Liberty Signs installed hundreds of square metres of PVC-free media from Innotech Digital at the Manchester International Festival held in July.

As part of the 2021 Manchester International Festival (MIF), local print and display company Liberty Signs undertook an extensive and time-sensitive project that was printed and prepared over five days and installed over several nights at 23 locations across Manchester.

Launched in 2007 as an artist-led festival, MIF has over the years featured Björk, Steve McQueen, Maxine Peake, Damon Albarn and Elbow. The 2021 event was planned as an antidote to lockdown and aimed to encourage the people of Manchester to reconnect with their city. Berlin-based artist Christine Sun Kim created Captioning a City, a series of statements to help trigger memories, emotions and sensations that were installed on streets and buildings across the city.

In total, the captions were made up of more than 900m of fully recyclable PVC-free material supplied by Innotech Digital and printed and installed by Liberty using its Epson SureColor S80600 eco-solvent printer and an HP Latex 360. Will Smith, owner of Liberty Signs said, ‘This was a landmark project for the city of Manchester and also for Liberty Signs. As printed display projects go, this one is about as big as it gets. We had plenty of challenges to overcome and it was certainly tough, but the team worked tirelessly to ensure we delivered on time and to the quality the project demanded.’

The captions were to be installed on internal windows, external windows and also on external brickwork. This presented a broad range of challenges, and one key concern was the amount of material that would have ended up in landfill had vinyl been used. ‘This was a government-funded project, so being as sustainable as possible was crucial,’ said Mr Smith. ‘We encouraged MIF to consider using only PVC-free materials that could be fully recycled. This is where Innotech really helped us. They have an excellent and broad range of PVC-free materials and they worked hard to ensure we had everything we needed in terms of samples and swatches to present to MIF and help us select the right products for the project.’

The Innotech products that were used were Vistamax Cling PET static cling film for the internal windows, Vistamax PVC Free Blockout PET Semi-Permanent White Matt Vinyl block out film for external windows and Vistamax PVC Free PP High Tack White Matt Greyback Vinyl for the external brickwork installations.