by: Marketing Team on



Aside from its daily output of commercial jobs, including banner stands, exhibition installations and signage, our EFI VUTEk H2000 six colour large format printer doesn’t often get chance to let its hair down; to experiment, to throw caution to the wind and lay ink on new and exciting surfaces. A recent collaboration presented the perfect opportunity, seeing AGNE working alongside students studying BA (Hons) Textile and Surface Design at Cleveland College of Art and Design. The students were busy exploring their second year on the course when they first came to visit the VUTEk, and were suitably impressed by the range of experimental print awaiting them. Kim West, project managing, had worked alongside Large Format Department Head John Tindill to develop a range of visually enticing prints on varying surfaces, designed to showcase the broad range of finishes available.  


 “We looked to show the students that, within reason, we really can print on anything, creating many different applications for the retail and decorative industries” says Kim. “As the students would be tasked with tailoring their work towards a hypothetical commercial setting, we really wanted them to envision developing their ideas to include print at AGNE, producing some outstanding art-driven designs and finished products.” 

A full demonstration of the VUTEk in mid-print quickly got the students’ attention, many of whom hadn’t ever visited a professional print company, or seen a printer of this size and calibre. From a series of materials sourced from local suppliers, AGNE were able to showcase print on unusual surfaces. A colourful graphic of an anchor on rusted steel sheeting from artisan lightsmith Dave O’Donnell of The LightShack drew a lot of attention. We had experimented in advance, laying down varying quantities of ink to create a full colour finish, as well as a half ink coverage faded look, which wouldn’t look out of place in a modern interior retailer. Printed carpet floor tiles and polystyrene ceiling tiles also sparked ideas, alongside a simple single colour print on a large scale corrugate board, which had impact and led to a discussion around uses for wallcoverings and window displays in a commercial setting. The winner of the day was likely the most precarious but rewarding to print – a 1.3m2 sheet of toughened glass with a bold skull icon. We reverse printed and omitted a white layer under the coloured inks, allowing daylight to work its magic through the glass and enhance the printed colour in a modern stained-glass effect. We were also able to demonstrate our ESKO Kongsberg cutting table, cutting a double sided retail display for the festive season with the routing tool.

                           Experimental print on rusted steel, glass and corrugated board


                                               Experimental print on textured foamboard   

                                                      Experimental print on chipboard
                              Experimental print with varying layers of colour on carpet tiles

Following our visit from the students, Kim headed over to the CCAD Hartlepool site to view their work first hand. “I was really impressed” she says. “The decorative detail and innovative ideas on many of the students’ work would be instantly transferrable into the commercial market. Some of the themes were really considered, many of them could be imagined as luxe wrapping, packaging or stationery items. From there, I helped spark a few ideas for further texture development, offering and encouraging the use of the AGNE large format press”. AGNE were able to print detailed work for six of the students’ final collections, on substrates as diverse as glass, ceramic floor tiles and butler finish DiLite from Antalis – a brushed steel effect dibond.  

                                           Sarah Walker's sunflowers on ceramic floor tile


                             Hatti Morrison's New York scene on Butler Finish DiLite 


                                                Chevie Eckford's print on glass

                         Alex Booth's bold mark-making on a vertical carry handle shoebox     

  Lynsey Bertam's reverse printed mark-making on window vinyl, later printed to clear acrylic

Kristina Cousin's luxury packaging design, printed on the VUTEk and cut on the ESKO Kongsberg



 On Friday 3rd March, the CCAD building in Hartlepool held its last hurrah – a collection of the Textile and Surface Design students’ work displayed in a gallery space entitled MADE. Created in the corridor leading to the soon-to-be-demolished art rooms (the college will be moving to new premises in 2017, and the current building torn down), the walls were coloured a dark teal, and exposed brickwork was gilded in metallic gold, with each student assigned a space in which to display their work from this module. A large turnout of visitors to the exhibition generated an excited buzz among the students. Work was admired and discussed; in particular Chevie Eckford’s print on glass, and Alex Booth’s intriguing mark-making design printed onto a corrugate vertical shoe box; both made through AGNE’s large format printer and cutting table. Our personal favourite was Hatti Morrison’s industrial feel New York scene on brushed DiLite – it was easy to envision it large scale on a hallway wall in a boutique bar or coffee shop.

It's clear to see there’s a wealth of talent coming up through the ranks at CCAD, and AGNE are excited to continue further development alongside the students – we’re looking forward to our next exciting print challenge!





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