Making an impact: How to create double-sided window graphics

How to create double-sided window graphics Drytac

Authored by Gareth Newman, Academy Manager, Drytac

Window graphics are now regarded by many brands as a key part of the marketing mix. These graphics are an inexpensive form of advertising that retailers can easily apply – themselves – to windows in order to capture the attention of passers-by.

But why not take this a step further and maximise window space to capitalise on more marketing opportunities inside the building too? Double-sided window graphics allow marketers and brands to do just this, with such applications reaching consumers both inside and outside stores.

This double-impact marketing can also be achieved without affecting the amount of natural light that would otherwise be blocked when using other forms of large-format print marketing materials such as posters or signage. Specialist films allow light to pass through and continue to brighten up the store.

In addition, installation time is drastically cut when using double-sided window graphics over other forms of applications. As the film vinyl is printed on both sides – either with the same or a different design – it would only need to be applied once rather than having two separate pieces of print.

In terms of the type of material you can use for these applications, there are a number of options available. You could opt for a clear media such as Drytac ViziPrint Deco with five layers of print: mirrored CMYK, white, black, white and forward-facing CMYK.

Another option would be a white block-out material that can be paired with a clear print media. Here, you can pair the adhesive white blockout film, printed with a forward-facing graphic, with a reverse-printed graphic on a clear film – all without the need for white ink.

For this secondary method, one product that would fit the bill is Drytac Polar Blockout, which can be paired with Drytac SpotOn Clear Gloss or Polar Premium Clear Gloss to achieve this effect.

When it comes to mounting the graphics, a clear double-sided mounting adhesive can be applied to one side of a double-sided print on synthetic paper or other cardstock. This can be done using any printer that can print double-sided pieces, including standard, residential printers. Options for this method include WindowTac and ReTac Duo, both of which are available from Drytac.

We are yet again approaching the busiest time of the year for retailers and with shoppers back on the high street this year, shops look set to be busier than ever in the lead up to the festive season. Capturing the attention of consumers will be vital and double-sided window graphics offer shops a clear advantage in the battle for customers.

To find out more about Drytac and its wide range of adhesive solutions, please click here.

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Drytac appoints Don Valenzuela as USA West Coast Territory Sales Manager.

New hire to build and support Drytac dealer network and bring on new strategic partners within the West Coast region.

Drytac has announced the appointment of Don Valenzuela to its US Sales Team as Regional Manager for the West Coast Territory, covering Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. In this role, he will be responsible for building and supporting the Drytac dealer network and bringing on new strategic partners within the region.

With more than 20 years of experience in sales of products and services in the large-format print industry including specialty equipment and materials, Don is ideally suited to his new role. Residing just outside Sacramento, CA, he is skilled in identifying, strategizing, and ensuring prospects and clients become a loyal client base.

On his appointment, Don Valenzuela comments: “I’m delighted to join Drytac to build and support the current and future distribution network for its innovative adhesive science solutions. I very much look forward to developing Drytac’s business activities in the West Coast region.

Jerry Hill, Drytac’s VP of Sales – USA, adds: “Don has an extensive background in print and a love for everything wide format – and has built a reputation as a proven performer within the industry. He is relationship driven and has a strong track record of expanding new areas of business; we’re delighted to welcome him to the team.”

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Drytac bolsters Canadian team with two new appointments.

Glen Fitzgerald (L) is appointed to the role of Technical Sales Manager for Industrial Products while Michael Morano (R) joins team as North American Sales Support Specialist.

Drytac has announced the appointment of Michael Morano as North American Sales Support Specialist, providing support to the region’s sales and customer service teams. In his new role, effective September 7th 2021, he will also coordinate initiatives between the North American sales and production teams.

Michael joins Drytac with more than 15 years of field sales experience. Based out of Drytac’s manufacturing and distribution plant in Brampton Ontario, he will bring his wealth of application and sales expertise to support Drytac’s growth within the North American region.

Meanwhile, Drytac also announces that Glen Fitzgerald will join the Canada team – effective September 13th 2021 – in the role of Technical Sales Manager for Industrial Products.  In this role he will be responsible increasing Drytac’s custom and contract adhesive coating business in the packaging, construction, medical, automotive, label, and industrial markets throughout North America.

