Sign & Digital Graphics

2016 WRAPS

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48 • WRAPS • 2 0 1 6 BUSINESS & SALES out the excess. Wet the surface. Scrub or rub (or wait) until the contaminants are dissolved in the solution – and quickly dry with a clean (and yes lint free, if you can find one) towel before it evaporates. Positioning and Graphic Alignment Few will argue the importance of having a graphic in the proper position. Difficult as it may be sometimes, every effort should be made to properly align and match up the artistic components when overlapping panels. The purpose of most printed vehicle wraps is to help our clients message get noticed, not for the wrap to get noticed because the mes- sage is crooked or poorly aligned. I've made mistakes (and so have my employees) that have cost me over the years. If you make a mistake and apply a graphic that is not properly positioned or aligned, then you should buy or make a new one and replace it. Just do the hon- orable thing and make it right. People will respect you for it, and you'll sleep better. Application As professionals our job is to apply the vinyl so it's smooth, with no bubbles or wrinkles. Learn to recognize, before you start the application, whether or not you can achieve that look. Plan ahead. If the shape is too difficult for you (or for the vinyl), consider using two or more pieces instead of overstretching or wrin- kling the graphic. Install the pieces so the edges face away from the viewer and hide any seams on body lines so they are less noticeable. Squeegees with covers can be used wet to avoid scratching the graphics dur- ing installation. I make a solution using a drop or two of Johnson's Baby Shampoo to a quart of water in a spray bottle. Try a wet wrap glove for extremely curved shapes. Don't let the fluid touch the adhesive side of the vinyl. Be sure to squeegee firmly enough, make sure all of the air is out. If you squeegee too hard you can wrinkle or stretch the vinyl. But once the vinyl has been applied smoothly, you can re- squeegee it very firmly to make sure no air remains. A great way to check your work is to wave a torch or heat gun over the entire area. If you see any movement on the face of the vinyl, stop heating and squeegee again. Trimming Quality trimming takes practice, but it pays off. Nothing can ruin a good wrap job quicker than poor trims. Never cut the paint. Learn to cut. Practice. Use Knifeless Tape. Never cut the paint. Finishing Proper finishing should include re- squeegeeing and checking all edges and making absolutely sure they are adhered well. Post-heat all vinyl applied to com- plex curve shapes to 200-225 degrees Fahrenheit with a heat gun and an I.R. thermometer. Wipe off all finger- prints, smudges and marks to make the wrap look its best. Fine scratches can be removed with a careful flame from a propane torch. Use caution not to overheat. Make one final inspection for any loose edges. This is best done outdoors in daylight. If you find any, they only take a second to rub down tight. If the wrap drives away with loose edges, they will get wet and dirty. Repairing them means costly removal and replacement. Importance of Standards How important do you think applica- tion standards are? If you think they're important, you're not alone. Many of us have pondered these questions for years. That's why PDAA and UASG have the training and certification programs they have today. They were created to establish standards, provide education to help people learn how to install vinyl properly and for those that have mas- tered the skills to gain the respect they deserve through certification testing. Maybe you think certification is important, maybe not. Either way, would you agree that quality is important? I'm sure you do. When you first started, did you want to know how to do it right? Did you get confused by conflicting ideas or methods? Most would answer yes to all these questions. If you were running the wraps uni- verse, what would you do differently? How can we raise the level of quality across the largest number of installers? Some would argue they don't want any more installers, there's enough already, or that they don't want more people trained who would then compete with them. These same people are always asking me where they can hire an experienced installer. Here's my answer to most of these questions: Get certified. Join the PDAA or the UASG or both. They're not per- fect, but they have great programs. If you take car wrapping seriously, I know you will pursue perfection, police your- self and stand behind your work. But if you join, participate and contribute your great ideas, you can impact our industry in a strong and positive way that helps shape the future of our industry. You don't have to reinvent the wheel—just jump on the bandwagon. A good set of standards would benefit installers who care about quality installations, vinyl manufacturers so their products perform their best, and customers who want their graphics to look good and also last.

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