‘The World Basketball Festival came to Chicago, put on by Nike, a world-wide brand, and Benchmark Imaging was called on to give the event a world-class look.
Chicago’s beautiful and historic 63rd Street Beach House was transformed with vinyl banners, mesh banners, pole banners, fabric displays and a variety of large format graphics for the event that hosted thousands of guests over several days, from basketball crazy neighborhood kids to the U.S. National Men’s team taking on Brazil in an exhibition game.
Just about every inch of interior space was branded with logos and expressions giving the event the feel of professional athletics, as well as the amateur spirit of a festival. The banners made by Benchmark pulled together seamlessly the temporary outdoor branded environment and the indoor areas, including the long stretch of beautiful beachfront, music stage area and a skills zone at which people could test their hoops ability.
“It’s fun to count Nike as a customer. They have the resources to be able to do it really right, which would have been almost impossible before the current capabilities of large-format printing,’’ said McKinley. “It was really gratifying to see that we were capable of producing just about everything at the event that used large format printing.”
While the beautiful facility provides a wonderful backdrop, it means the graphics and banners used to brand it must be good enough to complement the architecture. The 63rd Street Beach House was built in 1914 with its open balconies and loggias allowing for lovely lake views and cooling breezes. It underwent extensive renovations in 2000. The surrounding Jackson Park was conceived by the same firm that designed New York’s Central Park.
Of course it takes quite a bit of work to transform such an outdoor event with temporary graphics and signage and make the branding look easy. Benchmark faced some significant challenges.
Deadline: As is common with such a major outdoor event, final commitments get postponed and schedules compress. Benchmark had to race to get the materials for such a large order and even called on some friendly competitors for supplies.
Complexity: Such a large order pushes everyone’s organizational skills to the limit: One of these, two of those, ten of that one and that one, multiplied by vinyl banners, mesh banners, pole banners, fabric displays and other large format printing, all with specific finishing requirements challenges everybody involved in the production from design through installation. The temporary outdoor environment involved thousands of pieces of hardware and graphics to be put carefully into place like a puzzle to work — but work it did.
Size: Bigger environments demand bigger banners. are perfect for big seamless graphic expanses. The 16ft wide printer combined with 16ft wide mesh media was the perfect combination to give Nike the look they wanted without seams.
“The design sense needed to construct these temporary branded outdoor environments is a whole new skill set,’’ says Benchmark owner Bill McKinley. “Its like landscape architecture crossed with graphic design crossed with engineering crossed with outdoor advertising all at the same time.’’
Benchmark got called because of the company’s expertise and long experience in large format graphics and large format printing. And the event planner working for Nike helped by being extremely organized and professional in how it articulated its needs and the files they presented for print.