Glen brings to Drytac 26 years of technical management experience in the adhesive/tape markets. Also based out of Brampton, he is bilingual, has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is a graduate from the Schulich School of Business.

On the new appointments, Paul Vanderweide, Drytac’s Vice President of Operations, comments: “Michael will act as a key liaison between the sales team and production facility to help support the growth of our business activities in the region. Meanwhile, Glen will be instrumental in developing the custom coating side of the business across North America.”

“We’re delighted that they have both chosen to join the Drytac adhesive science sales team.”

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Premier Graphics uses Drytac films to bridge the gap on innovative art installation

Canadian design and graphics business Premier Graphics used Drytac Polar Grip print media and Interlam Pro laminates to produce a series of eye-catching graphics for a futuristic augmented reality art installation on the Cambie Street Bridge in Vancouver.

Canadian full-service graphics production and installation company Premier Graphics recently used a range of films and laminates from Drytac supplied by ND Graphics to produce a series of stunning and colourful graphics for an innovative project at the Cambie Street Bridge in Vancouver.

The project brought to life a vision by artist Jessica Angel, who came up with the clever idea of mixing colourful graphics with augmented reality (AR) to “extend” the Cambie Street Bridge into a 19,000sq ft public art installation for the Vancouver Biennale exhibition.

Premier Graphics uses Drytac films to bridge the gap on innovative art installation

Installed in June 2021, Angel’s design featured a huge, two-dimensional vinyl mural that wrapped the pedestrian walkway, supporting columns and underside of the bridge, turning what is usually a relatively dull structure into an eye-catching piece of art.

However, AR took this a step further, with passers-by encouraged to download the Vancouver Biennale app for free and hold up their phone while walking through the walkway. Doing this opened up a whole new dimension, transforming parts of the installation.

Premier Graphics, based in Richmond, British Columbia, was selected to produce and install the graphics for the project. As a long-term customer of Drytac, the company chose to work with the adhesive science expert’s materials throughout the project.

The company selected Drytac Polar Grip white polymeric self-adhesive film for the printed film parts of the installation, as well as Drytac Interlam Pro Emerytex PVC overlaminating film for the floor graphics and Drytac Interlam Pro Matte pressure sensitive overlaminating film for the pillars and ceiling. All the graphics were printed on the company’s HP Latex R1000 Plus

“The process consisted of the testing of many materials, and of course balancing a budget that was already stretched thin,” said Taylor Sellinger, Partner and General Manager of Premier Graphics. “We needed to fit the client’s budget with a material that was likely to last 18-24 months and meet the slip-resistance requirements for the safety of the public.”

Premier Graphics uses Drytac films to bridge the gap on innovative art installation

Taylor Sellinger said Premier Graphics selected Drytac materials as they were familiar with the products, having worked with the company’s films for several years. Moreover, the Drytac solutions also performed best in preliminary tests. 

“We find Drytac films to be consistent in quality and the variety of adhesive types and styles make them a very diverse material,” Taylor Sellinger says. “Since the majority of this installation surface was relatively flat, we didn’t require a cast film to conform, but the nature of the adhesive on the Polar Grip film made it an ideal choice for great adhesion to a rough and unfinished concrete.

“While we’ve been working with Drytac films for the last four years, we were honestly surprised at how well they seemed to perform compared to much more expensive cast films.”

On the art project itself, Taylor Sellinger concludes: “The virtual reality experience developed is amazing when paired with the graphics. It’s certainly the most impressive piece I’ve been involved with so far.”

Premier Graphics uses Drytac films to bridge the gap on innovative art installation
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To laminate or not to laminate? That is the question.

In the blog that follows, Dennis LeBlanc, Territory Sales Manager - Eastern Canada, and the Greater Toronto Area at Drytac, discusses when graphics should and shouldn’t be laminated.

Authored by Dennis LeBlanc, Territory Sales Manager – Eastern Canada, and the Greater Toronto Area at Drytac

To laminate or not to laminate? Have you ever asked yourself this question? If not, then perhaps you should. It could be the difference between winning or losing your next job.

