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Animating Fans at the Airport

Local artist goes big with 858 Graphics and its Seiko ColorPainter H-104




What better way to greet comic-book enthusiasts than with an oversized version of their favorite medium?

This past July, the folks who run San Diego International Airport wanted to make attendees of ComicCon International 2009 feel right at home, and so hooked up with print provider 858 Graphics to feature the artwork of local cartoonist and artist Wardell Brown in a big way.

The result: a 95 x 10-foot wall wrap in the airport’s Terminal 2 east-west corridor. Titled “Quint’s Quest,” the graphic is complete with not only Brown’s character Quint—an elf who dreams of slaying a dragon for his family’s honor—but also cartoon-type panels and borders.

San Diego-based 858 Graphics ( received the competitive bid to print and install the artwork, which, like most jobs, wasn’t without its trials and tribulations, says Brandon Stapper, president of 858.

“The precision combined with the turnaround time was challenging,” Stapper admits. “There was no room for error. The only way to get it done was to go 10 out of 10, and get it done right.”

Brown sent the image files to 858 via .ai/vector format, and while there wasn’t a lot of image correction needed, there was some scaling to be done. 858 also had to get approval on the final images from the artist and airport, so hard proofs were necessary.
“Our in-house designers created two proofs, one showing the complete artwork scaled down to 24-inches wide,” Stapper says. “The second proof was a 24-inch piece showing how the artwork would look at 100-percent scale. We then had a meeting with the artist and the airport, and they decided that the color and quality was acceptable the first time around.”


For output, Stapper and crew utilized its recently acquired 8-color Seiko ColorPainter H-104 and Onyx ProductionHouse RIP with mild-solvent Seiko inks, printing onto 3M Controltac 180 Series matte cast vinyl. Output of the approximately 1000 square feet of vinyl—23 58-inch panels—took more than 12 hours. Finishing was done with a 62-inch Seal laminator and 3M matte laminate.

It took two 858 Graphics installers nearly 14 hours to complete the install, because production and install began to run together. “We were actually bringing prints down to the airport as they were installing them,” Stapper says, adding that although the job was completed on time and at a furious pace, quality was maintained—a key business philosophy for Stapper.

“If you can’t do the job perfectly, then don’t do the job,” he says. “[This approach] really makes us work that much harder for a customer.”
The graphics will remain installed through mid-January 2010.


858 Graphics




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