Ashton Design is celebrating the centennial of the Panama Canal with the completion of an environmental graphics project for Ellicott Dredges — the Baltimore-based company which designed and built the dredging equipment used in the construction of the world’s most important shipping channel.
Opened on August 15, 1914, and considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the Panama Canal has used Ellicott dredges to maintain its 48 miles of waterway during its first 100 years.
Founded in 1885, Ellicott is one of the world’s oldest and largest builders of dredges. Their equipment is used for mining, harbor and navigation maintenance, reservoir and beach restoration, and even environmental clean-up. Serving customers in over 100 countries, they have designed and built over 2,000 dredges, more than any other manufacturer in the world.
Ashton Design was asked to create environmental graphics for Ellicott’s world headquarters and manufacturing facility in South Baltimore, a space they have called home since 1900. The company wanted to activate their corporate office environment with displays that would educate visitors about the technology and equipment of dredging, and about the firm’s historically significant projects. Ashton Design curated images from the company’s archive which ranged from turn-of-the-century black-and-white photography to present-day digital iPhone images. The final mix of images needed to balance Ellicott’s rich history with the innovative manufacturing technologies for which they are now known today.
The location of graphics was determined by President and CEO Peter Bowe’s goal to use the images as a visual tour for visitors to the facility, beginning with detailing its state-of-the-art manufacturing practices and ending with showcasing Ellicott dredges working on location around the world.
Graphics were printed directly onto 1/8” thick metal panels — a material choice that echoes the facility’s focus on metal fabrication and machining. Display strategies included aligning horizons across photo groupings to create one continuous line, subtly linking diverse images. Graphics attempt to portray the scale of Ellicott’s finished products, which are often colossal in size, with weight measured in tons and horsepower in the thousands.
Capturing details was equally important—such as the close-up view of a dredger’s “cutter head.” Reminiscent of a mythological creature, the image clearly illustrates why Ellicott Dredges’ product line is named “Dragon”.
Details of workers remind visitors that the company is supported by skilled craftsmen today, just as it was a century ago. The graphics paint a picture of a company that helped connect the world in 1914 and of a company that continues to shape it 100 years later.
Source: ashton-design, August 14, 2014