Bigger = Better

Printed aluminum graphics set Sugar Skull Rum Landing apart from your run-of-the-mill patio bar.

Bluemedia creates large-scale signage for big-name brands, teams, events, and venues for the NFL, Verizon, iHeartRadio, T-Mobile, Pepsi, the Super Bowl, and more. And almost everything bluemedia creates is big – in scale and scope. They’re often branding an entire space. With a 130,000-square-foot printing facility and 13 wide-format printers at their headquarters in Tempe, Arizona, direct-to-substrate printing makes up a small part of bluemedia’s overall work – about 15 percent – but there are specific projects for which direct printing is the only way to go.

In the fall of 2017, bluemedia was tapped for the rebranding of a patio and bar at the Amway Center – home of the Orlando Magic NBA team – to showcase team sponsor Sugar Skull Rum. (Rap artist and mogul Master P, a Sugar Skull Rum investor, was on hand for the bar’s opening.)

The outdoor bar area overlooking downtown Orlando features signature cocktails available for purchase by anyone with a ticket to arena events. 

bluemediaThe focal point for Sugar Skull Rum Landing is an industrial-style 8 x 15-foot perforated aluminum decorative wall emblazoned with colorful graphics to complement the libation’s logo, which is featured on other elements throughout the bar. Printing directly onto the 24 sections of aluminum, which needed to be bent into shape, presented a challenge, says Hayes Holzhauer, bluemedia executive VP of operations. “We couldn’t risk bending the aluminum after printing, as we knew damage to the printed image was inevitable,” he says.

The solution? Fabricators cut, sanded, bent, and clear coated (for ink adhesion) each metal piece. For stability of the bent pieces during printing, they cut sections of foamboard for each metal segment that ran through the printer. After printing the image using an EFI Vutek GS3250 flatbed/roll UV printer, the pieces were clear coated again for protection from the elements at the outdoor lounge. Bluemedia installers flew to Orlando to set up the decorative wall, along with several other graphics in the bar.

Explore more direct-to-substrate graphics in Big Picture's May 2018 "New Direction" feature.

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