By Courtney Saba
Part 2 of 2
While sporting event signage is usually related to high-profile venues and big brand names, it’s also an option at the local level. Town or school teams require banners and signs too. Local sign shops are perfectly positioned to meet those needs.
Photo Images by Carl
Photo Images by Carl was established in 1995 in Pulaski, WI. The business relocated to its current location of Iron Mountain, MI in 2000. Carl Caylor, a solo portrait photographer and studio owner, is the sole employee. He generally works with high school seniors, families, and children, but attracts some commercial portrait assignments as well. Outside of the studio, he lectures and teaches worldwide to professional photographers.
A work area of around 1,900 square feet includes a gallery, a separate space for shooting subjects with his camera, a presentation room, a spot to change, and a section for the large format printer.
Geographically, Caylor’s client base is spread out over a broad area. The population of the closest town is just over 7,600 people and the surrounding community, about 100 miles in diameter, is less than 20,000 people.
Besides portraits, Caylor prints signs and banners as a service to the schools in the area. He also creates banners to market the studio. The printer of choice is a Canon U.S.A., Inc. imagePROGRAF iPF8400. Caylor has used the new Canon for just over a year now and printed on vinyl, art rag, canvas, watercolor, photographic, and fabric media, each one proving incredible results.
“I get new ideas with all the new materials and printer options. I have done banners, locker posters, and motivational wall hangings, as well as my normal canvas and fine art prints,” he explains.
An avid user of media from LexJet Corporation, Caylor has relied on the supplier for over 12 years. Recently he’s worked with LexJet TOUGHcoat ThriftyBanner for outdoor signage and LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric for indoor projects.
A Sporting Job
As an incentive to younger athletes, to create community bonding, and act as an advertisement for the company’s services—specifically senior portraits—Caylor recently created signs of senior varsity football, volleyball, cheerleading, and tennis players at a local high school. These were displayed at the entrance of games held at home. It sounds simple, but beyond the 150-plus hours of photography, artwork, and printing, there were many challenges to overcome.
According to Caylor, the football team’s display was the most labor intensive. It required designing and manufacturing a display rack that covered 72 feet of space and held 30 images total. Caylor made vertical stands with 2x4s and used ¾-inch black pipe to act as the horizontal pieces. After hanging the banners the first time, he realized the span between the uprights was too far and the pipes sagged too much. After that, he used additional black pipe and repositionable brackets to act as extra vertical support in the middle of each section.
The signs for the other sport teams were much smaller in stature and attached to fences with zip ties, pinned to cork strips inside, or hung on a rope from the back of bleachers.
LexJet TOUGHcoat ThriftyBanner was used for all of the signs, which were printed on the Canon imagePROGRAF iPF8400. Self-piercing grommets and self-adhesive corner pieces were used to adhere the final graphics, depending on where they were placed.
This was Caylor’s first attempt at this kind of project. With the intension of doing it for many years, he didn’t push himself until this year when his son was a senior athlete.
“The response was tremendous. Even though the school did not acknowledge it, they were worried about other sponsors being upset. I could not attach my name to the banners in any way, everyone knew who did it and I received a great deal of buzz. I’m hoping it carries over into more business this next season. It was a costly project and very time consuming, but I would do it over again if given the chance,” says Caylor.
On a Local Level
Although it was a great deal of work—more than anything Caylor produces—it was worth it in the end. With the amount of displays showcased at each of these high school sporting events, it’s possible that Caylor will have every nearby senior lined up for portraits.
Sporting event signage doesn’t always have to be grand in stature. It can also cater to a team on a local, non-professional level and still be a profitable source of income for any sign business.
Jul2016, DPS Magazine