Who Says Devils Have All the Fun?
Angel Productions (Clearwater, FL) proprietor Angelica Vrondos has worked in the vinyl-graphics industry for approximately 20 years. After working for a vinyl-supply house, she opened Angel Productions in 1999, which specializes in interior-wall graphics. Vrondos produces the bulk of her work for churches, day-care centers, pediatric-hospital units and other entities whose managers seek to create kid-friendly facilities.
Although Vrondos has recently opened a pair of retail entities, Suckerpunch Signs and Wowee Wallcoverings, the bulk of her business remains wholesaling wall graphics nationwide to other signshops.
“I can sell, but I prefer to run my printer and leave that part of the business to others,” Vrondos said.
She exclusively produces her graphics on the shop’s Roland SC-540 EX six-color printers with Eco-Sol inks with Korographics wallcovering material. Vrondos explains, “Whenever I’ve cut corners with inks or material, I’ve paid the price with rework or losing that customer in the future. Third-party inks just don’t perform like [OEM inks], and Korographics’ products have consistently performed well and provide required mold and flame resistance. And, the laminate is like icing on the cake. Don't skimp on such on an important part of giving your work the look you want. I use Drytac's matte-finish UltraMural.”
Although prepared ICC color profiles have become exponentially more accessible since she opened her shop, she continues to create her own. “Every artist has an eye for the color they want, and I build a new color profiles for each artist and client I work with. It’s the way I started my business, and it’s remained an effective process.
Depending on the project’s complexity, Vrondos will either undertake design herself or enlist on of a handful of trusted artists to deliver a rendering. She said, “Some customers give you a complete blank slate. It’s more difficult to have a client hand you a collection of paint chips or swatches and say, ‘Match this.’”
Typically, she prints her graphics in vertical panels. Experience has taught Vrondos that a two-man installation team can’t handle more than 20 ft. of media at one time. Also, she’s discovered that vertical seams are far less visible than horizontal ones.
“One of the hardest jobs I ever handled was a 22-ft.-tall, 150-ft.-long wallcovering,” Vrondos said. “That’s so many panels to install with a 1-in. overlap. A single errant ink drop makes a panel worthless. When printing such a big job, it’s especially important that your machine is clean and your ink lines are clear. And, if your first panel on a building graphic is even slightly out-of-plumb, the wrap will be end up out of alignment. If you don't install yourself -- I contract installation -- make sure the workers are well qualified.”
She’s also learned to enlist a building’s general contractor or architect for facility measurements and specs: “The typical building owner or manager usually lacks the attention to detail to take accurate tape-measure measurements, or provide other details like fire-extinguisher or switchplate locations.”
Whatever the nature of a client’s enterprise, Vrondos emphasized that the phrase “business ethics” shouldn’t be treated like an oxymoron: “Too many people think the way you conduct your professional life is different from personal life. That’s just wrong. The golden rule applies to everything you do. If you run your business in a cutthroat manner, it will come back to haunt you.”