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Stars in the making at Hollywood

Could Hollywood Monster’s links with design students bring a new energy and focus to large-format print?

“This sector needs new, skilled people that understand the whole workflow of a job from concept though to installation, and at Hollywood Monster we are actively pursuing that by linking with colleges to provide hands-on experience for youngsters who may just be convinced that what we’re doing is something they would also like to be doing.” So says Tim Andrews, managing director of Birmingham-based Hollywood Monster, which has just announced a partnership with Dudley College that brings art students into the workplace. And there are other college links in the pipeline.

“We want to promote not only our company but our market,” says Andrews, “and getting design students on board and showing them what’s achievable with large-format digital print is a great way of doing that. Hopefully, it may convince some of them to come into the industry, where their design background would be valuable. Or it might be that they become designers outside the sector but then become new clients because they have insight into the possibilities and applications achievable with large-format print – that would be a real added benefit.”

Via the Dudley partnership, Hollywood Monster has already hosted 25 students on Diploma Graphic Design and Interior Design courses, with Andrews providing a tour of the company’s facility at Tyseley and explaining how original designs are transformed into banners, hoardings and signs etc. for customers across the country. But the best is still to come. Work experience will follow, at the end of which students may find their work used as part of Dudley College’s impressive new Evolve campus building which is due to be completed in 2012.

“A competition has been devised for the students that will see them produce designs for large-format graphics as part of their college course, and they will then work with us at Hollywood Monster to produce the best which will be used in a collaborate work for the new site,” explains Andrews.

The students will be given the chance to become involved in the whole production process through from pre-press to installation which, given Hollywood’s impressive kit line-up, should give them a far-reaching view of large-format possibilities.

The company, which only started trading in 2002 and with four employees, has invested heavily through the years and now houses: a 3.2m EFI Vutek GS3200?UV flatbed/roll-to-roll printer; 3.2m EFI Vutek QS3200?hybrid; 5m NUR (now HP) Expedio 5000 UV roll-to-roll machine and a 5m NUR Revolution; 1.6m Mimaki JV33?roll-to-roll vinyl printer; 1.6m Seiko Colour Painter 64s roll-to-roll vinyl printer?plus various plotters, routers and cutters etc. not to mention a raft of Rips and software packages including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Quark Xpress for digital print and Omega and CorelDraw for sign making.

It’s a production capability that together with good management and a 65 person strong staff has brought in contracts from leading brands such as Next, Virgin Media, LilyWhites, Debenhams, Ann Summers, Coach, Whistles, HMV, Westfield, Carillion, Morgan Sindall, Lovell Homes, Redrow and Bovis Homes. Sectors covered by the company include commercial and residential property, construction, retail, corporate, exhibition, outdoor media, event, stadium, museum and theatrical. Thus, students participating in the new college link programme can be assured of gaining an insight into cutting edge conceptual print production.

Ben Gamble, centre manager for art, design and media at Dudley College, adds: “Students from our extended Diploma Graphic Design and Interior Design course visited Hollywood Monster to develop a working relationship through work experience and future live projects with Dudley College.

“The students were extremely impressed with the printing facilities and structure of the business and both they and the college staff and students are very excited to be working alongside Hollywood Monster on new initiatives.
“It is refreshing to see a company actively encourage working partnerships with creative students especially in the current economic climate. I am really looking forward to developing our curriculum with creative companies like Hollywood Monster.”

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