Details, Details

Wrap more than just the exterior of conventional vehicles.
Vehicles 1.jpg

So, your shop wraps cars, vans, trucks, trailers and buses – just about every kind of vehicle on the road. But have you ever wrapped anything on the inside of a vehicle? Wrapping interior elements, usually for high-end cars, adds differentiation, value and revenue to your shop offerings. It also adds the dramatic finishing touch.

Earlier this year, a client brought his BMW M4 GTS to Incognito Wraps (Las Vegas) as an encore for their previous job on his Porshe. “Once we started talking about what we could do, the project snowballed to the point where we ended up doing quite a few carbon fiber accents throughout the outside of the vehicle and also wrapping the interior as well,” said co-owner Chris Kmit. Incognito’s team took the client’s concepts – “Whenever we start a project, every-one’s voice is heard,” Chris said – then, he used Illustrator and Photoshop to build a rendering. “[The client’s] initial thought was to bring out more of the acid orange that was on the front splitter and roll cage,” Chris said. “Luckily for us, 3M’s 1080 Gloss Liquid Copper is an exact match.” Incognito also selected Hexis Matte Raven Black Carbon for some of the exterior accents.

None of the vinyl was printed, but Incognito still laminated the badges wrapped into the seats. “We covered the Liquid Copper cut graphics so that the tiny points wouldn’t catch on clothing,” Chris said. Fernando Alvarez handled the big job of the little interior details. “If you notice, the dials on the stereo are wrapped,” Chris said. “That circle is about ½ in. in diameter and we just covered the rim.” The Incognito team also completely took apart and reassembled the iDrive controller in order to wrap all its details. Chris stressed the vital importance of assembly skills in getting everything just right.

Meanwhile, as Lance Mitchell and Iman Hakimi handled the exterior details, co-owner Joe Alexander wrapped the GTS’s calipers. “These were particularly complicated with the fins along the outer edge,” Chris said, adding that they took about four hours apiece to complete. Chris also recalled that while Joe was wrap-ping the calipers, he had “a bit a mishap with his heat gun.” Wrapping calipers requires the installer to lie on the ground for most of the day. “Joe put his heat gun down and went to reach for something, causing him to roll over onto it and burn a hole in his shirt right at his belly button,” Chris said. Normally this wouldn’t have been a huge deal, but that day Joe was heading to a family birthday dinner right after work. “We slapped some satin black vinyl on the hole and sent him on his way,” Chris said.

The entire job on the BMW required 10 days. “While we were completing the wrap [the client] would stop in to see the progress,” Chris said. “He was so excited.” And now, every time he turns his stereo dial or engages iDrive, he’ll be reminded of the intricate job Incognito Wraps did for his ride – outside and in.

Boats, too, offer an excellent opportunity for unconventional wraps, and why not? Boats have been decorated since ancient times with carved, painted and now vinyl graphics. And SignZoo (Sarasota, FL) reels them in, doing more marine wraps than anyone in the country, according to Jaclyn Rebel, director of marketing. Thus, they were well positioned when a client returned to SignZoo with the craft he captains for Fishing for MD, a charity benefiting muscular dystrophy research. The client provided the main logo, some digital art and direction, while SignZoo added graphic elements and a conceptual direction. Designer John Lopez used Photoshop and a bit of Illustrator to get the final look shipshape.

Among the design concerns unique to marine graphics is “keeping the visuals above the waterline, so they’re visible,” said account manager Jason Getman. It’s something easy to forget with a ship in your shop. “All boats are different shapes and sizes,” he continued. “This makes it tough to carry out a continuity of design.” You also need to make sure the design keeps the installation challenges minimal, Jason cautioned.

SignZoo chose 3M 180Cv3 vinyl for the project – the same as would be used on any car or truck. They printed it using their HP Latex 570 printer and applied 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate using their SEAL laminator. Jordan Doran installed the wrap, which did involve different finishing techniques compared to land-based vehicles. “We include edge sealer to ensure the graphics will not rip off,” Jason said.

With his boat wrapped up, the captain (who has muscular dystrophy himself) now sails it far and wide to help spread awareness. “The graphics being visible with the boat both in and out of the water is vital for that promotion,” Jaclyn said. And, as a thank you for a job well done, the captain offered to take the SignZoo crew fishing. Nice catch!

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