeth.” Appleton output the wrap using Oracal USA’s 3551RA high-performance media with RapidAir™ air-egress adhesive on its Mimaki USA JV3-160SP solvent-ink printer with SS2 inks, which it protected with Oracal’s 290 overlaminate.

Appleton applied the wraps to the trucks lengthwise, using six, 54-in.-tall panels with ½-in. overlap between sections. Each truck’s back door required two, 54-in. panels that used the back door’s seam to conceal the panels’ overlap. To install the wrap, Appleton’s team used propane torches to conform the film over rivets, 4-in.-wide Lidco squeegees and Olfa stainless-steel cutting knives.

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Cates said project logistics created the major hurdle. The shop was allowed a one-month window to output the graphics, and available resources allowed only one designer and printer to work on the project. Moreover, the two installers had to complete their task prior to 9 a.m. daily, when the client began its delivery schedule approximately 90 minutes from the shop. However, Cates and his cohorts weren’t fazed.

“Tight deadlines are simply a fact of life in this business,” he said.

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