Blast from the Past
Turf Managers turns to Signs by Tomorrow to help wrap its hippie-era van.
When the owner of the Nashville-area Turf Managers lawn-care company brought his new van to the Signs By Tomorrow (www.signsbytomorrow.com/brentwood) franchise in Brentwood, Tennessee, he wasn’t a new customer. SBT owner Mark McCullough had already worked on all of the company’s pickup trucks.
“We met the Turf guys a number of years ago,” McCullough says, “and started out just decaling their vehicles with logos and phone numbers.” McCullough had also wrapped two trucks in pink to reflect the company’s affiliation with and support of the Susan G. Komen foundation. “Every yard they do with those trucks, they donate a dollar to the Komen Foundation.”
When the customers found an old box van from the hippie era, they had an idea for how to morph it into an attention-getting promotional vehicle, and they turned to Signs by Tomorrow to help them execute their plan. They explained their idea to Crystal Martin, SBT’s graphic designer, and Martin got to work. She expanded on the idea and used Adobe Illustrator to create an eye-catching lawn scene, leaving gaps for the van’s large side windows.
“We wanted to make sure that the artwork complemented the vehicle,” Martin says. “Since it’s a 1960s or early ‘70s van, I wanted it to be colorful.” The secret to successful vehicle-wrap design, she says, is to “measure twice. There are a lot of things that sometimes you don’t take into consideration, like a door handle or a hinge or even a wheel well. You’ve got to make sure that none of the text or important things are cut off.”
The shop output the design using its HP Designjet L25500 printer with latex inks, onto Arlon DPF 6000XRP cast vinyl, followed by the install work, which McCullough took on himself. “I do probably 90 percent of the installation in-house,” he says. “It takes about 14 to 16 hours to do one by yourself – a full two days.” After installation, the customer painted the van’s mirrors and the speakers on top to match the wrap.
The time-consuming installation process is one of the reasons McCullough doesn’t see the Turf Managers van as a harbinger of many future vehicle-wrap jobs for his shop: “You’ve really got to be focused on vehicle wraps to do them efficiently,” he says. “There’s a lot of time involved from a design perspective, a layout perspective, a cut perspective – just to get to the point of installing it is pretty time-consuming. There are other areas where we can make better money with a lot less work, so … we cherry-pick what projects we want to be involved in and work with the customers we like.”
SIGNS BY TOMORROW