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Fanning the Vehicle-Wrap Flames

(July 2010) posted on Fri Jul 16, 2010

Six projects to help you re-ignite your passion for vehicle graphics.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Jared Smith

After meeting with the client, we headed back to our shop with their objectives in mind. One of their main requests was to make this vehicle as “matte” as possible while still prominently displaying the sponsors. We spent a lot of time working out the exact color values and materials to get the look the customer was after, ultimately settling on a tone-on-tone, black-on-black, step-and-repeat pattern. It took about three weeks to get from the original meeting to the finished product. The inset photo you see here was taken only three days after install, but Geiser Bros. is so good at its craft that Sean walked away unharmed, and we hear the wrap actually held up pretty well. They fixed the vehicle and completed three more races with that same wrap, mostly intact.

• Challenges in this job: Custom-built vehicles like this are, by far, the most difficult to survey and build an accurate template. It took about four hours of measuring, snapping photos, and determining the shape in Adobe Illustrator CS4.

• Easiest part of the job: The actual print and installation took very little time once the color values were solved. Using our HP TurboJet, this wrap took 4.5 minutes to print on 3M IJ180Cv3 with 3M 8520 laminate. The installers only clocked 4 hours to complete. (Photo A)

Problems with Plaid
Allow me to introduce you to a hip, up-and-coming restaurant/bar concept: Tilted Kilt. The first location opened in Phoenix a few years back, and more new stores are being built as we speak—and, importantly, the orders for innovative signage and wrap projects keep rolling into our shop.

As you might guess from the establishment’s name, one interesting parameter involved in all Tilted Kilt projects is working plaid into the designs—it’s a staple element in the client’s brand. If you have never worked with plaid, it can be a little tricky to line up where you need it to, particularly on a “canvas” like an H1 Hummer, such as this one, which the company asked us to tackle.