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Design Collisions, Take Two

(May 2015) posted on Mon May 18, 2015

Steering clear of small issues that can lead to big mistakes.

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By Jared Smith

In 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.

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.