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Seriously Transparent

(March 2013) posted on Thu Feb 28, 2013

BP Graphics covers Capital Metro buses with x-ray-inspired graphics.


By Gregory Sharpless

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Looking to remind the community you serve that you’re an open book when it comes to funds and spending? You might consider how Capital Metro – the Austin, Texas transit authority – took on the challenge. To help ensure its constituency and knowing that every dollar Capital Metro spends can be easily tracked on its website, the transit authority chose to go “seriously transparent” with bus graphics that exposed more than ever before.

With a vision to cover the driver’s side of Metro busses with an x-ray-inspired graphic, Capital Metro began collecting bids from print shops. “While we have a long-standing relationship with Capital Metro, it collects bids for every job,” says Michelle Carpenter of Phoenix-based BP Graphics (www.bp-graphics.com), which was chosen to output the graphics.

The project comprised the production of graphics for six 35-foot Metro buses. Capital Metro’s Paul Del Bosque designed the “transparent” graphics and delivered the files through the site’s FTP. “Our prepress department worked with Capital Metro to modify the general bus-side templates to accommodate the new style of Metro buses, which were being wrapped for the first time,” says Carpenter.

BP Graphics color corrected the files, added a bleed, and readied them for print. A PDF proof was sent for content approval and then a section of the graphic was output full size on the final media for color approval.

Using its HP Scitex LX600 rollfed printer with HP Latex inks, the shop then output the 1700 square feet of graphics. The primary graphics were printed onto 3M Controltac IJ3552C vinyl, while 3M Scotchcal 8914 perforated window film was utilized for the window graphics. Finishing included lamination, using a Seal 62 Pro and 3M Scotchcal 8519 luster laminate for the primary graphics and 3M Scotchcal 8914 laminate for the windows. The final size of the graphics: approximately 8 x 35 feet.

The installation work was outsourced to Phoenix-based TransOne Graphics (trans1graphix.com). Because the install work would be executed by another company, BP Graphics went the extra mile to ensure that the graphics were delivered in a way that this phase of the project would run smoothly.

“An important aspect of producing graphics that are installed in the field on a nationwide basis is to develop very favorable relationships with the posting companies and installers. These folks can literally make or break a project,” says Jim Schade, inside sales rep for BP Graphics. “If we are not able to deliver our products to the correct specifications to make the installer’s job easier, we have done a disservice to our clients, the installers, and our reputation.”

“Increased transparency and accountability have been two key goals for raising the bar at Capital Metro,” says Linda Watson, Capital Metro president, “and will ensure we’ll be able to make wise investments in the future for needed transit services for our community.”


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