The Big Picture - April 2012 - (Page 16)

graphics on the go graphics on the go How to Bungle a Vehicle Wrap By Jared Smith A s we approach our 9000th vehicle-graphic installation here at bluemedia, I think I can safely say that we’ve made just about every mistake in the book – and our list of things that have gone wrong is pretty extensive. But from our many errors, we have learned a lot. Just as with anything in life, things won’t always go your way, at least not on the first try. From time to time, or sometimes even daily, life throws you a curve ball that you just didn’t see coming – and strive as we all might to be perfect, mistakes happen. The best you can do is to try to not beat yourself up about it; take the high road, make it right, and learn from your pig-headed “whoops.” What follows are a few errors we’ve faced, ranging from lessons learned the hard way to almost comical happenings that made for a few funny stories. Maybe these lessons can help your own shop prevent a disaster or two. Typical rookie mistakes Let’s first discuss the most obvious of errors: rookie errors. These are defined as mistakes that any seasoned professional should have been able to easily avoid. One of the most common rookie mistakes is producing graphics for “almost” the right vehicle by getting the year, make, or model wrong. Once you’ve been in the vehiclewrap game for any length of time, you quickly learn that “Ford Econoline” is not enough information from which to design, much less print, a wrap. Numerous body styles include di erent window and door configurations, and sometimes even di erent wheelbases. To avoid this disaster, we now require a client to either stop in for a quick survey or to send a photo from each side of the vehicle so that we can compare the images to our templates before guaranteeing the quote or designing the wrap. Then there are customer-mix-up mistakes. We once had a rookie install a radio station’s wrap onto the pest control guy’s van. While this might sound humorous in retrospect, the mistake was extremely expensive and all too easy to avoid. Lesson learned: We now check in all vehicles and use rear-view mirror and key service tags to keep straight the “who’s who” when it comes to those ubiquitous white vans. Another rookie error is using heat on a cold window during a removal. Since we’re located in Arizona, it took us longer than it probably takes most other shops to learn this lesson. But once we heard the big, loud cracking sound, the message was immediately clear. Come to find out, it’s simply not a good idea to use a weed burner, torch, or heat gun on a frozen piece of glass. To be fair, most of our sta knew this already – but one employee (who no longer works here) apparently never learned that trade secret. Even ‘experts’ err Advanced errors are errors that only a true expert has the knowledge to avoid – hence, these can happen more often and to anyone, at any time. Causes for these errors run the gamut, from work overload, disorganization, rushing, or simply just bad luck. We all tend to move pretty fast. Sometimes, we move so fast that we don’t catch that the RIP is set to use the wrong media profi le. Printing a vehicle wrap using something like a banner RIP profi le will throw the whole project o . Getting the RIP wrong can lead to problems like color that is noticeably o -target or ink just dripping right o the media. To avoid a RIP disaster, use quicksets or checklists that will help your sta ensure they get the RIP right. No matter how trained you become, however, there are always those mistakes that even the best can’t avoid. Like forgetting to add an overlap – this is an easy mistake to make because a tile done with correct overlaps looks almost identical to a tile done incorrectly. It’s almost impossible to spot. Many times, it isn’t found until after lamination >38 JARED SMITH is president of bluemedia (, a leading provider of design and printing for use in vehicle, large-format, and environmental applications, in Tempe, Arizona. 16 THE BIG PICTURE APRIL 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Big Picture - April 2012

The Big Picture - April 2012
Wide Angle
Up Front
Graphics on the Go
Business + Management
Ignite with White
Business & Management Software
Cutting Corners
Job Log

The Big Picture - April 2012