Laminates are an integral part of graphics and will be for years to come. However, there is a time and place for them – as well as occasions and applications when they might not be needed.

So, what are the reasons for laminating? The most common use for lamination is to protect your output from the elements – such as UV degradation – and enhance outdoor durability. You can also use laminates to finish a job with gloss, lustre or matte textures or to add an extra property to the graphic such as an anti-graffiti coating or slip resistance.

Laminates can also be used to add body and thickness to your output. This can be particularly useful when printing onto thinner materials; the extra layer will stop the graphic stretching and simplify the installation process.

All of the above should be considered when planning print jobs. However, there are some additional things to consider.

Firstly, when it comes to UV protection, lamination is a must for long-term applications if they are to stand the test of time. After all, these projects will be exposed to the elements and will need support if they are going to survive.

If your focus is on protecting the ink layer of a graphic, you should also consider laminating all long-term work – both indoors and outdoors – as well as output that will be situated in high traffic locations such as corridors and hallways.

When considering lamination for finishing effects, this is only necessary on some occasions as most print media is available in different finishes. Newer print hardware even allows for gloss and matte output from the get-go through their ink setup.

Did you notice a reoccurring theme here? Most of the reasoning behind lamination is for longer term applications, or, to put it simply, projects that will remain in place for more than one year.

This begs the question: what about short-term revolving graphics? Do you need to laminate these as well? Outside of the need for adding additional functionality to the graphic, in most short-term applications you can eliminate the need for laminating by choosing a thicker print media with an easy install or removable adhesive solution.

These materials will do the job wonderfully and avoid the added cost and labour of lamination, providing substantial savings for you and your clients.

Today’s print media offerings have addressed this with 4mil materials and dot adhesives for easy installation and 6mil removable solutions that won’t stretch as you work with them.

To that point, there are now textured solutions readily available that can provide scuff, scratch and slip resistance on their own.

Taking all this into account, perhaps ask yourself again: to laminate or not to laminate? That is – indeed – the question you should be asking. It might just save you both time and money.

To find out more about Drytac and its lamination products, please click here.

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SignMax brings the outside indoors with Drytac ReTac Smooth 75

Drytac ReTac Smooth 75 is used by SignMax for doctor's office in South Africa
Drytac ReTac Smooth 75 is used by SignMax for doctor's office in South Africa

South African sign and display business SignMax used Drytac ReTac Smooth 75 to create a series of nature-inspired interior wall graphics for a local neurosurgeon.

Family-owned sign and display business SignMax used Drytac ReTac Smooth 75 polymeric PVC film to produce a series of eye-catching interior wall graphics, bringing elements of the natural world into an indoor environment.

The South African company – founded by Theo Vermaak in 1987 and now managed by his son NJ – was tasked with producing a design that created a natural and calming atmosphere for visitors to its client, local neurosurgeon Dr. Francois van Niekerk.

SignMax only started using Drytac shortly before the project, but its success with these materials in other recent pieces of work led it to select Drytac ReTac Smooth 75, which was recommended by the team at Drytac’s exclusive dealer in South Africa, Midcomp.

The company printed the colourful and calming design onto Drytac ReTac Smooth 75 using its HP Latex 335 printer, before installing the graphics at the facility to give the inside of the building a completely new feel.

“We have only recently started using Drytac materials, but we are very excited to start using Drytac products more on future projects,” SignMax Managing Director NJ Vermaak said.

“ReTac Smooth 75 is a great product and prints come out looking awesome when combined with our HP Latex 335. Our clients are also impressed with the fact that the product can be removed when not needed anymore, with no damage to the applied surface.

Such has been the success of SignMax’s use of Drytac materials that the company is now exploring how the products can help it expand into new areas, in particular the wallpaper segment of the interior design market.

“As with most companies in business during the Covid-19 pandemic and coping with the subsequent lockdowns, we’ve had to be proactive and put new products to market,” NJ Vermaak said. “Using Drytac ReTac Smooth 75 means that we can offer our clients a new product we can trust, giving us confidence to enter a market that we have not yet explored.”

Aside from wallpapers, SignMax has also begun to explore other areas such as floor and counter-top graphics, as well as architectural films.

