Big Picture - May 2015 - (Page 16)
graphics on the go
Steering clear of small issues that can lead to big mistakes. | by Jared Smith
n March of 2011, I wrote an article about vehicle wrap
designs that cause issues in alignment, making the install
nearly impossible to get right. Since then, I have experienced a few more pitfalls that aren't necessarily common
sense, but small details that can cause a vehicle wrap
project to lose margin, add frustration, and cause delays.
Here's how to steer clear of these situations.
LIFE IN THE REAR VIEW
The rear of almost every vehicle (other than a box truck) poses
a unique challenge. While the rear of the vehicle allows for the
most viewing time in traffic, it typically has the most difficult,
live-area shapes. If we look at the back of a standard cargo van
with barn doors, we can start to identify the challenges.
The area that seems to cause the most drama is the space
between the two rear windows. Going from the left window to
the right window, any potential graphics will be trimmed back
a quarter of an inch so the installer can seal the window perf
to the exposed glass, then the 3/8-inch rubber, then the 2
inches of painted surface on the left door, then a half-inch gap
between the doors, the 2 inches of painted surface on the right
door - followed by the same obstacles in reverse after
crossing a 1/2-inch gap between the doors.
With all of these obstructions, I'm amazed when designers
present a proof that shows small text going across these areas.
I've even seen van wraps that are missing an entire digit in a
phone number. Unless the element or logo you are bridging
across this area is at least 12 inches tall or 44 inches wide, I
recommend that you treat these two windows as separate live
areas. Put the logo in one window and the contact URL and
phone number in the other.
One guess as to why this error pops up so often is that
the problem is minimized when shown on a PDF proof with a
wireframe template. It appears more readable in the proof
than it will in real life. Stay clear of this issue by communicating the fact that it's a known problem to your entire
design team and actively look for this when reviewing
proofs. As you can imagine, it's best to catch this before the
proof is sent to the client. Sometimes, the client will fall in
love with a design that contains a potential issue, and that's a
The window area on the back of a van is not the only
issue. You will also have to contend with the license plate on
one side. Maintaining symmetry in the design is tough when
your "canvas" is not symmetrical. At bluemedia, we like to
use very large design elements on the rear, contain the copy
to the windows, and leave the space opposite the license
plate blank with only background elements. This leaves a
clean, intentional look that's easy to read and communicates
the client's message well.
If you find yourself needing to include elements such as
Department of Transportation or unit numbers on the rear, in
tight spaces, think about producing those elements as
ready-to-apply, weeded, and masked cut vinyl. This technique
will maximize installation options and bleed area when
installing the background wrap, and will ensure a perfect
placement of the small add-on numbers.
JARED SMITH is president of bluemedia (bluemedia.com),
a leading provider of design and printing for use in vehicle,
large-format, and environmental applications, in Tempe, Arizona.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Picture - May 2015
Big Picture - May 2015
Graphics on the Go
Business + Management
Expert's Guide to FESPA 2015
R + D
Big Picture - May 2015