Friday, February 22, 2013

What goes into making a vehicle wrap.

Have you every wondered what goes into making a vehicle wrap?  The slide show here will give you a good idea of the material used and the application process to wrap the KARE 11 Fan Van.  What it does not show is the one hour of surface prep time.  This 2013 Sprinter came to us clean from the car wash, but we still prep every inch of graphics area with a special cleaning solution.

We still like to use an older version of the 3M comply vinyl with laminate for the graphics.  It's just plain easier to work with than some of the newer vinyls, and very forgiving under various conditions.  We also try to always install wraps inside, even on those nice 75°f days.  Wind can cause some major problems when installing and should always be avoided.

We hope you enjoy the slideshow.
Music ©Kevin MacLeod

Ranger 621 boat wrap time

Late winter usually means boat wrapping time, but before you go off and get your boat wrapped there are a few tips than can help ensure you end up with quality results and a happy sponsor.

It seems that some less experience sign companies look at boats as just another vehicle wrap. This is far, far from the truth! Most vehicles are relatively flat on the sides. Boats on the other hand have extreme curves. For this post we will talk tips specifically about the boat style pictured here. This is a #Ranger621 owned by a professional walleye angler.

First and foremost seek out a reputable sign company, preferably someone who has wrapped your style of boat, and don't be afraid to ask to see pictures of prior projects.  It is also a good idea to get references, call them and ask about there experience.  Wraps are an investment usually made by sponsoring partners, having a poorly designed or installed wrap is not a good reflection on you as an angler or your sponsor's business

As you are developing your sponsored boat design it is so important to use original vector art.  we just can't stress that enough.  We know getting good artwork can be a challenge at times, but most business with a reputable brand image will have the needed artwork somewhere.  Seek out .ai (adobe illustrator) or .eps vector files.  Make sure all the images are embedded and any fonts are converted from the font to outlines, this step is easy to do in design programs.  Once you have this type of artwork your designer can make all sorts of magic happen. 

Vector art, as opposed to rastered (.jpg, .gif, psd, etc) allow you to scale images without loosing any quality.  Note in the picture here that the original logo was designed and proofed at 8" wide.  Here it is over 9' long and remains in perfect quality.  Those website logos would never be able to produce these professional looking results.  Don't use them on graphic wraps or signs! Just don't.

When your designer is working on your design ask them if they have a design template for your boat.  This template is different than a simple wireframe outline of the side of a boat.  Reminder, boats have curves, sometimes crazy curves.  If the boat curves, so will the graphics.  If the graphics curve the designer better be aware of this and design accordingly.  This is were it gets really technical.  If proper steps are not taken prior to layout, disaster can happen during your install. Ask questions about the design template. 

Another very important tip is to make sure your installer knows what 3M 94 primer is.  If he/she does not this is a red flag.  Boats take a massive pounding, especially on the waterline, 94 primer is used as an added adhesive in key areas to ensure your wrap stays on.  Don't worry about the day when it is time to remove the graphics.  The vinyl will release with a little extra elbow work, and with adhesive remover, the primer will come right off.

The last tip today is keep your wrap colors in high contrast, uses bold text when you can and semi to gloss overlamnate on your printed graphics.  Doing all of this will help maximize the impact and readability of your boat wrap, keeping you looking good and your sponsor smiling!