Case Study: Outdoor Floor and Wall Graphics at the University of Texas at Dallas

SEPTEMBER 18, 2019| SpeedPro Richardson

The founders of Texas Instruments, Eugene McDermott, J. Erik Jonsson and Cecil Green established the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest (GRCSW) in 1961 in an effort to improve higher education opportunities in North Texas. That would become The University of Texas at Dallas in 1969. You can read more about the history on their website.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, the School Administration and Marketing undertook a number of initiatives in and out of the campus grounds to commemorate the milestone. We were engaged by the Marketing team to travel around campus with them and come up with solutions to place large 50th anniversary graphics. After processing a number of options, the plan settled on ten 12 foot diameter outdoor floor graphics and three 16 foot by 8 foot wall murals.

The requirements for the floor graphics included;

  • Needs to be in place for the entire school year, through next summer.
  • Must be durable and hold up to lots of foot and vehicle traffic.
  • Must be safe with a non-slip rating.
  • Must be installed on areas of the Campus that have no nearby source of electricity to power heat guns we normally use to have vinyl conform to rough texture.
  • Must be removable without damage to the surface installed on

We have a number of different solutions for floor graphics available depending on the requirements. Where the decals are only used for a few days during an event, a cost effective solution is available that is very easy to apply without requiring experienced installers.

However, because of the requirements stated above, we decided that the best solution to meet all of their needs is a product called Alumigraphics® Grip, manufactured by FloorSignage, LLC. The material is actually composed of a thin aluminum sheet with a white print accepting and non-slip coating. This product met all of the requirements for this application, including the fact that it doesn’t require lamination or heat for installation.

The requirements for the wall graphics were similar to the floor except of course that the non-slip and vehicle traffic aren’t applicable. Interestingly, the three walls chosen were each a different surface; concrete, brick and a special art wall they referred to as the Peter Walker Wall. Peter Walker is the landscape architect who designed the campus green spaces and is well known for other high profile spaces including the 9/11 Memorial.  This wall has the appearance and texture of weathered wooden planks, including ridges that extend out from the wall where the edges of the forms would have been. They were very concerned about any potential damage to this wall and had to be assured that the adhesive on the material would not cause any damage when removed in a year.

For the walls, we chose the Alumigraphics ® Smooth which is also made from aluminum sheet but without the grip texture. To confirm this was the right solution and assure the University personnel that the Peter Walker Wall wouldn’t be damaged when the mural is removed, we had the material supplier to meet with us and University personnel. Bill Spicer of Spicer Consulting Group, Inc., who represents Alumigraphics®, was able to bring in the VP of Development who resides in the DFW area. So on one day, we all met; University Marketing, University Facilities Management, the Material Supplier and the Printing/Sign company (me). We brought along samples and met by the Peter Walker Wall where we and the Alumigraphics ® representatives demonstrated the material and showed that it can easily be removed without leaving residue on the art wall. This was a valuable collaborative effort among the interested parties to ensure a success. By the way, for those not familiar with UT Dallas, the wall images feature TEMOC, the school sports mascot.

I say this often but still can’t say it often enough. Unless the customer knows exactly what they want, it’s critical they work with a consultative company like ourselves to help address their needs and bring solutions to the table. There are typically more than one solution and product available to meet the needs and it takes experienced print and sign companies to propose the best one.

While Alumigraphics ® is relatively easy to install for small decals, installing large multi-panel images with features that need to line up has to be done by experienced installers. The Peter Walker Wall was particularly challenging since there isn’t one flat section of more than a few inches on the wall. Our install team did a great job making the images seamlessly blend in on the highly textured surfaces.

In the end, the outdoor graphics  are highly visible and impactful and have received positive feedback from the campus community. We believe the close cooperation between customer, vendor and material supplier made this project successful. Thanks to FloorSignage, LLC and Spicer Consulting Group, Inc. for all their support and for the UT Dallas Marketing Team for collaborating with us on this milestone project.

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SpeedPro Richardson

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Dan Bertoncini