Part 1 of 2
By Melissa Donovan
Each year we reflect on some of the top applications in the wide format graphic arts by asking our readers to nominate peers’ top projects in the last 12 months. 2019 presents some varied and unique nominations from point of purchase work to full wall decals for both indoor and outdoor spaces.
The top winners appear in the August issue of Digital Output. Visit digitaloutput.net to view the digital edition and see the projects displayed throughout the magazine. We asked the winners to share their applications’ information and why were nominated for this year’s Application of the Year awards.
Serving the Customer
Just Rite Printing of Fultondale, AL has the honor of first place this year with its 18-wheeler truck wrap for P&S Transportation. A long-time client of the full-service printing company, it was third truck wrap completed for the customer but the first time using this specific design.
In business since 1985, Just Rite is owned by Mike and April Livery, there are a total of 13 staff members employed at the company, with two solely devoted to wide format printing. With one 10,000 square foot location, the print provider specializes in offset, digital, and wide format.
Printed products range from business cards, wedding invitations, and labels to mouse pads, magnets, and post-it notes. The sign shop offers banners, posters, yard signs, car magnets, and car wraps. It also contains a promotional division that provides cups, pens, t-shirts, overnight bags, hats, and mugs. According to Whitney Reynolds, designer, Just Rite, the company’s main goal is to serve the customer.
This goal was 100 percent met with its first place winning project for P&S Transportation. The trucking company went to Just Rite looking for a wrap design that would draw the attention of potential new drivers. “The design came about from research the driver did for the truck and how he wanted it to look. We then pieced together all the information given and created the design the trucker imagined,” explains Reynolds.
The wrap took a full week to complete. After the design was finalized, the graphics were printed on Just Rite’s Roland DGA Corporation SOLJET Pro 4 XR-640 printer/cutter using 3M Commercial Solutions’ IJ180Cv3 cast vinyl film. 17 pieces in total were printed—six pieces per truck side, three pieces for the roof, one piece for the hood, and one piece for the bumper. After printing, the vinyl was laminated with 3M Wrap Overlaminate Series 8900 in Mystic Silver and Metallic Sparkle.
Physically wrapping the truck involved a lot of detail work and awareness of curves. “An 18 wheeler has a lot more curves than a regular car or truck would have. We had to really work the vinyl to the best of its ability,” admits Reynolds.
Prior to beginning the wrap process, Just Rite removed the truck’s lights, mirrors, handles, and vent doors. First the graphics on the sides were installed by working back to front to avoid the wind catching any edges as the truck drives down the road. Once the sides were applied up to the doors, the fender/side of the hood over the wheel well was wrapped. The top of the hood, small fenders under the doors, bumper, and handles followed. Finally, the graphic for the roof was installed. This involved four ladders and one scaffolding plank.
Once completed, the effect is astounding. P&S Transportation is very pleased with the final look. According to Reynolds, their overall first impression was awe and more importantly, the driver is ecstatic to drive a truck he loves and can show off to potential drivers.
When asked why the P&S Transportation 18-wheeler project took top prize in this year’s Application of the Year awards, Reynolds believes it’s because of the material, application, and overall appeal of the design. “We feel this project was a success due to the marriage of creativity, ingenuity, and determination with execution of design, production, and installation. The sign industry is a growing and evolving field and we are proud and excited to be part of that movement.”
With a durable, yet eye-catching wrap for a dirt car used in dirt track racing, Trackside Signs of Monroe, GA takes home the second place prize. Crissy McCannon, owner/designer, Trackside Signs began the company in 2001 and works out of 1,200 square foot space with one full-time employee. Her husband steps in when needed for wrap installs.
The print service provider (PSP) offers wraps, banners, business cards, t-shirts, promotional items, and logo design. McCannon admits that wrapping race cars, specifically for the dirt track community, is her favorite task. The wrap that won her second place was for Jerome Hanson, a well-known racer in the dirt track community. 70 years young, Hanson still races on wet clay every Saturday night.
Although he “retired” from racing 20 years ago, about six years ago Hanson contacted Trackside Signs looking to revamp the graphics for his race team. McCannon is known for creating readable wraps, and it is actually the company’s motto. Deemed as such from a flagman years ago, she explains that after a race one day he sent her a text saying that the company’s designs were the only readable wraps on the race cars.
“These cars, depending on the track, are running at 60 to 100 miles per hour. We want the spectators in the stands to be able to read the sponsors while racing on the track. Sometimes these cars are designed in such a way that they are just too busy. The sponsors can’t be read, even if the car is not in motion. So that is a goal of ours—make the design readable,” says McCannon.
Incorporating readable text with the clients’ specifications is always a challenge. For this specific Hanson project, McCannon designed based on Hanson’s daughters’ ideas. The creative process usually involves taking their input into consideration and then using that as motivation for the final design.
From proofing to install a typical dirt car wrap takes one to two weeks. McCannon explains that each dirt car is built differently, so measurements are specific to the job—from the sides of the car to the hood and spoilers. Once a proof is generated and approved, printing begins.
Printing is completed on a Roland VersaCAMM 54-inch printer using Roland Eco-Sol MAX ink on ORAFOL Americas’ ORAJET 3165. Once printed, the graphic is laminated with ORAGUARD 210, also from ORAFOL. According to McCannon the material is an economical choice for these cars. “It is mainly a flat surface we are wrapping and it holds up well to the rubbing and grinding that is commonly involved in this type of racing. We use this combination for all of our race car wraps,” she shares.
For this job, vinyl cut overlays were also incorporated into the design. ORACAL 351 Gold Reflective Chrome Vinyl was used for the numbers as well to highlight some of the sponsors.
Prior to install, the entire surface of the car is cleaned with rubbing alcohol. Then bolts and rivets are removed to make the application as smooth as possible. The vinyl is tacked onto the sides and hood to ensure positioning is exact, then it’s taped down and the final install can begin. A dry install and hinge method is used on these types of projects.
After the Hanson wrap was completed, his daughter popped into the shop and exclaimed it was her favorite one yet. “There is always a relief to get those types of reactions after completing a job like this. There is a team, sponsors, and fans that want the car to be the best looking one on race day. When they are excited about the final product, it makes you feel good about what you do,” explains McCannon.
Trackside Signs’ second place win in this year’s Application of the Year awards also makes McCannon “feel good” about what she does. “I am thankful for the nomination and appreciate all the votes we received. I think this application was chosen because when most folks hear ‘digital output’ they don’t necessarily associate it with racing or even dirt track racing. And it is a cool project—the shape of the car, the design style associated with it, and the overlays.”
Congratulations to Just Rite and Trackside Signs for their respective first and second place wins in Digital Output’s 2019 Application of the Year awards. The next part in this two-article series profiles the third place winner and honorable mention honoree.
Click here to read part two of this exclusive online series, Life Imitates Art, Art Imitates Life.
Aug2019, Digital Output