St. Louis Printer Creates Food Kiosks and Wide-Format Graphics for a Great Cause
When asked to produce and install the wide-format graphics for two new Link Market food kiosks that would help to increase the availability of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and other healthy foods to those without convenient access to grocery stores and farmers’ markets, Shawn Fogle, VP of display and graphics, and his team at Swift Print Communications in St. Louis, jumped at the chance to assist.
The client, Bi-State Development, launched the 18-month pilot program last year for transit riders and residents in two areas in North St. Louis County - at the North Hanley and Wellston Transit Centers - to go along with its mission of improving the quality of life for everyone in the region. The pilot program is the result of a partnership with the Bi-State Development Research Institute, a nonprofit enterprise of Bi-State Development and the Missouri Foundation for Health. As part of the initiative, the Link Market program partners with local farmers and community gardens to offer locally sourced food grown within a 100-mile radius of St. Louis.
“When people get off of the MetroLink, there's no place within easy reach to pick up anything healthy to eat at all. So that’s why the client devised this concept to make healthy items available, as opposed to just opening a concession stand.”
Swift Print Communications worked with Werremeyer Creative, a marketing and graphic design agency also based in St. Louis. “After reviewing client drawings and visual comps, we discussed many options,” recalls Fogle. “The first challenge was selecting the material to print on. We needed to make sure that what we produced would hold up outdoors for a long time, be fade-resistant and also include a graffiti-resistant characteristic as well.”
Fogle says that the client wanted something with dimension that was eye-catching and that would also go along with the branding of the other items that were being produced.
The team relied on its Océ Arizona 550 XT UV flatbed printer, from Canon Solutions America, (the company also has a roll attachment for it as well) to image the graphics directly onto sign maker's metal (max metal) - an aluminum composite material that the team ended up printing the bulk of the graphics on. They then added an anti-graffiti laminate from Mactac and cut the product to various sizes.
“Most laminates are not made for UV printing; they're made for eco-solvent and Latex printing. So we had to make sure we picked the right laminate because we didn't want outgassing from the UV to create bubbles in the laminate or deterioration or failure along the edges.”
The Swift Print Communications team also printed large, full-color graphics, mounted to a 1˝-thick black PVC and again applied the laminate and then cut them into colorful, 4-ft. dimensional circles for added visual appeal. The company used its Colex digital diecutter with routing capabilities and I-Cut software.
“The customer wanted to make sure that the colors were not only consistent across the entire print project, but also consistent with what their expectation was when they picked those colors,” notes Fogle. “We needed to maintain that color consistency throughout and, with producing two food kiosks, we had to make sure that the kiosk we produced the second time matched the first kiosk.”
After the client press checked everything on a Friday night, Fogle and his team printed, trimmed and fabricated all of the parts to be ready for the Wednesday morning install. The team was able to complete the installation in time for a press conference that was held the next day.
Overall, the project took about 10 days to finish, and Fogle says that it was exciting to see the impact that it was having. “So often, as a printing company and on a display side, we produce items and send them off,” he concludes. "It's not until you see it onsite, in real use, that it transforms what we do from printing a product to printing an experience.”