Writing on the Wall
When Decide DeKalb Development Authority called us for help with a wall mural, there was just one problem – its open house was only two weeks away. Decide DeKalb focuses on promoting economic development in DeKalb County, GA, and met our company through our working with one of the members of the city’s chamber of commerce. The development authority had recently moved into a new office space and wanted to hold a soft open house before the end of the year.
A board member we knew called us to come survey the new location, wanting the main lobby area to visually communicate the areas where potential businesses could work, play and thrive in DeKalb County. The concept called for showing popular landmarks of both recreational areas and business buildings.
The goal was for our team to create initial concepts, gain client approval, finalize artwork for production, fabricate the wall mural and schedule installation – all within two weeks. Our first hurdle was that the client had an idea of the landmarks to represent in the mural, but did not have anything more than web images to contribute. So, we reached out to David Fisher with JandDImages (Atlanta), an excellent photographer who quickly shot various locations in DeKalb County. With his assistance, we gathered several pictures that could not be accessed through our stock photography images.
Next, we generated multiple concepts to present to the client, and after one was selected, we revised the design to incorporate the elements desired in the wall mural. This included tweaking the tagline, modifying the colors from a blue and green color theme, changing images to ensure the diverse group of ethnicities and ages of DeKalb County residents were featured, and designing the concept to work with the physical construction of the wall in the lobby, which had a soffit area that dropped into the top of the wall design. Even with limited time, the Image360 Tucker team designed the concept to include dimensional elements on the wall mural as well. The team selected images and phrases to be raised acrylic prints, and the tagline of the wall – Invest | Connect | Thrive DeKalb County, Georgia – was also designated as a dimensional component.
FLEXING ALL MUSCLES
With a week to go before the open house, our team pushed the concept into fabrication after the client gave final approval, starting with Photoshop and SAi’s FlexiSIGN to finalize the photos and images. They tiled the design into panels and printed them out of FlexiSIGN using our Epson SureColor S30670 wide-format printer. Our team selected 3M Controltac Print Film 40C as the base for the wall mural. Each panel was printed and then laminated using 3M Scotchcal 8505 Gloss Overlaminate to protect the mural from scratches once installed. For the tagline, we router-cut 12 mm (½-in.) PVC material, as the tagline phrase would be stud-mounted into the wall after the mural was applied to the drywall surface. For contrast, we chose to use a combination of black and white PALIGHT PVC lettering to accentuate the wall’s theme and location. Dimensional images were fabricated using ½-in. clear acrylic, which was not only bevel-cut, but also polished on the edges.
Since these acrylic panels would be raised off the wall using 1-in. MBS stainless steel standoffs, our team wanted a nice, clean edge on the acrylic material. We reverse-printed the overlays for the acrylic panels on the Epson SureColor using ORAFOL ORAJET 3651G clear vinyl. Each photo was then mounted to the rear side of the acrylic panel and overlaid with white vinyl to create a second surface acrylic print. The dedication panel in the center of the mural also comprised ½-in. acrylic, with ORACAL 8510 Etched Glass vinyl cut and mounted to the panel for a more elegant look.
Excited about the completion of the project, the client decided to present the wall mural at an unveiling during the open house. This meant installation, which was scheduled a day before the event, had to be performed after hours to minimize attention to the wall, and then hidden until the appropriate time. All elements for the mural – vinyl, acrylic panels, standoffs, dimensional letters and stud pattern – were transported to the install site along with ladders, drills and vinyl tools needed to complete installation.
Image360 Tucker installers positioned and applied the vinyl panels to the wall in sections first, then neatly trimmed to the edges of the ceiling, soffit area and baseboard. Next, they drilled holes for the acrylic panels into the drywall and mounted five different panels on the mural using 1-in. standoffs in each corner. The final component was applying the dimensional letters to the wall mural. Our installers positioned the pattern for the dimensional lettering on the wall and drilled stud holes in the drywall to correspond with the holes in the back of the PVC lettering. Using 2-in. studs, they carefully mounted each letter into the wall. The mural was then wiped down to remove any drywall debris generated during drilling the acrylic panels and dimensional lettering.
After installation was completed, the team fully covered the entire mural with panels of brown Kraft Paper, strategically taped to the wall using painter’s tape, so the client could easily pull the paper down and off during the open house. Image360 Tucker owners were on hand for the unveiling, where guests marveled at the completed mural. Our team plans to put the rave reviews earned for this project to work in other locations in DeKalb County.
EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
Software: FlexiSIGN, thinksai.com; Photoshop, adobe.com
Router: ShopSabre 4896 Pro, shopsabre.com
Printer: Epson SureColor S30670, epson.com
Substrates: 3M Controltac Print Film 40C, 3m.com/graphics; ORACAL 8510 Etched Glass vinyl, ORAJET 3651G clear vinyl, orafol.com; PALIGHT PVC sheet, palramamericas.com; Acrycast cast acrylic sheet, amariplastics.com
Laminator: SEAL Image 62 Plus, sealgraphics.com
Laminate: 3M Scotchcal 8505 Gloss Overlaminate, 3m.com/graphics
Mounting: MBS standoffs, mbs-standoffs.com
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