Home Improvement with a Canvas Gallery Wrap Collage

Canvas Wrap CollageOne of the most important things you can do from a sales and marketing standpoint, particularly in our obviously visual market, is to show potential clients how they can display their images.

You can say “canvas,” for instance, and people generally like the thought of images printed on canvas, but they don’t necessarily know how to translate it to their particular space, whether it’s a home, office or retail space.

That’s why Andy Wredberg at AW Artworks is constantly showcasing new and unique ways of displaying prints at his studio, and most recently at his home. Besides, Wredberg’s wife recently asked him why he was doing all this cool stuff for clients, but nothing for their home.

So, Wredberg did a family portrait photo shoot at Wisconsin’s state capitol in Madison. Wredberg’s also a talented photographer who was able to sneak into some of the photos with a remote shutter release.

Wredberg then took the images and created an approximately 6′ x 6′ canvas gallery wrap collage from the photo shoot printed on LexJet Sunset Select Matte Canvas. It consists of nine pieces: three 8x13s, two 10x20s, a 14×20, a 14×29, and two 20x30s.

“I’ve seen some collages online, but never tried doing one that extensively. People love canvas, but they have a hard time picturing how it would work for them and incorporate it. Seeing a collage on a wall gives them a better vision of something they could do with it,” says Wredberg, who posted the project on his Facebook page.

Simplifying Sales and Sidestepping Sign Restrictions with Perforated Window Film

Sears Auto Center Window Graphics by AW Artworks
Nothing fancy here, but these window graphics, printed on LexJet Aqueous Perforated Window Vinyl (70/30) by AW Artworks, get the word out about all of the services this Sears Auto Center provides.

On-premise signage is arguably the most effective way to get the word out about your business to a mobile audience, especially given the fracturing of media through this, that and the other app and social media.

Many businesses struggle with restrictive sign codes or shopping center guidelines that make it difficult to stand out from the crowd. In the case of a Sears Auto Center in Madison, Wis., the mall in which the center is located doesn’t allow much outside of a main ID sign.

The Auto Center tried various types of banners and even a large Michelin Man blow-up, all of which had to be taken down per the mall’s signage rules. So the Auto Center’s owner turned to Andy Wredberg, owner of AW Artworks, based down the road in Sun Prairie, Wis.

Though this type of project is not in AW Artworks’ wheelhouse, as Wredberg puts it, he wanted to help and try something outside his wheelhouse, which is primarily fine art and photo reproductions.

“They had some mismatched vinyl lettering on their garage doors and wanted something more attractive to draw more attention to the variety of services they offer,” explains Wredberg. “I talked to Rob Finkel at LexJet and he recommended LexJet Aqueous Perforated Vinyl (70/30), so we ordered a sample and tested it on the window. We ordered a roll of it, laid it out, printed it, sprayed it with a clear, water-based poly and installed it today. It went on easily and it looks sharp. They wanted to be able to see out and it provides some shade inside as well.”

Car Window Graphics
With the leftover window perf material from the Sears project, AW Artworks produced these popular stickers for the back windows of cars for Wisconsin-proud people. Andy Wredberg reports that they’ve sold about a dozen of these.

Now this type of project is squarely in AW Artworks’ wheelhouse, and Wredberg plans to use it on the studio’s sidewalk-facing windows to promote this additional product line. Based on similar window promotions AW Artworks has done in the past for banner stands and canvas wraps, AW Artworks should see more of this type of work in the future.

“I was a little concerned at first because we don’t normally do this type of application. I thought installation would be beyond my skill set, but I just pulled the release liner off a couple of inches to get it started, smoothed it down and was really easy. It only took about an hour,” says Wredberg. “It’s very readable from far away. They’re really a full-service auto center and I don’t think a lot of people realize the capabilities they have, so this will help them.”

Relocation, Restoration and Revitalization at AW Artworks

Gallery studio profile of AW ArtworksIn real estate, the great cliché is location, location, location. AW Artworks realized that location, though an important part of growing its business, was only one element of many that would help take this fledgling print shop to the next level.

“We were kind of stuck in a warehouse-type location that didn’t have much exposure,” says AW Artworks owner Andy Wredberg. “We wanted to get into an area that was more visible so we could make full use of our printers’ capabilities.”

Wredberg found the perfect spot on Main Street in Sun Prairie, Wis., which is about five miles outside of Madison. The catch was that the building needed work. Built in 1899 and home to the town’s first bank in the early 1900s, the building hadn’t been occupied for years.

Renovating an old building for a fine art reproduction studioSo Wredberg and his family set to work on the place on New Year’s Eve. It was tough work, but worth uncovering the gems they found, like the original marble tile that adorned the place more than 100 years ago. What was a relocation turned into a restoration and ultimately a revitalization of AW Artworks as the company moved from mostly wholesale canvas printing to custom, high-quality work.

“We want to set ourselves apart from the big quick stores. We will not be the least expensive, but we offer personal service and quality,” explains Wredberg. “I read the article at the LexJet Blog about The Blow Up Lab in San Francisco and it really struck a chord with me. They really stuck to their guns about not compromising quality for quantity – and that’s our desire as well.”

Large format canvas photo in a fitness centerIn a highly competitive field where almost everyone has the ability to shoot nice digital photos and have them printed on 8x10s at a big box retailer, the key is differentiation. As Wredberg puts it, they can make prints that are super-big and a variety of materials and finishes you simply can’t get elsewhere.

It’s one thing to tell a customer they have options, but quite another to show them, which is why Wredberg put LexJet’s sample Portfolio Packs of fine art and photo papers to good use in a Unibind photo album.

All the papers are printed in color and black-and-white so customers can see the subtle differences that make a difference in the final image and choose something custom, as opposed to the usual glossy and matte finishes they’re used to seeing.

Using Canon’s media configuration tool (AW Artworks has a Canon iPF8100 and an iPF8300) along with the profiles from LexJet has made it “super easy,” says Wredberg. “I just worked with Rob [Finkel, his personal customer specialist] last week on getting the profiles set up. One of the things I love about LexJet are the readily available profiles and the profiles have been excellent, plus it’s usually a one-day turnaround on materials from LexJet so that’s been fantastic,” adds Wredberg.

He says the most popular photo paper with his customers by far has been LexJet’s Sunset Photo eSatin. “It’s beautiful, durable and resistant to fingerprints,” Wredberg says.

Wredberg is working on the final restoration of the building for a grand opening in a few weeks. Right now the studio is available for work by appointment, but after the grand opening it will double as a gallery of local work and be completely open to walk-in traffic.