Transforming an entire neighborhood into an outdoor art gallery is no small feat. But for Look Print, one of Australia's highest capacity large-format digital printing companies, no job is too big, too small or too challenging. A perfect case in point is a unique exhibition, titled "150 Locals", which spanned the entire suburb of Glebe, Sydney. The exhibition showcased 150 life-size photographic portraits of Glebe's vibrant community members in various locations, including outdoor public spaces, cafes and retail outlets.
Finding the ideal combination of print service provider (PSP) and printing solution was imperative to the exhibition's success. With HP as the production sponsor and printer of the indoor prints, and Look Print as the print service provider (PSP) for all outdoor prints, well-known Australian photographers North Sullivan and Tom Psomotragos could achieve the print quality they needed to express Glebe's cultural diversity in their portraits.
To meet the high expectations for the 150 Locals exhibition, Look Print used its HP Designjet L65500 Printer to create the 1,6 x 1 m (63 x 39.4 inch) and 1 x 1 m (39.4 x 39.4 inch) outdoor prints on PVC banner. All indoor portraits were produced by HP in Melbourne on Hahnemühle FineArt Canvas, with the same dimensions as the outdoor prints, using the HP Designjet Z3200 Photo Printer.
According to Margarita Campos, operations manager at Look Print, the HP Designjet L65500 Printer was chosen for this challenging job on account of its "superior brightness, durability, quality, and environmental profile". Indeed, achieving the desired quality was relatively straightforward. "We created machine proofs of a number of the photos and the photographers did spot checks. Only a few adjustments were needed at this stage. The artists loved the intensity of the color prints and the black and white prints came out crisp and neutral."
The entire run of 100 outdoor prints was produced without a single reprint. "We needed to do a few replacement prints after installation due to graffiti and vandalism," said Campos. "We found the color consistency of the HP Designjet L65500 Printer from week to week to be excellent. All of this made our job much easier."
Look Print has been serving some of Australia's most successful companies for more than 14 years. Its ongoing commitment to the community and environmental sustainability prompted it to purchase the HP Designjet L65500 Printer in 2009. "The HP Designjet L65500 Printer has lower energy consumption compared to the other printing systems we use, which require a special ventilation system and external dryer," said Campos. "We also wanted to move away from solvent inks because of the fumes they create and the difficult disposal of left-over ink."
Installing the HP Designjet L65500 Printer has also enabled a better working environment for Look Print's employees. "Using water-based HP Latex Inks, which require no hazard labels and are non-flammable and non-combustible, makes handling far easier for our operators. The inks also don't need any additional special ventilation, which has the side-benefit of contributing to the power savings. Our operators also like the ease of use: with the high printing quality and reliability of the printer, they can load up multiple jobs and walk away."
According to Campos, the environmental benefits of its new printer do not come at the expense of quality or productivity. "We achieve excellent color gamut and the color consistency with solid colors is amazing. Our productivity has also improved as most of our jobs use banner media narrower than 1,2 m (4 feet) so we can print on two rolls simultaneously."
The HP Designjet L65500 Printer has opened up new business areas for Look Print. In addition to using the new printer for its traditional outdoor banners, high-quality point of sale displays and poster work, Look Print also now offers soft signage printing.
"With this new line of business, we can create a new competitive edge and offer our customers a fresh and innovative way to market their products," said Campos. "Markets such as fine art printing and soft signage printing are additional business opportunities facilitated by the HP Designjet L65500 Printer."