By Cassandra Balentine
Graphics serve many purposes from messaging and branding to bringing art to life. With wide format printing equipment, print providers help translate ideas into reality. Applications found on the floor, wall, or window are able to communicate virtually anything the buyer wishes to their intended audience.
In business since the 1980s, Coloredge started out as one of the premier photo labs serving some of the top photographers of New York, NY. The company has since evolved to serve luxury retail and fashion brands worldwide as well as architectural firms for visual marketing and branded environments.
Its origins in high-end photography and dealing with such clients have prepared it well. Today, it provides both pre- and post-production services including design, retouching, mechanical studio support, and installation across the globe. The print service provider (PSP) offers a broad portfolio of solutions for retail, events, stadiums and arenas, museums, out of home, corporate, and beauty.
For imaging and display work, Coloredge focuses on wide format, photographic printing, vinyl applications, finishing and mounting, custom fabrication, installation, and digital signage. It also offers packaging capabilities, including creative/design, prototyping, photography, production art, and prepress.
Coloredge operates four offices across the U.S., with locations in New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Carlstadt, NJ; and Atlanta, GA. It is also part of the ABC Imaging network based out of Alexandria, VA and has more than 500 employees in 33 different locations in China, England, United Arab Emirates, and the U.S.
Above: Coloredge, with multiple locations in NY, CA, NJ, and GA, reproduced Soonae Tark’s Magic Carpet as a digitally printed floor graphic, which was installed at Bliss Plaza in Queens, New York, NY. The project was commissioned by the NYC Department of Transportation and printed on Jessup’s Asphalt Art media using a Durst Rho P10 250 HS Plus.
Approximately 70 percent of Coloredge’s business is large format printing. To support this work, it employs a variety of ten- and 16-foot flatbed and roll-to-roll printers, ranging from UV, eco-solvent, and latex. Its portfolio provides both versatility and redundancy for special event projects as well as rollouts.
Of its wide format work, a small but growing application is floor graphics. “Although they have been around for a long time for wayfinding or short-term marketing purposes, floor graphics are gaining traction as impressionable marketing and design opportunities,” says Will Price, VP of sales and new business development, Coloredge.
The print provider finds that floor graphics present a unique visual impact sought after by creatives. “They are paying attention to floor and ground space as opportunities for connecting with viewers in unanticipated ways,” he comments.
Its floor graphics are generally printed using a UV device—the Durst Rho P10 250 HS Plus by Durst Image Technology US, LLC. According to Price, this is due to its versatility and speed. The hybrid machine offers a resolution of up to 1,000 dpi and is able to print on both rigid and roll media.
For media, the print provider prefers one-step floor graphic substrates, including Jessup Manufacturing Company’s floor and exterior media. A one-step system eliminates the need for lamination. Price finds them to be more cost effective while providing greater performance for the customer in terms of durability, duration, and safety.
Price admits that there are challenges in regards to floor graphics, including gaining permissions from authorities, whether it be the department of transportation, mall management, or a landlord. “They are concerned with pedestrian and vehicular safety as well as ensuring a clean removal,” he shares.
One recent floor graphic Coloredge produced was a reproduction of the work Magic Carpet from artist Soonae Tark. This was installed in Bliss Plaza in Queens, New York, NY. The project was commissioned by the NYC Department of Transportation in partnership with Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) in Sunnyside Queens, New York, NY.
The goal of the project was to feature Tark’s art as the centerpiece for the district’s hub, which is adjacent to the elevated subway line, to improve the scenery and increase traffic for local businesses in the area.
Price says the challenge was to take the artist’s work and have it interpreted in the space for the duration of 12 months—from May 2019 to April 2020.
Another challenge was the artist’s medium choice, which for Soonae Tark is often rigid painted wooden and plastic panels, while the street commission is typically painted surfaces.
“The solution was marrying the two mediums for this project,” explains Price. Coloredge selected Jessup’s Asphalt Art substrate for the job. “This material proved reliable for the 12 month anticipated display time, holding color and maintaining integrity during high city pedestrian traffic,” he attests.
Asphalt Art is an anti-slip media that conforms to uneven outdoor surfaces such as asphalt, concrete, and paving bricks, providing a painted-on effect. Since it withstands vehicle traffic it is well suited for outdoor advertising, point of purchase graphics, event signage, wayfinding messaging, street art, and retail or restaurant pick-up areas.
Before printing the artwork, Coloredge had to photograph the original art panels and convert them to digital form. From there it adjusted the color for wood grain and the pattern colors.
Once this step was complete, the floor was prepared for installation, which included power washing and a traffic diversion. The installation took approximately five hours to complete and the final design measured 16 by 40 feet.
Price says Soonae Tark, the NYC Department of Transportation, and Sunnyside Shines BID were happy with the results. “Judging from the increased traffic and pedestrian interest, the project was a success,” he shares.
After installation the true test was how the graphics would hold up for a year with the pedestrian traffic. However, due to COVID-19 the April 2020 date was indefinitely put on hold and the graphic was not removed until November 2020.
“At this point, it was discovered that while the image was somewhat worn, the material integrity remained intact for more than 18 months,” states Price.
Coloredge offers a broad portfolio of imaging and design work. While floor graphics are currently a small portion of its business, the opportunity is apparent.
Thanks to a rich background, the PSP produces floor graphics with marketing messages as well as those that are more artistically pleasing. Installations like the art rendering for NYC Department of Transportation and Sunnyside Shines BID show out-of-the-box applications generate interest while beautifying surroundings.
Sep2021, DPS Magazine