“The prospects for this market are looking great, we are excited and positive about future projects,” NJ Vermaak said. “By combining Drytac films with our HP Latex printers, we are able to print vivid colours quickly, at a high quality, which is ideal for the decorative and retail market.”

NJ Vermaak also commends the team at Midcomp for their advice and support. He concludes: “Midcomp have been a pleasure to work with from day one. From purchasing printers, to ordering materials, they are a reputable team. Everyone within the team is helpful and friendly and they always offer great customer service.”

To find out more about Drytac ReTac Smooth 75, please click here.

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Setting out your stall with countertop graphics

Authored by Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager

When it comes to capturing the attention of – and interacting with – people in today’s fast-paced world, retailers, brands and other settings need to think creatively and consider how to best use their environment to their advantage.

Countertops are the point where a business will have one of its first interactions with its customers. They are prominent features in many locations including retail, restaurants, bars, gyms, medical settings, hotels, schools and more, and present an incredibly unique way of connecting with people.

Much like the walls that surround them and the floor underneath, countertops are a blank canvas and offer all sort of opportunities when it comes to placing graphics. Be it generating new sales, improving brand awareness, providing information or promoting products, countertop graphics can be an extremely valuable marketing asset.

While these graphics may be used by many brands for decoration and raising awareness, there is also the potential to add useful functionality to further boost interaction with people.

Take for example a fast-food restaurant counter; here, graphics could be installed to display a menu and highlight special offers on food, as well as instructing customers how to order their food online via a printed, scannable QR code integrated into the design.

Countertop Graphics Drytac 2

Then there are customer service desks in settings such as shopping malls. Graphics placed on these countertops could feature a map of the shopping centre, as well as a QR code that the consumer could scan to access an online version of that same mall map.

In education, students could scan a QR code that takes them to a digital learning portal that allows them to access more materials online.

These are just a few examples, but the possibilities for countertop graphics are seemingly endless. By working with your customers, you can come up with all sorts of unique and thought-provoking ideas that could add a whole new dimension to marketing and branding strategies.

In terms of the type of material you should work with, Drytac has a host of high-quality and reliable products ideally suited for countertop graphics.

Adhesive technology featured in Drytac’s products means the countertop graphics will not slide when installed. This offers a significant advantage over traditional printed mats that often slip and slide over the counter, causing issues for the consumer and brand alike.

Drytac has a range of permanent and removable options, suitable for either short-term or longer-term installations, and offers FDA-approved laminates for accidental food contact, opening up a plethora of opportunities in the food and drinks sector.

For those countertop projects in hygiene-sensitive high traffic environments such as medical facilities, Drytac’s Protac AMP film with Microban antimicrobial protection is the ideal solution. When harmful microbes meet the film, the cell walls of the microbes are disrupted and are unable to reproduce, which in turn cuts the risk of bacteria spreading.

While your customers will almost certainly be aware of the advantages of window, wall and floor graphics, they may not have thought about using their counters to interact with people. The addition of graphics to countertops offers all sorts of benefits in many environments and by working with reliable materials from Drytac, you can access these untapped and profitable opportunities.

Drytac Recommended Countertop Solutions

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Drytac sets sail with Monkey Fist in Atlantic Dash extreme endurance challenge

Drytac sets sail with Monkey Fist in Atlantic Dash extreme endurance challenge
Drytac sets sail with Monkey Fist in Atlantic Dash extreme endurance challenge

Globe Print supplied Drytac Polar Grip Matte film for an intense endurance challenge which saw a team of four men row 3,200 miles non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean for over 45 days.

Drytac’s Polar Grip Matte film was put to the ultimate test in the last couple of months when graphics printed on the material were featured on a boat crossing the Atlantic Ocean in an extreme endurance challenge.

A team of four men rowed, non-stop, for 3,200 miles from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands to the island of Antigua in the Caribbean, in a challenge dubbed the ‘Atlantic Dash’. Skipper Billy Taylor was joined by Johnny Ward, Matthew Pritchard and Martin Heseltine for the journey, which took 50 days, 5 hours and 12 minutes.

