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The Cutting Key to Success

(September 2008) posted on Tue Sep 23, 2008

Garage Graphics wraps motor home and diesel pick-up.


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Being in the right place at the right time (with the right skills) launched Eric Goodwin’s career as a graphics provider. When he was 20 years old, Goodwin installed a vehicle-graphics kit on a friend’s car as a favor. He completed such a stellar installation that the maker of the kit offered him a job on the spot. Goodwin declined because he already had a job in another field. But after several additional offers from the same company during the course of a year, he gave in. Fourteen years later, Goodwin is now the owner of Garage Graphics. His business has been open for 10 years in Stanton, California, and he’s about to open a second shop in Huntington Beach. Garage Graphics produces everything from signage to stickers, but the shop is best known for its vehicle graphics.

A recent project for a Las Vegas company, ProgressiveCraps.com, required completely wrapping a massive motor home with graphics printed onto 3M Controltac. The vinyl graphics were printed and cut using a Roland SolJet inkjet printer/cutter, which automatically contour cuts the graphics after printing. After the graphics were laminated, Goodwin and an assistant spent two days installing them.

For another recent project, Goodwin "souped up" Belenes Motorsports’ 53-foot diesel pickup truck and trailer with a full wrap that required more than 30 panels of vinyl. Garage Graphics printed, cut, and laminated the graphics in 21/2 days. The installation required 11/2 days and two installers.

Both projects began-as all of Goodwin’s projects do-with a thorough discussion of the client’s needs, followed by graphic design using Adobe Illustrator. "We talk to them and get a lot of input before we start designing," Goodwin said. "We don’t want to waste our time or theirs by designing graphics that don’t meet the client’s needs." With this philosophy, Garage Graphics typically needs to make only a few tweaks to the initial design before a client approves.

Garage Graphics-which operates two Roland SolJet print/cut machines, the SC-545EX and XC-540-relies on its equipment to keep business clipping along. Accurate cuts are key to the success of Goodwin’s installations. All of the graphic elements must line up perfectly for a seamless final product.

"With the equipment we have, we really don’t have to turn down any jobs. We even print for six or seven local shops that don’t have their own printers," Goodwin said. "If we didn’t have cut capabilities on our printer, we would have to print registration marks and use a separate plotter. That works, but it’s just too much time for our business."


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