Reboot and Rally

Creative Color accommodated a last-minute design change with patience and precision.
Creative Color accommodated a last-minute design change with patience and precision.

The lengths to which we sometimes go for clients or friends – or in this case, both. Brent Luther, owner/creative director of Creative Color (Minneapolis) knows all about this, given a recent experience when a longtime client-friend was all set to have his new Camaro wrapped. “The project started off as the Miller High Life car, and we changed direction the day we were supposed to go to print,” Brent said. “Talk about putting a wrench into our schedule.” A classic WWII “Tiger Shark” fighter-plane design had caught the client’s attention, so he requested the change.

RIVETING REALISM

“I’ve seen these ‘style’ of wraps over the past 10 years. Some are done well and some are so poor,” Brent said. “[We] figured if we are going to the cliché design that has been done a million times before, we wanted to do ours right and make it the best one ever done.” This involved a series of intricate design choices, among them, making the background of the wrap closely resemble patina metal with realistic rivets and having the design flow perfectly on the body lines. 

“Paul [the client] was excited with our mockups right away, but it took a few ‘back-and-forths’ to get the mouth shape figured out, and where to place all the sponsor logos,” Brent said. “There was a base template on this vehicle, but being a 2020 ZL1 1LE, it was quite a bit different,” Brent added. “Because we wanted the rivets to fit perfect on the body lines, we templated the entire car by hand and scanned in the templates to create updated, 100%-accurate die-lines.” Creative Color sent about 12 proofs generated from Adobe Creative Suite, and the final design took around 20 hours with templating and laying out all production art.

Once everything was set, the shop’s production team was finally able to press “print” on their HP Latex 560, sending through 3M IJ180Cv3 wrap vinyl, then coating it with 3M Scotchcal 8518 and 8520 overlaminates (for the gloss and matte sheens), applied by their AGL Encore laminator. Creating the custom die-lines on a wild car like this – with its aggressive body lines – was very challenging, Brent said. “Getting the vinyl then to line up perfect, without stretching it so the rivets fit the body lines perfect, was hard as well.”

This particular wrap should hold up for a long time, perhaps as long as 5-7 years.
This particular wrap should hold up for a long time, perhaps as long as 5-7 years.

Creative Color had three or four different people working on the Camaro throughout the process, but primarily used two main installers. Two others helped with the spot graphics, using heat guns, torches, squeegees, 3M Knifeless Tape, 3M Tape Primer 94, X-ACTO blades, etc., Brent said. “The usual stuff.”

AIMING FOR THE CROWN

The wrap should hold up for a very long time, according to Brent. “3M states 5-7 years. However, I bet we will wrap the car again [before the wrap fails] for a future rally … unless the car gets replaced with a different vehicle.” Creative Color always instructs their customers to hand-wash their vehicles to prolong the lives of the wraps. Also, as Brent noted, these kinds of cars are parked inside most of the time, so their wraps should look new for many years.

“Paul’s main intent with the car is for a custom livery for the Crown Rally,” Brent said. However, as many car shows have recently been put on hold, Paul has been using the car for parades and other events for kids to help celebrate their birthdays. 

Brent already knows he’s got a similar project lined up. “We will be doing another, identical livery wrap to his wife’s new Corvette C8 when it arrives from the factory,” he said. “It [will be] a huge undertaking, but we hope to win the 2020 Crown Rally best wrap award, and hope our extra time and attention to detail on this wrap seals the deal.”


Vehicle Wraps in the 2020 Signshop Competition

This year, vehicle wraps make up two of the six categories in the Signs of the Times Signshop Competition: best vehicle wrap, either shop-designed and fabricated, or outside-designed and shop fabricated/installed. The deadline to enter is July 1 (Wednesday). For complete rules and to enter, click here.

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