How to integrate ‘Smart Design’ into your workflow - Image Magazine


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How to integrate ‘Smart Design’ into your workflow

How to integrate ‘Smart Design’ into your workflow

Vehicle wrapping is one of the most challenging and also rewarding projects a business can undertake, and mastering the skills needed across the workflow can take many years of experience. The vast amount of different vehicles with complex shapes, curves and recesses can really test the demands of the graphic designer, installer and materials used.

Highly skilled and knowledgeable installers in Australia and New Zealand come at a premium, so productivity and efficiency is paramount to running a successful business. In particular, when it comes to wrapping large fleets, it is essential to ensure everyone throughout the workflow is on the same team.

Starting from selecting the most appropriate material for the application, to making sure the installation team is highly trained and up to date with the latest industry methods and techniques is paramount. This can all be in vain unless your graphic designer is playing the same ball game and has a solid understanding of how to use Smart Design for vehicle and fleet applications.

When I started in this industry, I worked on quite a few design projects and it quickly became apparent that artwork designed on a flat screen didn’t always translate to what I thought it would during the installation process. A project I worked on for a holiday resort, where the client wanted a picture of a lady enjoying a spa on the side of their vehicle was a great learning opportunity. Placement of the image wasn’t overly considered and when the install was complete, let’s just say the door handle was in an inappropriate place. Anyway, mistakes were made and lessons were learnt, and the client was happy regardless of the politically incorrect location of the door handle!

Many years later and now working for a global manufacturer of material for the graphics and signage industry, Avery Dennison has allowed me to learn from some of the best in the industry. Working alongside world renowned trainers such as Justin Pate and Rainer Lorz and highly respected local businesses, has given me valuable insight into how design can make or break a successful install.

It’s important to manage your customers’ expectations. Use visual storytelling, by showing them detailed visuals of what the design will look like when finished. If the design shows the door handles wrapped, then the customer will expect the door handles to be wrapped.

Which leads to another point, always wrapping door handles on large fleet projects can account for many additional hours of labour per vehicle. Smart Design would include options such as showing the door handles the same colour as the car, or the area around the handle has no material applied at all. This allows the production team to plotter cut the handle area using a template and neutralise the need for added complexity when wrapping the door handles.

The overall design should be very carefully planned in consultation with the installation team, the designer should compare the two dimensional vehicle template against the actual vehicle to ensure the measurements match and all of the parts are in the  correct location.

Understanding where to and where not place graphic elements is essential. For example, a poorly positioned design element or logo placed over where the front or back bumper meets the side of the vehicle can create added complexity for the installer. Not only would this breach the client’s brand guidelines, but it also results in what could have been a simple installation, now requiring the installers to try and join the elements whilst also navigating the complexity of a bumper.

Working within the client’s brand guidelines and using corporate colours in sections that compliment the shape and panels on the vehicle can help create a cohesive design, while segregating different areas and simplifying the installation.

The examples, which were designed by the RSPCA in consultation with Justin Pate for a run of workshops, are an excellent example of how Smart Design can lead to reduced installation time and  overall efficiency.

The Smart Design used in the examples are:

1.          No design elements are in areas that require the installer to line them up during installation

2.          The logo is neatly balanced with correct spacing within the front door, remaining within the brand guidelines (so it is not separated when the door is open)

3.          Textual elements are kept to a minimum, by only incorporating the web url or brand tagline in the design

4.          Large sections of colour are contained within individual panels of the vehicle, remaining within the brand guidelines and creating a cohesive design

5.          Two options are shown for the door handles - this allows the customer to envisage the end result, and choose an option that they feel meets their needs

a) Door handle removed and the wrap is installed behind: this still requires an investment in time as not all handles are easily removed, but removes the need to wrap the door handle

b) Door handle left in place and the material is plotter cut using a template in production: this approach is commonly seen on large fleets and can really speed up an installation as no time is invested in removing, or wrapping the door handles.

Overall, branding and wrapping vehicles of large fleets can be a profitable part of any business but any profit can be quickly eroded if there is a lack of cohesion throughout the whole team. Using Smart Design and connecting the graphic designer directly with the installation team at the start of the project can and will yield many benefits for the business.


Written by Peter Wright, Avery Dennison’s Technical Marketing Manager, Australia and New Zealand

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