Big Picture - May 2015 - (Page 16)

graphics on the go Design Collisions, Take Two Steering clear of small issues that can lead to big mistakes. | by Jared Smith I 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. BIG PICTURE May 2015 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 new problem. 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 (, a leading provider of design and printing for use in vehicle, large-format, and environmental applications, in Tempe, Arizona. 16

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Picture - May 2015

Big Picture - May 2015
Wide Angle
Graphics on the Go
Business + Management
It's Alive
Expert's Guide to FESPA 2015
R + D

Big Picture - May 2015