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We're breaking out the BIG, shiny, cyber megaphone. Broadcasting the good words about new BIG INK projects, the chatter on BIG INK and the chatter from BIG INK. Check out all the news that's fit to shout about, brag about and get excited about.

Our Future NASA Engineer: Meet Carley7.30.18

Meet Carley: Current BIG INK Employee of 3 years

Carley has been a BIG INK employee for three summers and is moving on to something BIGGER, she has been accepted into a competitive program at NASA. We thought we’d celebrate her new endeavor by getting the inside scoop on her path at NASA and what her dreams are for the future.

From Dream to Realty

Carley has always wanted to work at NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, for her entire life-well kind of. She said it was always a “dream job” that seemed too far fetched and larger than life. Whenever asked she would always say she’d “love to work there” but in a joking way because she never thought it would happen. Carley has loved space since she was a young girl. Carley and her dad spent many nights outside watching the stars, meteor showers, and satellites. She also loves to work with her hands and is in the engineering program at college.

What She Will Be Doing at NASA

The program at NASA that Carley was accepted into is called the Pathways Program. Basically it’s a way to start working at NASA, “building your path there” until you can work there full time. Pathways is a part time program where she will work in Houston for a semester and then go back to school at Purdue for another semester. Carley will do this rotation style for three years and once she is graduated she will (hopefully) start working there full time. She does not know what she is doing there yet, as they keep the interns in the dark until a few weeks before the program starts. She knows there are many people admitted into the Pathways program and that she is specifically in the aerospace department. Carley will start August 20th and is leaving Minnesota around the 16th.

Hopes for the Future

She is looking forward to getting the chance to work in the industry that she has been working toward her entire life. Carley is excited to be working at the Johnson Space Center in Houston especially because it’s the human spaceflight center. When asked if she has a dream job there she said she doesn’t know quite yet! She would love to one day be a part of the human spaceflight projects, particularly any project(s) going to Mars. Ideally she wants to be a part of the designing and testing aspects.

Fun Facts

Carley would not go to Mars. Her grandma said she is not allowed because she wants her to come home (as of right now Mars is a one way ticket). She would definitely take a trip up to the space station. When asked who she looks up to she said it would have to be Sally Ride, the first woman who went to space.

We wish Carley the best and can’t wait to see what her future holds!

BIG Dream Cycle Summer Tour7.19.18

Our BIG Dream Cycle Summer Tour

This entire summer we have been making pit stops all around the Twin Cities to various clients with our tricked out treat trike. Here at BIG INK we always embrace bigger thinking, especially when it comes to branding. We also love to create delight for our customers and that’s where the Dream Cycle tour was born.

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Our Dream Cycle tour has been a huge hit this summer and an amazing way to get together with our customers! Who doesn’t love ice cream and an excuse to get out of the office. Our custom designed and wrapped treat trike has been the photo opportunity of the summer. We’ve also found out that people just love to ride it around like they are a kid again.

Hit BIG INK Up Now Before the Tour is Over

Summer is halfway through and we would love to take the trike on the road and pedal some treats to you and your team. Please contact your sales rep if you want some delicious treats and BIG INK hospitality brought to your office.

BIG INK Supports the Next Generation6.28.18

BIG INK Gives Back to the Future Generation

We enjoy giving back to the community and supporting the next generation of BIG thinkers. Recently, we provided display signage for an FTC, FIRST Tech Challenge team, called The Green Girls. FTC is operated like a sport and teams design, build, program and operate robots to overcome an assigned challenge. They then compete in head-to-head competitions, with the winners advancing on. This year The Green Girls had their best season yet, advancing to the World Tournament in Detroit.

Background on The Green Girls

The team consists of seven eleventh grade girls (Zoe, Corinn, Erica, Shelly, Claire, Grace and Rebecca), who have been together for nine years. They started in second grade in an FLL, FIRST Lego League, tournament and after three years, moved up to FTC. When asked about nerves, they say they still got nervous before judging, but deep breaths and group “power poses” calm their nerves. They credit their success to the years they’ve worked together as a team. They all have a passion for the competition and consistently put in the hard work needed throughout the nearly year round season. The team realizes that FIRST Tech Challenge has had a large impact on their lives. It will continue to influence their futures, robotics has not only increased their love for science but given them many life skills as well. Zoe noted, “Our motto is FIRST isn’t about where it takes you, but what it makes you.”

BRAVO to this inspiring group of young women!

Meet Eric Linnell, A Published Author and a BIG INK Employee6.11.18

Meet Eric Linnell!  He is a published author, father of 3 and BIG INK employee of 6 years.

Summer is finally in full swing here in Minnesota and we’d like to suggest a good book for summer reading over these next few warm months. Eric, a BIG INK employee, recently published his second novel, This Side of Zero. We wanted to get the inside scoop about him as an author, find out if a third book is on the way and what he loves about the writing process. Here’s what we learned about Eric!

