Big Picture - March 2018 - 14
Year of the Underdog
Take a look back at the challenges and trials of your career to move on successfully.
| by Sino Tour
anking on Bitcoin. Gender Pay Gap. The Climate
Change Debate. These are just some of the current
headlines dominating the nation's cultural conversations as we dive into Q1 of 2018. I think we can find a
glimpse of solace and escape, even for a few hours in
the day, with our line of work in the sign and graphics industry. I
am living proof that one can find their true calling and turn it into
a career, embracing my life's work with little to no regrets.
Freelancers, tool craftsmen, designers, sales reps, product
providers, graphic manufacturers, and vinyl wrappers - which
describes me best - are just some of the key folks who inhabit our
dynamic Wrap Universe. (Marvel and DC Comics each have their
own respective "universe" named after them; why can't we?)
Even though collectively our vinyl work may not have been
heavily highlighted or hyped recently in the media, I can only
surmise that our achievements were understandably overlooked
for the more serious or heartbreaking reports. It's a sad fact that
negative news always has a way of grabbing much more
attention than positive headlines. I am driven by the conviction
that our niche profession makes the world a better place in the
visual sense. Nevertheless, we at Icon Image Graphics made our
own front-page news by continuing to usher our vast and eclectic
portfolios onto the international circuit these last 12 months.
After a decade in the business, my conventional wisdom to
share with the masses is quite simple: Vinyl wraps are here to
stay. I have witnessed the birth of a culture, movement, and
art form; the advancement and upgrade of film and print
technology; new and recycled design trends and aesthetics; the
powerful/lucrative impact on local and corporate businesses;
and the rise of graphic installers and influencers who have
come into their own. The medium's popularity shows no signs
SINO TOUR is co-owner and director of
operations at Icon Image Graphics, a full graphic
installation company in Sante Fe Springs, California.
You can find him on Twitter @IconImageWrap
and Instagram @sino_tour.
of waning as it solidifies itself as a permanent fixture in pop
culture and a staple of many reputable tradeshows such as
FESPA, SEMA, SGIA, WrapsCon, and more. We have made
these accomplishments part of vinyl wrap's vernacular now.
Our chosen profession has made rapid strides and evolved as
a viable force with an important presence in the visual arts.
From London to Australia, we're seeing a unified trend of wrap
assignments - from the beginning phase to completion - being
documented, digitized, and shared on social media by an
individual or company. The internet has dramatically revolutionized many fields, including ours, and it's nothing more than
a massive archive of just about everything: art, video, photos,
old, new, black, white, and everything in between. It's in the
"in between" where we try to distinguish our voice and place
on the web without getting lost in an endless spectrum
of information. There's been a significant shift in how we
promote, adapt, and conduct business today in the digital
age. For this particular piece, I'm taking my talk about vinyl
to the extreme and really asking those hard questions of
what matters today in the life of vinyl wrappers.
In 2008, a rising (and young) graphic installer grappled with
his first attempt at a complete Ford vinyl wrap for a local
company. Armed with a bunch of wrap installation DVDs that
he received from an impromptu visit to 3M's posh facility in
Minneapolis, he failed miserably as a beginner in his new
venture. This van wrap was to be his debut as a serious
graphic installer. The result was a disastrous endeavor that he
wanted to sweep under the rug, permanently! It was such a
shattering blow to his ego that he considered quitting the next
day. After a series of additional misfires in the field, he still
kept going until it finally clicked after a number of other jobs.
I was this beginner during my early struggles in the business,
but I did not quit. The offensive four-letter F-word - fail - has
never been a part of my vocabulary. So, why did I underperform
so spectacularly? Was it a lack of knowledge, experience, or
training, or all of the above? What could I have done differently?
The list of questions went on, but it was this definitive question
that kept my interest and drive: What did I learn from my first
experience with vinyl graphics that I would avoid next time? I
had no choice but to be a beginner, start over, and allow myself
to fail, especially with no support or guidance from industry