Such was the extreme nature of the challenge that Monkey Fist Adventures, organiser of the event, relied on Drytac materials – once again – for support in decorating the boat with striking graphics that would be able to withstand the harsh environment out on the Atlantic Ocean.

Globe Print, a long-term user of Drytac products, took on the task of printing the graphics, having previously worked with Monkey Fist Adventures on one of its previous challenges. The Marlow-based company used a Roland SolJet EJ-640 large-format printer to print the graphics on Drytac’s Polar Grip film which was then paired with their Interlam Pro Emerytex overlaminate.

Drytac Polar Grip sets sail with Monkey Fist in Atlantic Dash extreme endurance challenge thanks to Globe Print

Polar Grip is a self-adhesive vinyl for digitally printed graphics and signs, designed to look vibrant and remain in place for up to five years, making it the ideal solution for such a testing project.

The graphics, featuring the many sponsors supporting the event, were applied to the boat on location in Lanzarote prior to the team setting off on their journey in early March, with the quartet making land in Antigua on 2nd May 2021.

Barry Hayes, Director of Monkey Fist Adventures, said the decision to work with Drytac and Globe Print again for the Atlantic Dash challenge was an easy one, with the graphics used in a previous event having proved extremely successful.

“We’ve used other companies in the past, but on previous crossing we went to Globe Print, and apart from just being all round nice people, the Drytac products supplied were far superior to anything we’d ever used before,” Barry said.

“Oceans are harsh on everything, but our sponsors – and their logos – remained solid and steadfast for the entirety of both the Atlantic Dash crossings.

“The Globe Print team went above and beyond to produce the printed graphics exceedingly quickly – as they knew we had very tight timeframes.”

Drytac Polar Grip sets sail with Monkey Fist in Atlantic Dash extreme endurance challenge thanks to Globe Print

The latest Atlantic Dash challenge came about as the Monkey Fist Adventures team sought to restore some sort of normality after Covid-19.  

Alex Mason, co-founder of Monkey Fist Adventures, had not seen her mother in more than a year due to the pandemic, while Billy Taylor, another co-founder who skippered the Atlantic Dash, had to endure his partner contracting Covid-19 while working on the frontline for the NHS. Barry Hayes suffered with mental health issues during the pandemic but was thankfully able to access the right support.

“After having to go through so many challenges and tough times over the past 12 months, we wanted to get back to doing what we do best, so we created an ocean row to try and reset the balance – and the Atlantic Dash was born,” Barry says.

The Atlantic Dash has raised more than £8,000 for two very worthy causes: HUMEN, a movement to improve and maintain men’s mental health; and Dean Farm Trust, an organisation committed to working for a sustainable, healthy and cruelty-free planet. This was less than hoped for, but with the constraints of Covid-19 it became somewhat challenging for fundraising to be as effective.

“However, the major goal of the Atlantic Dash was to get people talking about their mental health and it absolutely worked!” Barry concludes.

If you would like to donate to the above charities, please click here.

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How to apply media to bricks for wall and floor graphics

Drytac Blog: How to apply media to bricks for wall and floor graphics

Authored by Gareth Newman, Academy Manager, Drytac

Graphics can be incredibly impactful, changing a room – or even a whole building – with colour and design. But it’s not necessary to fight what’s already there, or to ignore the natural finish of the surface. Applying a mural or decal to bare bricks or concrete can really complement an industrial space or heritage property.

For any wall or floor graphics application, it’s essential that the graphic itself will stand the test of time. Bricks and concrete, being rough and porous, are not the easiest surfaces to work with, but these tips should help you achieve great results.

Polar Grip applied to an interior cinder block wall.

Firstly, preparation is key. Use a stiff brush to remove dust and dirt and, if necessary, use a de-greasing cleaner and leave to dry for 48 hours. Next, you’ll need to choose the right graphics media. A product that can conform to the rough or uneven surfaces is key. High tack adhesive and long-term indoor/outdoor durability is also ideal for the application at hand. There are lots of graphics media on the market, so it’s important to conduct a small-scale test on-site two to three days before the project to ensure the best adhesion and desired results.

Polar Street FX applied to an exterior brick wall.

