New To Vehicle Templates? Guide to Designing Wraps

New To Vehicle Templates?

Vehicle templates are essential tools that help make wrap projects more efficient right from the start. How you use the template is up to you, but they can be useful every step of the way—from sketching and measuring to designing and presentation.

Vehicle Templates for Design

Getting a file ready to apply on vehicle can be a tricky procedure. Vehicles are masses of compound curves, with accessories and attachments that stick out. You can never forget that you are putting a flat sheet of vinyl onto a three dimensional object. When you lay graphics over the template in your chosen software, you can see how the images line up and look on the vehicle, from all sides and top. But how it looks in the end only happens once the vehicle is actually wrapped.

Are templates reliable? In a perfect world, templates would be free of inaccuracy. They are developed with as much precision as possible, but may not be 100% true all of the time. Real-life variations can and do occur. That is why it’s recommend that every wrap designer carry a tape measure as part of their tool bag. It’s especially handy for cross-checking templates and to note vehicle differences that may not be clear on a template.

A proper vehicle template is a big bonus but it has to be accompanied by careful measurements of the actual vehicle. Inspect and measure vehicles whenever possible. Make sure that accessories and protruding parts, such as mirrors and door handles, don’t chop off key graphics. Check the horizon line carefully. Level to the ground doesn’t necessarily look better on a vehicle. And, before you finish, have the client proof everything thoroughly and sign off on the proof.

A vehicle owner may have added aftermarket accessories and custom features to their vehicle that will not show up on a template. Also keep in mind that vehicle manufacturers can often have several special variations of popular models. For example, maybe the hood of that special model has different contours. Cross-check your template/design elements with measurements especially in key areas. This allows you to push the limits of how and where to place these elements safely.

A good tactic is to design with ample bleed in critical areas. Your first few wraps may not lay on the vehicle quite as you had imagined, but if you gave yourself ample room for your elements, the important graphics will be fine. Follow up on your placement decisions once the wrap has been installed to see how they worked out. There’s always something to be learned and how you will guarantee improvement with each new project.

Working with a good installer can help make sure that your artwork looks great on a vehicle. In fact, they might even be able to make adjustments that mask flaws in the artwork. It would be a good idea to have the installer look over the artwork before the final proof as they could identify potential problem areas.

Vehicle Templates As A Customer Tool

For many, vehicle templates are necessary tools for working with customers. When selling vehicle wraps and spot graphics, it’s important to gather all the pertinent information from the customer without wasting time. When a customer comes in for a wrap quote, pull up the template for their vehicle and print it out. Use it to take measurements of the customer’s vehicle, clearly noting the information on the template print out. When you use a template at this stage with your customer, it looks very professional. And, by marking the measurements clearly and accurately on the template, it saves you time when you start to design.

Need an accurate cost estimate? Import the template into your design software and scale it to actual size. We provide tutorials on how to scale our templates in wide range of software. Using the template, you can determine coverage areas and your software can calculate the square footage of vinyl needed. This accomplishes two jobs at the same time. It produces an accurate estimate of materials required for the job. Then, in addition to providing you with the information to determine your gross cost, it can show the customer the material cost when you present your quote.

It’s hard for some customers to visualize graphics on their vehicle. The ability to sketch on a template helps you and your customer see how an idea can look. These early drawings can then help to speed up the computer design process. Getting early design direction from your customer also reminds you to ask the proper questions to efficiently and effectively design their graphics.

Once you’re in the design phase, if you want to easily change your design and/or see how something else would look, templates are invaluable for building your concept library. Simply changing the background of a wrap design from a solid color to one using high resolution background graphics can produce amazing results. Save these renderings then show them to your customer.

Vehicle Templates Are Marketing Tools

There are many times you want to promote your business, but a tight budget dictates how much you can actually spend. Use a template to design your own company’s vehicle. You don’t have to actually wrap the vehicle, but you can use the image to display your virtual vehicle anywhere you wish to place a file. Have a Web site? Facebook page? Instagram account? Share your virtual vehicle anywhere! Even if you’re not driving it on the streets, you can virtually drive it in many other places to get the attention you want.

Don’t Stop Here

There is a wealth of information available about vehicle templates and vehicle wraps online. Take advantage of all that’s available. Great design ideas & vinyl wrap tips can be found on sites including Pinterest, YouTube and via industry newsletters such as Sign & Digital Graphics. Learn all you can then get going! You can do this.

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