King-Sized (Donkey) Kong
Car Wraps, Inc. wraps an Airstream for Nintendo.
Just in time for the holiday shopping rush, videogame giant Nintendo was looking to make a splash with consumers. It turned to CarWraps, Inc. to trick out its 24-foot, space age-shaped Airstream trailer before hitting the road on a nationwide game-demonstration tour. Applying vinyl to a vehicle – even a notoriously difficult to wrap Airstream – was nothing new to the team at CarWraps, but getting the artwork and the images to look crisp and compelling at hundreds of times their original size, put their skills to the test.
“The division of Nintendo I worked with only had access to certain images, so when I said, ‘Just get me these images in an EPS format that’s scalable that I can just blow up and use,’ they couldn’t deliver,” explains Todd LaBrie, CarWraps president. “The images they gave me were terribly, terribly pixilated, and blurry, so we ended up giving them back to the client and said, ‘You scale them up to these dimensions and give them back to me,’ which is what they did.”
Nintendo turned to one of its specialty art directors, who manipulated the files in Photoshop until they met CarWraps’ specs.
“They were able to size them and blur them so when they were at their finished size, they weren’t actually pixilated, but they were kind of soft around the edges,” LaBrie says. “There was a lot of back-and-forth and conversation about this.”
To be sure all parties were satisfied with the print quality, LaBrie says his team spent two or three weeks churning out several rounds of actual-size proofs on the media that would eventually be used for the installation. Then, once the client approved the art, the images were output to the shop’s 64-inch Mutoh Toucan LT with Wasatch v6 SoftRIP using Mutoh Eco-Ultra inks, printing onto Avery Supercast vinyl.
“Because it was a white trailer, all I had to focus on were the pictures,” adds LaBrie. “I used as many even panels for an image as it took. Let’s say, for instance, that an image took two-and-a-half panels. I didn’t cut it off at two and half panels. I printed it on three, and then the rest of the panel was just white. The rest, I knew, could just be patched in with white, but I just had to get the images in the right place.”
The output was laminated using a GBC Arctic Titan laminator and Avery cold laminate, and LaBrie then turned the final output over to his installation partner, Seattle-based Sir Graphic, Inc. (www.sirgraphic.com).
“It took them about four or five days to install because I was feeding it to them piecemeal,” he says. “And, even though we had a lot of lead time on this, something like three months, in the end it came in really close to the deadline. By the time the client tracked down the images and they weren’t big enough and they tracked them down again, it took a while, so we ended with just a few weeks before the roll out. But in the end, we did make it.”