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Taking the Paint-Wrap Plunge

(August 2012) posted on Tue Jul 31, 2012

Igniting an explosion of new possibilities when it comes to vehicle wraps.

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By Jared Smith

The advent of colored cast adhesive-backed vinyls that utilize air-release-type technology has led to an explosion of new possibilities when it comes to vehicle wraps. Many of the major media manufacturers and suppliers now feature full lines of this type of product, comprising scores of vibrant colors and textures.

One particular wrap type that’s resulted from this technology – and one I’ll admit I did not see coming: paint wraps, or wraps sans graphics.

Paint wraps are interesting because they differ from normal wraps in more ways than you might think. At the same time, they also offer your customer a way to reinvigorate his or her vehicle’s exterior, while providing you with an additional profit center.

Distinct differences
The first difference in paint wraps from the installer’s point of view is that the install is no longer governed by the alignment of text and imagery. As a matter of fact, the installer might just be handed an entire roll of paint-wrap film. This can seem quite foreign to installers who are accustomed to being provided with labeled panels for each vehicle element.

So how and where to start? At bluemedia, we’ve instituted a policy to continue to provide digitally trimmed and labeled panels to the install team. This helps save time while also providing perfectly straight lines in the event a seam can’t be avoided. These panels can then be laid on the vehicle to test fit for coverage (we use magnets for this step) before any release liners are peeled back. With paint-wrap installs, a plan of attack remains vital.

So with the focus not on lining up imagery and text, we shift our emphasis to determining how to end up with absolutely no seams. While this goal isn’t always possible, it can often be achieved with some up-front planning. This planning begins in the design department. Just as with traditional wraps, the digital vehicle template is pulled up, verified against real-world measurements, and a strategy is determined on how to panel or tile the vinyl.