Have you ever driven past a van which really caught your eye and wondered how it went from a plain white van to having a fully finished livery installed? Most people are fascinated when they visit our units and see us hard at work, so we decided to follow the process from start to finish to explain the process in detail.
We have had a good relationship with Snowden & Co. for over 5 years and have completed countless vehicle liveries for them, so we know them like the back of our hand. Here is how we do it.
As with most things, the process starts with the client. After an initial consultation to find out what they are looking to achieve we will discuss the project as a team at our office in Bessemer Close to decide on the best way to approach it. We take a good look at the vehicle to take measurements and photographs and survey it to point out any difficult areas that could effect the design or abnormalities such as sliding doors that might effect installation.
The Snowden’s logo is made up of four colours. Our options would be a digital print and cut, or to use layered vinyl. In this case we will be using layered vinyl to give the best finish. Time to hit the computer for the design stage.
After receiving the companies logo in high resolution and having further details from them we open up our design package (CorelDRAW) and get to work designing. The pictures that we took earlier will come in handy here as we can use them for sizing our graphics and to produce visuals. After a few emails back and fourth we have the design finalised and approved by the client, ready to start on production.
Seeing the production is where people are most interested. The machines we use cut the vinyl using a tiny blade mounted as shown above which pans left and right, while the rollers run the material back and fourth. As you can see below we are left with the shape we want finely cut into the vinyl material. This is what we call ‘Vinyl Cut Lettering’ or VCL for short. The next stage of the process is to remove the unwanted vinyl from the background, a process know as ‘weeding’, as shown in the second picture below of the gold vinyl.
The next stage is to add application tape on top of the weeded vinyl which acts as a transfer agent, so we can move the vinyl from one surface (the roll of backing paper) to another surface (the vehicle) without losing shape.
For Snowden’s logo where we are layering different coloured vinyl on top of each other we will add one extra step here. To save time later on we drop in the lighter blue vinyl and the gold vinyl on top of the dark blue vinyl before applicating the three all together ready for installation. This saves us time when installing to the vehicle as there’s now only one logo to install rather than several layers.
Before we can install the vinyl graphics to the vehicle we need to thoroughly prepare the surface. We do this with a pre-wash using car shampoo and warm water and dried, followed by a de-grease using an alcohol based solution. This ensures there’s nothing on the paint surface that would prevent the vinyl from adhering properly, and of course there is no dirt that would remain under the vinyl tarnishing the finish.
We pin the graphics in their approximate positions using magnets which allow us to easily adjust them into place. Once we’re happy that they are exactly as our visual shows we hinge the graphics into place, remove the backing paper and carefully squeegee the graphic down. Using the right technique it’s no longer necessary to use any liquid solution. Installing this way saves us a lot of time waiting for it to dry compared to older traditional methods!
Once everything has been applied to the vehicle the application tape is removed leaving the graphic firmly adhered to the van!
For this design we also have a drop shadow on the text which is easier to install at this stage due to its size. So we drop the text on top of the drop shadow, remove the application tape, step back and admire our work while we wait for another happy customer to come and collected their vehicle with their brand new vehicle livery!
The final result is shown below. If you live in Cardiff or surrounding areas you’ll likely recognise the vehicle livery. Get in touch with us for a free consultation if you are looking for anything from a simple logo to a full vehicle wrap. We’d love to help transform your company fleet!