How To Wrap A Vehicle?

How to wrap a vehicle?

When talking about car and van wraps, people often think “Oh, they’re only stickers!”. Yet there is a lengthy process involved not only in the application of the graphics kit, but also in the design, set up of the files for print, production and finishing

1. Understanding customers’ requirements

The first step to producing effective vehicle wraps is to understand what customers are trying to achieve. After all, regardless of whether clients select simple pre-cut lettering graphics, part wraps or full coverage on their vehicle, they must see a return on their investment, and it must match their expectations. This will determine the coverage, style and contents for the graphics. We follow customers’ branding guidelines, can work in partnership with media agencies or simply work with the client directly and advise on a striking design to promote their brand. For startups and small businesses who may never have invested in vehicle graphics, this can be a daunting exercise. Our experienced account managers will guide them through the whole process and advise on what is best suited for their business. Click here to find out more.

2. Design and setup vehicle wraps

Once we have an understanding of what needs to be achieved with the graphics, our dedicated account managers will brief the designers to present initial artwork as a PDF form. Revisions can be made and when the client is satisfied with the artwork, we setup the files for print. This process can take anything from 1 hour for simple graphics to 8 hours for a full digitally printed wrap. Colours are matched and set, images flattened, cut lines in place and vinyl selected ready for production.

3. Manufacture and finishing

We use state-of-the-art printers and flatbed cutters to achieve high resolution print and precise cutting. The design files are electronically linked to the printers, where we select fit-for-purpose vinyl material. It is worth noting that quality graphics are made of the appropriate quality vinyl. Things to consider are the longevity required of the graphics and the type and shape of the substrate onto which they are to be applied (eg. glass, metal, brick / flat, curved, mottled). There is a vinyl grade for each application. At Joyce Design, we only use high quality vinyl brands that we trust will deliver the intended result, favouring 3M film wherever possible.

Once the graphics have been printed, the lamination process begins. This is a protective clear overlaminate that prevents the vinyl from fading and over-scratching. The rolls of vinyl are then put through our flatbed cutters for a precise finish. Excess vinyl must then be removed from the roll, a process called “weeding” and we finish by applying a masking tape over the graphics to allow for the application of cut-lettering and shapes onto vehicles. All the graphics parts are then kitted up and double checked for quality and accuracy. 

4. Vehicle Graphics installation

The first task is to clean the vehicle thoroughly with a specialist cleaner, a task that may need repeating several times to ensure no dust or grime is left under the graphics. So when we ask customers to clean their vans before coming to our premises, it is essential it gets done! A clean van will still need more cleaning so if it has mud or excess dust to start with, it can easily increase the allocated install time by 1 hour and delay the agreed collection time.

Depending on the type of graphics to be applied, we may then need to strip the vehicle off its door handles, manufacturers badges, lights, number plates or non-OEM wheel arches. We are now ready to install the graphics!

Careful positioning of the graphics parts on the car by measurements is essential to line everything up. The backing paper is taken off, the vinyl applied using a squeegee and lastly the masking tape comes off.

For colour change wraps (self-coloured vinyl wrap), heat is used to conform the material to the shape of the vehicles, around curves and into recesses. Post heating the vinyl is essential for full adhesion of the glue. We then trim edges by hand with a scalpel and finish off by cleaning the vinyl down for a spotless finish!

Quality control processes take place, double checking every step of the install process and ensuring a strong adhesion of the vinyl.

Vehicle wrapping is an art, and when done properly gives amazing results! Sign writing vehicles is the most cost-effective way of advertising your business, with potentially over 3000 people per hour viewing your graphics! It is extremely important that each stage of the wrapping process is carried out diligently and this is what we do. Through our ISO9001 accreditation and 3M Gold Select Partner status, as well as years of experience in the printing industry, Joyce Design follow stringent QC processes to ensure complete satisfaction for our customers.

Contact us today to discuss how we can make your fleet of vehicles work harder for you!