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Broadening Print's Horizons

(December 2008) posted on Mon Dec 08, 2008

Why Sport Graphics never says 'No.'

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By Peggy Middendorf

The company’s commitment to the Colts, by the way, doesn’t stop with the stadium. Sport Graphics’ commercial division even prints the playbooks for the team-personalized for each player. As you might guess, the printing is done under high security, and if a player loses his playbook, there is a heavy fine to pay and Sport Graphics reprints that copy.

Problem solving
Many hands-on production VPs would pull out their hair at the prospect of undertaking all of these projects, which require exact engineering to design and build signage systems. However, Caudill likes the challenge presented with new jobs and relies on his staff, which he describes as "highly skilled and highly creative people," to produce high-quality graphics, problem-solve complex projects, and deliver the graphics on time.

The staff creativity goes beyond designing massive displays. One project for the new Colts stadium was to provide the letters for each of the suites. Originally, the plans called for solid aluminum letters, but these are expensive and heavy to hang. Using the company’s AXYZ router, however, they were able to cut letters out of Dibond with a brushed silver finish and then paint the black foam core silver with spray paint. The resulting letters look just like solid aluminum at about a quarter of the price. And most importantly, the customer was very pleased with the result-both on the wall and in their wallet.

Sport Graphics doesn’t outsource the install end of a job. Instead, virtually all of the installation of the graphics they print is executed by the in-house staff that runs the printers and does the finishing of the digital graphics. Caudill’s multitalented employees are regularly trained and certified in various methods of installation. "Having the printing and finishing staff involved with the install makes for a better product. Knowing how the final graphic will be installed helps the staff to better understand how it needs to be finished," he says.

For large-scale multifaceted projects like the NCAA Final Four, Caudill goes to the site to designate areas for graphics, as well as make meticulous measurements. Once the graphics are printed, Caudill and his crew return for the install. For short-term graphics, the installers generally stay through the event to take the graphics down the day after. Many of these graphics are not reused, but some are saved for dispersal to players or local charities.