The Space Foundation, a global nonprofit organization based in Colorado Springs, CO, focuses on promoting space exploration and utilization through a wide variety of space awareness programs, industry events and space-related education programs – all in support of its mission: “To advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity.”
So, when the Space Foundation moved into larger headquarters in July 2011, there was no doubt that graphics generated to decorate the walls of the new location would be themed out of this world. Or, as described by Nancy Reed, the Space Foundation’s director of marketing and creative services: “The universe was the limit.”
The Space Foundation partnered with Golden, CO-based New Vista Image, a division of Lowen Corp., to create graphics for two floors of office space. New Vista Image specializes in large-format digital printing projects, graphic design and graphics installation. The Space Foundation needed wall graphics for its first-floor lobby area and four large conference rooms as well as for the building’s second-floor Space Foundation team offices.
“We developed our own designs for the wall graphics,” said Reed. “My goal was to recreate images of space incorporating soft colors in grays, blues and purples. We wanted graphics for our world headquarters that looked like space. I also wanted to incorporate a multidimensional effect. Instead of creating flat wall art, I wanted the wall murals to pop out. … I like graphics that have a dimensional impact. It creates a more interesting, unique look.”
While Reed wanted to create unique multidimensional graphic displays, she also had to stay within a budget set by the nonprofit foundation. So, she turned to New Vista Image for substrate recommendations. As an avid space enthusiast, Ann Brown, president, New Vista Image, was more than happy to provide an affordable multidimensional graphics solution for the Space Foundation.
“The Space Foundation is a very prestigious organization that hosts many influential industry and military visitors from around the world,” said Brown. “It’s great to have our work displayed there.”
New Vista Image employees printed space images for wall murals on 3M 380cv3 vinyl on a Stylus Pro GS6000 Epson printer and finished with a 3M 8519 luster overlaminate. Brown said the self-adhesive vinyl was specifically chosen because it would adhere well to the building’s walls that featured an orange-peel texture. Routed graphics displayed as dimensional “pop-outs” on the murals were printed on vinyl and laminated onto a number of substrates, including Gatorfoam, Sintra, and Dibond graphic display boards by 3A Composites USA as well as onto acrylic panels.
“The Space Foundation wanted to create unique, custom graphics for each wall; but it was also on a budget,” said Brown. “Sintra and Gatorfoam were good solutions as substrates. They’re both durable over time but fit the budget. … We like to do unique projects and that’s how we’re best known. 3A Composites’ products afford us the opportunity to be creative. They allow us to create layered, affordable graphics.”
Gatorfoam consists of polystyrene foam bonded between two layers of wood-fiber veneer laminate – a unique construction that makes Gatorfoam rigid yet lightweight and warp-resistant. Sintra is a lightweight-yet-rigid expanded PVC material that fabricates easily without special tools and can be heat formed and laminated to other materials. Dibond consists of two pre-painted sheets of .012-inch aluminum bonded to a solid polyethylene core – a unique composition that makes it approximately one-half the weight of aluminum.