Sign & Digital Graphics

November '15

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • November 2015 • 31 SDG Brick Wall Becomes Mountaineer Billboard University transforms exterior wall into branding platform T he Mountaineers of West Virginia University are pioneering, innovative, and deter- mined to "Go First." Those characteristics are perhaps the same reasons the univer- sity chose to take a blank brick exterior wall at the iconic Mountainlair Student Union building and use the space to launch its new branding. "We wanted to create something that would rally our campus community and cap- ture the rugged determination that characterizes our faculty, staff and students," says Mike Esposito, executive creative director at West Virginia University. The university is employing a new brand campaign, "Mountaineers Go First." But for the campaign to make a memorable impression, Esposito says, "It had to be big. And it had to be cool." Esposito's concept was to transform the exterior wall of a highly visible building into an inspirational billboard designed with text phrases describing what it means to be a Mountaineer and a realistic, life size student climbing his way to the top. To pull this off, Esposito turned to Steve Oyenik of Signs Plus in Morgantown, West Virginia, to produce and install a reliable and durable material that would bond to the wall. In the past, Oyenik had used vinyl films with overlaminates on exterior walls with varying degrees of success. "All were difficult and time consuming to install, and many did not stay on the wall for long," Oyenik says. Because of the size and scope of the project, Signs Plus wanted a material that was fast to install, reliable and would hold up to West Virginia winters. Oyenik chose AlumiGraphics Smooth, an aluminum foil-based substrate, for the job. The AlumiGraphics product line is manufactured by FloorSignage, LLC. "The spirit of our company is very similar to the ideas at West Virginia University, innovative and pioneering," says Scott Wieclaw, president of FloorSignage. Once Signs Plus selected AlumiGraphics Smooth as the media, they decided to print the project on an HP L26500 latex printer and produced the design in panels for verti- cal installation. The material came in 53-inch-wide rolls. "We were able to get better yield across the width of the design than with the other materials that are only 48 inches wide," Oyenik says. The design covers the entire wall and spans from the roof to the ground, meaning the installation required a lift to reach the high parts of the wall. Because the alumi- num foil material didn't require heat guns, Oyenik says they didn't require electricity and have to move it around with them on the lift, so everything went smoothly and was completed about 80 percent faster than it would have taken with vinyl products. When students and faculty returned to campus, they found a huge graphic, which according to Oyenik, "Really appears to be painted on the side of the building." "The graphics look great and it doesn't just look like the same ol' banner," Oyenik says. He says the overall response to the campaign has been fantastic.

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