Apex Cycle Exterior Signage Project

There are some projects that get the whole team at Mito excited – working with Apex Cycle on the exterior signage for their new building definitely peaked the interest of our crew.  Not only did they have creative ideas that would allow our design team to help them dream big, but they sell some of our favourite brands and toys.  This was going to be the kind of work that we love.

Colin Lobsinger of APEX Cycle let us know early in the process that they were moving and would require updated signage.   The benefit of being involved early in the process is that we are able to be on have input on the construction to lend advice and guidance for the attachment needs and electrical requirements for the signage.  The new APEX Cycle building was being built by one of the leaders in local commercial / industrial development; Schiedel Construction Inc.   

The design team worked with Apex to determine how to convert their vision into a practical solution that we could engineer within their budget; and the constraints of the building site. The goal was to have large scale impactful LED illuminated signage that not only signaled that this was APEX but that they carried many sought after, reputable brands.

Working with our Professional Engineer, Marc from Signum Engineering we went to work on creating structurally sound signage and attachment methods.  We collaborated with the Schiedel Construction crew to create a backer behind the finished siding to attach to. The opportunity to be involved at an early construction stage give us the ability to have very little exposed wire and attachment in the showroom.

On a project of this scale, securing the required signage permits can be a major undertaking.   The signage was to be adjacent to the Highway 401; which requires additional compliance with the Ministry of Transit.   The Staff at the Ministry of Transit were knowledgeable and thorough when discussing the signage we were proposing. They were a great team to work with and after a long path of obstacles to overcome, the project was approved!

Once we had MOT Approval we were ready to apply for a permit to install and construct the signs through the City of Cambridge Building Department.   The signage bylaw in Cambridge stipulates that the size of signage allowed is based on the “frontage on municipal road” of the property. As Apex cycle is a large property on a Court the frontage was only approx. 2 lanes of traffic wide, a variance was required to have the project approved.  Once we were on the docket for discussion at Council we pleaded our case and it was voted on and approved.  Our team felt elated to have helped Apex Cycle to overcome the last obstacle to turning their project vision into reality.

The planned location of the pylon sign created some pretty serious obstacles for installation; accessibility of typical equipment was not possible.  MitoGraphics partnered with EBS Solutions, a local company specializing in Helical Piers, to engineer and install a structural base for the pylon sign.  In spite of the steep grade their equipment would be able to place engineered anchors in the ground to hold the base of the sign.

With our engineer Marc and the team of engineers at EBS on board this project was underway. Permits submitted and approved. Now to begin Fabrication and installation.

First phase of this project was the Fascia signage on the front and back of the building. The fascia signage is a combination of traditional illuminated channel letter, Cabinet sign and Halo-lit illuminated brand signs. The scale of the signage can be seen in the photos.

Phase two of this project was the pylon sign. As we grew closer and closer to the end of the year and fabrication was almost done on the pylon it was clear that the installation would be a winter install. We teamed up with Ryan from Constrong to prepare the terrain for the sign base, form and pour. Ryan’s team of young professionals cleared the area and prepared it for the installation.  Our team, Constrong and EBS fought the elements moved mountains and got the base anchored / poured and cured all in the dead of winter. Once the base was properly cured and tested for strength it was time to install the fully fabricated pylon sign.

The size the pylon is so large that it was split into sections and craned over the upright posts one piece at a time.  Naturally, we chose the coldest day of the year for the installation; The Mito install team, and our trade partners were all on site in -30 deg weather. Of course, we took time for a very Canadian Tim Horton’s Tailgate Party featuring chili, soup, coffee and treats to warm up along the way.

COVID 19 Tools for Physical Distancing

It seems as though over the past few weeks the world has changed faster than anything I can recall.  As a business, we are looking to the future to plan for how we can support our clients in moving forward to operate in this new reality.

Physical distancing is going to play a big role in how businesses are able to reopen while still helping to reduce the spread of COVID 19.  Graphics can be used as a tool to communicate a procedure to the public in an easy to understand way.  

Mito provides durable floor graphics to clients in the retail and service industries.  Our graphics department has been busy creating some standardized images that can be adapted to include branding or a custom message for each specific client or project.  Floor graphics are engineered to be durable in high traffic areas; featuring a heavy duty, textured laminate to protect the image from foot traffic.

Physical distancing between clients and front line staff is also a key consideration in operating over the coming months.  MitoGraphics can provide signage to communicate instructions for clients on how to interact with team members; as well as thanking them for their support and patience.  The key to successfully operating with new expectations is the ability to communicate with the client in an easy to understand way.  

Contact us today for help with planning and implementing your plans for operating safely throughout the pandemic.

3M Training Session on DI-NOC Media

I had the chance to head to the 3M facility in Milton for a seminar on their DI-NOC product. Before the seminar I didn’t know too much about DI-NOC. My eyes are opened wide on the product now!

First of all the name DI-NOC means beautiful by day and beautiful by night. The product has been around for years from its fir​st appearance on vehicles. Do you remember the wood paneled station wagons of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s? Well that was DI-NOC. The product now comes in over 1000 patters, that includes different patterns textures and finishes.

