Get Inspired! History Walls
When it comes to milestones, a number of companies and brands celebrated in 2016. Nestlé celebrated 150 years while both the U.S. National Park Service and BMW celebrated 100 years. We saw Coach, Jeep and M&M’S Candy celebrating 75 years while Star Trek turned 50. In 2017, companies celebrating their longevity include the Quaker Oats Company (140 years), Longines (185 years), Nikon (100 years), Whole Earth (50 years), Ragu (80 years), Disneyland Paris (25 years) and Care Bears (35 years).
These companies with long and rich histories are constantly looking for new and inventive methods to tell their stories. Highlighting the history of a company is fast becoming one of the most popular corporate interior design trends for businesses small and large. Are their local companies you can approach to create a history wall for their business?
Milwaukee-based BPI Color completed a company history wall display for JP Cullen in 2015. JP Cullen is a fifth-generation family-owned business. For more than 120 years, the company has taken on the most challenging government, education, healthcare, commerce, industrial, arts and entertainment and historic restoration projects across Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and northeast Iowa. This unique display project became the focal point of the JP Cullen lobby and tells that company’s history from 1892 to present.
For that project, the signage base layer consisted of three sheets of 3/16” PETG which were 72” (w) x 48” (h). All these clear PETG boards were direct printed on the second-surface on the Fujifilm Acuity flatbed device. All the boards involved in the project required custom cutting and precise mounting hole routing on the Zünd. The signage second layer consisted of nine sheets of 3/16” PETG which were 16” (w) x 16” (h). All these clear PETG boards were also direct printed on the second-surface on the Fujifilm Acuity flatbed device.
BPI Color then hung and mounted these boards with custom fabricated stand-off devices. The stand-offs were designed and manufactured by the customer. Due to final weight of this dimensional signage the installation was very challenging. The wall composition consisted of drywall flush against a composite whisper board which was flush against cinder block. Wall anchors needed to be modified to account for the sign weight and stability. A total of 48 stand-offs (16 per board) were used to hang and secure the signage.
The installation took approximately four hours and was finished ahead of the customers Open House event that evening. (Video: https://vimeo.com/138581703)
Making it Personal
When BPI Color’s 60th Anniversary rolled around, Steve Mueller, BPI’s president and Pat Feely, BPI’s vice president, wanted to commemorate the milestone with a wall display of their own that could feature the specialized color work and installation capabilities for which the company is now known, as well as tell the company’s 60-year story.
Just as the equipment evolved, so too has the company. BPI Color transformed into a digital color resource for businesses across Wisconsin and a myriad of other states. The years brought multiple location moves for the company, but Milwaukee has been and will continue to remain home for the company’s headquarters. In 1990 Steve purchased the company from his father and in 1996, “Blueprints, Inc.” changed their name to BPI since the company could no longer technically make a “blueprint”. A recent rebranding of the company, coupled with an updated name, BPI Color is now operating out of multiple locations in Wisconsin.
Even as the industry and company evolved and adapted, the most important part of the BPI Color story that has never changed has been its people — starting with Steve and Pat. Friends since high school, the company continues to maintain that family atmosphere. Today, under the leadership of Steve, Pat and Ron Kuzia, BPI Color’s chief financial officer, the company is positioned to continue to successfully grow for another 60 years plus.
Pulling all of the project elements together fell upon Steve since he was the keeper of the company’s “archives”. BPI Color’s history is also Steve’s history so the process of wading through boxes of company artifacts and history was a personal one. Steve “narrowed” the items down to approximately 100 elements so the design team could begin to tell the story. There was one item that was neither printed nor reproduced, but simply repurposed — the 65-pound orange protractor that came from a 1960’s era Blueprints, Inc. sign that was still hanging in the Milwaukee warehouse. It now has a place of honor along the wall.
The wall was designed to be both a timeline of the company’s history and an example of BPI Color’s craftsmanship. To that end, the wall design incorporated custom cut shapes that would highlight BPI’s Zünd Router capabilities. The ability to highlight elements, like the 1960’s van with these custom shapes, combined with a multi-level design, added both interest and complexity to the presentation. These capabilities allow designers, storytellers and branders to think three dimensionally and not be limited by traditional flat printing.
Once design and production were complete, the BPI Color team of Perry Carter, Larry Beasley and Dan Feely developed a plan for mounting and installation. This included planning for every aspect from wall prep and paint selection through adhesion testing and selection of substrates and stand-offs. All aspects of a project of this scope and magnitude require a level of expertise, making this the perfect opportunity to showcase BPI’s skills in addition to telling their compelling story. In short, it was a labor of love.
Denise Gustavson is the Editorial Director and Special Projects Editor for the Printing & Packaging Group, which includes Printing Impressions, packagePRINTING, In-plant Graphics and Wide-Format Impressions magazines, among other brands. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Wide-Format Impressions.