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Design and installation learning curves

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Vehicle wrap suppliers often provide free instructional demonstrations at trade shows. In March, Arlon Graphics and Mutoh America sponsored a vehicle wrap center at the Graphics of the Americas trade show in Miami, Fla.

Mutoh additionally has partnered with film manufacturer Avery Dennison to offer two-day car wrap classes and certifications. For dates and locations, visit

3M offers monthly three-day classes at its facilities in St. Paul, Minn., and partners with other companies for additional training programs. 3M also has partnered with Lowen Corp. in conjunction with training classes at Lowen’s facility in Hutchinson, Kan.

For other training courses, visit (classes in Dallas, Texas) and (classes in San Diego, Calif.).

In addition to installation expertise, companies providing vehicle wraps need design expertise. Image Monster owner Jed McDonough notes overly busy graphics done by competitors. “[Their] clients have wasted their money,” he says.

Rod Voegele, whose company, GatorWraps, has a full staff of designers, agrees. “A lot of graphics are so busy that you focus on the design instead of the message. The graphics should only be colorful enough to get a person’s immediate attention,” he says. “The most important part of any wrap is the information, not the design behind it. The design should immediately identify the industry they’re working in.”

Follow other outdoor advertising principles and keep it to seven words, recommends Wayne Boydstun of Fusion Imaging. “It’s more visual than wordy—name, phone number and website because it’s a moving sign.”

According to Tim Boxeth of 3M, print businesses with designers on staff could easily transition to vehicle graphics. “There are templates out there for cars,” he says.

“You have to line things up well so the 1-800 number isn’t on the door handle,” adds 3M’s Doug Blackwell.

And don’t forget the roof, advises Greg Purdy, who drives a wrapped car for The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies. He took the wrapped company van to the Las Vegas Hilton, where his room overlooked the parking lot. “Everybody in that hotel for the five days I was there saw ‘Follies’ out their window,” he says.

Janice Kleinschmidt is a freelance writer and editor based in Palm Springs, Calif.

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