The New Wrapper: Any Color You Like
If you have ventured onto a roadway in recent years, you have likely noticed the proliferation of on-vehicle advertising, from a simple logo on a door or window, to cars, vans and trucks completely wrapped from bumper to bumper. There has perhaps never been a better time to get into vehicle wrapping. “In general, the number of companies wanting to get some kind of vinyl on their vehicles for advertising is continuing to grow and grow each year,” says Rob Ivers, Owner of Rob Ivers Inc., which provides tools and training for vehicle wrappers. Ivers is also co-instructor of the “Wrap Like a Pro” sessions, which were held Tuesday through Thursday. “The potential number of clients for that kind of work is increasing.”
Non-advertising-based vehicle decoration is also growing. There are more and more vehicles on the road that have vehicle wraps — although you’d never know it. Think of it as “stealth-wrapping,” perhaps.
“What’s finally starting to catch on in the U.S., which they’ve been doing in Europe for a while, is color-change wraps, where they’re changing the color of vehicles for decoration rather than advertising,” says Ivers. If someone is tired of the color of their car, but doesn’t want a permanent color change, they can simply wrap it in a new color. When they tire of the new color, they can remove the wrap and revert to the old color — or re-wrap it in another color.
Wraps are also used to add other related decorative effects such as smoked taillights, tinted headlights, and blacking out chrome. Other wrap applications are for protection, such as Clear Bra, transparent plastic films that protect the paint from road debris and other damage.
A new spin on color change wraps is using vinyls that are metameric, or appear to change color depending upon the angle at which you’re viewing it. “Companies are coming out with color-shifting and shade-shifting products so that when a wrapped car is looked at from one direction, it looks blue, and another direction it looks purple.”
Although the demand for wrapping is on the rise and opportunities abound for prospective wrappers, it’s vitally important that any vehicle wrapper should be really good at it. Vehicle graphics aren’t like typical display graphics that may sit on a wall or in-store display. Vehicle graphics are installed on large objects that move at very high speeds in all sorts of weather and environmental conditions. A vehicle wrap that fails, or comes loose over time, makes both the wrapper and the wrappee look bad. So prospective wrappers should use shows like the SGIA Expo to get as much information and even practical experience as possible.
There is no shortage of vehicle wrap demonstrations on the show floor, in addition to the “Wrap Like a Pro” sessions. “Attendees should watch as many of those as they can,” says Ivers. It’s not uncommon, however, to get conflicting advice from different presenters. “If one guy says, ‘do this,’ and another guy says ‘don’t do this,’ all of a sudden they’re in a quandary. Is that a difference of opinion, or is it because it’s a different material? The more they can ask questions and try different materials, when they get back home and they’re trying some of these things out, the better feel they’ll have for what to do.”
And with new auto designs coming out ever year, wrapping is — or should be — an ongoing education and re-education.