Now that the site visit was over, it was time to get to work. I spent the next 4.5 months working on artwork and mockups while getting approvals. Everything needed to be double and triple checked, not just for imagery, but also for sizing. Do to the size of these banners; a misprint costs thousands of dollars. Generally I, or one of the jr. designers would create the artwork, I would check that it was consistent with the rest of the artwork being produced for this event, and then the creative director would approve it. After creative approval it went to the project manager to double check all sizes, costs, and materials used on the banners. Next it would get a final look by the heads of various departments and then go to print.
Below are just some of the signage pieces in their various stages before completion and execution.
The hotel lobby issue. At this point we still didn’t know if these signs would exist as we hadn’t completely bought out the hotel at this point, but they were still designed and approved internally in the event that we did get these signs they would be immediately ready to send to print.
Here is the schematic page from a preliminary deck that was created to keep track of what all is being developed for where. I also like to write notes on this deck on when it gets approved, when proofing is done on it, and when I send it off to print. I also staple every revision onto the top of the original page, so that I can keep track of all major changes and when they were made: Next is the actual artwork for these signs:And here is the actual mock up that was used to get final approval. This ends up in a final deck that is distributed to all heads, all vendors, all riggers, and both myself and the project manager for the signage. It includes the final artwork, the final mockup, pricing, and special notes for installation with each branded material.
Outside of the lobby was the atrium, with tons of flagpoles. We needed not only artwork on the flagpoles, but instruction how to hang and which image to hang where. We created a map, then we included on the map directions on where to place our footprint directional clings as well as I figured it would be easier to keep track of one map for both of these instead of two maps for this same area.
Here is the atrium art and mockup, and the mesh art and mockup. To create the mesh mockup, I took a piece of the mesh material and turned that into a black and white repeating pattern to scale. I then opened my artwork for the banner in Photoshop and applied the pattern with the paint tool utilizing the pattern into a mask on the art layer. I turned it all into a smart object and then placed that into the mockup. The result is a very accurate portrayal of how the final artwork might work once applied into its environment. You can see in the notes written on the mesh schematic that it was in danger of being cut if I could not accurately show how it would work in its environment, or if I could accurately show it and the creative director did not like it.
Next in our path was the bridge window graphics. We could only use half the windows, so we decided to shift them off center so that the crossbars would interfere with the imagery as little as possible. To create the artwork, we laid out multiple art boards in illustrator and spaced them exactly as the windows are spaced apart. Then we laid our image right over the top of all the art boards. Once this went to print all the images would be perfectly spaced and when viewed, the brain would see it like looking through a window to our image and would connect the missing parts just like it does when you look out a regular window at anything.
Back to the problem near the escalators. How could we direct people without impeding on the very small walking area? The solution was to cover the signs already present with new signs that repeated the same information, but also included specific information for our event.
Down stairs we had hundreds of windows as potential signage areas. I took my notes from the previous visit and I proceeded to make a map of the exhibit hall corridor. Then I worked with my creative director to place all of our seasonal imagery strategically through out this area. The letters and notes corresponded to a contact sheet of all available imagery. We also had schematics for these window clings and mockups for every window used. Here are just some.
In this same area were the various entrances to the exhibit halls. These had low ceilings and very little rigging points. Our Solution was to utilize vinyl clings along the walls, and only use the areas above the chair rails.
I utilized adobe illustrator for this artwork. I worked at 1/10 scale, the reason being is it makes the math really easy and when a math mistake can cost $1,000s of dollars, easy is a very good thing, and it keeps the files very manageable. I then create 3 art boards for this set of signs, and align them very much how they would be aligned in real life. I create guides for things like fire alarms, ac controls, and any other projectile from the wall. I can then adjust my artwork to fit with these elements that would then be cut out of the vinyl upon application. Once done this would go through the same approval process as any other piece of signage.
A few other interesting things that had to do with signage for this event are the footprints, the shopping event POS truss, and the cut vinyl window clings. The shopping event truss was interesting as the art is several different pieces that then get put together into a big truss. I set these up in illustrator with multiple art boards; links to high res files, and small scale just like the others.
The shoe prints are just cut vinyl decals applied to the ground to show people how to get to the convention center. The nice thing about this is that it removes the need for easels to hold directional banners or pop up banners that get in the way of foot traffic.
The cut vinyl window clings were interesting in that the final artwork would be white cut vinyl, but the artwork sent to the printer needed to be black (so they could see it). We made sure to put plenty of warnings on the artwork to repeat that this was to be cut vinyl in white, and not a big white sheet with black printing.
After all the planning, site visits, and creation of graphics, it was then time to throw the event. Part 3 explores the final installation and some of the challenges faced there in.