Let’s talk about the seamy underbelly of vehicle wrapping. No, I don’t mean that there’s a secret mafia of vehicle wrap gangsters, or smoky jazz joints where vehicle wrappers ply their trade, I mean the actual, physical seams of your vehicle wrap.
When we’re creating your vehicle wrap, the pieces are printed into separate panels, and then placed on the vehicle so that they appear to be a singular piece of material. A quality, well-installed wrap should be so smooth that it looks like could have been painted onto the vehicle. Unfortunately sometimes there just isn’t a way to get around seams. Our large format printers may be big, but let’s face it, they’re not the size of a full sized Sprinter van or box truck. The printer is 54” wide and is capable of printing 52” wide panels. This means that if an area of your vehicle is wider than 4.3 feet you’re probably going to run into a seam or two.
So what happens when you’ve got a huge vehicle like a sprinter van or a box truck to turn into a mobile billboard and seams become a necessary evil? Don’t despair, I talked to one of our design team members and picked up a few tricks of the trade. Curious about how we make seamless vehicle wraps? Read on…
- Look for natural body lines. Even if the side of your van or box truck is more than 52” it isn’t always a flat, featureless surface. Body lines are natural features in the vehicle’s design that act as ideal places to hide a seam. Near a row of rivets in a box truck, or in a window indentation in a sprinter van, for example.
- Hide under the cover of darkness. Okay, that sounds a little dramatic, but it’s completely true. One way to minimize necessary seams is to place them in areas of dark color on the vehicle wrap design. Lighter colors make the little bump of the seam a lot more noticeable, whereas the darker colors absorb the light and make the seam harder to see.
- Vertical or horizontal, your pick. Most of our vehicle wraps are designed to be installed vertically. This means that the material is wrapped in long strips starting at the top of the vehicle and working down, creating vertical seams. If a horizontal seam makes more sense because of your wrap design or contours of your particular vehicle we’re happy to make the adjustment.
- Knowledge is power! The designer that graciously passed on these tips is also one of our certified wrap installers, which means that he really knows his way around vehicle wraps. Because he wears multiple hats, he’s able to keep potential installation problems in mind while designing. This makes the process a lot easier down the road, whether he’s wrapping or one of our other installers is on the job. Working with a designer who has personal experience installing wraps on a variety of vehicles makes a big impact on tricky design details like seams, which a first time vehicle wrap designer might not always be aware of.
Seams? What Seams?