That's a Wrap: The Sky is the Limit in Wide-Format Printing
Updated: Jul 29
Advances in wide-format and grand-format printing; a growing number of new substrates for indoor and outdoor signage; and the popularity of vehicle wraps and wall coverings means that designers can now think big. So big that sky is the only limit.
Many designers are tasked with designing product or service campaigns for print, packaging, or textiles. A secondary task may be designing signage for an event or location. Nowadays, there is a dizzying array of signage and visual branding opportunities at special event venues. This ranges from wall coverings in retail and office spaces; vehicles that deliver products; and specialty signage at outdoor venues. Designers have the opportunity for complete brand awareness in any physical location to compliment traditional print and packaging campaigns.
Recently I interviewed Al Kennickell of the Kennickell Group in Savannah, Ga.. He is the proud CEO of a fourth generation, family run, 127-year-old print service provider (PSP). Kennickell has expanded the wide-format capabilities of his company to provide customized vehicle wraps, wall coverings, signage, and print for textiles. His company also produces a wide variety of traditional print such as books, brochures, and magazines.
I began the interview by asking how 2D designs for signage work in the 3D world for wrapping vehicles, stadiums, and other large signage opportunities. According to Kennickell, working with larger than life outdoor signage and wraps on 3D objects can take a lot of coordination between the brand and print manufacturer to get it right. There are number of different substrates that can be used and PSPs offer consultative services to help determine what is right for your project. For example, Kennickell Group had made significant investments in this area in regards to equipment, software, and people who can do print manufacturing and installation. Specifically, he offers consulting for designers to show them samples of substrates and different physical media that can be printed for all types of indoor and outdoor signage as well as some textiles.
The Kennickell Group team is able to share tips they have learned along the way with designers. Depending on the project, the manufacturer and brand may need to test image resolutions and substrates. Kennickell took this approach on a project that involved wrapping the Harbour Town Lighthouse in Hilton Head for the 2018 RBC Heritage golf tournament. The idea was to wrap the iconic lighthouse seen on the 18th hole in the tournament’s Heritage plaid pattern to support the 50th anniversary of the event. The Kennickell team made an R&D investment in time and materials to ensure the project went smoothly the first time. The scale of the project meant that the image size needed to be just right for viewing the plaid logo at a great distance. They tested several image sizes and substrates for outdoor durability. Initially the plan was to leave the plaid logo wrap up for two months. The brand recognition was so successful, the lighthouse stayed wrapped for more than 15 months!