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Large Format Printing

Since 1995, Ocean Color has been producing large color prints for various display applications. We have become familiar with dozens of different ways of making prints using many different kinds of print materials, laminates, and mounting substrates. Life would be easier if we just did one thing, but we have to do many different things to stay busy. While we are very much a custom shop, we also compete with printing companies that crank out standard items such as outdoor banners. I have chosen three examples for this page that illustrate a range from commercial to elegant to practical.
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Trade Show Displays

Over the past 18 years, most of our printing has been done for companies exhibiting at trade shows and conventions. The photo above shows a ten-foot-wide popup curve with a "wrap-around" photo mural. The pop-up curve is the most universally popular type of display for trade shows because it is so practical. It gets its names from a frame comprised of aluminum "X's" that expands to full height in a few seconds. The frame, six mural panels and bright stem lights all pack into a single case that converts to a podium during the event.

Producing a photo mural consisting of 6 panels with abutting seams is a precision job with a lot of steps. It took us a few years to perfect the techniques involved. Each panel is set up in the computer with its own trim lines and bleed. After printing, laminating the front with a velvet texture laminate, and laminating the back with a stiffening laminate, the panel has to be cut with perfectly straight edges within about 1/100 inch accuracy . Then magnetic strip and "hanger strips" are added, all with precise placement to get the panels to line up correctly.

Photo mural panels are the high end of "rollable" graphics, requiring the most work and the most expensive materials. Other rollable display graphics include "velcro-on" posters that are laminated but not as stiff and supplied with low-profile hook (similar to Velcro) so they can be easily placed on display walls of velcro-receptive fabric.

Display graphics are always made specifically for the type of frame system or display that will support them. No one way of doing things will be appropriate for every application. We use many different types of media (print material -- usually not paper), many different types of laminate, and many different types of mounting substrate. We even use different kinds of, depending upon the application.
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Outdoor Banners

Taking display graphics outdoors means an entirely different way of doing things. The most popular type of printing for outside use is banners. Ocean Color prints banners up to 4 ft. by 40 ft. on various types and thicknesses of vinyl. The photo above shows a banner we printed for the New York City chapter of Habitat for Humanity. It is 4 ft. high by 20 ft. wide. The ink we use to print outdoor graphics will not fade easily when exposed to sunlight. Although the ink manufacturer makes no claim beyond two years, we have seen our banners last up to five years with no sign of fading. Most banners are supplied with grommets, which we reinforce with one or two extra layers of vinyl. In the photo above, the heavy weight of 18 oz. vinyl is held taught by just four grommets.
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Mounted Photo Prints

Ocean Color also specializes in printing photography for display as wall art. In 2012, we produced about 30 mounted prints of yachts built by the Italian yacht company, Perini Navi for their North American sales office located near us in Newport, Rhode Island. Perini is the company that designed and built the high-tech 3-masted sailing ship, Maltese Falcon, which is one of the most famous sailing yachts in the world.

Perni had world-class photography to work with: stunning photos of amazing yachts. To get the most of each picture, we made several small proofs for each one, looking carefully at the colors and the feeling they projected. The ocean water had to look and feel like the ocean. Bright sunlight on a deck had to project the appropriate feeling of warmth and light. With each proof, we tweaked the color to achieve the desired result.
We mounted the prints on very rigid half-inch gator board and laminated them with gloss laminate to pop the colors. Each print was then fitted with a unique mounting system that holds it an inch away from the wall.

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