Meteor Print has the unique job of wrapping the musician's home in the woods.
There are many ways to define success as a print service provider, but perhaps nothing says you’ve made it until a celebrity knocks on your door for graphics. When Meteor Print (www.meteorprint.com) received word that musician Kid Rock was looking for wide-format graphics work, they knew this would be no ordinary project.
“What’s unique about this type of client is that there is a very personal attachment to the project,” says Lee Skandalaris, president of Meteor (a subsidiary of Quantum Digital). “Unlike doing work for major brands where you often deal with people in their marketing or creative departments, celebrities are often their own brand and they have a very personal attachment to what they do. If the projects are successful, they are your best spokesperson.”
Kid Rock was looking to have his entire home wrapped in camouflage graphics. Although this wasn’t the first time Meteor had done work for the rock star – the shop had recently wrapped Kid Rock’s baby grand piano – this job would prove to be an entirely different ballgame, because the shop had never before wrapped a house.
The project came through Meteor’s exclusive partnership with a national outdoor brand Mossy Oak. “Through our partnership, we produce all of Mossy Oak’s camouflage graphics under a brand we jointly created called Mossy Oak Graphics (www.mossyoakgraphics.com),” says Skandalaris.
Mossy Oak designed the camouflage graphics for the house and delivered it to Meteor as a swatch. “The swatch is designed to repeat without any seams, but it’s designed for camouflage clothing and other outdoor applications. To make it more suitable for a larger project like this, we increased the scale using Adobe Creative Suite 6 to cover the house with fewer repeats,” says Skandalaris.
The Meteor team was unable to visit the home for measurements before completing the project; instead, they were forced to rely solely on a template of the house created by the original architect. “This certainly saved us some time, but without doing a site survey there was also a lot of unknowns,” explains Skandalaris. “As a result, we took some precautions in how we set up the files and also provided additional material to our installers for any unforeseen issues.”
In producing the wrap, Meteor chose 3M Scotchcal IJ-180cv3 media with 3M Controltac Ultra Matte 8915 overlaminate because when using camouflage, customers are often seeking a material with the lowest gloss level possible, says Skandalaris. The shop took to its HP Scitex LX800 with HP 3M Specialty Latex inks to output the wrap in 60-inch-wide panels.
The 3750 square feet of material was laminated using a Seal 5500 laminator, then trimmed using a Zund G3 3XL 3200 cutter. Output took roughly eight hours and finishing took about three.
Outputting camouflage is unlike printing most patterns, and takes a bit more care and attention to detail, says Skandalaris.
“Camouflage is designed using photographic elements of nature. As a result, it requires the machine to produce colors that closely resemble the outdoors. We’ve found that most solvent and UV inks tend to make camouflage look unnatural in daylight. Additionally, due to the photographic elements in the patterns, it’s very important our machines produce very high resolution and at high speeds,” he explains.
Meteor’s own 3M Preferred installers handled installation with the help of Atlanta-based Miller Decals (www.millerdecals.com). A team of two installed the wrap on the home over four days, one of which was cut short because of rain.
Luckily, the house was located in a remote area in Alabama, simplifying permitting and other challenges that come with large installations in more urban areas. But, despite the perks of the location, the installation was not without its challenges.
“The installation was probably the most difficult part of this job. We had a short timeframe to complete the job and low temperatures for the duration of the installation,” says Skandalaris. “Our installers were frequently battling rain, morning dew, dust, and low temperatures. They had to heat the siding of the house before installing the vinyl. But, before they could finish installing a panel, the remaining area would cool and need to be reheated. The last night, they also used vehicle lights to work at night because the weather was not improving and there was no guarantee they would be able to finish the following day.”