Make History Real: Using Displays to Tell Your Story

Your reputation. Your values. Your history and mission. They’re some of your brand’s most important assets. Yet they’re also the hardest to market because you can’t light them up and take some beauty shots and post them with an enticing bullet list of features.

Or can you?

We recently had the opportunity to tackle that challenge as part of a rebranding campaign for Reading Truck Bodies. We built a new website for the 60-year-old manufacturer that featured a dynamic timeline of Reading’s history. Reading’s marketing team was so happy with the design that they asked us to create a display for the showroom in their corporate headquarters.

“Our goal was to be able to visually tell our story in an engaging way,” said Beth Johnson, Reading’s Director of Marketing. “We wanted to show the history of Reading and how we got where we are today.”

Darin Viergutz, Synapse’s Director of Procurement, and Senior Graphic Designer Jim Saurbaugh, who designed the Reading website, went to work. Their first challenge was surveying the site, considering the client’s goals and deciding on an approach.

Reading Truck Body showroom wall before installation

“The showroom is not a typical showroom,” Darin said. “It’s used for training and corporate events in addition to showcasing Reading’s truck bodies. So the display needed to be creative but also sophisticated.” The team also wanted to be able to update and expand the display over time.

Jim envisioned a three-dimensional display to emphasize the durability and substance that is such a big part of the Reading brand. He created a design and the team consulted with some specialty printers before settling on a plan.

Reading Truck Body visual timeline closeup

They decided on a series of acrylic base panels featuring a subtle tonal background image, a bold timeline and a series of three-dimensional images marking major milestones. The panels are modular and mobile to promote future changes and additions.

The wall is cement block with a plaster overlay, which offered exceptional support. “Because of the structure, we were able to use a thicker acrylic panel and extend it a little farther from the wall,” Darin said.

Reading Truck Body timeline installation in progress

The wall also played an unexpected role in the imagery of the display. “We were originally going to print the background on a mirrored vinyl that would provide a solid background, but Jim really liked the color and surface of the wall,” Darin said. “So we decided to print the background directly on the back of the panels and allow the wall to show through. The result provides visual continuity throughout the sign and the surroundings and complements the imagery featured on the display.”

Reading Truck Body timeline closeup

Big, Bold and On-Brand

The installation conveys the longevity, stability and innovation that set Reading apart from the competition. “When you see the timeline online, you can interact with it to see how the history unfolded,” Beth said. “With this display, the entire history is all there in front of you, and it’s mammoth. It looks fantastic.”

Reading Truck Body Timeline panoramic

The project presented interesting creative challenges for our team. “This project was especially exciting for me because visual displays are so unique,” Darin said. “Basically there is no set approach, and there are so many variables to consider. And the print capabilities today are amazing. You can make almost anything you can imagine.”

A display is an opportunity to create a beauty shot for your brand’s intangibles. It does so by distilling the message, saying it with images and making a bold statement. Reading’s timeline does much more than tell the events that make up Reading’s history. It shows employees, customers and guests what it means to be part of Reading’s ongoing story.


Reading Truck Body timeline panoramic

Find out how the experts at Synapse can help you tell your story.


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