US-based visual merchandising firm, Marketing Alliance Group, reproduced an eye-catching retro 50s-style pin-up mermaid on a wooden placard in stunning detail. The sign, printed in five colours on a poplar wood board using an Inca Onset S40, was commissioned by contemporary artist Brendan Coudal.
“It’s very important to our client, Brendan Coudal, that his artwork is printed to the highest standards,” says Jeanette Bender, Creative Director at Marketing Alliance. “After all, his name is on every piece! His customers are high-end boutique retail stores, national retail chains, restaurants and bars.” she adds, “so it’s critical that we, as a manufacturer and printer, share the artist’s passion and attention to detail.”
Coudal begins by painting his creations in oil on canvas. He then digitally photographs and proofs the pieces before making slight adjustments and typographical additions in Photoshop. After perfecting the artwork, Coudal sends the files to Marketing Alliance for reproduction on more challenging substrates than canvas. “Wood is difficult,” remarks Bender. “It has to be cut with the grain in the right direction, and we have to make sure that it doesn’t absorb any moisture, otherwise it will bow. We now have a specific storage location to prevent any moisture problems.” Beyond that, “we have to find the right balance of ink to lay down to meet our client’s requirements of vibrancy and quality.”
Luckily, Marketing Alliance’s Inca Onset S40 is more than up to the task of printing on poplar. “The actual printing part of it is nothing out of the ordinary,” says Bender. It seems, in fact, that the client has become accustomed to the consistent high quality of Marketing Alliance’s work. “We make colour proofs before we run the jobs, but they end up being for our own internal review. The artist trusts us enough to take responsibility for the printing. He doesn’t see the final results until production. We have a good relationship and print all of his art projects.”
The final product – aside from the eye-catching piece of retro signage, of course – is customer satisfaction. “He has been pleased with not only the vibrancy and overall exceptional quality,” reflects Bender, “but the consistency, care and craftsmanship in every piece. It directly results in happy customers and repeat orders.” In the case of this collaboration with Brendan Coudal, it also directly resulted in an Inca IDEAs Award in the Retail Interiors category for the Marketing Alliance Group.