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The Hang of It: Mile High Banners

Metromedia Technologies helps Denver art organizations promote upcoming exhibits.

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From medieval times, when warring clans used animal blood and vegetable dyes to decorate flags before heading into battle, banners have served as a visual-communication staple. They’ve perpetually loomed as a cornerstone for signshops that emphasize vinyl fabrication. According to the 2009 Commercial State of the Industry Report (see ST, August 2010, page 62), 92.8% of shops that produce non-electric signs fabricate banners, and banners represent 19.9% of all commercial sign sales (among high-volume shops that gross more than $500,000 of sales annually, that percentage grows to 23.8%). Ever-improving materials, inks, RIPs and color profiles have enabled providers to deliver more vivid, crisp prints that can be installed in more varied environments.

Sure, there will always be a market for 4 x 8-ft. “Sale Today” or “Grand Opening” banners designed with black, Helvetica letters. Such a job’s price point is simply what fits some customers’ modest bottom lines. However, some customers thankfully take the maxim, “A business with no sign is a sign of no business,” to a higher level with dynamic, soft-sided signage – often well integrated with broader environmental-graphic programs that feature signage, wayfinding and other signage elements.
 

Metromedia Technologies (MMT), a multinational, digital-service provider with eight North American locations, fabricated several grand-format banners for the Denver Museum of Art and several other Mile High City arts institutions and organizations that ordered banners to promote current and upcoming events and exhibits.

To begin the process for the fabrication and installation of the six, 31.5 x 16-ft. banners, MMT presented its art-preparation sheet, which provides specifics for the artwork-file creation and recommended software. Before production begins, the company provides an Epson-printed, hard-copy proof or a PDF rendering for final approval.
 

MMT fabricated the program on its proprietary mesh vinyl, which, according to MMT’s Abhi Vyas, provides strong tensile strength for such jobs. Further, the service provider implements a custom, drum-printing process that incorporates acrylic paints instead of inks.

He said, “We believe our automotive-grade, acrylic-based paints provide the most vibrant and precise color matches. The process allows a broader color gamut, and yields color saturation that picks up the original artwork’s nuances.”

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MMT outsourced the banners’ installation to Denver-based C. Behrend Corp., which affixed the banners to a parking structure with an expanded-metal façade that comprises 1 x 4-in., rectangular links. Per MMT’s specs, C. Behrend used 12-gauge wire to fasten the banners, and fastened grommets at 9-in. intervals to secure the banners to the façade.
 

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