Nike's Human Printing Press

27. September 2013 04:50 by Calvin Yu in   //  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   //   Comments


Printing presses have been around in the Western world since 1450, but Nike has found a way to innovate printing press technology by making it come alive with athletes' individual sports. How, you must be asking, can human atheletes use their physical prowess directly in the printing process? Nike's branch located in Turkey launched "Made By Movement" to directly engineer a printing press to work with the activities athletes partake in. The result was a multi-faceted challenge to encourage physical health and show the beauty of each athletic skill through a video that documented the process.

How did it work?

Using a series of engineers, designers, and the most advanced digital technology, advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy reverse engineered the poster design. What this meant was that everyone had to first figure out how each individual component would layer over the others. For instance, cyclists first needed to peddle to power the entire machine's conveyor belt while runners would trigger a cloud of powedered ink using specially designed laser beams. Each subsequent layer of the poster was made possible by using computer-aided design (CAD) drawings.

Were there any difficulties in the process?

During the live creation of the poster, there were some snags in the process. For instance, a boxer used a punching bag that was hooked up to release ink blots on the poster, depending upon the position where the bag was punched. However, due to the force of the boxer's punches, the punching bag got removed from its stand, which jammed up the paper that was being processed. By installing a series of support beams, this problem was averted.

What was especially innovative?

One of the most interesting applications of this design process was applying the signature Nike swoosh to the paper. Using cross-trainers, Nike organized a routine called "belly up," in which these trainers would jump from a platform belly up on to the floor below, which was actually a giant stamping device that would press against the page. This customization allowed for individuals to place small stamps on each page in relation to their body moment, giving every poster a 'limited edition' feel.


Though it's still a little difficult for us to imagine all of the advanced technology behind this advertising campaign, we're excited to see new applications of printing technology, particularly to projects that encourage physical fitness. Feel free to let us know what you found most interesting about this project below!

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