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Street-Smart Graphics

(July 2008) posted on Thu Jul 10, 2008

Attracting customers with an ultra-compact wrap.


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With the soaring cost of gas prices, a print provider's decision to wrap a vehicle to drive around with the sole purpose of drumming up business might not be as easy as it once was. So when Bergman's European Autoworks, a service and repair shop in Brandon, Florida, wanted to attract customers, it made the 'smart' decision: It called on Digitech Graphics Group, located in Lakeland, Florida, to wrap a head-turning vehicle in graphics advertising the business. Bergman's car of choice? A Smart car-the 8-foot 10-inch, ultra-compact, fuel-saving vehicle that's been zipping around Europe since the late 1990s.

Production
Designers at Digitech created the graphics as JPEG files in Adobe CS3 and CorelDraw and then moved the project onto the proofing stages. 'We proof all projects in house,' explains Jay Boatright, Digitech's general manager. 'First, our in-house staff must sign off on the proof, then it's forwarded to the client for approval. If it's a color match proof, we do a print proof on the print media. We require a client signature on this print proof before going to production.' For this project, only a PDF proof was necessary to send to the client for approval.

After Bergman's signed off on the proof, Digitech began final output of the graphics. Using its Mimaki JV3 with 3M IJ-180Cv2, the shop output the wrap in various sized vertical panels, totaling approximately 50 square feet. The job took approximately one day to print.

The graphics were then laminated with 3M Scotchcal gloss overlaminate 8518 using a Seal lamintor. Finishing time was 30 minutes. The design also called for cut vinyl for lettering that was adhered to the doors of the vehicle. For this, the shop turned to its Roland Camm-1 Pro to cut the lettering from Oracal 851 cast vinyl.

Two Digitech employees installed the graphics in half a day. Given the car's small proportions, Jay Boatright, general manager of the print shop, says that the install was a 'simple process,' but an interesting one, nonetheless.

Of Note
Boatright explains that given the current sky-rocketing cost of fuel and as people search for alternatives to their current gas-guzzling vehicles, this project was a good learning experience: 'It was interesting to work on a car that is becoming a hot selling item due to the fuel situation.'

The Client: Bergman's European Autoworks

The Players: Digitech Graphics Group (www.dtechgraphics.com)

Tools & Supplies: Mimaki JV3, Roland Camm-1 Pro, Seal laminator, 3M IJ-180Cv2, 3M Scotchcal gloss overlaminate 8518, Oracal 851 cast vinyl.


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