The Interview

BIG INK: Did you always want to be a writer?

Eric: Yes. My favorite class in school was creative writing and it was the only one I ever did well in.

BIG INK: Was it a different experience writing this recent novel This Side of Zero, over your first novel, Reflex Blue?

Eric: Yes it was completely different! The first book took me over 10 years to write. My first idea was to have the storyline be seen on the big screen and not read. I sent out the movie script to a few places and luckily for me it was denied. It was only after that, that I decided to make it a novel. Turning it into a novel let me dive deeper into the characters than I ever could have on screen. The second book took two years to write which I am surprised I did with a wife, two toddlers and a baby on the way. It was a lot of late nights and quickly jotted down notes that made This Side of Zero. I only use word docs for the books. This one I had 47 different chapters in 47 different word docs. From there it was like a puzzle, moving chapters around until they fit perfectly.

BIG INK: Do you already have a third book in the works?

Eric: No, I don’t know when that will happen. I didn’t know for this one, it just started up one day and I am also still working on selling and promoting this novel. 

BIG INK: What do you love about writing/storytelling?

Eric: I love getting lost in the creative flow and losing track of time. I’ve always loved reading because I can get so lost in a book. My favorite authors are Ron McLarty, Tom Perrotta and most recently, Gillian Flynn the author who wrote Gone Girl. My favorite book of all time is hands down, The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty. 

Photos From the Book Signing Held at BIG INK

We at BIG INK couldn’t be prouder! Our employees are always accomplishing great things both in and out of our office. Congrats Eric! If your in the market for a new book go check out, This Side of Zero.

Link to This Side of Zero




Custom Vehicle Wraps and Space Monkeys5.15.18

Space Monkeys and Custom Vehicle Wraps

Did you know we print and install custom vehicle wraps? Or that we have a branded delivery van? Either way, check out this in-house produced video (did you know we offer design help and video production?) to watch the Bigger Thinking van transformation, which went from football to our Bigger Thinking space monkey (aka Sketchy).

Big Ink Wins an ILEA Minnesota Star Award5.01.18

We Brought Home the ILEA Minnesota Star Award in the Best Use of Specialty Decor Category

We were SO looking forward to going to the fabulous ILEA Minnesota Star Award, because, well, because it’s a really fun event. While the event did take place, we unfortunately did not attend due to the wild Minnesota April snow storm. Despite that, we were still thrilled to partner with Gretchen Berry Design Co and bring home the award in the Best Use of Specialty Decor category. Here’s the write up that describes the event and our challenges:

What to do when your client wants to have a vibrant, Hamptons themed party in a staid, traditional country club ballroom? You break out the patterns à la Lilly Pulitzer, pull out your freshest, breeziest ideas and dial in chic, Long Island fun. The Bat Mitzvah in the Hamptons celebration delivered just that to the 150 guests gathered in honor of two sisters’ special ceremony. The high-energy duo picked hot pink and turquoise blue for the party palette and seven different patterns were created and used throughout the event, from stationary to décor. Everything was ready until the client decided (à la last moment) that the six-foot brass chandeliers had to go. Given the club was not about to remove them, Gretchen Berry and BIG INK designed, fabricated and produced huge, custom drum shades that truly transformed the room top to bottom.

ILEA Award Room

The main purpose of the event was to celebrate the bat mitzvah of two sisters, ages 12 and 13. Here’s the list of what needed to get done to achieve that goal:

  • Transform the chosen country club ballroom into a fun, young woman’s celebration.
  • Make guests feel like they’re visiting somewhere else, down to the last detail.
  • Transform the space so it feels like a Hamptons party.
  • Capture the fun, vibrant personalities of the two sisters.
  • Create a casual, yet upscale vibe.
  • Use the two chosen colors and patterns throughout.
  • Space needed to have a bar area, food stations, seating and dance floor area.

ILEA Award Custom Shade

Both the client and ILEA thought we achieved all these goals and provided an amazing space for the celebration. We’d love to help you overcome obstacles and create something fabulous for your next event, trade show, sporting venue, retail space or corporate branding.

Bigger Thinking Brunch and Learn4.27.18

Our Brunch and Learn was a BLAST!

Thank you to everyone who attended our Bigger Thinking Brunch and Learn! If you missed it, here’s what you missed at our Out of This World event. The Tour Countdown included…10 Check In…9 Design Trajectory…8 Futuristic Fabric… 7 File Mission Control… 6 Astronomical Substrates… 5 Galactic Digital Cutting… 4 Interplanetary Hardware… 3 Docking Booth… 2 Space Out Lounge… 1 The Blast Off Breakfast

Brunch and Learn Design Room


Brunch and Learn Fabric Room

One of the tour highlights was the Futuristic Fabrics room with custom chair covers, curtains, custom printed lamp shade and pillows. Our Hardware stop showcased the latest banner stands, displays, feather flags and we even had an employee walking around with a backpack lollipop sign.

