Print is a versatile medium, and it can be used for all kinds of installations. Working with our clients Smile Direct Club, PressOn produced a series of branded tension fabric frame booths, to provide privacy, acoustic dampening, and visual branding for their customers.
While we tend to think of print as purely a visual tool, it also offers a number of practical benefits too. When used creatively, printed fabric frames can be configured to create 3-dimensional installations and spaces, which is precisely what Smile Direct needed for their consultation booths.
Who are Smile Direct Club?
Founded in 2014, Smile Direct Club offers a refreshing alternative to the traditional (ad hitherto ubiquitous) braces many of us wear to help straighten our teeth. Smile Direct Club produces bespoke clear aligners, tailored to the individual, to help straighten teeth and improve customers’ smiles.
These kinds of aligners are more discreet than braces, and eliminate the need for regular in-person visits. It’s not surprising that these innovative new solutions have become very popular, with more than a million customers served so far, across Smile’s nine UK locations.
The process for creating these individual items involves a consultation in which an imprint of a user’s smile is taken. Naturally, this is a fairly personal thing, and Smile Direct Club wanted to ensure their customers were provided with the privacy they needed during any in-store appointments.
With several new locations open across the UK, to replace their previous installations in a range of shared-office spaces, Smile wanted to provide a flawless experience for the clients, and the large format printing PressOn were briefed to provide was a big part of this.
For these installations, there were several key requirements: Not only did the booths need to ensure privacy both visually and auditorily, the installations needed to be secure, strong, and sturdy – as they would act as the structure of the booths themselves.
Finally, the frames needed to communicate Smile’s branding across a series of printed designs, which required a high level of visual fidelity due to the up-close nature of how these installations would be viewed by customers.
This had a number of implications for printing, not least that like most modern brands, Smile wanted to ensure that any possible steps to ensure a sustainable approach to production were taken.
The Solution: Tension Fabric Frames
PressOn proposed a series of ‘tension fabric frame’ installations, as the most efficient, effective, and versatile solution to Smile Direct Club’s requirements. These innovative print solutions consist of a printed fabric banner, stitched with a silicone border which is inserted – at tension – into an aluminium frame.
For Smile’s unique requirements, PressOn also took additional measures; a layer of sound-insulating foam was inserted to ensure dampening and increased privacy, and a unique sound-absorbing fabric was used for the graphics, adding to the level of auditory insulation. These installations also offer an incredibly high level of visual fidelity for the printed graphics, ensuring a flawless depiction of Smile’s branding and visual design.
Why tension frames are so beneficial
The alternative to tension fabric frames would have likely involved the creation of permanent stud walls – a less appealing solution for a number of reasons, not least due to the inflexible nature of this type of installation. Fabric frames can be easily dismantled, rebuilt, and even reconfigured, and the ‘pop-in’ nature of the silicone-edge graphics means different designs can be swapped in and out within minutes, and additional prints can be stored for unlimited reuse.
All of this also has a tangible benefit to the environment when compared with more traditional printed media. The frames and fabric are recyclable and reusable, and PressOn uses solvent-free, water-based inks during production. Along with PressOn’s zero-landfill status, this project was an excellent example of how print projects don’t need to be catastrophically harmful to the planet.
PressOn worked closely with Smile Direct Club across several of their locations, to produce and install a range of tension fabric frame booths, and a wide variety of additional printed media to reinforce their branding and visual identity at their various premises. These included:
Wall-mounted lightboxes and frames:
100mm deep and 20mm deep respectively, these alternative formats for tension fabric frames, helped to reinforce Smile Direct Club’s branding in locations including Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester, and Oxford Circus and Aldgate in London.
Window vinyl prints featuring cut-out lettering and other designs were printed to various specifications, and installed across all of the above locations. The installation in Leeds was unique, featuring a triple-layer double-sided graphic printed to Optically Clear Vinyl.
More of a ‘classic’ printing format, these flexible signs are a hugely effective way to advertise at the front of a store space, and are an excellent cost-effective way to promote a brand – PressOn printed these for installation at Manchester, Oxford Street, and Aldgate.
Glass and Wall Graphics:
Installed in Smile Direct Club’s London premises at Aldgate and Oxford Circus, these graphics helped to increase the visual coverage and brand cohesiveness across the two stores. Smile Direct Club selected a frosted grey percentage from our colour swatches, which we printed to optically clear vinyl, with the polka dot artwork providing some privacy to the rooms while still allowing light through without totally obscuring eyeline.