By Cassandra Balentine
Vehicle wraps remain an exciting area of digital wide format print. From race cars to fleets of big rigs, a wrap can transform a piece of machinery into a work of art and/or marketing tool.
Based in Claremont, NC, Custom Graphics serves the Hickory Unifour area. In business since 1997, the company has three employees and operates out of a 4,000 square foot facility.
Mark Johnson, owner, Custom Graphics, shares that all of the shop’s work is wide format and digitally printed, with an estimated 60 percent of its business vehicle wraps. It offers both primary and partial wraps, mostly in a business-to-business capacity.
Above: Race cars wrapped by Custom Graphics, printed on media from Substance.
Vehicle wraps are individual to each job and client. Custom Graphics strives to understand what the customer is looking for and works closely with the help to bring the idea into fruition. The shop has a team of designers on hand to ensure this process is as smooth and efficient as possible.
Johnson estimates that about 75 percent of its wraps are designed in house with input from the customer. The most challenging part of the design process is determining what the customer wants. To get there, his team asks the right questions and works from a rough sketch to a final proof. The creative process may be different for each customer, but it’s always about achieving an eye-catching design with different elements, colors, and images.
A Good Match
Much of the company’s graphics are applied on flat surfaces and the objects are wrapped with calendared film. For this, it relies on media from Substance, due to the “superior quality and user-friendly features of the product,” shares Johnson.
The path to Substance was interesting. When dealing with supply chain issues around COVID-19, Johnson searched online for a vinyl provider and came across the company. After placing an order for a sample, he got a call the next day asking to pick it up, as the vinyl provider was headquartered less than two miles away.
Today 90 percent of its vinyl work incorporates media from Substance. “I haven’t had any problems with defects, adhesive, or muddling,” he claims.
Finding Substance has been a “blessing” for Custom Graphics. Not only in terms of supply issues, but in terms of the relationship.
For instance, Substance came out with its ICON RS-275 line of calendared film, specifically designed for race cars. It so happens that racing is a passion for Johnson, and therefore he wraps a lot of race cars—including his own—and has a growing network of other racers. After using the media, Substance followed up with a list of questions about how it worked out for him. “It’s great to find a business led by people so passionate about what they do,” adds Johnson.
Custom Graphics primarily wraps vehicles like boxcars and vans for businesses, as well as storefront graphics. However, due to Johnson’s affinity for racing, he ends up doing a fair amount of race car wraps as well.
For the most part, the completed race car wraps are partial. However, once in a while they are full wraps. Recently, Custom Graphics was tasked with wrapping a late model race car for a customer looking for an aesthetically pleasing design that highlighted its sponsors while standing apart from the other cars on the track.
“Our team worked to create a wrap that exceeded our customer’s expectations. We used Substance ICON RS-275 with ICON PL-3150 overlaminate for the job,” shares Johnson.
The turnaround from design to installation was five days. The wrap is expected to last the full racing season, from February to October.
Love What You Do
From storefronts to vehicle wraps, Custom Graphics is passionate about its work, its customers, and its peers.
Sep2023, Digital Output