The sense of accomplishment and pride after you’ve played well in a race, for example, is exhilarating. How much better would you feel knowing not only did you trek 100 kilometres, but you got through it as a team, all to help fight against the injustices that lead to poverty? Oxfam commissioned an inflatable charity arch to signify this great feat of physical endurance and philanthropy.
Here at Inflatable Anything, we love that our units simultaneously help businesses grow and keep communities engaged. When our efforts also contribute to fantastic causes aimed at bettering Aussies’ lives, well, there’s just no higher honour! We got right to work on the inflatable charity arch.
Preparing for a Journey
The client wanted something eye-catching yet simple for this unit. Given its purpose, the inflatable needed to be humble, yet it also needed to stand out as the branded goal post it was meant to be. As with almost all our arches, another vital element was creating a designated space to advertise sponsorships that could be changed out as needed. In this case, however, we came across 2 novel requests: that the sponsors get to directly approve the artwork and that the banners wrap all the way around the legs of the inflatable charity arch for peak visibility.
Initially, the client planned on purchasing 3 of these structures to use for the different Trailwalker events throughout Australia. But as the endurance event had grown quite a bit in popularity, and because they could snag a decent deal from bulk ordering, they decided to purchase an inflatable charity arch for each of the 8 Australian states and territories.
A Solid Foundation
In our experience, there are 2 solutions in fabric choice that stand way above the rest, and that’s why we offer them. Polyvinyl chloride and polyester possess many similar qualities, but based on other factors like expected weather conditions (good luck predicting that in Australia) and functionality needs for the unit, usually it’s pretty obvious which option dominates.
For this inflatable charity arch that measured 5 metres internal width by 3 metres up to the angled curve, 2 needs rose to the top of the priority list. First of all, the unit needed to be very durable, since each 1 was to be reused annually. To fulfil this same purpose, it also needed to be lightweight and portable. Though polyester can fit both, the polymer is a bit too flexible for what the client desired, so we went with PVC. A big benefit to using an angled arch is that it also allows you to tie down the inflatable from more direct points, adding to its durability.
Obviously, the most solid option, welding PVC panels together, would not work because the inflatable charity arch is way too big to hold compressed air within itself. We decided to construct the unit by sewing 100% PVC panels, which regulates air flow and allows a constant blower to maintain the unit’s shape very well.
Mark the Trail
The arch itself only needed to match the main colour of the not for profit’s branding, which just so happened to be a standard shade of the material. The real work came down to creating the sponsorship banners, which again, we both had to improvise and we had to receive sponsor approval before printing.
The banners only needed to be white in this case, so the material for them had to be the option that is very easily and clearly printed on: polyester. However, we also take the time to make sure our work exceeds expectations from the top, down on every project we take part in. Therefore, we used the four colour process method, or CMYK, which can result in a much clearer print job. As opposed to spot colour, which uses plates to gradually build up a colour by layering, CMYK lays down the hues all at the same time.
Though some spot colours come premixed and can match more precisely with branding, a four colour process is the only option that can be used on a digital printer, on which it can achieve just about any shade. To modify the sponsorship banners, instead of Velcro patches on the inflatable charity arch, we placed strips of it around the edge of the fabric, so you can wrap the banner around the legs and secure them to the adjacent Velcro on the unit.
Achieving the Impossible
There were a few hold ups on this project that were quite inconvenient. However, because these Oxfam Trailwalker events were spread out over dates and locations around Australia, the client didn’t have an immediate need for all 8 inflatable charity arches. We were able to rush out 2 of them to the local area of Melbourne, and take our time completing the rest. The client must be very happy with the units we provided, because they are still used to this day!
If you want to enhance your event collaborating with people who will match your enthusiasm, look no further than our team of professionals at Inflatable Anything.