HOW DO WE START PLANNING A THEME?
First of all, evaluate your space. Do you have a large open space such as a gymnasium, theatrical stage or common area or is your space a little smaller such as a hallway, classroom or office? Obviously, larger 3-D props and scenery will fit better in more open spaces but there is always creative ways to change smaller spaces with 3-D elements as well. If you have a small space, you may want to think about muraling, supported by smaller 3-D elements. If you look through our photo gallery you will see examples of theming in all types of spaces.
Next, establish an idea for an overall theme. If you’re working with kids your theme will be much different than a theme aimed toward adults or teens. This is where your imagination can run wild! We can create themes based upon any “genre”: tropical, jungle, sports, space, Medieval, pirate, western, Tuscan, Oriental, nostalgic, storybook, animated, theme park, etc. There’s a lot to choose from or dream up!
We have worked with many of our clients in establishing ideas for themes. We’ll be happy to jump into that process with you!
HOW LONG DOES THE PROCESS TAKE?
That can depend upon several factors. However, if you have a space ready for theming, an idea firmly in mind and budget approval from the “powers that be,” the process from start to finish can take 2-6 months depending upon the scale and scope of your project. Keep in mind that you may have to compete for scheduling with our other clients so call early and schedule soon!
HOW MUCH DOES THEMING COST?
There are a couple of approaches to cost. Some clients contact us and say, “We have ‘$X’ to spend. What can we get for that?” and other clients will say, “We want ‘X’. How much will it cost?” We can work with either approach, however, it’s very important for you to have at least a “ballpark figure” of how much you have or can get for a budget. There is nothing more frustrating in this process than for us to design a theme for you that you can’t afford or one that is way under your expectations.
There are several factors that figure into cost. If you have a very large space and want to fill it with lots of 3-D props and scenery you can expect to pay more than someone who only wants a small hallway muraled and themed. Once we consult with you and gain an understanding of the scope of your project, we can give you a fairly accurate estimate of the cost. Our average mural price is $20-$30 per square foot. Theming packages can start at $25,000 and can increase depending upon the complexity of the project. Prop pieces will vary in price depending upon the size, detail and material.
We understand that budgets are sensitive subjects and we pride ourselves in being able to work with almost any budget no matter how small or large.
CAN WE HAVE OUR THEMING DONE IN PHASES?
In many cases this is acceptable. You may have different hallways, buildings or classrooms that will be completed at different times or perhaps you want to use a themed area to help you raise money for theming other areas. We can help you with ideas regarding this type of plan.
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE FOR A CONSULTATION?
Currently we only ask for our travel room and board expenses to be reimbursed. In many cases we can consult with you over the phone and through e-mail using digital photos and video. This is the most economical way for consulting.
WHO ARE YOUR CLIENTS?
While churches make up a large part of our theming clients, we can design themes for any business, organization or venue. Theming is popular in hotels, retail areas, shopping malls, amusement parks, fairs, festivals, resort areas, theatres, museums, restaurants, convention centers, hospitals, assisted living facilities, recreation centers, skating rinks, salons, offices, bowling alleys, tourist attractions, miniature golf courses and many other locations. In addition, we create museum exhibits and custom props, scenic art and backdrops for photography studios, theatres, film sets and other performing arts spaces.
DO YOU DESIGN ONLY FOR KIDS?
We have a lot of fun designing for kids but we create themes for all age groups and audiences. We can create something you’ll be happy with for your particular group whatever their age!
WHAT MATERIALS ARE USED IN YOUR THEMED ENVIRONMENTS?
Materials depend upon the particular theme we have designed, its application and the audience intended to interact with it. We use materials found at most construction sites: wood, EPS foam, plastic, cloth, metal, etc. The majority of our painting utilizes non-toxic water-based latex, acrylic and theatrical paint. These paints are non-toxic and safe around humans and pets. For outdoor use, or in special indoor cases, we may use oil or solvent-based paint.
DO YOU USE WALLPAPER MURALS?
Imagination Atmospheres does not use wallpaper for murals. All of our murals are original, hand painted works of art. We have seen themed environments created by other companies with wallpaper that has been ripped and torn or is peeling off the wall. In one particular case we saw a scene with the main character’s head completely ripped off. While hand painted murals are certainly not immune to damage, we feel like they last longer than wallpaper and are easier to repair if damage occurs. It’s much easier and cheaper to touch up a section of scratched paint than it is to completely relace the wallpaper on an entire wall. In addition, hand painted murals are original pieces of art, custom painted for your areas. Often, wallpaper murals are designed to be mass produced so others will have the exact same designs as yours, frequently costing the same or more than you would pay for a hand painted wall mural. ( Read our article on why we do not use wallpaper murals. )
HOW DURABLE ARE THE ELEMENTS IN YOUR THEMED ENVIRONMENTS?
We design our themes with interaction in mind. Themes that involve direct contact with children are created with that level of durability as a goal. Stage sets that may have no direct contact or abuse from human interaction might be created “softer.” Everything we create is designed to last many years in whatever application and environment it is being used for.
CAN WE SAVE MONEY BY HELPING YOU PAINT OR BUILD?
All of our art is highly specialized, from construction, to painting to airbrush techniques. There is usually nothing we need help doing that our staff of artists can’t do faster on their own. There are some tasks which we will ask you to do, such as priming and base-coat painting which we would normally have to hire someone else to do, so that will save some of your budget. Actually we would much more prefer you just stand around and gawk at us while we work. We’re kind of strange that way.
WILL YOU BUILD OR RENOVATE OUR BUILDING?
Currently we do not build buildings, rooms, install carpeting, install special flooring or ceilings or apply roofing or siding. If you wish, we will be happy to work with you in locating companies that do these services in order for you to prepare for us to theme your facility.
MAY WE CONTACT YOUR REFERENCES?
Most certainly! In fact we suggest you contact the references of any theming company you may be considering working with. We will be happy to send you references and any other information you may need to help you make your decision. We suggest you do as much research as possible while you are planning your theming project. If you check references, review work, participate in consultations and do cost comparisons we think you’ll find Imagination Atmospheres will come out on top in all areas!