October '20

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6 8 G R A P H I C S P R O O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M we're working in layers, we can quickly move elements around, adding and de- leting images and text during the design process. Photos of the actual vehicle and careful measuring for accurate scaling give you a template that not only shows all obstacles but also allows you to create a professional presentation for your customer. Proofing on the vehicle helps the customer visualize the end product and eliminates confusion or misunderstandings about placement. DESIGN We're a small but busy sign and wrap shop, so everyone pitches in on produc- tion. Vehicle wrap design and the installa- tion of the graphics are a large part of my job. Having experience in both the design and installation aspects of the wrapping process allows me to be a better designer and a better installer. If your shop has departments where the designers aren't usually a part of the in- stall process, it's still important to do a bit of cross-training. A designer that under- stands the installation process is less likely to place graphics or important design ele- ments in areas of the vehicle that will dis- tort or cut off those elements. Understanding how the graphics will be applied to curved areas, concave spaces, and worked around obstacles allows the designer to plan for these areas—both in placement on the layout and how the panels are set up during output. PANELS How the wrap graphics are set up for out- put makes a big difference in the installa- tion's efficiency. Having an accurate tem- plate directly affects how the panels will fit the vehicle, and accurate panels elimi- nate reprints and interrupted installs. If we're working with a box truck, we typically allow our RIP software to gen- erate the panels automatically. I usually plan 3 to 4 extra inches around the box for overlap. The panels are then created with a 1-inch overlap. Since we've accu- rately planned the overlap and the mea- surements are simple, we can begin with the first panel and start the application without having to hang all the panels first. For pickup trucks, utility beds, and smaller cars, we evaluate areas where a horizontal panel might be a better ap- proach than vertical panels. For most vans or larger cars, we apply the graphics using vertical panels. Having an accurate template of the actual vehicle allows us to create custom panels. Often, we're either planning the panels to create a seamless wrap or to work around obstacles. These panels take into account overlap, extra material for This cab wrap had many contours and obstacles. Careful planning ensured the graphics fit correctly and obstacles were worked around. When a vehicle has tight registration or the vehicle contours are complex, it's often easier to apply the background separately from cut lettering.

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