Easy Is Good
Rob Ivers owns Rob Ivers Inc. (Raymore, MO), a vehicle-graphics and installation company. He’s installed vinyl since 1978 and taught vinyl-graphics installation since 1993. For more information, visit www.robivers.com
I respect that many of my clients prefer simple van and truck graphics over vehicle wraps. Also, municipalities need simple, low-cost vehicle identification. Others who are just starting out don’t have large advertising budgets. One customer would prefer blank trucks, but his subcontracting work requires that vehicles be identified to enter jobsites. I also have clients who would love to buy a wrap, but simply can’t afford one.
My job requires providing solutions that meet their needs. These actual jobs present various ideas that may provide easy, profitable work for you. More importantly, they meet your customers’ expectations without exceeding their budgets.
I live and work in the city of Raymore, MO, a small town that’s quickly turning into a small city. The city owns numerous cars, pickups and dump trucks, among others, used by different departments -- Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Code Enforcement, etc. They need to move new vehicles into service quickly. Our solution? A printed, black-and-white, city logo with a plotter-cut department name that’s either black or white based on the vehicle’s color.
I print the logos 12 at a time, so they’re always in stock. They work on any paint color. I never know when the city’s going to call. But, when they do, I can computer-cut department names and have them ready to install the same day. The city appreciates the simplicity, consistency, low cost and fast turnaround.
The owners of Heartland Electric, another regular client, have often said they don’t really want advertising on their trucks. Money isn’t an issue; it’s a well-established company that works on nuclear plants and other large projects. However, the jobsites where they work require vehicle identification so the guards know whom to admit. They don’t take on smaller commercial or residential jobs, so they wished to avoid fielding extra calls from the public seeking work they didn’t do.
I created a professional look that was easily recognizable on the job while keeping the graphic small and subtle to minimize attention. I “upgraded” their logo from two colors to four by creating a chiseled look for the “H” and “E” in their logo, which yielded the professional image they desired.
To make it work, I used a special vinyl that’s invisible to the general public. Just kidding. I simply made the logo small enough for the door and avoided splashing graphics all over the vehicle. Again, quick and easy to make, but a little extra profit for me because the logo features four colors instead of one.
The hardwood guy
Chris, who’d worked in the hardwood-flooring industry for years, had recently opened his own business in town working out of his house. This job posed two main challenges. First, having just opened a new business, Chris had to keep costs down.
Second, the name of his company: The Hardwood Guy. I’m not even going there. It was obvious to me, if not him, that we had to treat these graphics carefully. I created a logo that resembled a wooden plaque, which included scalloped edges. For the lettering, I used a gold, engine-turned, custom fill that I created. I wanted to create an old-fashioned logo with hopes the throwback look would keep people’s minds clean. I also insisted we spell out what he does -- and mention his certification credentials -- so people would take him seriously.
I kept the price reasonable by making the graphics fit on the door and making the logo and phone number easily readable. The logo is memorable because most business vehicles don’t feature wooden plaques on their vehicle doors. Mission accomplished.
K&K sells Auto Magic professional, car-care products, which include waxes, glazes and polishes. I didn’t design or sell this job. The owner hires me to install corporate graphics he’s purchased.
But the clean, simple design makes good use of color and a large, digital print. K&K keeps the van in primo condition with the products they sell. The combination of colorful graphics and a spotless vehicle convey a powerful message for much less than the cost of a full wrap.
Rubber hits the road
Ron, the parts manager at Adams Toyota in Lees Summit, MO, has been a customer for many years. He only gets a new parts truck every two to three years, so I don’t hear from him very often. But, starting quite a few trucks ago, I made unique, cutting-edge graphics for his trucks. Because of that, he always calls me when he gets a new truck. Ron always wants something new and different to make his parts truck and dealership name stand out.
When he called a few months ago, I made it a point to see the new truck and discuss some options. When he saw my new truck wrap, he was quite impressed. He decided he just had to have a wrap designed for his new pickup, a Dodge Ram. When he heard the price, he knew his budget wouldn’t fit a full wrap.
I suggested a partial wrap, and he managed to slightly inflate his budget to meet the pricetag. We began tossing ideas around. When I proposed a large “chrome” Toyota logo, I knew he would want the dealership’s name, website and phone number. He also wanted the Toyota Genuine Parts and the “Toyota Star Dealer” logos.
When I asked if there was anything else, he said he might want to tell people they sell tires. He explained most people don’t know they sell tires and seldom go to a new car dealer to shop for tires. He was right; I would’ve never known.
My design started with their colors, red and black, which faded from front to back. Then, an idea occurred to me -- I could use a tire tread for texture under the fade. This would create the unique image he savors. To make the design more interesting and tie in with the “we sell tires” angle, I downloaded the three logos from the Internet and created vector art using SignLab. Next, I created a “custom chrome” finish in Photoshop with Alien Skin’s Impact plug-in.
After that, I simply added the text. Rather than including both the dealership name and website, I cleverly combined them into one large unit. I sent a proof to Ron and he loved it, in fact, so much he agreed to supplement his budget a bit more to cover my extra design efforts. The rubber not only hit the road, it hit his graphic sweet spot!