“We prefer vector because it’s clean,” adds Hall. “You’re going to get crisp, clean lines all the time. If we’re getting it from a customer, we prefer the vector. Whereas, if we’re creating it in house, we prefer raster because we know the resolution and quality that it needs to be printed at [because] you get a lot more detail in raster graphics in relation to pictures and that sort of thing.”
Falsetto states that designers have an all-inclusive solution with the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5, which makes designing vehicle wraps a less daunting project.
“CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X5 offers a great design environment for designers wishing to design vehicle wraps, as well as over 2,000 vehicle templates to really make it easy. CorelDRAW allows users to do the entire design to scale from within the product interface,” Falsetto says. “They typically would use RIP software to interface with the output device and to optimize the use of media.”
Lopez leans toward using a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator. Lopez uses photographs of the vehicle as a base and then takes the drawing and alters it to the actual size.
Perhaps even more important than the choice of software is the choice of template that will be used to create the vehicle wrap.
Falsetto says, “Vehicle templates, which make it much easier for users to lay out their design based on the scale of the target vehicle, are an important element in the design process.”
Van Schepen says, “Templates are idiosyncratic. No template will give you the exact perfect layout.”
When choosing a catalog of templates, the experts suggest that shop owners and designers do their homework and make their choices based on individual needs.
Van Schepen says, “The difference between us and everyone else is that we not only have the widest range of vehicles—our vehicles start from ’93—but we not only have all the commercial vehicles in that time frame, but we carry extra things like aircraft, boats, buses, jet skis, trailers, motorcycles, race cars; that kind of thing.”
Lopez wrote his book, “Wrap Dimensions” after receiving six phone calls from customers over the period of a year asking for square footage for a particular vehicle. Lopez prides himself on providing a large number of accurate templates for a wide range of vehicles. Lopez says that his books focus on issues that had not been previously addressed. A 2012 version of “Wrap Dimensions” was released in January.
Hall says, “If you’re starting out, do a lot of practice before you actually start offering it as a service. Make sure all your shop vehicles are wrapped before you try to solicit it and sell those types of products. Practice makes perfect. Build a good arsenal of royalty free clipart. Stuff like that allows for faster, more creative design.”
Van Schepen stresses that customers need to decide what they actually need before buying templates.
“My view point is that I am completely committed to do whatever it takes to get my customers the template they need. My customers know that. Otherwise there’s no point in being in business, in my opinion.”