Giving Greenpeace a chance
How an eco-frindly, record breaking print by Pyramid Visuals helped demonstrate the EU-wide objection towards genetically modified crops.
if you want to be the best, if you want to beat the rest, dedication is what you need. And that’s precisely what Pyramid Visuals brought to the party when it was asked by Greenpeace International to produce a world record breaking sized print of a 3D anamorphic artwork to be unveiled on the doorstep of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels to demonstrate the EU-wide objection towards genetically modified crops.
The 22m x 22m banner - based on artwork by the American artist Kurt Wenner, a world renowned street painter famous for his realistic 3D street paintings - was key to attracting media attention to what was the first test of the EU Lisbon Treaty. As part of the ‘citizens’ initiative’ one million Europeans signed a petition calling on the European Commission to ban GM crops until safety testing is made independent and scientific. The unfurling of the banner (which included the 1m protest signatures around the perimeter) outside the European Commission in Brussels on 9 December marked the handing over of the petition. It also marked the end of a remarkable feat by Pyramid Visuals who’s director, Justin Murray, personally drove the print from the company’s offices in Weybridge, Surrey, to Brussels and was on hand to assist Greenpeace with any issues relating to its unloading and prominent unveiling.
“This is the largest anamorphic image produced from one artist’s work and Greenpeace originally wanted a banner that could be used as a high traffic floor graphic to be produced within a £10,000 budget,” says Murray. “From the outset this was a tall order. Initially, Greenpeace was happy for the graphic to be printed on vinyl but when I flagged up the environmental problems with that it was agreed that we needed to print ‘green’. The result was that I went to Dicksons Coatings, a French company, and explained what we were trying to achieve and asked them to suggest a more environmental material than PVC. They suggested Evergreen Jet 220 which we eventually used, printing on our HP Scitex XLJet 1200 and HP 9000.”
But there were other issues to overcome. The artwork for the banner was created in the US where Wenner drew the image in his studio before scanning and compositing the artwork and emailing it in sections to Pyramid Visuals – the final image file size being a massive 11Gb. Visual’s in-house designers then reformatted the images into printable sections. But of course that meant welding those sections together to form the final 22m x 22m product. “Because the material contains no PVC we worried that that the heat welding wouldn’t hold – so we stitched over the weld to be sure,” says Murray.
Technical issues aside, there were other considerations with using a greener product than PVC too. “We find that green consumables are about three times more expensive than PVC. Plus, we had to take into consideration the lead-time in getting the substrate from France. Also, when handling a job of this size, you have to think about consistency in product across the rolls supplied.
“We’re really happy and proud to have overcome the difficulties in producing this record breaking piece of print for Greenpeace, especially as we’ve recently been awarded ISO14001 and as a company actively promote environmental matters,” concludes Murray.
See a video of the process at www. pyramidvisuals.co.uk/greenpeace-avaaz
Why Evergreen Jet 220?
EverGreen fabrics are free from PVC, Phtalates, Phosphate, Formaldehyde or Glycol-ether. In comparison to conventional PVC they also use about half the raw materials. For example, while PVC uses around 675g/m², the Jet 220 media uses only up to 330g/m². Plus, fabrication of Evergreen fabrics yields more energy savings than conventional fabrics - a PVC banner may use up to 2,18kW/m² while Jet 220 only 0.41kW/m². And while a PVC banner releases up to 50g/m² of VOCs, Jet 220 releases 0g/m².
The Jet 220 material, as used in the Greenpeace job, is a fire retardant, lightweight (200gsm) fabric that prints on most digital machines. Because of its lightweight, shipping requires less fuel than with some other alternative media, plus it is packaged in recycled cardboard!
EverGreen materials can be destroyed by local specialised companies but, should they go to landfill, the decomposition time is half that of a standard PVC banner (NF EN ISO 6341) (NF T 90-375). Through incineration, energy regeneration is observed (NF EN ISO 1716); 1m2 of incinerated Jet220 produces 140W.