By being clever with how it works with media Ltd Limited has carved out a niche for creating stunning graphics that invite clients to think outside the box.
When it comes to innovative use of substrates, one print company really stands out. Ltd Limited, based in the east of London, works with materials from around the world, often combining and layering media to create stunning effects. It's a formula that obviously works as the company has just celebrated its tenth anniversary.
The core creative team has been together for more than 15 years, having started off together working for a photographic company. One particular job, a multi-site art installation called Art Transpennine, led to the formation of Ltd Limited. Marketing manager Craig Beecher explains: “It was the first time that someone had asked if we could print to something other than paper. So it was the first time that we experimented with finding new media and new ways of hanging them and that was the start of us thinking of how we wanted to manage the business. If you can have a company that is different, where clients can be more creative and more experimental than we thought that might make us stand out from the crowd.”
It’s an approach that appeals to many clients and increasingly design agencies are using Ltd’s portfolio as part of their presentations so that clients can envisage what the final effect will look like.
The company works with suppliers of materials and media from around the world to get things first and test them. Managing director James Ironmonger explains: “When necessary we have substrates designed but we would often import media directly from the country of origin in different sizes and adhesives.” He adds: “We might get a material that is usually full adhesive on one side and we might not need that because we will create an adhesive on a different layer. So it might not have been made like that until we asked for it because that adhesive layer might mean the combination that we are trying doesn't work properly.”
Much of the work involves combining and layering substrates and using inks in different ways. This might, for example, mean having metallic text effects from one layer contrasted with a different substrate on another layer. Beecher adds: “We are trying to find ways of using white ink rather than laying down 100% white ink on different media - combining it with different colours such as fluorescents to create different effects.”
The company has its own wallpaper, called Wallapeel, that will stick to most walls, for any length of time, without doing any damage or leaving behind any residue when it's removed. Beecher says: “We experiment all the time with substrates and inks. We have a special relationship with Epson and do a lot of testing for them and look at new kinds of substrates for them and we do rather same for our clients.”
Part of the relationship with Epson includes putting together several exhibition stands, including at the recent Drupa show in Dusseldorf. Naturally this involved using Epson media and inks with an Epson GS6000 printer. Beecher says that they played around with the inks and the printer settings to try out various effects. It was a very light stand, thanks to the use of glass to separate a meeting area. This was done with optically clear media, with an anti-scratch laminate. The walls were covered with wallpaper, which helped give it more of the feel of an interior design rather than an exhibition stand.
Another example includes the interior and exterior of the Asics flagship store in Amsterdam. This included an eye-catching 70m long silver hoarding across the front of the store whilst it was being renovated, created by combining different media. The silver effect wasn’t in the initial brief, and most people would probably have used a standard vinyl, but Ironmonger says simply: “The image looked like it should be metallic and so we tried to create it.” The finished result may have cost more but the client was happy with the extra attention it generated. And it’s this willingness to experiment that sums up Ltd’s approach.