Bruch and Learn Coloring Board

The Space Out Lounge that featured the BIG INK delivery van, the Dream Cycle, a giant monkey coloring board and Tang mimosas!

We had a blast showing everyone our space full of big ideas and projects. One customer went so far as to say, “This was the most informative, helpful and fun event I’ve been to all year!” Contact your sales person if you missed it and would like to see a virtual tour of our top ideas, we’d love to help fuel your next BIG idea.

Super Bowl Crew52 Experience3.15.18

Meet Bernie, Crew52 Volunteer

Now that all the hoop-la around the Super Bowl has come and gone, we sat down with our own Bernie Zenda to ask her about volunteering with Crew52. Here’s what we learned:

BIG INK: What did you have to do, to become a volunteer?
BZ: I had to go into the Crew 52 Headquarters. There were a lot of people interviewing, but it went fast. It was cool to be there, I was bragging and pointing out that BIG INK had produced all the Headquarters decor. I figured I had a good chance of getting a position as the woman who interviewed me noted, “I haven’t turned down anybody yet!”

BIG INK: What did you end up doing?
BZ: I worked two, four hour shifts in the volunteer center. I steered people as they came in to sign in, grab a snack or eat. I wanted to work more shifts, but they were all taken!

BIG INK: What was your favorite part?
BZ: How nice everyone was. I saw people on the volunteer portal opening their homes to out-of-town volunteers and organizing car pools. I met people from all over the world who came to volunteer. Even face to face everyone was so pleasant, it’d be great if people were like that all the time.

BIG INK: What kind of swag did you get?
BZ: The uniforms were great, although my shirt was so big I had to have the BIG INK sewing department shorten the sleeves! There were snacks and food and at orientation they had high school bands playing to pump you up as you walked in — they took really good care of us!

BIG INK: Would you do it again?
BZ: Yes, for sure. I’m already planning on volunteering next year when the Final Four comes to town.

Big kudos, way to go Bernie!!

Bernie Crew52

We Got Visual Marketing Game to Go2.22.18

We Got Visual Marketing Game To Go
Our team has been running full steam, working to get the long list of visual marketing Super Bowl 52 projects out the door. We even designed and wrapped our delivery van with pigskin graphics for all the BIG game deliveries, which was featured in Sign and Digital Graphics magazine.

Here’s a peek at some of the awesome SB52 graphics we’ve produced and delivered around town.

Snow Globe Wrapped Displays

Sometimes even we are surprised by what we can brand. We printed white snowflakes onto optically clear vinyl and wrapped these globes (offering protection from too-cold shattering). What a great social media photo-op display!

Window Graphics
Window graphics allow you to catch the eyes of people even before they walk through the door. We are able to apply window graphics on both the inside or the outside of a surface. Here’s the check-in headquarters for the very popular Bold North Zip Line.

Zip line headquarters

We are always at the ready to get any graphics project you have into the end zone. We thrive on taking BIG visual marketing ideas and turning them into real, on-time deliveries!

BIG INK’s Custom Vehicle Wrap Delivery Van for the Super Bowl1.12.18

The amazing spectacle that is the Super Bowl brings with it a whole lot of logistics and planning. The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee alone is coordinating more than 100 events and venues in the week leading up to the big game. While much of what is being brought into Minneapolis for the festivities will arrive early and spend some time in storage (just in case there’s a snowstorm), there will be ongoing and some last minute event visual marketing needs. That’s why BIG INK, a 30 year old visual design and large format printing company based in Eagan, has been gearing up to meet the demands, including a custom, themed vehicle wrap delivery van.

custom vehicle wrap

Having worked on graphics for other sport championships the company wanted to be ready for any need. Tom Trutna BIG INK president notes, “We’ve worked on graphics for many big games like the Men’s NCAA Final Four, The MLB All Star Game, NHL Winter Classic and previous Super Bowls. You want to be available through the end of the event. Often, clients will get a new idea at installation. We want to be ready to fulfill any idea or need that arises.”   So the company purchased a delivery van and designed and wrapped it with football motif graphics. It’s part of the rapid response Special Teams the company has put together. Notes Trutna, “We wanted to highlight the fact that we’re here to hand deliver, install (using the themed vehicle wrap van) and also available to get rush jobs done. Having the Super Bowl in your hometown is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so we wanted to be sure we were ready.” The company is working with both local and national clients to supply printed visual marketing and have shifted staff scheduling so they are available 24 hours during the lead up and set up period prior to the February 4th game. The company designed and wrapped the Special Teams Ford Transit Van with 3M IJ180 MC Control Tac and it has already been spotted around town making deliveries. “We wanted a visual representation,” notes Trutna, “so clients know we’re here, don’t panic, we’ll get the ball over the line for you, up until the final seconds.”