The product now has more than a few different lines. Interior: abstract, carbon fibre, concrete, fine wood, hairline metal, haku/washi, leather metallic wood Mortar/stucco, oxidized metal, single colour, stone, smooth stone, textile, woodgrain & whiteboard. They have many variations of texture and colour within these product lines that will fit any design aesthetic.

A sub section within the interior product line is something called Dry wood, it has a very matte finish with a warm look and feel. Honestly it looks and feels like wood, you can feel the grain!

For exterior application they have earth stone, fine wood, metal, oxidized metal, single colour, stone and wood grain.  YES that is correct exterior application. It can be applied to exterior applications from building facades, to cost effectively revamping tired signage.

One of the great things about DI-NOC is it being a cost effective alternative to traditional millwork and renovation. When you want to revamp a space because of tired looking fixtures it is a large undertaking with various general contractors and construction trades. The benefit of DI-NOC is the downtime is very limited. Turning a 2 week long renovation into a ½ day revamp. When downtime is just not an option as in retail or hotel industries DI-NOC is the best option.

This video shows how easy the maintenance will
This shows the potential impact of DI-NOC

Let me know if you have an application for DI-NOC.  Mito is here to help and discuss any upcoming projects!

Felicity Litschgy | Meet the Co-Op Student

Hello, my name is Felicity. I am currently a co-op student working at MitoGraphics, And I am going to be sharing my work experience here. My journey started during September my first impression of the place when I first walked through those doors it was so different from what I imagined it would be. First, the smell was really strong it smelled like an ink shop. I imagined there would be a lot of computers throughout the building but it turned out there were more machines than I expected to be there. I was extremely nervous and shy to be around everyone because I was not familiar with anyone, or to what I would be doing. I learned that day not everything will be like you imagined, as I have never been in a workplace environment like this before.

 Every task I do around here changes every day, sometimes I will put together a video. I have created some unique and entertaining pieces from when we do projects from start to finish. Like the job we had done that required the usage of a flatbed printer. This experience I enjoyed doing very much as well as experiencing new things as I was creating and learning how to make videos. I will also do some weeding, or even helping with sewing. I have gotten a lot of opportunities to watch a lot of cool machines and processes be done. Coming here has helped me understand what I wish to do in the future as a profession that is what I came here to do. My hope for a profession is to work for a graphic design company at first and make a good living and later on be a freelance graphic designer running on the experiences I have had. My time here has been enjoyable and fabulous as I am getting to experience a real workplace.

 Being a co-op student here is a great opportunity because coming here gave me a basic understanding of what I should be learning about to become successful. I am grateful for what I have been able to accomplish and learn from being here. As I now understand the importance of teamwork I can see that everybody here does their part to make sure everything is done as a team. I have been able to see what it is like to rely on everyone and cooperate. Everyone is excited to see new projects and appreciate what everyone else does for the company. I have gotten some useful work-life lessons from coming here, also some essential training on the basic information I did not understand before. Like how I was taught for the first time how to use a phone system, and how I learned how to use a new video editing program that I have not seen before.  and getting to see everyone who has been a great help in the career path I wish to pursue.

This is the video I have created https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGGzqAPvf9I

When I first came here I had no clue what I was doing or how to do anything, however, as time passed on everyone helped me learn in their own ways. When I first started to come to mito I was nervous but coming every day after I was not so nervous I had become comfortable here. I was able to come out of my shell and be myself as I had also gotten used to the smell of ink over time. Since September I have come a long way to becoming a part of this team which is nice to be with and it has made me feel welcome and included. As time is going on I have some laughs and giggles, also a lot of the time I needed help because at the time if I did not understand something or I was stuck. But now to all that help, I have gotten used to what I'm doing and I don't need as much help as to when I first started. So in the end when I am working at MitoGraphics as a co-op student it is a great way to learn and experience what work is all about. So overall working here for the short amount of time I have been here it has been amazing as I couldn't have pictured it any other way. So this is what it's like being a co-op student at MitoGraphics.

Thanksgiving 2019

This year, I am feeling particularly thankful.

Being “thankful” is a complicated feeling; from my humble perspective at least.  I am aware of the day to day gratitude that I feel to those people in my realm that support and inspire me.  But there is a deeper level to being thankful that I am acutely aware of this year.

Over the past 20 years I have experience many highs in lows – both in business and in my personal life.

Upon reflection, I realize that the lows have been just as important as the wins in helping both myself, and our team to grow.  It’s easy look back and recall defining days where Mito has accomplished our goals, won new business, developed new technology.  However, as time passes I realize that the moments that truly define our company, and our team are the moments I can recall where we stumbled, struggled, became frustrated – and then came together and figured out what it took to move forward.

So, this Thanksgiving I am thankful for our incredible team at MitoGraphics.  I am thankful for their dedication to the “Whatever It Takes!” philosophy that defines how we do business.  I am thankful that they understand, and embrace the Small Business culture where we all pitch in to make this a great place to work and learn.   I am thankful that when we struggle, we turn to each other for help and rally around a problem with vigour and innovative minds.

