by Angel MedFlight Contributor
It’s quite the attraction when Angel MedFlight makes an appearance at a trade show or charitable event. It’s our official Angel MedFlight cutout. That’s it. Step right up and have your photo taken with it so you, too, can appear to be one of our medical crew members wearing the sharp maroon and black flight suit.
It may seem to be just a big photo on some heavy-duty card stock. But a lot of work actually went in to producing the cutout. It’s not just taking a photo, making it huge and then removing heads to make space for yours. This was a multi-step process that took a lot of artistry and creativity. The man behind the cutout is office cut-up, and Angel MedFlight Graphic Designer Cooper Bolton.
Cooper says the initial idea was to have the cutout look cartoonish, like the cutouts you might see at the fair or an amusement park. But he says the early designs “ended up looking a little too cartoony, so the decision was made to use a photograph.” We wanted people to really look like an authentic member of the crew.
Cooper began the process with a small-sized photo that featured three Angel MedFlight crew members standing about three feet apart on the tarmac. But Cooper had space limitations and needed to make figures fit in a 4’x4′ space. So using Photoshop, he cut the people out and repositioned them closer together. Then came the task of getting rid of the heads in the photo. Cooper says that’s where the jokes came in. Office mates would stop by and ask him what he’s up to. “Just taking some off the top,” replied Cooper.
Once the photo and art were approved, it was then sent out to a printer for a large-format print.
This 4’x4′ print was then affixed to a hard-stock board, which could withstand carrying, standing and travel. Cooper says he used Gator Board, which is much stronger than Foamcore but about the same weight.
The challenge for Cooper was, “I had to build something that could be put together, and taken apart,” and because of its size “it’s kind of hard to travel with.” Cooper thought of putting a fold or hinge in the board but that meant he would have had to bolt the hinges on “and it wouldn’t have looked nice.” He says there would also be about a quarter-inch gap in the cutout.
To solve the problem, Cooper decided to make the cutout in two pieces. And when it came time for use, it would be held together using a “slots and slats” system. He handcrafted the slots using the leftover Gator Board and affixed them to the back of the cutout with heavy-duty adhesive. He then fit 1 1/2″ wide wooden slats through the slots (at an angle to prevent warping). This locked the two pieces into place.
The final step was fashioning “feet” for the cutout so it could stand for photo posing. After some trial and error, he settled on metal braces, bent a bit so the board could stand at angle without tipping over.
Slotted, slatted and supported, the cutout was complete. It made its debut at the ACMA National Conference in San Diego earlier this month and Cooper says it proved to be durable. The plan is to take it out again this weekend at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Anthem, Ariz.
So now, when you stop by the Angel MedFlight booth and rest your head on the necks for a keepsake photo, you’ll know the ins and outs of Cooper Bolton’s cutout.