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Vehicle Wraps Roll On as Kings of the Road

Very effective promotional-vehicle graphics



Last month’s Vinyl Apps column featured a quartet of food trucks that were entered in the 2015 Vehicle Graphics Contest. This month, we’re featuring an array of service-vehicle graphics (vehicles that are used in the business’ direct day-to-day operations, such as a plumber’s van) and promotional vehicles (those that emphasize a product or service rather than a company) that undoubtedly moved the needle for these shops’ customers.
The Vehicle Graphics Contest deadline – its 10th edition – is rapidly approaching on July 13 (see the ad on page 74 for more information). As these case studies attest, quality projects that don’t win prizes are still likely to have an opportunity for recognition in print and via and our social-media platforms. If you have any questions, contact Contest Coordinator Steve Aust at or (513) 263-9308.

Red Kettle Season

A look at my 6-ft. 3-in., 260-lb. frame may not convey it, but I’m a deeply sentimental person. Christmastime amplifies this trait, and the sound of a Salvation Army bell-ringer and sight of her kettle strikes me as a welcome harbinger for the season of giving. This Smart Car brands simply, but powerfully, with a supersized depiction of a signature Salvation Army kettle with snowflakes and stars enveloping it in a whisper of holiday magic (even in July, I eagerly await Yuletide). Grapevine Communications (Sarasota, FL) designed the graphics using Photoshop software, and SignZoo, also of Sarasota, fabricated the wrap with 3M™ Controltac™ IJ180-10Cv3 air-release media that’s printed on a Seiko (now OKI Data Corp.) ColorPainter W-64S solvent-ink printer. 3M’s Scotchcal® 8519 luster-finish topcoat, which SignZoo put on using a Seal Image 54 laminator, will keep the kettle bright and the stars twinkling for seasons to come.


The Guy in White

If you live in Valparaiso, IN and need a handyman, you’d do well to call James Moore and his crew at One Guy with Tools. The wrap certainly creates a positive impression – a busy, frilly design doesn’t fit for a rugged service truck. Also, the “man in white” within the numeral tips its hat to the archetypal imagery of Johnny Cash’s iconic “man in black” silhouette. Digital Graphic Solutions, also of Valparaiso, developed the wrap. Adam Farster designed it with Adobe Creative Cloud software, and the shop printed the graphics on a Seiko (now OKI Data) ColorPainter H-104S solvent-ink printer using 3M Controltac air-release media. Installer Tim Leininger worked with graphics laminated on an AGL 6400 laminator with Scotchcal 8518 glossy topcoat and installed it with 3M Gold PA-1 nylon squeegees.



The Maestro’s Ride

Osmo Vanska, a native Finn and current music director for the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, wanted to mix old and new worlds with graphics installed on his Volkswagen. He hired Creative Color (Burnsville, MN) to produce and install the wrap; co-owner Brent Luther designed the graphics, which feature the Finnish flag on the hood and outsized, stylized snowflakes around the body, using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator software.
Creative Color executed the wrap on its HP DesignJet L28500 latex-ink printer with an assist from Onyx Graphics’ ProductionHouse 10.3 RIP. Kyle Willemessen installed the wrap, which was coated on a Seal 54 EL pressure machine with 3M Scotchcal 8518 glossy overlaminate, using 3M Gold PA-1 nylon squeegees and heat guns.


Steampunk Butchering

The saying “Everything old is new again” has long been an accurate axiom, but the current hipster ethic has elevated it to new heights. Fascination with the steampunk trend, which celebrates the initiative and resourcefulness of inventors and entrepreneurs of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is reflected in these graphics, which pay homage to the tools and techniques of very-old-school butchering. Shawn Fitzgerald’s Kingston, NY-based Fastsigns franchise completed the graphics. Fitzgerald and Amy Rotundo designed them using SA Intl.’s Flexi Cloud and Adobe Photoshop software. Then, they produced the wrap with Avery Dennison Graphic Solutions’ MPI 1005 EZ Apply RS air-release media on a Mimaki JV33 solvent-ink printer. The shop applied the graphics, which are protected with Avery’s DOL 1060 glossy-finish overlaminate, with Geek Wraps’ felt squeegees and BernzOMatic torches.




Who’s Steering Signs of the Times?

We dive into the history of the sign industry’s oldest trade journal, highlighting some interesting facts about how it all started to where it’s headed. Did you know that Signs of the Times is nearly 120 years old?

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