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Maximising the creative potential

Maximising the creative potential

Great looking special effects can find a beginning in lots of places these days thanks to the versatility of modern media and print-based imaging technologies. However, one company that is rediscovering that a creative imagination is the best source is Manchester-based Gatley Signs and its Wrap-Zone division.


Andy Johnson recently acquired Gatley Signs and one of his immediate priorities was strengthening his creative team and building the base of skills the company can use to help distinguish its offerings.

Recent years have changed what’s possible in terms of sign and graphics production to an extent that few might have imagined and placing that potential in creative hands has helped to further develop markets for imaginatively designed output.

Metamark recognised some time ago that the converging sign and print markets were looking for a fusion of the durability expected of signing media and the capacity to resolve the higher orders of resolution and detail required by those with a greater expectation of print quality. From that analysis, the company designed and manufactured its MD-Class media range, home of MD5, which is regarded by many as being the industry’s digital flagship.

The team at Gatley Signs turned to Metamark’s MD-Class product to produce a range of graphics promoting its own special effect capabilities. The images used draw on deep Photoshop expertise and deliver a range of arresting effects, which when used in balance with the subjects, make the point, but without exploiting Photoshop’s talents to an extent considered gratuitous.

The designs were printed on MD-Class media using a Roland VersaCAMM printer. The combination delivers the tonal range and resolution needed to challenge more conventional decorative output forms, including photography. Photoshop can display gamut warnings but they would not be greatly exercised thanks to the MD-Class media having very generous ink limits and thus being able to resolve an extensive range of colour.

Gatley Signs intends to flex its creative muscle and is placing a greater emphasis on vehicle wraps. Wraps, of course, have become a mainstream production staple so that the broader differentiation can now come from design as much as from the wrap itself. With a considerable palette of effects, including printed textures that can be wholly digitally originated, ink on the right material will help take the company much further than a simple reliance on material variations.

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