January 12, 2012
We started with a heavily used, rather old refrigerator. We added some creativity, a swath of vinyl, a liberal dash of ink, two kinds of lamination, and one amazing graphics installer. The result is something you’d be proud to bring home to mama… especially if she needed a cold glass of milk and leftovers.
In-house projects like this fridge wrap give us an unconstrained chance to strut our stuff and flex our creative muscles. Oddly enough, when no constraints exist, designer’s block seems to hit the hardest. Have you ever sat at a blank canvas of any sort (Photoshop, word processor or actual physical canvas) and you think, “I could do anything! Where do I start? I wonder what Twitter has to say.” Three hours later you still have a blank canvas. So I decided to treat myself like a customer.
As a customer, here’s my requirements for this project:
- I want our logo – and make it BIG! (for those of you who don’t get this, click the link to appreciate some tongue-in-cheek design-geek humor)
- It’s gotta be awesome, fun, quirky and epic… just like us.
- An idea: open the fridge and take a picture of what’s inside. That could be the front… that would be funny… it’s just an idea.
- Another idea: instead of food on the inside it could be filled with gold bars like Fort Knox looks like in my imagination, then you could make the outside look like a bank vault door… it’s just an idea.
- Can you do anything with rhinestones or sequins? Anything shiny?
It was then that I realized I make a horrible sign company customer. After this project sat on my desk a few more days and the blank canvas screamed ever louder at me, I had an idea: People oftentimes use their fridge to display things they’re proud of like pics of friends and family, toddler art and other mementos. Let’s have it tell a story! Then just like that, the design started falling together.
When I was brainstorming with a couple of the production guys, they asked if it could be written on. Cool! We’ll make it interactive. Out of that came the idea of the freezer door’s cork board which has dry-erase lamination. I didn’t want people to have unconstrained creativity (that’s a ridiculous concept), so I gave them some creative direction: Haiku, Doodle-this, create a caption.
Vinyl, ink, lamination and a 3M trained graphics installer
We used the same 3M vinyl that we use for vehicle wraps. Not only because it’s a great product but because Billy, our installer, is newly trained by 3M. I’m still sign-shop-geeking-out about our HP25500 latex printer and how cool it is. I’ll spare you the details, just know that it is a fine machine. For lamination, we used the 3M lamination that partners with the 3M vinyl. Lamination wasn’t strictly necessary in this case because the risk of UV fading is nearly non-existent but the lamination will still protect the graphic from scuffs and will make the surface of the refrigerator cleanable with off-the-shelf cleaning products. On top of the cork board print, we installed dry erase laminate so we could doodle all day.
Extreme Makeover disclaimer
No, Ty Pennington and his merry band of do-gooders at ABC had nothing to do with this project. If you’d like more info about the Extreme Makeover branded shows check out ABC’s website. The ‘Fridge Edition’ logo is merely an homage and tribute to the good done for folks who need it.