The NCAA Final Four came to Dallas, Texas to celebrate before the college basketball championship. The games seem to be a sideline to many of the events proceeding the finals. The Graphic Edge was hired to work with Turner Broadcasting System to assist in the printing for their events. Unlike printing for Super Bowl XLV where most of the printing was similar basically direct print to coroplast, these events were unique, and although smaller in scale proved to be just as intense.
Branding venues has become a huge business. The motto seems to be if there is a surface to cover with a logo “lets do it.” It becomes tricky to avoid overkill but then it is so hard not to add a logo to a table or a bench and then not cover a wall or window with another one. Vinyl wraps have become very popular, you can cover existing art, or walls with lo tac adhesive and not damage the surface. Clear cling is fun too because you can attach it to any window or door and still see thru to the other side. This might be considered subtle branding.
Using large format printing to brand an environment requires careful consideration of the venue. In the case of the Final Four printing, there were four sites they were holding parties in. Each location required separate site surveys including measuring and sourcing materials that could be easily adhered and removed. In event branding, what goes up must come down. A site survey by the printing company you are working with is helpful, they can provide exact measurements and suggest materials. It is important to share the dimensions with your design team. For some reason, these events tend to be last minute, wrongly sized art can be costly and delay the printing process. Don’t make it the printer’s job to check all your files at the last minute or even worse the installers job to fix badly sized art.
Installation is a big part of the branding process. Expect your installer to be a key component to successful branding. Make sure to have enough staff to handle all the unexpected delays that might occur. It is hard to foreshadow what might come up during a huge sporting event.
There are many layers to event printing, the client, the ad agency, the event company, the printer and the installer. If everyone is in sync it makes for a stress free, organized final product. But if any of you have ever printed for major sporting events, you know how uncommon it is for everyone to be in sync. I really don’t understand why that is, all the participants know the date and have previous similar events to draw from, but for some reason, there seems to be an element of panic surrounding the actual day.
So remember when branding for an event avoid over exposure or saturation but still allow enough to build excitement. As I reflect on my second major sporting event, I have learned so much. If/when another comes around, I will be ready to take on the crazy that flies in with these strangers descending upon our city and try and remember to Be Calm and Print On.