For the fourth consecutive time, Essex-based Imaginators has won ‘Best Branding’ at the Festival Supplier of the Year awards.
This adds yet another trophy to the £2.5m turnover company’s cache of accolades that include multiple wins for ‘Best SME Business of the Year’, ‘Best Wide Format and Best Superwide Format Digital Print Company of the Year’ and several others including ‘IoD Director of the Year’ for founder and MD Matt Tydeman.
Founded in 1976, Imaginators is a privately owned wide- and superwide-format PSP that is well known in the events industry. One of the key components to its recent growth has been put down to its extensive use of the German-made Pongs digital textiles, and in particular the DirectTex SoftImage Contrast Black Back that it started using two years ago.
“Contrast Black Back has helped us grow significantly,” said Tydeman. “It runs on our printer virtually daily. It's a regular and our clients really like it. We find ourselves adapting it to many different areas of use. Our installers love it as its easy to handle, it doesn’t ripple and it stretches whilst maintaining stability.”
The company came to Black Back almost by error that coincided with the installation of its 5m UV Durst 512r printer three years ago. Customers started to ask for Black Back rather than the canvas backed materials that Imaginators supplied. The company was using alternative black back material from another manufacturer, but was experiencing quality problems with the black opaque lining offsetting onto the print. Imaginators tried to get round the problem by reducing the speed of the printer, and thereby reducing its temperature. “This solution seemed to defeat the object to have a printer that could run so fast at such high quality only to slow it down,” explained Tydeman, whose long-standing relationship with Robin East, director at CMYUK, led to him being introduced to the Pongs portfolio at Fespa.
“It seemed to be the natural progression on the substrates side for us to partner with - the knowledge base there is very helpful. Sometimes we don't have the answers to the problems put to us by our clients - there are times when we are faced with something that is a little bit obscure that we haven’t worked with before, we can talk to CMYUK and there’s always some examples of where and how a material has been applied, and how you can apply it.”
Recently, for example, the Contrast Black Back was used for the BBC Proms in the Park series of events across London.
“We’re not just supplying print we’re more of a production company,” added Tydeman. “We go in, build the set and produce the graphics which we apply to the set. We go away, then come back to take it all down. Extensively we find that the Pongs materials are used for instances like that – lots of backdrops, press backdrops and media boards but also decoration. We’re noticing now that we’re also using it for drapes an awful lot. Its very complimentary to many of the other things that are going on.”
Another topical job was for the launch of the new Beats headphones in Shoreditch. Contrast Black Back was used to dress what is referred to as flat walls or flats, often modular in configuration to create the immersive space experience.
Recently Imaginators has bought sewing services in-house with the purchase of an automated industrial sewing machine. This affords it high quality finishing to fabric and PVC textiles, ensuring flat seams for applications such as Silicone/PVC Beading, Keder or SEG attaching, hemming and velcro.
This capability has led Imaginators into producing graphics for Tension Frame Systems (TFS), but rather than installing these in traditional retail environments, it is repurposing them for its wide spectrum of events.