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Larger than life

Creative Color's jumbo-size digital graphics make a big splash in Utah.

Ask the average Utah resident if they have heard of Salt Lake City-based digital imaging company Creative Color and you will likely be met with a befuddled, "Who?" However, residents quickly recognize the company's work - such as the giant 168 feet by 30 feet images of Karl Malone and John Stockton decorating the Delta Center during the NBA playoffs. Ask again if Creative Color rings a bell and their faces light up and they say, "Oh, you mean THOSE guys!"

Well, "those guys" are at it again. Creative Color has used its unique digital imaging system to create a building wrap for NuSkin's corporate headquarters in Provo, Utah. Even if it weren't so visually striking, the wrap would be notable for its size alone. The image on the front of the building, which features diver Rachelle Smith Kunkel, is a full 70 feet tall and 20 feet wide! The side panels reverse those dimensions and are 70 feet wide and 20 feet tall. Here's another impressive number: It took 5,000 sq. ft. of adhesive-backed vinyl to create the entire project.

Dan Tueller of NuSkin created the design for the project. The company is an Olympic sponsor and the firm's marketing department wanted to create something exciting in time for the Sydney Games. "They wanted something really spectacular that would cause a splash," explains Tueller.

After months of drafts, revisions and meetings, Tueller finally submitted his design, but the hard part was just beginning. Now it was up to Creative Color to make his vision a reality. "We were very nervous and didn't know what to expect," Tueller admits. A mere ten days later, NuSkin's headquarters was draped in exciting images of athletes in action. "It was a long, tedious process, but they (Creative Color) did a great job," says Tueller. His next project? A winter sports-themed design for the 2002 Winter Games in Utah.

When Kirk Green bought Creative Color in 1987, he says it was "a tiny photo lab with five employees." After Green noticed a growing segment of the business was producing enlarged prints, the company began to focus on large images. The computer revolution was the next factor, allowing them to create oversized digital graphics that would have been impossible before. Creative Color's ability to create large-scale customized graphics for their clients became its trademark. "I think our strength is in customized pieces," says Green.

For those of you who are wondering, Creative Color has done work in malls before. They were commissioned by the Towne Center Mall in Provo, Utah to provide temporary graphics for various promotions.

Now that the company has established its ability to produce graphics of any size, the next frontier is quality. "In the past, all you had to be was big" to gain attention with graphics, says Green, but customers are increasingly expecting higher resolution and sharper colors. Green feels the technology is still improving rapidly and says, "The images are getting better. They're cleaner, they're sharper."

Of course, a project like the NuSkin building has other challenges beyond the quality of the image, such as getting the image to stick to the building. Creative Color has worked with companies like 3M for years to find the right adhesives for these tricky custom projects. "Not only does it have to look good and be structurally sound," explains Green. "It has to come off. That's the tricky part."

With printing technology advancing so rapidly, there is virtually no limit to what Creative Color might be doing five years from now. With so many shopping center owners and developers looking for ways to include visual design in their centers, this process may be the wave of the future.

Imagine having the walls of your food court covered with a custom-made digital image. Or large, themed murals decorating the outside walls of the center. With Creative Color, the only limit is your imagination.

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