You probably haven’t given a second thought, but chances are you have come across these utility boxes once and went “Why do they do this?” or “How did they do this?”. Well, wonder no more. As a large format printing specialist, Multigraphics has wrapped many utility boxes around the city of Vancouver and today we will briefly explain the hows and whys behind it.
Utility boxes are metallic structures installed on street corners and sidewalks, holding all the valuable equipment that keeps our city running smoothly. They help run infrastructure like traffic-lights, cable and phone connections, streetlight, transit shelters, electric transformers, and much more. Majority of the utility boxes are owned by their respective cities, however some are owned and operated by private organizations.
No matter who owns them, there are thousands of them throughout the city. It’s one of those essential infrastructures that you need in public spaces, but don’t want the public to see. So how do you justify erecting them everywhere while avoid making them an eye sore? Simple. You cover them up. Either by wrapping them in graphics or painting over them.
Of course, there is an option of not doing either, however, without any graphics, utility boxes are just flat, metallic canvas for taggers to add their graffiti markings.
Up till the late 2000s, this was a major issue faced by cities around the world. Luckily, around the same time, the vinyl wrap boom was taking place. With better printing technologies and materials, large format printing industry had the solution. Their solution could not only deter taggers from marking on utility boxes, but also allow the owners to virtually place any image on the boxes. This pool of untapped potential led to various benefits that wrapped utility boxes provided over the years since.
Like most prints, producing utility box graphics go through the following stages: