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Case Studies

The Art of Dance

For the Cincinnati Ballet, Harlan Graphics goes the fabric route in creating elegant environmental graphics.




The Client: The Cincinnati Ballet

The Player: Harlan Graphic Art Services, Cincinnati

The Tools: DuPont Artistri 2020 fabric printer, Pacific Coast Fabrics’ poly/satin fabric, DuPont Artistri 700 disperse dye inks, Rimslow Steam-X 1850RDA steamer.

The Job: For more than 30 years, Cincinnati-based Harlan Graphics has been producing posters for the city’s ballet troupe. So when Isabel C. Hunter, design and marketing manager for the Cincinnati Ballet, approached the print provider about creating elegant, eye-catching environmental graphics for its lobby to announce performances for the upcoming season, Harlan recommended large banners printed on poly/satin fabric with a pocket incorporated to accommodate a dowel rod for hanging.

Three banners, each measuring 59 x 71.5 inches, were created for each ballet performance, and hung from the ceiling in the three-story lobby of the ballet’s performance site.

Production: With artwork supplied by the Cincinnati Ballet, Harlan created outlines in Adobe InDesign, then, using a CSE ColorBurst RIP, prepared the job for output to its 71-inch DuPont Artistri 2020 fabric printer. Harlan likes to use its Artistri for all the company’s fabric jobs because it can hit a large range of colors and take on small runs of material on various media, says Kim Springer, Harlan’s CFO.


The Cincinnati Ballet banners were printed with Artistri 700 Series disperse dye inks; for fabric, Harlan chose a poly/satin blend from Pacific Coast Fabrics for its texture and quality. “[The Ballet marketing staff] liked it because it seems more elegant and a little softer than other fabrics,” says Tom Ehrman, vice president of sales for Harlan, and project manager of the Cincinnati Ballet account.

Total print time for the job was a little over an hour—roughly 25 minutes per banner—plus finishing, including putting the material through a Rimslow Steam-X 1850RDA steamer.

Then, Harlan sewed pockets for dowel rods on the top and bottom and used a hot knife to affix a black polyester fabric to the back of each banner to make them opaque. Two eyehooks were affixed to the top for hanging, then the whole project was shipped off to the performance site for installation, which was handled by the facility’s maintenance team. After each performance, the ballet transfers the banners to its practice facility, extending the project’s shelf-life and adding a little flair to the studio.

A huge hit among patrons, the banners have inspired an entirely new fundraising product for the ballet: small, 11 x 22-inch replicas, printed on the same fabric as the originals, signed by the dancers and sold, along with a certificate of authenticity, for $50 each during intermissions.





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