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Infinity Images’ Retail Refresh for Columbia Sportswear

(January 2014) posted on Wed Jan 15, 2014

How retail accounts can create long-term relationships and new directions for print providers.

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By Mike Antoniak

“The window change-outs can happen quite often, every six weeks or so,” he explains. Other graphics might be updated on a more seasonal rotation, as Columbia Sportswear promotes specific products for that time of year. At least twice a year, the stores garner an entirely new look, with new graphics and displays throughout.

Showing the client what’s possible
There’s a lot of back and forth – as the projects evolve, the various ideas are tested and refined. “We deal with a client like Columbia Sportswear on a daily basis, talking about current projects as well as things we’ll be doing several months out,” says Mockley. “At this level, we’re working with the creative director and their teams, starting with a concept then seeing what works best.”

“They’re continually pushing us to print on new materials and the engineering side, too. Sometimes they look to us to take their ideas and expand on that and show them what’s possible.”

When designs and displays are finalized and approved, a variety of sizes and media might be required, driven by the artwork for that promotion. It might include banners, window graphics, high-res prints, and more. “Some are 3D structures that we build,” says Mockley. “Some are more product-focused, and some more based around the photography.” The tools used to produce the graphics will vary as well.

For instance, at Columbia’s flagship store in Seattle earlier this year, the graphics included:
• Two large exterior wall wraps on adhesive-backed vinyl, each measuring 10-feet wide x 40-feet tall, output with the company’s recently added Durst Rho 1000, onto 3M adhesive vinyl;
• Wide-format prints mounted in specially built rounded magnetic frames, promoting the new line of Columbia’s Sorel footwear, printed with a Durst Lambda onto Lambda metallic paper; and
• Window clings and banners highlighting new products, printed with Infinity’s EFI Vutek QS3220 and QS2000 flatbeds.

“We utilize whichever output device is needed for the media requirements,” says Mockley. “Size often dictates which of the machines we’ll use. For most of our large-format rollouts, we’ll use the Rho 1000 or our EFI printers.”