Graphics Fit for a Rap King

New York's Apple Visual Graphics offers Roc Nation a graphic's makeover.

Big Picture

The Client Roc Nation

The Players Apple Visual Graphics

Tools & Supplies Mimaki JV33, Mimaki ES3 Eco-Solvent inks, Sihl Smart Canvas Matte 3482, OnOne Software Perfect Resize 7

The Job When Roc Nation, the music-publishing and entertainment company, got wind that hip-hop tycoon Jay Z was going to pay a visit to its Manhattan corporate headquarters, it hustled to spruce up its offices and make them fit for a rap king. For graphic-décor upgrades, Roc Nation looked to its long-time print provider, New York-based Apple Visual Graphics, to liven up the lobby with some new artwork. The publisher called for 30 square images of its most famous artists, including Rihanna, Wale, The Ting Tings, J. Cole, Willow Smith, and Jay-Z himself.

“We’d been working with Roc Nation for a month or so on Rocawear [Jay Z’s fashion company], when their art director asked us if we could print on canvas and stretch it. We priced the job and worked with them to design the project. Because Jay Z’s appearance was announced with such short notice, we had only five days to complete the job,” says Adam Sturm, Apple Visual’s president.

Production Roc Nation provided Apple Visual with the images via the shop’s FTP site. “The files were not set up to wrap around the canvas stretcher bars. We had to resize all the files using Perfect Resize 7 and add to the picture in Photoshop to stretch it and bleed around the bars,” says Sturm. After retouching and expanding all of the files, Apple Visual converted the images to CMYK mode, then cropped each image to the proper size. “We then provided PDF proofs and ‘patch’ proofs to show resolution, and a few full-size proofs for color.”

“The biggest challenge was taking snap shot images and turning them into artistic, super-fine quality photographs. The client wanted a blistering turnaround, yet we had to spend an entire day on file work alone.”

After Roc Nation approved the images via e-mail, press-quality PDF files were sent to print. Apple Visual chose its Mimaki JV33 to output onto more than 550 square feet of Sihl Smart Canvas Matte 3428. Fearing that the solvent smell from having 30 prints in one relatively small space would be too overwhelming, the shop went with Mimaki’s ES3 Eco-Solvent inks.

The prints – varying in size from 18 x 24 to 48 x 72 inches – were installed onto stretcher bars using just a straight edge and a staple gun, then hung gallery style using basic picture and eye hooks along with framing wire. In all, the project took two days to print, two-and-a-half days to assemble and stretch all 30 prints, and then one day to install. The photo gallery of stars was completed just in time for Jay Z’s arrival.

Apple Visual Graphics

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