How to wrap a professional vehicle - new client project.

I want to take you through my process of creating a professional vehicle wrap from design to print ready files.  

Step 1: Know your client’s audience and key goals 

Here are a couple of reasons why wrapping a vehicle is great exposure for your client's business: 

- shows your clients creativity and brand personality all around town 

- reinforces their brand’s professionalism and or luxury when done clean and efficiently 

- brings up new ideas - “hmmm we should really look into an electric car…etc." 

- discounts/offers that inspire action, etc. 

Ask your clients questions to define their goals, for example is the main purpose to gain exposure? Or will this be parked in front of clients homes/businesses as their first exposure to your company? Be prepared to push back on loading up the design with too many screaming selling points. (keeping it away from looking like a “penny saver” ad) 

Step 2: Know your clients brand and gather assets

This vehicle wrap will be an extension of their marketing and current customer touch-points, all using their current brand guidelines- so review their current site, collateral, and other graphics. This might be a chance for you to shine and show them what their brand can look like with a new streamlined layout.

Step 3: Printing constraints

Understand the size constraints and printing specs before you start laying out your vehicle template. You may or may not be involved in finding the actual printer- some clients already have their own vendors. So when using their print vendor - ask for their printing specs. When choosing a printer for your client- it probably will be based upon price so shop around- or quality- either way make sure you see examples of their current work and ask about any details necessary to maximize your design and client needs.

Here is the vehicle my client would like to see wrapped:

BEFORE - wide open canvas!

Step 4: Start gathering ideas 

Examples of some well done vehicle wraps:

Step 5: Use your photoshop skills and really layout out your designs

Example of my design comps to our client: 

Client: Evolution Plants | They specialize in high-end designs of tropical and exotic plants for professional indoor environments (spas, hotels, restaurants, etc) They drive around everywhere and wanted their brand to be recognized as delivering a burst of magic and life that people need around them. We went back and forth from using the clients real imagery of actual displays or using a feeling based illustration...

Final selection for Evolution Plants:

AFTER - pretty snazzy!

Client: Skylar’s Home and Patio | A home and patio furniture store that combines great customer service with a creative take on the Southern California home lifestyle. They were growing and it was time to elevate their brand to the level and vision of their owner.  We did a complete rebrand - making sure every touchpoint of their brand and identity was executed with consistency.

Step 6: Print ready files 

Every printer is different. Sometimes they have a really great production team that can take your file and make miracles happen when you forgot to change an image to the correct color mode or if a piece of artwork is off just a tad. I personally still want to touch everything if there are changes. I only allow certain printers I have worked with and known for years to make certain changes because I know and trust them. However there are printers that are not good with graphic programs and do not have the high level print software so you will need to make sure all elements are perfect. Here are some tips on setting up print ready files:

Step 7: Follow up and promote your work

Always follow up with your client after final delivery - they usually are super happy when they see their logo nice and big from a project well executed. When you do follow up, always ask if there is anything more you can do to help promote their brand. Finally, keep a copy of your artwork along with an image of the real deal for further promotions and portfolio needs.

Please note: after writing this post I realized the VERY first thing you should do and I am sorry this might be obvious but for detail’s sake, please put the basis of your process, the amt. of comps/changes, payment amount, and the due date into a proposal with terms protecting you and your design work. ;) 

I reviewed this post for ideas and some of their thoughts here are good to review: https://99designs.com/designer-blog/2014/10/06/vehicle-wrap-design-tips/

Other information about the actual vehicle wrap process can be found here: http://northwestautosalon.com/vehicle_wraps_faq/

Virginia Upshaw
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