Customized Mesh – The Next Billboard?
Just as orange was the new black in the early 2000s, mesh fabric today is quickly becoming the event industry’s new billboard. Durable and versatile, mesh can go where billboards can’t – and events are increasingly becoming hybrid live and virtual experiences, opportunities to use mesh for brand placement are growing exponentially. Outgrowing its past practical uses, mesh is an excellent material for featuring logos, messaging, and design, and not only reaches in-person audiences but, thanks to its superior versatility, can extend a brand’s visibility on social media, TV, and other digital platforms as well. InProduction is a leader in this field, with the finest mesh options available; alongside our design group, CommuniLux, we create tailor-made products for sponsors seeking to use mesh for their messaging. But enough about us. I want to talk about the history of mesh, because it’s worth a few minutes of your time.
Mesh may be new to event backdrops, but it’s far from a new material. Its use has proliferated over the past few decades, with applications ranging from fashion and sportswear to safety equipment and even tea strainers. Modern mesh was invented in the late 19th century, when British textile mill owner Lewis Haslam noticed small holes in the fabric of his grandmother’s gloves; when he commented on them, she responded that her hands were still warm. This intrigued Haslam, who wondered how the material could possibly stay insulated. The notion led him to develop Aertex – the original mesh. Adidas would eventually go on to popularize the material in their sportswear, making their original trainers and athletic clothing from mesh on account of its positive airflow and resistance to temperature changes. Around the 1980s, mesh became a part of mainstream fashion as celebrities began to embrace the material, like Madonna and the iconic white tulle mesh dress she wore to the 1984 MTV Awards. During this era, the popularity – and production – of mesh grew dramatically.
Mesh is defined as any material made with polyester, nylon, or polypropylene that has a grid-like structure made of rows woven loosely together, creating small holes. The size of the holes, the knitting pattern, and the material used determine the fabric's weight and thickness, which in turn determine its real-world use. For clothing such as a veil or ball gown, the material and weave must be lighter, like a tulle; when used on scaffolding or construction sites, the material must be thick and heavy in order to stand up to impacts and sustain strong winds. Scaffolding wrap may be the most widespread use of mesh today, as the material is comparatively light and easy to use, but effective at preventing debris from falling at construction sites. In a place like New York City, for example, where construction is constant, this type of wrap is a ubiquitous sight.
At InProduction, we produce scaffolding wrap using a polypropylene mesh that’s made of durable plastic and comes in vibrant colors, with a tough, reliable finish. Historically we’ve used the material for cosmetic purposes, like covering any part of a scaffold or mezzanine that may be an eyesore if left exposed; more recently, however, we’ve been fielding requests, frequently from our golf tournament clients, for highly customized mesh to depict venue, event, and sponsor branded content. Our highly skilled and creative team is capable of bringing any idea to life with our versatile mesh, and we’re excited about the growth this part of our business is experiencing. At the inaugural Format Festival in Bentonville, Arkansas, last summer, for example, artist John Gerrard developed a “cube” structure with scaffolding that utilized mesh printed with his artwork. Between commercial applications and creative ones like Gerrard’s, imagination is the only limit to the uses of our product.
Have an idea to use mesh for worksite safety, customized branding, or even a work of art? Our team would love to chat with you.
– Madison Ellis, InProduction