Before you get started on the application make sure you have the right tools. You’ll need a heat gun, a squeegee, and 3D texture applicators which will save you time and make your graphics stunning. Apply the graphics with a squeegee first to get the initial tack, then use the heat gun, working in one direction – left to right or right to left – in order to push the air out and avoid creating air bubbles. Work brick by brick then move to the mortar joins, thinking about where the air is going and may get trapped. Depending on how deep the mortar is, your graphics might shrink and not fit your desired location correctly, so be aware of this at the design stage.

As with many things in life, preparation is key. Before installing graphics on brickwork and mortar, check your design is suitable for the application and be doubly sure you have the right media and the right tools to hand.

At Drytac, we have several solutions for rough surfaces. Drytac Polar Grip is a polymeric self-adhesive PVC film, that is designed to deliver up to five years’ indoor or outdoor durability thanks to its unique high-bond adhesive. It is flexible, making it ideal for curved or rough walls and comes in a choice of matte or gloss finishes and when paired with Interlam Pro Emerytex, long-term, slip-rated floor graphics can be created.

Drytac Polar Street FX is also ideal for rough surfaces including concrete, brick and asphalt, and any other low-energy surfaces. This textured printable white matte aluminium film is coated on one side with a clear, high tack adhesive and is 100% recyclable. Polar Street FX has also achieved several slip ratings and certifications making it ideal for public areas. Both solutions are compatible with all common digital printing technologies including eco-solvent, solvent, latex and UV.

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Links Signs and Drytac bring football home with London Underground installations

Links Signs and Drytac bring football home with London Underground installations
Links Signs and Drytac bring football home with London Underground installations

Family-run Links Signs has used Drytac Polar Grip to produce an attention-grabbing range of graphics at London Underground stations to celebrate the Euro 2020 football tournament.

Hastings-based signage and large-format print business Links Signs recently used Drytac Polar Grip to create a series of eye-catching graphics at five London Underground stations to celebrate this year’s Euro 2020 national team football tournament.

Euro 2020 had been due to take place last year but was delayed until this year due to the pandemic. The tournament is a special edition of the quadrennial competition, with matches taking place at locations right across Europe, as opposed to the traditional set-up in one country.

Links Signs and Drytac bring football home with London Underground installations

Wembley Stadium was one of the venues selected to host games, and to mark this special occasion, Transport for London (TfL) approached Links Signs to produce a series of themed graphics to accompany fans as they travelled across London to the stadium.

Graphics were installed at King’s Cross and Paddington – two of London’s busiest terminus stations – as well as Baker Street, London Bridge and Wembley Park, the latter being where fans exit the train to walk down the famous Wembley Way to the stadium.

Links Signs, an accredited printer and installer for TfL, worked with the commercial team at TfL and its agency to create a series of innovative and attention-grabbing graphics that provided unique photo opportunities for fans. Prior to installation, Links Signs met with the graphics agency at the proposed sites to advise on the best fit solution for the extensive, multi-site project.

The project included wall graphics at Kings Cross and Paddington that mimicked the players’ tunnel at Wembley Stadium, as well as football pitch floor graphics and a design that integrated existing seating at the station to give the effect that fans were sat on benches in the stadium. 

All the Euro 2020 graphics were printed on Drytac Polar Grip polymeric self-adhesive vinyl, paired with Drytac Interlam Pro Emerytex which is fully approved by TfL and carries all the required fire and slip certifications and ratings for public spaces.

Links Signs used an HP Latex 570, installed 18 months ago, to print the graphics onto the vinyl and carried out installation of all the graphics over a period of five nights, in time for the start of the tournament on June 11.

Paul Cox, Operations Manager at Links Signs, said Drytac Polar Grip was the ideal solution for the job as it is approved for use in projects on the London Underground, adding that the product delivered outstanding results across the series of graphics.

“When working on projects for London Underground, we cannot use any materials that are not approved,” Paul Cox said. “Drytac is not only approved, but also an incredibly stable and reliable product that can be easily applied.

“We really liked working with the Drytac vinyl; it delivered exactly what it promised, and we will be looking to work with it on other projects we produce for TfL.”

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