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Mimaki New Showroom Lfr

With a 2,000sq foot showroom at its disposal, Hybrid Services Ltd gave the task of redecorating it to local educational institution, South Cheshire College.

National Sales Manager – Sign & Graphics at Hybrid, John de la Roche outlines the motivation behind the project, “The blank canvas of our showroom came with the added benefit of enabling Hybrid to forge links with the college and provide valuable experience to its graphic design students,” he said. “We’re proud to be doing our bit in helping preserve the future of print by introducing them to the world of wide-format printers – and giving them unprecedented access to the very latest technology from Mimaki.”

Hybrid has been involved in training opportunities for its customers for many years, but the showroom suite which houses a substantial selection of wide-format Mimaki printers has never been readily accessible to up and coming students – until now. With a desire to show the vast array of applications capable of being achieved with a Mimaki, Hybrid partnered with the college and the core idea of the project began to take shape.

With the 2nd year students briefed and set to work, mentoring came from Hybrid’s design and marketing agency, UV Creative. Following an ‘Apprentice’ style pitch environment, the strongest concept was selected to take the project forward and the students were invited into the showroom for two hands-on days, working directly with Hybrid’s sales and technical teams to bring the designs to life. The end result was the production of banners, signage, promotional items, wallpaper and many more products, all exhibiting a common, collective theme that allowed the new No 3 Gateway showroom brand to be born.

Groups of students were able to use the full array of Mimaki technology, experiencing the company’s latest outdoor durable, latex, SUV, textile and LED UV printers. Some of the students were even given vehicle wrapping experience – applying their livery to one of Hybrid’s vehicles – ensuring they gained real-world application skills as well as extensive use of the printing and cutting hardware.

“I am really happy that I had the opportunity to work alongside a real client,” says Ben Smith, one of the students involved. “It has definitely made me more focused and it is reflected in the amazing results. I believe it’s the best work I have created throughout the whole two years of the course.”

De la Roche confirms the impact of the exercise has been hugely encouraging, saying, “The project has been a great success and a positive experience for all parties involved. The team at Hybrid has been able to give a group of young people skills and experience in a real working environment which will stand them in great stead as they look to further their education or enter the workplace.”

“In return, the students at South Cheshire College fulfilled their brief wonderfully and have given a fantastic and inspiring look to Hybrid’s demonstration suite which will allow visitors to immediately grasp what Mimaki printers are all about,” he concludes.

Laura Sumner – Assistant Director of The Arts & Media at South Cheshire College comments. “Hybrid has opened up a world of opportunities for our graphic design students as well as allowing them to create bespoke design solutions for the company. They have had the opportunity to design, develop concepts and pitch their ideas in a professional domain. This has distilled a greater confidence within our learners; more then we could ever achieve alone.”

Hybrid received support from resellers including Xpres and R A Smart with specialist services supplied to enable some of the 60+ products to be printed. Mimaki customers, including Park Lane Champagne, Image Group, Soyang Europe, Digital Blanks and Cestrian also made significant contributions to the project.

The new showroom was officially opened by the Principal and Chief Executive of South Cheshire College, Jasbir Dhesi on 17th June 2014 at a special event that allowed the students, their parents and college staff to see the results first hand.  It is envisaged that the project will continue into the next academic year with a new intake of graphic design students gaining the opportunity to work closely alongside Hybrid and Mimaki under a similar brief.