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Mitigating Risk for Stunning Seamless Wraps

(August 2014) posted on Wed Aug 13, 2014

Know your limitations and educate the customer.

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By Jared Smith

Since the first vehicle was completely covered in decal material, buyers have wanted more – more color, more resolution, more finishes, more textures, and just more options. The industry has listened, and today, there are a record number of options for a vehicle wrap. These options include many cool materials like leather, alligator skin, super gloss, super matte, and even tinted chrome. But the special request we’re seeing more and more isn’t for a new custom material, but a special installation technique – the so-called “seamless wrap.” And while they aren’t always completely seamless, the point is that these projects appear seamless to most viewers. Yet what looks simple to the customer takes special care on the part of the installation team. Over the years, we’ve gained insight on what seamless means to you as a graphics producer.

What 'seamless' really means
First, let’s look at what is actually required to produce a seamless wrap. By “seamless,” we really mean that no avoidable seam lands on the finished vehicle. Typically, this means the sides of the vehicle show no seams. You can accomplish this by figuring out which panels need to be produced, and wrapping each body panel with its own panel of vinyl. Done correctly there are no seams, then, on a vehicle’s door(s); front fender; bumper; quarter panel; A, B, and C pillars; and, for trucks, the entire bedside. Each is wrapped in one full piece. This is different than a typical vehicle wrap in which the design department sends a full vehicle to the RIP and the RIP tiles the vehicle into equal-width tiles that overlap each other with seams falling where they may.

In order to produce the panels required for a seamless wrap, you must first conduct a detailed survey that shows the exact size of each body panel or a template of that vehicle that you have reason to trust whole-heartedly. We prefer the latter because the best templates in the world still may not show each body line or molding that can be strategically used in determining the panel size and the break points.