Vehicle Wrap Designs – Getting Started
Vehicle Wrap Design. Tips to Getting Started
In this article I’m not going to cover installing a vehicle wrap. That you can learn from others. What I am going to write about is getting started in vehicle wrap design. I want to answer the following questions:
- What kind of software do you need to design a vehicle wrap?
- Where do you find wrap templates?
- How do you come up with a design?
- Should you involve the installer in the design?
- How do you communicate your design to the customer?
Get Information Before Your Begin Your Design
When a customer wants a vehicle wrapped, no doubt they have some sort of idea of what the want for the outcome. But to be sure, meet with the customer and ask as many questions as you can about the design, the car and even the purpose of the design.
They may bring artwork to you. Right…. from Word!!! Make sure your software can open the images. You’ll also need to examine each image for size and resolution. Put a folder on the desktop and start saving information like the customer details, conversation notes, drawing and images.
Ask the customer for pictures of the vehicle or even better have them drive it to this meeting and YOU take those pictures, the more the better! Every angle. Look for irregularities, added or customer hardware etc. Basically do a vehicle inspection of the entire body of the car.
Finally, after you have this information, form a plan for the design. Ask yourself, what do you lack? What do you need to get started in the design? Who will be doing the install? How fast does this REALLY need to be done? What printer is being used to print the design? What media does the installer use? How difficult is the design the customer wants going to be?
To keep track of all this preparation, it would be good to develop a vehicle wrap checklist. A few years ago Sign & Digital Graphics magazine had a nice article with things to add to the checklist and an example. If you want tot take a quick trip over there to read it, just use this link: https://sdgmag.com/tips/create-vehicle-wraps-checklist.
How to Get Inspired for Design Ideas
If the customer has not brought you ideas, how do you get your inspiration? I suggest spending quality time on your computer with your friend and mine, Pinterest! You thought I was going to say Google didn’t you. Well, both might work, but Pinterest seems to be an easier way to “see” stuff. Here’s one suggested place to start: https://www.pinterest.com/conraddesign/design-vehicle-vinyl-graphics/.
Don’t look at just the “wild and crazy guy” designs, but also look for the more subtle designs. After a while you’ll develop your own style. Keep in mind that the time spent on the design is related to how hard it will be to install the design and that’s all funded by your customer. So you might want to find 3-5 design ideas that might work and then rank from easy to difficult which translates to low price to high price.
Time to Create the Design
Let’s hope by now you’ve got some good photos of the customers vehicle. Let’s also assume you have an idea in your head about what you are going to do for a design. Here are some suggestions for mocking up the design on your computer so you can have a sit down with a customer. Just always keep in ind that vehicle wraps are a balancing act. You need to balance, design with installation, the vehicle itself, price and timing.
Photoshop & Illustrator. The Good and the Bad
Photoshop is a great program for mock ups because you can use the actual photo of the car or truck to show off your design. Remember, we are just at the mock-up stage, so keep in mind that after something looks pretty good to you, you’ll still need to make certain that it can actually be done. (This is where the installer can assist.)
YouTube Can Assist
If you’re going to use Adobe, there are lots of YouTube videos that can walk you through the entire process. Here are some of my favorites:
So I love that fact that you can show off an actual picture of the vehicle with a design. What I don’t like is the learning curve here. Keep in mind you’re going to have to spend time learning this process. I can’t say how long because every person is different. Also keep in mind that you’ll also need to print the wrap.
One of the things to be careful about is the output may not match the colors you see on the monitor. We’ll discuss that later, but what I’m trying to say is don’t go over board here! Remember, it has to be printed and installed! That means you’re going to need a RIP software to run that wide format printer. ONYX, VersaWorks and FlexiSIGN & Print come to mind. My favorite is Flexi. Here’s why.
FlexiSIGN & Print
While Flexi does not have all the bells and whistles of Adobe products, it was created not only for design but for output, so it has many features that you may need for the little things a wrap deserves, like making decals or print & cut components. In addition, it can be used with just about any wide format printer. Of course, you’ll want to try the MUTOH 1624x first since it is known as the “Wrappers Choice”. More later.
Also, keep in mind that your choice of design and production software is a matter of learning. MUTOH has a DVD that gives you over 10 hours of instruction on FlexiSIGN & Print! Spend the time to really learn your design software, it can make a big difference in the time it take to design and print your wrap.
Get the Right Wide Format Printer
Look, there are literally dozens of choices for wide format printers for printing wrap designs. However, MUTOH is actually KNOWN for the right choice and now we have several of them for you to choose. The reason wrappers prefer MUTOH printers is because they operate flawlessly and MUTOH even offers numerous wrap classes in partnership with leading wrap artist Justin Pate and wrap media maker AVERY.
Mutoh’s ValueJet 1638X high speed, Eco-solvent printer has a staggered dual-head design that blows the competition away! With print speeds over 1,000 sqft/hr. no one comes close to its production capability.
And with Mutoh’s Smart Printing technology like; Intelligent Interweave (i²) print technique that virtually eliminates banding, ColorVerify for process control and ValueJet Status Monitor (VSM) an app for remote printer monitoring make, the ValueJet 1638X is the smart choice for today’s serious print professional.
Speed, the right width, and a reliable take-up system all add to the capability of the MUTOH Valuejet 1638x with regard to wrap workflow.
The MUTOH VJ1627MH, recently introduced at the 2018 SGIA trade show uses a Multi-Purpose Ink based on a corn-based solvent that is greener that the printer above, but still offers 3+ years outdoor durability and can be used for wraps with no issues whatsoever.
The nice part about this machine is it can not only print roll-to-roll but also on rigid substrates, so when you are not doing a wrap you can print building signs and more!
Yep, you’ve got some homework to do, but it will be worth every penny once you get started in vehicle wraps. If you are reading this blog, remember that MUTOH wrote it! We want to give as much assistance to you as we can so be sure to come back and learn more.
Visit the mother ship at www.mutoh.com