On a personal level, I am thankful to work with a team that brings coffee for each other in the morning, shares rides to and from work, gets excited about an opportunity to be creative together, and in general takes the time to be good to each other.

Over time, teams change…..people join us and then move on to their next adventure.  I am thankful; and maybe a bit proud as well to say that our team of today is the best it’s ever been. 

Lastly, I am ever so thankful to our past, present and future clients for bringing us the opportunities that have allowed us to be challenged, inspired and to do our very best work.

On behalf of the entire team at MitoGraphics, I wish you a most wonderful Thanksgiving.

But What Is Design?

Flashback to my high school social studies class. The theme, what career will you chose?

Without hesitation, I told myself, graphic design! I’m going to be a graphic designer!  I’ll make posters, magazine ads, design stuff, it’ll be awesome!  

Fast forward a few years later, there I was taking it all in. The new smells and sounds of a print shop as I waited eagerly to start my first co-op position.  My teacher had instructed us to arrive prepared, so there I sat with my brand new glitter pen and notebook in hand ready to take on the world – or so I thought. This new world involved bleeds, crop marks, yields and an endless list of vocabulary that I had never heard of before.  I very quickly realized I knew nothing about this industry that I was so interested in.

Through college, I had made it my mission to learn as much about the industry and what graphic design really was.   It was one class in particular that caught my attention - PRINT! I had the opportunity to run a press, prepare screens and even do screen printing on garments (photos attached as proof!).  My world of design had been opened up. Why had I never thought of the end result? Why was my mind stuck solely in the design phase, when there existed an entire world of print and production?  It was then that I started to realize the correlation between design and production.

As I started my new job at Mito, I was excited to learn how everything was made, beginning to end. Design to production. I had the same nervous feeling I once felt back in my high school co-op days, except this time, it was a good nervous. It was the eagerness to learn and understand how things became a design on screen to something tangible in the world.  And THIS time I was prepared! I knew what a bleed and crop marks were! (Queue in jazz hands).

Through this job, I learned the impact that design had on print and re-production.  Design was not just making things look pretty as I once had thought.  Design and the end result had to go hand in hand.  Working on projects from varied ranges such close view decals, large scale signage, working from blueprints and branding guides.  They all required different design requirements.  Can it be read? can it be seen? is it functional? all the while maintaining the integrity of the end result and considering things such as brand identity and client expectation. 

My initial concepts of what design was is far from what I know it to be today.  Most elements that we don’t consider to be related with design are integrated into our every day.  The printed buttons on a microwave, the dials on your car stereo, that cool graphic on a car, street signs, those annoying-but-sometimes funny bumper stickers everyone has, the sign on the building on your favourite coffee spot.  

Design is everywhere and it all belongs to the ever-changing world of visual communication.  Understanding your end result, audience and intent is a critical step in achieving both the functionality and beauty that design has to offer.

Larry's Thoughts on 50 Years in Screen Printing

Larry Theobalds has been a member of our team since 2001.  He is celebrating his 50th year as a Screen Print Enthusiast, so we asked him to post his reflections on the evolution of his craft.  Enjoy!

50 years ago……… a long time ago when I first got involved with screen printing. It was the time of peace, love and flowers, the Hippie movement, a time of celebration and revolution, it was a great time to be young.

Everywhere there were these crazy posters popping up on walls, telephone posts and construction barriers. Some advertising concerts, other promoting social and political change.

Me, I was in high school, my favorited class…..ART. I was exploring the art of the day, finding underground cartoons interesting and wanting to know about these posters that were everywhere. My teacher in art showed me this frame with an image on it, he put some paint in it and with this strange board thing pushed it across the surface, then lifted the frame up and there underneath was an image on a piece of paper, a screen print!.

My teacher showed me how to take a drawing, cut out a stencil, adhere the stencil to the screen, put ink in and print the image with a squeegee, I was hooked!

I learned how to people like Andy Warhol and Peter Max would make their art with screen printed images, how art students in colleges and universities would design posters for rallies and protests using screen printed process, the social media of the day it was.

Over the course of my time in high school art, I worked in screen printing a lot, as well as a keen interest in fine art and cartooning. When the time came to go to college, I found myself taking cartooning and life drawing and screen printing.

I worked freelance for a while creating artwork for different clients, sometime working with printers to prepare artwork for press.

I found myself at a crossroads and was looking for more permanent employment where I ended up acquiring a position in a screen print hop as I already had the basics under my belt.

I learned how images were created and transformed to the screen using photographic process with light sensitive emulsion (or coating).

I learned the process of screen printing from beginning to the end, creating artwork, making screens, mixing inks to color specifications, printing and finishing for shipping.

It’s been 50 years since I first discovered screen printing and I’m sure it’s not over yet. I think that I’ll always dabble in screen printing as part as my exploration in art even after I retire as a printer.